“The Number of Grains of Sand on Earth” – Poetry by Matt Alexander

The Abundant Earth - Diego Rivera, 1926
The Abundant Earth – Diego Rivera, 1926

“The Number of Grains of Sand on Earth” is Matt Alexander‘s epically awesome poem from our Winter 2017 issue.

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I GRAZE ON BEEF-FED GRASS.  Four packs
of cards left out. The clubs curdled,
so they’ll need to be discarded.  Diamonds
were fine over night; they last forever.
Retain the offal and you may find yourself
a soul departing.
Withstand enough peer pressure and perhaps
you’ll capture one as it flees.  At least
sense it.  What is it to be alive
if not to be sensate?  Life’s a game
of spades.  One pass through
the digestion system is never enough.  Sixty-four years
later and it’s never enough.
I’m sorry.  My language
has over sixty-four words

for a snowball’s chance in hell.
One for each year.  He loves you,
now, but the only way to know
if you two will make it for sure
is to appeal to sabermetrics.  Take heart:
the regressions look good.  They project
many years into the future.  Strategically adjusting the R2
results in our crossing the Rubicon
of significance. Traditionally, hell was depicted
as a cold place.  In Svalbard the candles
are expected to last only one night
but routinely last eight.  Miracles do exist.
They are called forests, and my language
has over sixty words for the way atheists
disavow them.  I appreciated your interrogation
very much, but I already discarded
all my guilt.  You won’t find my prints on it

Continue reading “The Number of Grains of Sand on Earth” – Poetry by Matt Alexander

FLAPPERHOUSE Reading #13, in Pictures

A million savage hugs to everyone who helped make last night’s reading such a vicious joy: Eric, Anthony, Mary Boo, Sylvia, Monica, Lonnie, and Bill for performing your flappy work; Alibi for your exquisite singing and photography; Pacific Standard for your most generous hospitality; and all you beautiful, charming folks who came to watch. Let’s do this again on March 22…

Photos by Alibi Jones

img_6229Eric Baker gets the show rolling with a recital of his hilarious musings

img_6243Anthony Michael Morena reads some “B-Sides” from The Voyager Record

img_6253Mary Boo Anderson is a whirlwind of poetic performance art

Continue reading FLAPPERHOUSE Reading #13, in Pictures

FLAPPERHOUSE Reading #13 / YEAR THREE Flight Party

fhreading13posterWe’re gonna throb our hearts & shake our blood as we celebrate the flight of our YEAR THREE print anthology with our 13th reading! Wednesday night, February 15, from 7 – 9 PM at Pacific Standard in Brooklyn.

starring

MARY BOO ANDERSON
ERIC BAKER
ALIBI JONES
WILLIAM LESSARD
MONICA LEWIS
LONNIE MONKA
& the late SYLVIA PLATH

Admission is FREE, and you can get your paws on our YEAR THREE print anthology before it officially goes on sale, for the special reading price of $10 (that’s 45% off the retail price)!

“The Shadow’s Insomnia” – Fiction by Shawn Frazier

The Shadow - Pablo Picasso, 1953
The Shadow – Pablo Picasso, 1953

An acquitted killer finds himself stalked by guilt in “The Shadow’s Insomnia,” Shawn Frazier‘s dark & powerful story from our Winter 2017 issue.

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AFTER SIX NIGHTS OF INSOMNIA, I SAW THE SHADOW. It appeared on the paisley wallpaper of my bedroom, as black rings transforming into a pitch black child-size figure. It stepped off the wall, tip-toed on its black cat feet, and sat on the edge of my mattress. Then, as if seizing control of my thoughts, my mind filled with memories of the black boy I killed: his screams, his blood pouring onto my manicured lawn, where my new SUV was parked in front. His opened eyes staring out of a sleeping face.

Fear paralyzed me in bed, though not enough to stop me from moving. I willed this charcoal illusion to return to the wall where it belonged. What right did it have to invade my space like this, to forcibly remind me of that boy? I was found not guilty by a jury of my peers. All I wanted was to keep intruders from burglarizing my enclave. I knew every-one who crossed through our front gate.  How was I to know this boy had friends here?

The shadow returned to the wall.

I shook myself awake and jumped up, thinking my insomnia was playing tricks with my head. I turned on the lights and touched the wall to see if I could feel where he— “It,” I mean— went…but it had vanished without a trace.

In the morning, on my bedroom bureau, I saw a photo of my grandmother crying. She was not crying before.

My friends and family have kept away from me. Frightened of my story. How I acted. Jumping at shadows I see on a wall. They thought I was losing my mind.

Was being alone really becoming so scary for me?  No—this phantasm manifested from my lack of sleep. I prayed before going to bed that this black boy—I mean shadow—would soon be nothing more than another bad dream. And would go away.

But at night, it returned. It floated across the carpet, passing right through my TV set, picture frames. In a photo of me, where I once flashed a gleaming white smile, I now sulked pitifully.

Continue reading “The Shadow’s Insomnia” – Fiction by Shawn Frazier

“Aftermath” – Poetry by Anthony Cappo

Resistance, or The Black Idol - Frantisek Kupka, 1903
Resistance, or The Black Idol – Frantisek Kupka, 1903

“Catalogue all you resist / and call the wrecking crew / to the walls,” declares “Aftermath,” one of three trenchant poems by Anthony Cappo in our Winter 2017 issue.

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the only thing to do is simply continue
is that simple
yes, it is simple because it is the only thing to do
can you do it
yes, you can because it is the only thing to do

                                    –  Frank O’Hara

 

CATALOGUE ALL YOU RESIST
and call the wrecking crew
to the walls

When your ox is gored
on all sides
the kingdom isn’t come

The confectioner has taken
his whisks and mixing bowls
clean out of town

I’d rain elegies
in sympathy but I’ve
become so

shallow lately
I screw my muse
to the sticking point

roll over and fall asleep
Unbuckle your holster
We’ll broadcast our griefs

to the sky    Just because
I’ve sniffed out your tricks
doesn’t excuse mine

Somewhere a mighty engine rumbles
a curtain is rent
But here the air’s still

The ground a trembling silence
as scathed we set out again

{ X } Continue reading “Aftermath” – Poetry by Anthony Cappo

“A Disorienting Fog of Residual Energy” – A Conversation with Shannon Moore Shepherd

20150723_174708Shannon Moore Shepherd is the author of “Creature Feature: Caligynachtmare: Dread the Beauty,” a fantastically fierce poem from our 7th issue which we nominated for Best of the Net this past September. Shannon is also a musician, a master eavesdropper, a sloppy but intuitive tarot reader, and a fearless insect photographer. She studied Creative Writing at Bradley University and is working on a Gothic homage to her hometown of Peoria, Illinois. In her recent interview with our senior editorial consultant Maria Pinto, Shannon talked about her poetry, as well as feminine beauty, writing voice vs. speaking voice, and the romance of nauseous anticipation…
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MP: First, let’s discuss the title of your stunning, Best of the Net-nominated poem, “Creature Feature: Caligynachtmare: Dread the Beauty” which opened FLAPPERHOUSE #7. How did you know it had to be a three-parter? How dope is Caligynachtmare as a coinage? Did the title come before during or after you wrote the final draft?
SMS: It came after. This poem came, as it says, from very far away. The entity came into focus slowly. I didn’t know what to call her, so I made up a hybrid of caligynyphobia (fear of beautiful women) and Nachtmahr, German for “nightmare.” In folklore, the mare (who came dans nacht) was commonly gendered female and said to ride things. All kinds of things. She was evidently very restless. I wanted her to ride in from across the galaxy, which brought to mind vintage sci-fi. So she gets her own Creature Feature, entitled Dread the Beauty. That’s how the three parter came to be. Really, I just couldn’t bear to choose one or the other.
MP: If the “I” in the poem is loud and clear with its moon-sickness and dark promises, the “you” is wonderfully meek. Where did these two subjects come from?
SMS: So, the “you” is always a little tricky, right? I’ll admit, for me it always starts out a real flesh and blood human with whom I have an ax to grind spiritually or intellectually or romantically but can’t really do so inside my own body. That person or those couple of individuals get dragged off to my poetry den to meet their fate there. But I have to say, this you, in the end, looked more like… well: MRAs to conservative politicians to priests to good-old-boys. The irritating little power struggle I was experiencing with one human at that particular time was suddenly a since-the-beginning-of-time kind of thing.
MP: One way I read this poem is as a corrective to the glossy, static photo of a beautiful woman in a fashion magazine with an arrow pointing to her eyes nose and mouth and notes about what brand of lipstick and foundation and mascara she’s wearing floating around her head. Was it your intention with this piece to re-mystify feminine beauty, to reclaim its dangerous, ineffable properties?
SMS: Yea, it’s really cute how we’ve gotten the hang of making “beautiful women” something benign, tame, palatable, pleasant. Can you imagine asking Hecate to turn her chin just a little to the left? She’d crush your esophagus. Could you imagine the guy sitting next to you on the subway opening an issue of Maxim and finding the true likeness of Lilith staring back at him? He’d stroke out. We all have an inkling that the examples of the feminine we’re given to this day are weak, watered down, incomplete at best. Occult aesthetic is going mainstream so that’s neat and everything, but thousands of years of trying not to be scary, powerful beings so that little boys don’t piss themselves really can’t be remedied by haut witch collections of 2017. This being is manifested directly from male fear. And she’s insanely gorgeous. Blindingly so, if you ask me.

Continue reading “A Disorienting Fog of Residual Energy” – A Conversation with Shannon Moore Shepherd

“Evolution” – Poetry by Francine Witte

evolution-of-man
Human Evolution – Octavio Ocampo

“Evolution” is one of two brilliantly biting poems by Francine Witte in our Winter 2017 issue.

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FIRST, THE APE,
paw-digits poking
at sticks.  Monkeybrain
seemed to want
a fire.

Later, early
man.  Thin coat
of intelligence against
the cold.  Someone stumbled,

flint against rock
and sparkshower tumbled
into the unlanguaged night.

Now, there’s us.
Filthy with fires
and bloated with words.
We are scorched with war
and we say nothing.

Future man
looks back on us
and shivers.

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Continue reading “Evolution” – Poetry by Francine Witte