All posts by Joseph P. O'Brien

About Joseph P. O'Brien

Based on a true story, and numerous big fat lies.

“Madcap / Cabin Fever” – Poetry by Jessie Janeshek

Mari Lwyd by Rhŷn Williams (Hogyncymru) [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons
“Madcap / Cabin Fever” is one of four sharply sensuous & sleekly surreal poems by the spectacular Jessie Janeshek in our Summer 2018 issue.

{ X }

MY HABITS ARE BAD                        I don’t know what’s at the wheel
                 sleeping long days              dreaming dead deer
                                      or deer horns or nothing.
Alive alive-o                                            forms a good number
                 crumbling old letters        feast or fiesta
but this blue candle         does not smell like fall
                                      and I can’t tell if the groan
                                  is my home or an animal
or why I am walking this ice storm alone
                 devil gloves and pink puffballs
                                                                    the starlet zone code
                 in a world without love when this could be Hollywood.

                 The fine-fingered winged girls
black lips/silent o’s
                 but I don’t have enough time between assaults
to let my hair grow back natural
                 so I find icy playboys
the ways their lips tingle with scotch
                 give the white high heels another shot
                                  vow I’ll be productive
drink less or more             little sips     vow I’d be better
                                      off in lands of moors
                 since I can’t stand your voices.

                 Introductions are worthless
you know my winged liner
                 another faux fur  and this is the dusk
through which I tote a glass lantern
                 through money and glitter
and Mari Lywd gloaming
                 and there’s not enough coffee
to mix with the liquor        before we jump in the roadster
                 or the river.

In the film I’m the dead aunt
                 and the contemporary ghost of myself
too afraid to move and I’m afraid I’ll lose
                                      men, cigarettes or electricity
                                                                    my cologne smells like moss
                                      and I’ll find places to hang
                 my photos of Jean Harlow’s graves
                                      and we’ll meet in the bathroom
                                      and fuck in our bathrobes
                 as the topcoat smooths everything.

{ X }

JESSIE  JANESHEK‘s second full-length book of poems is The Shaky Phase (Stalking Horse Press). Her chapbooks are Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia(dancing girl press, 2016), Supernoir (Grey Book Press, 2017), Auto-Harlow (Shirt Pocket Press, 2018), and Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming). Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010) is her first full-length collection. You can read more of her poetry at jessiejaneshek.net.

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FLAPPERHOUSE Reading #23 In Pictures

A tremendous tidal wave of thank-yous to everyone who helped make last night’s reading such a blast: Leland, Kailey, John, Olivia, and Ariel for performing your flappy lits; Alibi for your scintillating singing and photography; Pacific Standard for the always-gracious hospitality; and all you gorgeous humans who came to join the party.
We hope to see y’all again later this summer…

[photos by Alibi Jones]

Leland Cheuk reads his sharp & satirical tale about “Social Media Selves”

Kailey Tedesco reads some of her ring-themed poems from She Used to Be on a Milk Carton

John J. Trause praises the variety of colors of women’s turtlenecks offered by L.L. Bean
Continue reading FLAPPERHOUSE Reading #23 In Pictures

FLAPPERHOUSE Reading #23

Join us Wednesday night, June 27 from 7-9 PM at Pacific Standard in Brooklyn as we celebrate the flight of our Summer 2018 issue, FLAPPERHOUSE #18, with our 23rd reading!

starring

LELAND CHEUK

ARIEL FRANCISCO

ALIBI JONES

OLIVIA MARDWIG

KAILEY TEDESCO

JOHN J. TRAUSE

Admission is FREE, and you can purchase print copies of FLAPPERHOUSE #18 for the special reading price of $5. Facebook event page here.

FLAPPERHOUSE #18 Now on Sale!

Our Summer 2018 issue, FLAPPERHOUSE #18, has finally risen from the deep! It’s stuffed to the gills with sex magic, hurricanes, leviathans, anti-romcoms, overly-realistic dreams,
doll-written novels, talking bodega cats, and so so much more…

PRINT
copies available for $6US via Amazon

DIGITAL (PDF)
copies now available for $3US via PayPal

(PLEASE NOTE:
Unfortunately we are currently unable to email PDFs immediately upon order. Delivery of your PDF may take anywhere from several seconds to several hours, but rest assured, we will complete your purchase as soon as humanly possible.
We apologize profusely for any inconvenience or delayed gratification.)

“Snapshot from the Revolution” – Fiction by Perry Lopez

Our Lady of El Cobre

Our Summer 2018 issue won’t rise from the deep until June 21, but should you care for a preview of what’s to come, here’s Perry Lopez‘s historical & horrific short story “Snapshot from the Revolution.”

{ X }

THE NIGHT WAVES WERE ROLLING TOWARD CUBA, beating their steady pulse against the hull of the yacht. A rhythmic skip and crash in perfect blackness, and all our bodies leaning together. A jump and plunge amidst the rattle of ammunition, the dishing of gasoline in drums that we had lashed to the handrails because the tank would not hold enough to get us there, the sky that was starless, pure blackout, and pressed down upon our heads. Petroleum and sulfur and potassium nitrate, human sweat and nervous breath, the various agents of conflagration—all inert for the moment, jostling together. My finger was on the shutter release. Across my chest there was a double-bandolier full of flashbulbs. Magnesium, the smell of magnesium powder, which burns with near the same quality as sunlight: 5500 Kelvin.

I try not to hear the Giant’s voice, but there it is anyway. Words which he never spoke but instead I gave to him and believed in absolutely, there in that moment of body-terror and doubt, seminal blindness across the Atlantic, which was the power he had over all of us. Have spirit, brother Gusano. We do not need the heavens to steer by, not when we have pinned fresh constellations to the roofs of our minds. Would the man himself have said that? I can see his face speaking the words clearly enough, but cannot say for sure. I have written far too many speeches for Fidel Castro in my thoughts, and now he is dead—idol dead, paper dead—heartbroken at the age of ninety and buried beneath a kernel of corn, as you already know.

So instead take my clearest picture, the only one I know for sure was captured with my own senses. Everything afterward will be lies: Graffiti on their monuments. I remember salt on my lips. Body salt, sea salt, and an accordion crush of lungs fighting for space to expand. The deck was not meant to hold so many bodies. A compression of moncadistas and stark-ribbed exiles on the pleasure boat that had seen happier voyages. Eighty-two men in total, all packed to the gunwales, hustled aboard the North American vessel with its engine that stalled and stuttered like my own flawed heart, sending up the first oily smoke of our revolution, some of them sitting upon the very edges and holding onto the shoulders of their comrades so that they would not fall into the sea. An orgiastic colony of sweaty limbs and whispered confidences—Sierra Maestra, José Martí, the Latifundia, Our Lady of El Cobre, Castro, Castro, Castro—the germ of a new country caught between two great slates of emptiness, the sea and the sky, and a few brave ones sitting atop the crates of grenades packed in straw. A man coughed up vomit to my right and another leaned over the side to dribble his empty stomach across the midnight rollers. From somewhere close to the bow a voice was singing out in a bold, solemn spinto: Cuba, oh Cuba, a bright red flower for Cuba / One which smells not so sweet / Nor which bears aught to eat / Yet will bloom on from Gitmo to Bauta, as his words were sucked away by the wind. Where in all this was Fidel? Where was Che? Which of these darkly groping forms were Raul and Camilo and Almeida? And whose voice was that singing? Never mind. It is wrong to ask. Let them be for an instant like what was promised. A hum of bodies and voices and futures converging.

But in this polyrhythm of heartbeats they had their guns and I had my camera. A 35mm Zeiss that would be the eye through which the world watched our revolution (Castro’s hopeful thinking) and the tool we would wield against Batista’s newspapers. It swung from its strap and knocked against my chest so I raised a hand to hold it still. Already a bruise had begun to form there, a distinct green and yellow impression of the metal case stamped upon my skin. Your press card, brother, said Raul the day before, giving the bruise a rap with his knuckles. Now they will know not to shoot you. A painful blemish that would only grow with time. But for the moment it was best not to take the camera from my neck, I had decided, because if it somehow got lost or broken they would give me a rifle to replace it. One of those old American Nazi-killers we had bought in bulk off the Mexican black market. Rusty barrels with warped wooden stocks—M1 Garands and weathered carbines, Springfields as likely to explode in your hands as kill anyone, a few German Mausers with their dull metal luster—weapons whose history I wanted no part of, yet I think the others were eager to see me burdened with.

Some of the men had already urged as much. Their spirits took a vicious turn after four days at sea in the cramped vessel and several of them had cornered me in the back of the yacht. Open spaces are bad for revolutions, and in all that vacant water and cloudless atmosphere they had turned their eyes away from the horizon and found me there with my camera. Why should Gusano’s burden be so little, they asked. Why should he have to do none of the killing? Is he a coward? Their faces drew close as they took the Zeiss away from my neck, passing it from man to man and judging its heft against the weight of their weapons. I thought for a second they might throw it into the waves and that would be that; I would have to become a Guerilla too. But it was Fidel himself who came to my rescue. “Leave Gusano be,” the Giant said. In the noon scorch our Comandante stood high upon the flying bridge with his body like a stain against the sun and all of us squinting up at him, his wolfish nose and wolfish eyes directed down upon his militia, his arms held out cruciform and his fatigues snapping in the breeze, saying, “The purity of our Mexican must be preserved at all costs. A steady hand and a steady conscience. How else will he take good pictures of us?” This had quieted them and I was left in peace, or at least what passes for peace aboard a boat crowded with barbudos trained to kill their own countrymen. So I waited for the nighttime when we would all be blinded together again.

Continue reading “Snapshot from the Revolution” – Fiction by Perry Lopez

We Summon You To SUBSCRIBE…

With our hurricane-powered leviathan of a Summer issue set to rise from the deep in less than a week, it’s a swell  time to SUBSCRIBE to FLAPPERHOUSE!

We offer a variety of packages– in print & digital, or digital only, for one year, two years, or your whole entire beautiful freaking life. There are a number of ways to support our brand of weird independent lit & join the pursuit of flappiness… peruse our menu below, won’t you? And have a super sultry summer…

PRINT & DIGITAL Subscriptions*
1-year’s worth of print & digital (PDF) copies of our quarterly issues – just $40 USD
2-years’ worth of print & digital (PDF) copies of our quarterly issues – just $70 USD
a LIFETIME of print & digital (PDF) copies of our quarterly issues – just $200 USD!

*please note that these prices are available for US shipping addresses only. if you live outside the US & would be interested in a print subscription, email FLAPPERHOUSE at gmail dot com & we’ll see if we can figure out a comparable price for you~

DIGITAL-ONLY Subscriptions
1 year (4 issues) of digital (PDF) copies for $10US 
2 years (8 issues) of digital (PDF) copies for $15US
LIFETIME of digital (PDF) issues for just $50 US! 

“Luxury Lucent” – Poetry by Steven Ray Smith

Dream of Luxury – Dorothea Tanning, 1944

The grand finale of our Spring 2018 issue is Steven Ray Smith‘s brilliant poem “Luxury Lucent.”

{ X }

And then one day,
the marble fortress with armored
windows at the corner of profusion
boulevard and especial
avenue sold a moment of lucent insight instead
of diamonds.

For an extraordinary occasion surpassing even
the summoning to fertility of the wedding,
the chronicling of survival in the birthday,
gratitude for fertility of the anniversary, and
the annulling of failures of the funeral,

they opened the hefty and segregating doors
and emptied onto the display case their lifetime savings
of begrudging tolerances, spurious excuses,
and self-serving deceptions in return
for a tiny box tied in ribbons
the jeweler slid across the glass.
They will never afford such luxury again.
But if they grasp how this can be —
an empty box, nothingness wrapped in preciousness —
they won’t look to.

{ X }

STEVEN RAY SMITH‘s poetry has appeared in SliceThe Yale Review, Southwest Review, The Kenyon Review, New Madrid, Tar River Poetry, Puerto del Sol, THINK and others. New work is forthcoming in Barrow Street and Clarion Magazine. His web site is at www.StevenRaySmith.org.