Portrait of a Woman as Her Purse by A.J. Huffman

Red enameled alligator encases three
cloth sacks of unified survival.  Beneath zipper
#1 waits five nickels, bottle of glittered nail
polish, miniature journal, handful of pens, only
one still wearing cap.  Skip #2, it is stuck
shut and whatever is in there has been labeled
unnecessary and forgotten.  #3 never closes,
most-used, most-important, must remain
accessible, always.  Checkbook teeters
against tightly-capped Crazy
Glue, shades sunglasses from potential scuffs
from engraved silver cardholder, coupon folder, ring
of 37 keys, only 3 having known locks or ignitions
to turn.  Ringing requires perimeter check.  Pockets
bulge, aspirin and birth control semi-hidden
in tightly-snapped front pocket, portable
hard drive and note cards on Roman Architecture
threaten to spill out of left side pouch.  Right
must be the never-ending musical bleeping,
incessant blipping of latest high-tech, supposedly
miniaturized, iPhone, trying to pass itself
off as both computer and lifeline when it is really
more crutch and anvil.  Last stop, strap with photo
keyring dangling attachment.  Favorite snapshot
of herself smiling at the world, makes everyone wonder
who or what was making her laugh that hard.



A.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has previously published six collections of poetry all available on Amazon.com. She has also published her work in numerous national and international literary journals. She has is the editor for six online poetry journals for Kind of a Hurricane Press . Find more about A.J. Huffman, including additional information and links to her work at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000191382454 and https://twitter.com/#!/poetess222.

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.

Have you submitted for The 22 yet?

submissions

Well folks, it’s nearly that time. How do we know? Our inboxes are full, our eyes are strained, and our tentacles are a quiver with pure excitement for what is shaping up to be one of the most amazing volumes yet. As for you, oh dearly talented creative procrastinator, we still cannot wait to see what wonders you shall send us but please keep in mind there are merely ten days left to submit your work! As always submission is 100% free and we are thrilled to meet new amazing people who will always be considered for both the print volume and the blog. Thank you to the wizards of scissors, the mind melting soundscapers, and the scribes of clipped reason who have already sent work and thank you for keeping this project chugging along with your amazing talent. Now go submit!!

SUBMIT NOW!

Continue reading

Dan Hedges #80.

{assorted plots

dispersed irregularly across

generalized narrative suspense

lead to uncanny sensations that

humans are a fixed point}

 

Dan Hedges is the editor of  HUMANIMALZ Literary Journal. His writing appears in The Monarch Review, The Apeiron Review, and more than ninety other journals.  He writes out of a small white house in rural Quebec.  He teaches English near Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada.

Untethered Grass

by Jamez Chang

Jackie Stewart relaxed past death
on racing tracks heightened
by speed and violence.
He elevated his senses higher
than the rise of the road,
breaking hard third gear
underneath a viaduct
in Monaco.

across gravel stretch and paddock,
Stewart advanced—past zebra crossing, past short dirt,
along a fast bend in a windrush of earthen electron.
His motorcar spun loud,
hearing nothing.

Front straight faster and spinning through a funnel,
Stewart sloughed off his body’s vehicle
and allowed for this: a blade of grass to enter his world.
As he dripped inside double layers of fire-proof Nomex,
Stewart caught a whiff of freshly-cut grass around the bend,
A leaf aldehyde stain, wet-pulp mist somehow untethered,
loosened from its topsoil.

In accident and in happening,
Stewart mastered his craft at Monaco,
trusting his senses.
Alive and mechanical,
writing the next turn.

On macadam road,
a car had skidded outside a curb and clipped a barrier,
onto grass,
pop
releasing the blade’s germ adrift.
idyllic,
incongruous,
dangerous grass.
Nature’s intrusion
upon oil, steel, and the scatter mass of tire grit.

Stewart pulled back from the swarm.

The maestro touched lightly on his brakes,
and fed them out with a soft whistle.

Never jabbing a foot to answer,
but steering a motorcar docile:
angry insect allowed to fly,
eased into a coverlet of sunken metal and music.
Stewart skittered the right-hander on the edge of adhesion—clean,
past pile of racing cars crashed along steel barriers uprooted.
Raucous debris, too thick for a clogged helmet’s consumption,
but of thin data, the faint smell of mowed lawn at 175 miles per hour was
allowed,
observed,
felt.
And the mind became faster than the car.

On racing tracks heightened
by speed and violence,
Sir Jackie Stewart whistled by in accident,
accelerating out,
shifted pedals on the piano and
glided through chicane and into third, and fourth, and into fifth gear:
road holding,
turning the atom-soaked sun into a mechanical happening.

Jamez Chang is a poet, writer, lawyer, and former hip-hop artist living in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in FRiGG, Prime Number Magazine, Boston Literary Magazine, Subliminal Interiors, and the anthology Yellow Light. After graduating from Bard College, Jamez went on to become one of the first Korean-American to release a hip-hop album, “Z-Bonics” (F.O.B. Productions, 1998), in the United States. Jamez currently works in the video game industry in New York City.

Golan Levin (QR Codes for Digital Nomads.)

ABOVE: “Worth Saving”

QR Codes for Digital Nomads: QR_STENCILER and QR_HOBO_CODES are homebrew “infoviz graffiti” tools, intended for civic markup and in-situ information display. QR_STENCILER is a free, open-source, fully automated software utility that converts QR codes into vector-based stencil patterns suitable for laser cutting. The QR_STENCILER software was used to create the QR_HOBO_CODES, a collection of 100 stencil designs which, deployed in urban spaces, may be used to warn people about danger or clue them into good situations. Inspired by 19th Century “hobo symbols”, these stencils can be understood as a covert markup scheme for urban spaces — providing directions, information, and warnings to digital nomads and other indigenterati.

SCAN WITH PHONE OR SEE TRANSLATION HERE.
WEBSITE.

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.

 

Change of Season.

By Owen Piper

It’s times like this,
I think we are changing like the season.

Salt, pepper,
that strange spice you found near 82nd.

What, was, that?

I’m yellowed as paper for the phone.

I think I should call you.

I don’t.

Every few seconds the wind takes hold of my time,
stirs it all clean again.

Owen Piper is an artist and writer currently living in Paris. He works a day job and writes when he is not doing that.