Jonathan K. Rice


Alfonso loved Cab Calloway,
Dizzy Gillespie,
Louis Armstrong and Ella.

He scatted tunes in the warehouse
while unloading trucks filled
with boxes of curtains, towels
comforters, sheets and pillows.

Imitated trumpet and flugelhorn,
pursing his lips on invisible brass,
while slinging freight down rollers
across the loading dock.

One day, his supervisor
told him to shut up.
Said he didn’t like his singing
and all the noise he made,

so with a right cross
Alfonso laid him out
across the yellow painted line
on the warehouse floor.

He sauntered through
the swinging steel doors
into the store,
and out the front exit,

singing through the parking lot
toward the bus stop,
music in his soul, dignity intact,
the only thing that mattered.


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 As It Ought To Be, The Aurorean, Cold Mountain Review, Comstock Review, Diaphanous, Empty Mirror, Eunoia Review, Gargoyle, Gravel Literary Magazine, Inflectionist Review, Levure Litteraire, The Main Street Rag, Rye Whiskey Review, Wild Goose Poetry Review and the anthologies, Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race and The Southern Poetry Anthology VII: North Carolina. He lives in Charlotte, NC.