The Most Popular Word Searched over the Past Seven Days


thug \ˈthəg\



the “v” overturned between the thighs

with feet in opposition to one another

like a city



standing nights that attract ash-fed speculators

like moths to fan at the flames



flesh layered with scrolls & hieroglyphics one leaves

behind to tell his story—the story that bleeds red, burns

black, ages green (if it ages at all)—



a word slurred by neighborhood clones congregating

with red plastic cups, brown paper bags, white tees, khakis

(a gravitational conundrum), pockets bony with lint, or bulged

from lighter, razor, small sacks of numbing agents, Swisher

Sweets, & a hypnotic glow that heavies the waistband

underneath the chosen street light



a title issued out into pigment

who can’t tell you the meaning of the word,

only that if we hear it enough

it must be our name

CHAUN BALLARD  is a poet and photographer who was raised in both Missouri and California. For six years now, he and his wife have been teaching in the Middle East and West Africa. He is a graduate student in the University of Alaska, Anchorage’s MFA Program. He’s had poems published or forthcoming in The Caribbean Writer, Grist: The Journal for Writers, Sukoon, Orbis: Quarterly International Literary Journal, Apogee, Off the Coast, and other literary magazines. His photos can be seen in the latest issues of Gravel and The Silk Road Review.