A Tale of Why We Are So Fucked—As a Species by Lisa Douglass.

Before the Baby Salty Jesus birthed us and we became our non-human selves—it is written that we had once been human. We were real live human beings that liked to kiss and tell and do the Holiest of the holies in front of the video. But that was before the spider incident which later conflates into the Satan incident, which follows:

Once upon a time, in the middle of winter, one winter when we were really fucking cold in our beds and wearing our see-through hot pink number without panties, somebody came to visit us in our rooms. It was the first night after the brand new white sheets and the first night of the spider who stared at us with his beady eyes on our bedspread—wherein we went—what the fuck?—why is that spider’s legs spread out like he is about to run the 100 yard dash and why do I feel like he is conscious and wants to talk to me about something quite important?

We were all ears.

On this night of the spider, we looked again and there was a man, this man was Satan.

Remember: Before this happened—We had known how to love one another without fear and we had understood that one text does not make or break any relationship of value and we had been unafraid to do what we liked because there was no fear to do the Happy.

But, what happened was we wanted to be cool, more than we wanted our hearts deepest desires and Satan knew that on some level when he came to us in the nighttime while we were fast asleep in our angelic poses in our beds without wrappers or crumbs but still in a cute outfit. On that night that Satan came, we opened up our beautiful orphan eyes and said to the Bad son of God because he was more competitive than Jesus and corrupted souls through deviant means:
“hi.”
Satan the Lord of Darkness had a little contract with him and he was charming and good looking.
and Satan goes: “hi.”
We felt our wholeness right then and there. We were no longer ordinary—we were visited by Satan and that fed our enormous but undeservedly so’s ego.
It was terrifying how like a human Satan seemed and how handsome and how we hoped he would text us the next day. (We smoothed our hair in the face of it).
But we weren’t scared of new things at that point, we were still innocent with pure hearts.
What Satan said was hey, you seem cool and I’ve been watching how everyone else kind of looks to you as the model of cool and how you have a hard time with commitment and significant others, so I was thinking you might want to join a club:
The Club of Not Feeling or Caring and Impure Hearts but Look Cooler Than Everyone Else Club.
We thought we might.
He made it sound so fancy.
So, Satan the Lord of Darkness made us sign a commitment to not feeling human emotions at the expense of our inbred coolness. So, we were like: “OK, what do we have to lose anyway, we are always trying to avoid feelings and stuff by eating too much or too little or buying shoes and obsessing on how to wear our hair in order to be neat and different.” But, really we just said, “OK.”
Because we want to be considered cool and like we aren’t over-thinking this shit.
And we signed.
The contract basically said, anyone who loves you from here on our will be seen as the enemy and Lo and Behold it motherfucking was.
After that our hearts were closed off. God and the Baby Salty Jesus were disturbed and kept sending us people who wanted to love us, but we only saw them as suspects in a larger scheme of our newfound paranoia of all things cute and adorable and we read into everything with the one thought: What can this person possibly want from me? Fear Fear Fear Fear Fear Fear Fear Fear Fear Fear Fear I’m Scared, Etc.
Only to be cured with copious amounts of anonymous sex and vast amounts of designer shoes for the girls or car stuff for the boys.
And that is how we became non-human and unable to love.
Please send $200 to Lisa Douglass at her PO Box
PO BOX 48342
Los Angeles, CA 90048
For this most important fact that is unchangeable and why we are all so fucked.
The end.

Lisa Douglass spent her summer watching a stalker through her window and wondered if she could go outside via the roof. Only, whenever she tried there were sheets of chocolate lining the stairs and it seemed so messy. Lisa became tired and unclean. She hoped the stalker was eating well and that he had a change of clothes, adult diapers and all. Lisa Douglass was trapped, and that meant eating copious amounts of Nutella and sleeping all day under her makeshift indoor rain device. Sometimes she had visitors and they got wet, but no one knows what she did with them after. Just that during the visitations they learned to talk in baby dinosaur language and how to fashion a trap for a medium sized human being.

365 by Owen Lucas

The last days were difficult.

That central joist had been

Removed, and the big top

Fell, billowing, and he was

Not much further from us,

In truth, but transposed in

An uncertain way, become

A stranger. The words he

Spoke had an antic quality,

And his face moved beyond

Itself, as to the limit of its

Physical properties. The new

Medicine worked him down,

And he would cry bitterly,

As children do, without cause,

Unreasonable to himself,

And call to God and mother

Indiscriminately, thinking

Them perhaps to be one.

His brothers drank whiskey

And smoked and spat from

The porch and spoke softly,

Coming in to him and staring

For a few minutes twice a day.

The signal flame and its dark

Remnant. Fuel, and a caulk

Of wax petals, drooping out.

He wore a white nightshirt

Like a child’s, sweat it yellow.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

An instant rose to him, one

Morning. He drew upright and

His mouth opened and he

Shuddered and smiled and

Fell back to his pillow—

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

“Es ist ein Traum,

Ich will ihn weiter träumen.”

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Owen Lucas is a British writer living in Norwalk, Connecticut whose poems and translations have featured in journals and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. His recent work can be read in Agave, Off the Coast, Burningword, Pacifica, Electric Windmill, Clarion, and RiverLit. In September, Mountain Tales Press will publish his first chapbook, “Afterworks”. For more, visit owenlucaspoems.com

The Inhabited World by Mohamed Chakmakchi

…………………………….
Ptolemy on the banks of Egypt’s Mediterranean shore, old drunkard,
weaning from the cosmos a guide for his treatise of relics.
This matter of the sciences, the natural philosophy that led him
to me, and conversely, me to you, to this, this inhabited world.
…………………………….
Each hour, those constellations blink and spurn knowledge,
I laugh out loud, hissing “thunder creaking forward into brains,”
like a splinter of thoughts, or an ice particle, in deference to
winter’s end, melting towards the center of reverie and vice.
…………………………….
Now on Ptolemy’s Alexandrian port where the ships led us to you,
And us to Syria there is a booth–Yes, that booth there!–where a boy selling
fruit hides in his pocket, buried beneath his linty smile, the truth.
That Eve was lost- the apple his now, inside it a worm for Ptolemy.
…………………………….
The stars only twinkle when the devil in his pocket smiles
Back his fanged hiss and hammer. The worm, spurned, swallows
The lint in the boys pocket and takes whole the form, the color,
Of Eve’s apple. “Why, the poor thing didn’t even know it was gone from her.”
…………………………….
So I speak in tongues and release the boy. It is my rotten apple now.
You keep the stars; their lives are not mine to hinder. But here
as Ptolemy wanders the barren fruitless ports of Roman Egypt,
Greek Alexandria sleeps a mid-day slumber, pockets for lint remain.
…………………………….
Tired and barren in our inhabited world. The devil has it!
…………………………….…………………………………………………….
Mohamed Chakmakchi is a writer of Iraqi origin who has lived in the US,
Europe, Iraq and the Arab Levante. He studied at NYU. When not raising
his cup with friends, he works on his novel, poetry, theatre and essays.
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Summer Break.

5841338943_0059b5d9cc

Swing ride - Hoppings

The 22 will be on break from June-August. We will be returning with Volume 4 (The Collage Volume) and the blog in September. While we will still continue to accept submissions for the blog, acceptance letters will not be sent out until September. Submissions for Volume 4 are closed. Volume 5 will be announced in September and the submission process for print will re-open at that time.

Thank you and enjoy the summer!

One Night Stand: A Biblical Epic on Mastication

By David Moody

Lord, forgive all my foxiness. Remember us humans, us cruising
to nightclubs and not braking to dead stop, us stepping—
no hand rail—in black pumps and boot-cuts up to the slut box
then forgetting to dance. Us keeping secrets. Our leaving no tip.
Sometimes in a good fuck I speak carpentry—spackle and jack
tape, Jesus rib, caulk. I awoke this morning naked as a jay bird. Buzzed,
wearing glasses, I held on to no one but my body pillow, Sacagawea,
keeping her warm. Almost a godsend, God, almost.

I confess I want guidance. Guide me to the country of Charity,
that hard-knuckled woman, her deep ankle boots. Can she have red
hair or is black a must? I imagine her hips as I often do hips—chisels
and axes that hack at a crowd thralled to some DJ.
This woman shapes through body’s rhythm her own thrumming
god. Fox beast, incisors, torso warped thing. Its own twisted shape a way
of confessing. To choke without a throat, slowly, on praise.

From what is this thing we have gnawed happiness? How
has it tasted all of our lives? God of Smudged Chins. God of
Half-Virgins. We wedge fingernails into the gaps between backboard screws
and corner beams. With a wonderful quickness we know bed as world.
God, what I’m saying is that I suspect heaven
was planned with a right hand drawing blueprints on napkins,
the left hand still-buried in some idle fur.

Forgive me but nightclubs are like your mouth, like my bedroom
with its ceiling too low. The off-kilter whir of fan blades replace
any belief in collar-starch morals. Forgive the room’s stucco.
Forgive the drunk nothings this tile floor revibes. No,
nothing’s wrong with yesterday’s meats. Sometimes, though, I am
little more than gaps found between words—good and then
morning. A click-click that lingers. I cannot tell if its high heels or teeth.
If I am flea, Lord, and not a fox, I insist one thing: you must bite, hard.




David Antonio Moody writes out of Tallahassee where he pursues a PhD in poetics at FSU. Former poetry editor for SawPalm and Juked, David is production editor of Cortland Review and Southeast Review. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sweet, Eleven Eleven and Spillway.

Freshwater

by Nadra Mabrouk

You wanted to use a caterpillar as fish bait.
The soft fuzz of its pinky-long body
squirmed as though in slow motion
and you, not able to cut into its mouth, shivering,
threw it back in the grass.

And I thought we could take this bike anywhere -
Instead, we stop,
lay it on the ground near my chalky ankles.

a half naked woman’s shoulders near us, tanner than us — she is a bear:
waiting for the small gloves of fish
to tug, then grabbing them off the hook with large fingers
and swollen palms
as though her growth depended on them.

And what does our growth depend upon?
Exoskeleton? Thin needles inside fish?
The sturdiness of understanding the variations of the skeletal system?

I turn to prickling hairs on your thin-skinned elbow
and rub my cheek against your ribs.
You place your fingers on the sinking earth of my face
as though tracing hunger on the cheekbone
as the woman limps away.

She leaves with a basket of fresh bodies.
Something to slice open, squeeze lemon on,
cradle in your mouth and feel whole.

In a thought made of silk,
I am cutting softened peaches into puddles of vanilla,
a dessert, after salting the center of a cut salmon:
pink tongues on a refrigerated platter.

After we eat – a marinated silence
and hands, smelling of the river,
something swift to salvage us.

But instead,
You fill your hands with the grainy metal of the handlebars
and walk ahead of me,
footsteps slow and dry in the heat.



Nadra Mabrouk was born in Cairo, Egypt where she spent only five years. She has ripped memories of the country. Her family has since moved from one apartment to the other so she is familiar with different pieces of Miami yet does not know what it is like to mark your height as you grow in an old house to compare to your siblings. She wrote two poems in fifth grade and then picked poetry up again in ninth grade. Since then, she’s known this may the definition of concrete. Sometimes, she will have a swollen eye and takes a cyproheptadine pill to block the allergic reaction. But the side effects are brutal and any loud noise makes her feel as though the insides of her body are vibrating. This is why the world should be quiet and listen to the soft jazz of the air. She is a junior in Florida International University studying English and working with the University newspaper, The Beacon, as a managing editor and reads poetry submissions for Gulf Stream, the University’s literary magazine.