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Two poems by J.B. Stone

Ode to Love Handles

when your teeth resemble mangled accordion keys, tendril curls jangled & jumbled

around the top of your skull, the bingo-wing Jello jiggling in your arms when you

approach your torso and try to curve your palms slowly across your hips, shaking

the atlas of your rump, like an earthquake without the aftermath following

holding your paunchy flab like the child you never had but always wanted

embracing the glow of your cellulite, the teddy bear warmth best incubated around

the contours of beer-bellied corpulence, the soft dad-bod touch that wraps around you

like a weighted blanket, except it’s the surface of your own skin: a caress in the form

of self-love when that is so hard to find

To the Statue of Jesus Laying on a Park Bench Between Delaware Avenue & Church Street in Downtown Buffalo

An honest depiction next to the bus stop in a city

where the sky is always smeared with grey. Beside

the concourse of a nearby cathedral that taunts each

patron with its gothic spires, the phallic smugness

staring down at every faithless denizen. The way the

stone carved prophet sleeps with a newspaper quilt,

gravel lips slouched in the vein of a tired deity. The

bronze-plastered domes top siding the courthouse

just a few intersections down, the fork between the

190 South & the 190 North, as cars break city speed

limits as if this Sunday never deserved to be holy in

the first place. Sometimes, I would sit next to the statue,

attempt to ignore the cacophony of traffic horns and

road-raged fuck yous, barricade the rest of my vision

from the gilded awnings of various buildings and set

them to his shuttered clay eyes, confessing to the

sleeping idol the deepest swell of my desires, the

darkest confessionals I could not ever confess even

in this poem. Not for the sake of atonement, just to

have a set of ears listening, even if they’re inanimate.

J.B. Stone is a neurodivergent/autistic slam poet, writer, and reviewer residing in Buffalo, NY. He is the author of A Place Between Expired Dreams And Renewed Nightmares (Ghost City Press 2018) and INHUMAN ELEGIES (Ghost City Press 2020). He is the Editor-In-Chief/Reviews Editor at Variety Pack. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Peach Mag, [PANK], Frontier Poetry, MoonPark Review, Gravel, and elsewhere.

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