“Ode to Dolores O’Riordan, The Spirit of Protest, & Zombie by The Cranberries” By J.B. Stone

cranberries

 

Ode to Dolores O’Riordan, The Spirit of Protest, & Zombie by The Cranberries
For Dolores O’Riordan, & the Battle Cries Gone Unheeded

you hear it emanate through your car radio
the overtones of a dying village

still the world is a war zone
& the crossfire continues to burn it all alive

your fists shake, rattle
& curl into a tightly bound ball

you know there are so many tracks
from their repertoire clutched closely to your heart like a child

soft                              yet not afraid to be                  heavy

tender                                                                                    honest

but of all of them,
                  this is the anthem of your thought process
and in this depleting plot

you are trying to punch a hole through this dashboard
screaming at a god you hope can sense your disdain

asking, “Why is this song still relevant?”

then the dawn approaches,
the scenery of 5 AM appears
in the shades of crimson magenta

you’ve driven for hours with this song on repeat
& the vibration of your erupting skin bubbles into a fleshy Vesuvius

and unlike many who grace these mornings
with peace and love, you confront it as a statue does

….before it collapses

as the children around you are devoured
and the bones that were once their homes
are hollowed out and spitooned into the dirt

you hold out hope,
that your stand will become beacon,

your voice will become earthquake
your feet will march in picket line formation

and in the end the revolution
starts & ends with hope

 

About the Author: J.B. Stone is a writer, slam poet, and book reviewer from Brooklyn, now residing in Buffalo, NY. He is the author of two digital chapbooks, A Place Between Expired Dreams And Renewed Nightmares (Ghost City Press 2018) and forthcoming, Fireflies & Hand Grenades (Stasia Press 2019). His reviews, stories, and poetry have appeared in and/or are forthcoming in journals such as BlazeVOX, Anti-Heroin Chic, Occulum, Bone & Ink, Crack the Spine, Mojave He[art] Review, Maudlin House, Peach MagGlass and elsewhere. His work has appeared in and/or is forthcoming in anthologies such as, Your Body Is Not A Temple: A Tribute to Anthony Bourdain (Iron Lung Press), Mansion (Dancing Girl Press), among others. You can check out his website jaredbenjaminstone.com, or his tweets @JB_StoneTruth.

 

Image Credit: “The Cranberries en Barcelona” by Alterna2 Creative Commons 2.0, remixed by the AIOTB Magazine staff

Cranberries one

 

“Before Evening Med Pass” By Ryan Quinn Flanagan

 

Before Evening Med Pass

My wife has come to visit me.
On the unit at the Sudbury madhouse.
We are seated on the end of the bed.

Does he always play that horrible music?
The nurses give him one hour each day
with his guitar,
I tell her.
He plays the same thing all the time.

That’s awful, she says.
I shrug my shoulders.
Before she leaves, she meets my roommate Don
who thinks there are listening devices
everywhere.

After she leaves, I hear Don
through the yellow privacy curtain.
Your wife seems nice, do you trust her?

I tell him I do.
Then I hear him roll over in bed
and exhale once
loudly.

 

About the Author: Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Cultural Weekly, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

 

More By Ryan Quinn Flanagan:

“Robbie the Owl”

“He Brought His Canvases Over”

 

Image Credit: Arthur S. Siegel “Parke, Davis and Company, manufacturing chemists, Detroit, Michigan. Packaging pills in the finishing department” (1943) from The Library of Congress

“Hit and Run” By Steve Cushman

 

Hit and Run

My father had left us two days earlier
and my mother was driving the rusting
Torino to my sister’s softball practice.
Kim was in the front, and I was in the back.
Mom stopped at a red light when a man 
read-ended us. Shit, Mom said, enough already,
but we weren’t yet done with heartbreak because
five minutes later the hit and run driver, a tall
skinny drunk guy seemed to realize what sort
of trouble he was in, so he took off.  When the
police officer arrived and walked over, my mother
punched his chest, and my sister shook her head,
said Men.  The cop opened his arms when he could
have closed them.  Then he did what I couldn’t do,
held my mother, told her it was going to be alright
whether he believed this or not I’ll never know.

 

About the Author: Steve Cushman has published three novels, including the 2004 Novello-Award Winning Portisville.  His first poetry collection, How Birds Fly, is the winner of the 2018 Lena Shull Book Award.

 

More by Steve Cushman:

“Small Gifts”

 

Image Credit: “Manayunk, Pennsylvania. Part of an automobile junk yard on Ridge Avenue” by Paul Vanderbilt (1938) from The Library of Congress

“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

“The Selfie” By Mike Acker

 

The Selfie

Holding it right is half the challenge.
The other is not to shake before the click.

They say that the aim may change due to
the pressure applied by the finger.

To think that in the old days they had to
handle the powder directly to produce

the explosion, which, of course, also
gave the flash. The modern version

is so much easier; just aim and shoot.
The only question is: the temple, or the mouth.

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About the Author: Mike Acker lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has lived in various parts of the world; his early education was in German and French. While living in California, he worked as a professional translator. Mike enjoys writing short poetry, especially with the intent of exploring the possibilities latent in a single image.
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Image Credit: “Portrait of a Woman in Bonnet” Jacob Byerly, daguerreotypist (American, 1807 – 1883) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

 

“Ice Cream” By Bunkong Tuon

 

This is the first in a series of poems from a forthcoming poetry collection about raising a biracial daughter in Contemporary America, during this polarizing time of political and cultural upheavals where sexual harassment allegations abound, where a wall, literal and figurative, threatens to keep out immigrants like the narrator, a former refugee and child survivor of the Cambodian Genocide.

 

Ice Cream

I take Chanda
to the local mall,
where she flies
in the bounce house
with other kids,
screaming and laughing.
She climbs up
the slide and rolls
down the cushy steps.
She pirouettes
on the piano floor.
Then I take her
to the ice cream place
where we share
a cup of vanilla.
I watch her quietly
shove a spoonful
into her waiting mouth,
tasting the sweetness
on her pink tongue.
Memories of my father
flood, how he lost his wife.
When the Khmer Rouge regime
fell, Grandma was preparing to
take me with her to Thailand.
My father took me out
for ice cream one day.
He was telling me
something important.
That he would follow
Grandma and bring me home.
That he would wait
for me.
That he would always . . .
But I couldn’t hear a word
he said once the ice cream
flooded my tongue with
such sweetness.

 

About the Author: Bunkong Tuon is the author of Gruel (2015) and And So I Was Blessed (2017), both poetry collections published by NYQ Books, and a regular contributor to Cultural Weekly  He is also an associate professor of English and Asian Studies at Union College, in Schenectady, NY.

 

More poetry by Bunkong Tuon:

Fragments
Our Neighborhood in Revere, MA
Snow Day
An Elegy for a Fellow Cambodian
Halloween, 1985
Dancing Fu Manchu Master
Fishing for Trey Platoo
Lies I Told About Father

 

Image Credit: “Miss Lisa’s ice cream sign, old Rt. 31, Perrysburg, Michigan” By John Margolies, The Library of Congress

“My Joints Hurt And Other Fascinating Topics Of Conversation” By Margaret Crocker

 

MY JOINTS HURT
AND OTHER FASCINATING TOPICS OF CONVERSATION

So.

This is what it’s come to.
You
and me,
green tea
and a free association of maladies.

You cannot know how sick I am,
the pain I feel,
the woes I have.

But, hey,
here’s a dirty joke to make it better.

All laugh.
I cough.
You sweat.
We both sigh,
and limp
ever closer
to the finish line.

 

About the Author: Margaret Crocker is an artist, writer, wife, mother, daughter, sister and thief. She collects stray animals and has this weird fantasy of being on The Great British Baking Show, despite the fact she uses a bread machine. She knows little but proclaims much. There is much we don’t know about her.

 

More By Margaret Crocker

“The Art of Acquiescence”

“Earth, Air, and Lynda Carter”

“Mental Health Portraits”

 

Image Credit: “Dance of Death: The Doctor” Hans Holbein (The Cleveland Museum of Art)