Jonathan K. Rice: “Seagull”

IMG_20200127_122554127

 

 

Seagull

Seagull perches 
on a chaise lounge

stoic, 
pensive

overlooking ducks,
a lone coot on a small lake.

I’ve heard they’re
intelligent and long-living,

that they’ll eat 
almost anything.

They can drink saltwater,
excrete the salt

through their nostrils,
shake it from their bill.

I think of Chekhov, 
Richard Bach, Hitchcock.

Years ago I read about 
a girl who was stranded 

on a small island
with no food or fresh water.

She survived on seagulls.
Wrung their necks,

ate them raw,
drank their blood.

This seagull preens,
mournfully squawks.

Gray and white plumage
rustles in the breeze

as it gauges distance, 
spots its mate, takes off 

beyond restaurants,
dumpsters and parking lots,

flying further inland
looking for another shore.

 

 

About the Author: Jonathan K. Rice edited Iodine Poetry Journal for seventeen years. He is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Killing Time (2015), Ukulele and Other Poems (2006) and a chapbook, Shooting Pool with a Cellist (2003), all published by Main Street Rag Publishing. He is also a visual artist. His poetry and art have appeared in numerous publications, including Cold Mountain Review, Comstock Review, Diaphanous, Empty Mirror, Gargoyle, Inflectionist Review, Levure Litteraire, The Main Street Rag, Wild Goose Poetry Review and the anthologies, Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race and The Southern Poetry Anthology VII: North Carolina.

 

More by Jonathan K. Rice

“Springmaid Pier”

“Cards”

“Stravinsky in the Shower”

 

Image Credit: Chase Dimock “The Seagull Who Stole My Taco” (2020)

Jonathan K. Rice: “AAA”

 

 

AAA

My car gassed up, 
oil changed, 
tires balanced and rotated.

Roadworthy
all I needed 
was roadmaps. 

I approached the rep
at the counter, 
a young woman

with a Gothic look −
black hair, pale skin, 
black nail polish,

silver nose ring. 
With a smile she asked
how she could help me.

I told her I needed maps. 
Maps of states, cities,
the Eastern Seaboard. 

A few west of the Mississippi.
She was curious where I was heading. 
I told her at the time I wasn’t going that far

but I didn’t trust my cell phone, GPS,
computers and satellites.
What if there’s a Zombie Apocalypse?

What good will technology be?
And who can even read a simple roadmap these days?
Her jaw dropped. She slapped the counter

with an open hand. Exclaimed, 
That’s what I’ve been saying! You never know!
Here, take all the maps you want!

Her coworkers looked on 
as she gave me one of everything.
I left arms full, bottled water,
nonperishable food and can opener next on my list.

 

About the Author: Jonathan K. Rice edited Iodine Poetry Journal for seventeen years. He is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Killing Time (2015), Ukulele and Other Poems (2006) and a chapbook, Shooting Pool with a Cellist (2003), all published by Main Street Rag Publishing. He is also a visual artist. His poetry and art have appeared in numerous publications, including Cold Mountain Review, Comstock Review, Diaphanous, Empty Mirror, Gargoyle, Inflectionist Review, Levure Litteraire, The Main Street Rag, Wild Goose Poetry Review and the anthologies, Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race and The Southern Poetry Anthology VII: North Carolina.

 

More by Jonathan K. Rice

“Springmaid Pier”

“Cards”

“Stravinsky in the Shower”

 

Image Credit: Arnold Eagle “Three men work under the hood of a car” (about 1940–1942) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

Revisiting 2019: Our 50 Most Popular Posts of the Year

 

Dear As It Ought To Be Magazine Readers,

As we enter the next decade, I want to thank all of the writers and readers who have made our tenth year so successful. I take enormous pride in working with so many talented and inspiring writers. Without your brilliance and generosity of spirit and intellect, none of this would be possible. It has been a great privilege to publish your work on our site, and I hope to continue featuring diverse perspectives, challenging ideas, and unique voices for years to come. As a way to look back on what we accomplished in 2019, I have complied the 50 most popular posts of the year based on internet traffic and clicks.

Thank you again to everyone who wrote for, read, and promoted AIOTB Magazine in 2019. Let the 20s roar again!

Chase Dimock
Managing Editor

 

Poetry

Jason Baldinger:

Ishrat Bashir:

Jai Hamid Bashir:

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal:

Jeffrey Betcher:

Ace Boggess:

Daniel Crocker:

John Dorsey:

Ryan Quinn Flanagan:

Tony Gloeggler:

Nathan Graziano:

Cord Moreski:

Jeanette Powers:

Stephen Roger Powers:

Jonathan K. Rice:

Kevin Ridgeway:

Damian Rucci:

Anna Saunders:

Larry Smith:

Nick Soluri:

William Taylor Jr.:

Alice Teeter:

Tiffany Troy:

Bunkong Tuon:

Agnes Vojta:

Kory Wells:

Brian Chander Wiora:

Dameion Wagner:

 

Nonfiction

Daniel Crocker:

Nathan Graziano:

John Guzlowski:

Cody Sexton:

Carrie Thompson:

 

Reviews 

Chase Dimock:

Mike James:

 

Photo Credit: Fire Works At New Year’s Eve via Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

Jonathan K. Rice: “Pillows on the Interstate”

 

 

Pillows on the Interstate

Blue pillow
rests in a rut 
of red clay 
beside 
a northbound
exit ramp.

Blew from 
the cargo bed
of a pickup    
with a love seat 
from somebody’s 
front porch.

Left behind 
by its matching 
sibling 
and cushion
on their way
to a new home. 

Further down
the highway 
memory foam
reacts to every tire, 
every tread,
returning to its
shape every time. 

Turquoise 
throw pillow
bounces
between lanes
through tailwinds
and exhaust. 

A feather 
pillow floats 
across an overpass 
following 
a convoy
of eighteen wheelers.

Miles of lost pillows 
like roadkill
disemboweled. 
Feathers, latex,
polyurethane

ripped 
and dragged
between 
mile markers,
ground 
into the tar
and asphalt.
left to decompose, 

to scatter in the wind.

 

 

About the Author: Jonathan K. Rice edited Iodine Poetry Journal for seventeen years. He is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Killing Time (2015), Ukulele and Other Poems (2006) and a chapbook, Shooting Pool with a Cellist (2003), all published by Main Street Rag Publishing. He is also a visual artist. His poetry and art have appeared in numerous publications, including Cold Mountain Review, Comstock Review, Diaphanous, Empty Mirror, Gargoyle, Inflectionist Review, Levure Litteraire, The Main Street Rag, Wild Goose Poetry Review and the anthologies, Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race and The Southern Poetry Anthology VII: North Carolina.

 

More by Jonathan K. Rice

“Springmaid Pier”

“Cards”

“Stravinsky in the Shower”

 

Image Credit: Ben Shahn “Roadside advertising along Route 40, central Ohio” (1938) The Library of Congress

“Stravinsky in the Shower” By Jonathan K. Rice

 

 

Stravinsky in the Shower
            after The Rite of Spring

I lather my hair
as an old woman 
prophesies
upon the equinox 
of spring. 

Hot water 
pours over me, 
while young 
women dance.

Soap foam
rinses from 
my beard 
and body
down the shower
drain.
Rival tribes divide 
and proceed. 

I turn off the water,
grab a towel.
An elder kisses
the earth.

Pagans dance
as I dry myself.
The sacrifice begins.
My clothes 
are on the bed.

Mystery unfolds
in games and circles.
I dress as a dancer 
is chosen 
and glorified,

entrusted to elders,
dances to death
before I can
put on my shoes.

 

About the Author: Jonathan K. Rice edited Iodine Poetry Journal for seventeen years. He is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Killing Time (2015), Ukulele and Other Poems (2006) and a chapbook, Shooting Pool with a Cellist (2003), all published by Main Street Rag Publishing. He is also a visual artist. His poetry and art have appeared in numerous publications, including Cold Mountain Review, Comstock Review, Diaphanous, Empty Mirror, Gargoyle, Inflectionist Review, Levure Litteraire, The Main Street Rag, Wild Goose Poetry Review and the anthologies, Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race and The Southern Poetry Anthology VII: North Carolina.

 

More by Jonathan K. Rice

“Springmaid Pier”

“Cards”

“Cards” by Jonathan K. Rice

 

Cards
           circa 1965

It’s time for the monthly bridge club
my parents host with couples
from other neighborhoods
and it’s our turn. My role is minimal.

I’m told to stay in my room,
but to first greet everyone and say goodnight,
just not be seen and not play my records.
Preferably not make any noise at all.

I decide to read The Island of Dr. Moreau
I bought at the school book fair that morning,
maybe play around with the crystal radio I built from a kit.

Before long I can hear people laughing,
ice clinking. I can smell the vermouth, gin,
the occasional cigarette.

I open the window, take off the screen
and climb out behind the tall hibiscus,
dodging palmetto bugs and lizards,

steal away into the night down the block
where older kids hang by the street light.
The newspaper boy has a zip gun he made
with some pipe from a nearby construction site.

He says it will shoot .22 bullets
and he has a pocketful. I can see the cars
in the driveway and along the street
in front of my house.

The kid shoots his zip gun. It sounds like a
firecracker, and we hear broken glass. He loads
it again. More fireworks. More broken glass.
And it’s all in front of my house.

We run in different directions.
I run toward a neighbor’s backyard
around to my window.

I hear the needle scratch vinyl, screeching
through my dad’s bossa nova record
while men cuss. This is not what Bridge
usually sounds like.

I hear poker chips being thrown and stacked,
the hardness of bottles and glasses on the table,
doors opening and closing, people coming and going.
footsteps down the hallway.

The screen and window back in place,
I pick up my book. Mom comes in,
finds me reading H.G.Wells.

 

About the Author: Jonathan K. Rice edited Iodine Poetry Journal for seventeen years. He is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Killing Time (2015), Ukulele and Other Poems (2006) and a chapbook, Shooting Pool with a Cellist (2003), all published by Main Street Rag Publishing. He is also a visual artist. His poetry and art have appeared in numerous publications, including Cold Mountain Review, Comstock Review, Diaphanous, Empty Mirror, Gargoyle, Inflectionist Review, Levure Litteraire, The Main Street Rag, Wild Goose Poetry Review and the anthologies, Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race and The Southern Poetry Anthology VII: North Carolina.

 

More by Jonathan K. Rice

“Springmaid Pier”

 

Image Credit: “Detroit, Michigan. Poker hand and hands of girl players” (1941) Arthur S. Siegel. from The Library of Congress