Category Archives: Flappertising

FLAPPERHOUSE Reading #25, In Pictures

A sky-full of thank-yous to everyone who helped make our 25th reading such a heavenly evening: Karisma, Carly, Monica, and Khaholi for performing your flappy lits; Alibi for your scintillating singing and photography; Pacific Standard for the always-gracious hospitality; and all you lovers & dreamers who came to hear our voices.

Let’s do this again on All Hallows’ Eve…

[photos by Alibi Jones]


Karisma Price performs poetry about family, Greek mythology, and James Booker

Carly Joy Miller recites poems of desire from her new book Ceremonial

Joseph P. O’Brien reads a new children’s story, “The Dog Who Played Dead During the National Anthem”

Monica Lewis shares a new “Game of Thrones”-inspired poem

Khaholi Bailey reads “New Names,” a story about identity, religion, and Madonna

Alibi Jones leaves the nightlight on inside the birdhouse in your soul

Advertisements

FLAPPERHOUSE Reading #25

Join us as Wednesday night, 9/26, at Brooklyn’s Pacific Standard as we filibuster vigilantly and celebrate the flight of our Fall 2018 issue with our 25th reading!

starring
KHAHOLI BAILEY

ALIBI JONES

MONICA LEWIS

CARLY JOY MILLER

KARISMA PRICE

&
the late MATT CHRISTOPHER

Admission is FREE, and you can buy copies of our new issue for the special reading price of $5. We’ll also be fundraising for RAICES to help provide legal assistance to underserved immigrant families.

Facebook event page here.

“Questionnaire for the Gravitron Operator Before I Ride” – Fiction by Jennifer Savran Kelly

Gravitron at Night – photo by Minshullj at English Wikipedia [GFDL or CC BY 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons
Should you desire an early taste of our dazzling & discombobulating Fall 2018 issue before it flies on September 22, here’s Jennifer Savran Kelly‘s curious & captivating flash fiction “Questionnaire for the Gravitron Operator Before I Ride.”

Print copies of our Fall issue are available on Amazon, while digital (PDF) copies are available for $3US via PayPal— and remember, for the month of September, we’ll be donating 50% of all our sales to RAICES to help provide legal assistance for underserved immigrant families.

{ X }

  1. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS JOB? Do you live nearby? If not, where do you come from? Is it better or worse than here?
  2. How many times a day do you ride? How many a week? How many minutes of your life do you spend inside a dark merry-go-round that reaches twenty-four revolutions per minute in less than twenty seconds? How can you stand it over and over and over again?
  3. What is it like to be in the center? Is gravity affected the same way? Do you spin? Or are you still as the passengers (may I call them passengers?) whirl around you at warp speed? Maybe you don’t pay attention. I see you keep your head down as you exit to welcome new passengers.
  4. Why do you keep your head down?
  5. Is the ride safe?
  6. What’s so safe about giving up control? To you?
  7. What makes you qualified to operate the ride? You take our tickets like you’re afraid of taking but know you have to, opening your fingers, too long for your hands, outstretched, waiting for our tiny permission slips to fall into them. Do your fingers always tremble?
  8. What kind of person are you? When you hold a pen, do you hold it like you’re about to cross out whatever you’ve just written? Or do you plow ahead, the pressure of your hand smudging the words?
  9. What do you think of the riders? Do you love us or mock us?
  10. What about our faces, our fear and delirium splayed wide as speed plasters us to the wall? Does it frighten you how much you enjoy it—seeing us stuck? Out of control?
  11. Is that it? Do you like to be in control?
  12. Have you ever noticed you can be in control, have control, or take control?
  13. From whom do you take it?
  14. I’m over forty-eight inches tall, but how does that prepare me for more gravity? I was under forty-eight inches when I had the health teacher who thought it was fun to play Jeopardy-style games. What is dental floss? What is tobacco? What is stress?
  15. Did you know her—Mrs. Layton, who taught about the different types of child abuse?
  16. Did you know that was something you could get quizzed on in school?
  17. Do you know what it’s like to be sitting in a classroom, surrounded by friends, when you learn the real word for that disturbing attention you get from your step-dad—the one who tells you he’s giving you a “health lesson?”
  18. What is irony?
  19. Do you know what it’s like to have your brother try to save you, to rescue you from under that weight, only to be taken away for his service? What it’s like to be left alone with the ones you need saving from? To feel that fragile?
  20. What is an egg?
  21. Is that why everyone loves the Gravitron—the Devil’s Hole? They think gravity will return them to their bodies?
  22. Does it?
  23. In physics, a rigid body is a solid body in which deformation is zero or so small it can be neglected.
  24. What is psychotic? Does it run in the family? Did you ever stop to think it was you that was spinning out of control, dreaming about setting someone on fire just to watch what it would do to the flesh, how long it would take to burn?
  25. Right after he did it, my brother, he came home, and I never would have known anything happened. Not one trace of fear or regret visible on his face, not one sense that anything was different. It was how normal everything seemed that was chilling.
  26. Normal force must be zero.
  27. Is there an equation to help me make sense of this? What is the gravimagnetic moment (GM)? What coefficient at the GM equals unity?
  28. What is dizzy?
  29. Why can’t we ride for more than eighty seconds?
  30. What is one moment in a life?
  31. Is that how long it took?
  32. To watch the fire burn? To consume him?
  33. Do you think my brother knew he would survive?
  34. And pardon me, but I have to ask,
  35. Is it possible he thought, even once, about what that would mean
  36. For me?

{ X }

JENNIFER SAVRAN KELLY  lives in Ithaca, New York, where she writes, binds books, and works as a production editor at Cornell University Press. She has written for film and print, and her fiction has appeared in Green Mountains Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Souvenir LitGrist: A Journal of the Literary Arts (Online Companion), and elsewhere. She was honored to receive a 2018 grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Foundation for her novel-in-progress ENDPAPERS.

“The Future is Throttling Towards Us and It’s Loud and Reckless” – An Interview with Erika Meitner

Erika Meitner’s Holy Moly Carry Me, her poetry collection published just last week by BOA Editions, has been described by Ada Limón as “stunning, exact, and haunting…with a complex empathy for the violent, messed-up world.” sam sax says, “In this necessary unprecedented book Meitner has assembled the materials of our apocalyptic present & past and invites us in to revel & quake with her.”  Carmen Giménez Smith calls it “an urgent document of our complex ties with the past, and the dangers of letting histories, private and public, repeat themselves.”

Our Senior Editorial Consultant Maria Pinto recently spoke with Meitner about her book, as well as strip malls, Frank O’Hara, and America’s ideological bifurcation.

{ X }

MP: Holy Moly Carry Me took me road tripping across America, just before the apocalypse, now and yesterday, towards another fraught family holiday. Why does so much of the moment you captured, that the poems continue to capture long after we put down the book, take place on the road and in the parking lots of strip malls?

EM: Part of this has to do with the weird logistics of my writing life. Since I’m an academic, I write most of my poems during breaks between semesters. Much of Holy Moly Carry Me was written with an online writing group I’m a part of, where we convene for two or four weeks at a time and write a poem a day, then post our poems in a Google group for accountability. We often do this over winter break and in the summer months when I’m usually road-tripping to see family, so many of the poems were written while I was in the car, on my iPhone notepad. But also, I live in a semi-rural college town where most of our landscape (aside from mountains and farmland) is made up of strip malls and big box stores—like most of America. And I was tired of ironing out these landscapes from my poems because they seem “unpoetic” (whatever that means).

MP: All of these scenes and themes recall the idiosyncratic ways we, as citizens of this America, are called to remember and forget: a frustrating and omnipresent blankness, stuttering to a stop and getting picked back up again in the next installment (at one point, the first poem in the collection gets picked up halfway through the book), erasures that you can still see, tattoos and tattoos, reality show templates that get reused, messy forensics and the burden of proof, a cop waving us past today’s tragedy with light batons, towards the next. What is the poet’s role in preserving our collective memory?

EM: One of the poems I love teaching is Frank O’Hara’s “The Day Lady Died,” which—in addition to being an elegy for Billie Holiday—is a general recounting of O’Hara’s errands through Manhattan over the course of one day. He goes to the bank! He buys a hostess gift! He gets a shoeshine! It’s pretty quotidian stuff, but nearly all the places he stops at are gone now, so the poem creates a sort of ghost map of Manhattan’s streetscapes and storefronts in 1964. The poem ends with him passing a newsstand and seeing that Lady Day has died—and the poem closes like this:

“and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 SPOT
while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing”

That ability to create a lyric moment and bring readers backwards and forwards in time at once, and then stop it—that’s what I love about poems. Poets preserve the collective memory of emotions, and emotions are messy—they repeat and repeat on us, get erased and recast by narrative and image, and they’re imprinted on us indelibly and shiftily.
Continue reading “The Future is Throttling Towards Us and It’s Loud and Reckless” – An Interview with Erika Meitner

“A Tad of Advice with Chad Vice” – Vol. 2, September 2018

Neighbourly Advice – Leonora Carrington, 1947

In these bewildering, tumultuous, often terrifying times, we all could use some extra helpings of unbiased guidance and compassion. With that in mind, we present the second installment of our new contributor Chad Vice‘s monthly advice column, “A Tad of Advice with Chad Vice.” 

{ X }

Dear Chad Vice, 
How do you deal with success? I feel like if I want to succeed in any significant way, I have to make sacrifices elsewhere. Sacrifices that, over time, seem to take away from my initial (financial) experience of success. I don’t see my family or friends as much. I’m saving for the future, but I suffer from fomo. 
Yours,
Mick A. Rust 

Hi Icarus

Success is a slippery word. It could mean making it rain in this day and age, it could mean slaughtering infidels like pigs during the crusades. 

What makes you feel good? 
Flying high, on your own, sure.  But also family. If you feel like you have leaned into one more than the other, valence it out. 

But remember, nothing is eternal. 
Even,
Chad


Dear Chad,
I was born with certain superhuman abilities, kind of like the Precogs in “Minority Report,” but instead of having psychic visions of crimes that will occur in the future, I am able to predict, with my sense of smell, who in my vicinity is about to pass gas. Usually I don’t identify the flatulent culprits publicly– but should I? Do my powers carry any ethical responsibilities?
Percy R in Phoenix, AZ

Dear percy(us) 


That is a complicated gift. Don’t let it make you feel isolated. 

I think you have to learn to trust yourself. You have this gift for a reason. 

If sweet Sharon from accounting is about to break wind, maybe give her a break? She’s so sweet. She bakes cookies! 

But if you know big Don is about to cheese spray all over the white walls and you know he won’t feel remorse for it, you finger him like a confident witness in a murder trial. 
Chad.

Dear Chad,
In 2011, I got a tattoo on the side of my neck of Louis CK’s face, and for nearly a year now I’ve been covering it up with silk scarves and/or feather boas. Will my tattoo ever be cool again, or should I just go ahead and get it removed? Or maybe altered to look more like a less controversial celebrity, such as “Throw Momma from the Train” star Anne Ramsey?
Aleesha Y in Miami, FL

Dearest Aleesha, 

You cannot go wrong with Anne Ramsey. Just watch the classic horror film deadly friend. She is always an ace.

That said, it’s sad but, Louis’s biggest joke is on himself. You can’t stand up on film and speak insightfully of (among other things) the danger men pose to women and then get away with sexual misconduct. It cheapens all your future “insights”. 
I don’t know what you have to do, maybe ask a woman who inexplicably stopped getting work in Hollywood, despite not abusing anyone. 
Fuck,
Chad. 

Dear Chad,
Like many Americans today, I’ve been experiencing a great deal of conflict with certain family members because of our country’s current political climate. Over the past few years, for instance, my daddy has turned from a fiscal conservative with moderately liberal social values, into what you might call an amoral neo-fascist. To make matters worse, he was recently elected into a very high-ranking government position. At times I’ve tried to reason with him and temper his alarming behavior, but he always responds by saying things like, “You’re a lot less pretty when you criticize me, and it makes me not love you anymore.” While I’ve been able to channel my frustrations in a few productive ways, such as publishing anonymous op-eds about him in the New York Times, I still feel like I’m flying full-speed ahead toward a psychotic breakdown if I can’t resolve all this inner turmoil. Help me, Chad! How can I properly atone for being such a bad girl, while ensuring that my daddy will never ever stop loving me?
Ivanka T in Washington, DC

Wow. 


Vankie. That’s a lot. 

I’ve been waiting for your email. Do you remember that night we watched Showgirls, ate cheese fries, and finger banged each other? #magicjohnson 

Where you are has worried me. Emotionally. Politically. Geographically. You are being honest. 

Like when you beat me, 
One on one. 

But also:
I mean, with yourself boo. 

That was a great basketball game. We both dunked! 😉 

There is something wrong with your sense of security. 

Dear Chad,
Breakfast isn’t just the most important  meal of my day, it’s the most important PART of my LIFE. Problem is, I’m so bored with all the classic cereals. Raisin Bran? More like Raisin BLAND! Cheerios? More like Cheeri-NOs! Count Chocula? More like LAME Chocula! You catch my drift, right? So what are some exciting new under-the-radar, not-your-grandma’s breakfast cereals I should be eating?
Trayvis D in Portland, OR

Trayvis, 

When was the last time you watched the sunrise? And I mean not in the: “I am gonna write a song on my guitar and watch the sun rise to get pussy” kind of watch the sunrise from college? 

1) Fast for a day. 
2) Go to every religious event you can in that time
3) Break fast in the morning 
4) Record your FEELINGS! 
5) eat a bagel 
{ X }

CHAD VICE first identified with Play-Doh.  He is a nut in a nutcrackers world. He prefers bold musical choices and sitting all the way through movies’ credits. He is here to hear you. He has studied under Merlin and your Mom.

Do you need some advice from Chad Vice? Email your questions & quandaries to FLAPPERHOUSE at gmail dot com, then pray to Athena and blow a kiss to the cosmos…

Flapping for RAICES

This month, your patronage of FLAPPERHOUSE will do even more than just support indie lit weirdos… throughout September 2018, we’ll be donating 50% of our sales to RAICES, to help provide legal assistance to underserved immigrant families.

So if you buy any subscriptions or books or zines (like our forthcoming Fall 2018 issue, currently available for pre-order), we’ll donate half that money to RAICES. (To learn more about the cause, check out RAICESTexas.org.)

In addition, we’ll be taking donations for RAICES at our September 26 reading, which is part of Reading for RAICES, a collaborative fundraiser of over 20 NYC-area reading series:

  

Thanks to Katie Rainey & Devin Kelly of the Dead Rabbits, and everyone else who’s been organizing Reading for RAICES– and we hope you’ll help us all help some folks who’ll really need it this Fall…

“Bodega Cat” – Fiction by Tabitha Laffernis

Cats – Otto Dix, 1920

The grand finale of our Summer 2018 issue is “Bodega Cat,” Tabitha Laffernis‘ fantastically frisky tale of a young woman seeking companionship & discovering primal urges in New York City.

{ X }

THE BODEGA AT NIGHT IS LIT UP WITH AN ACID BRIGHTNESS.

She smells freshly juiced. “That’s a real injustice of a person,” the cat said, whiskers twitching. “Exquisite face and dimensions. Sharp as a tack,” still talking, like it was normal. “But the real injustice is how they treat her. See how they’re complimenting her lip color instead of asking what her book is about? She comes in here, nearly every day, and they don’t know what she’s studying at grad school. They’ve never asked.” He looked at me. “She’s just the pretty girl, to them. Not like you. You’re not pretty enough to be distracting. They asked you.”

He was right, and as I started to ask why on earth he’d be qualified to say this, the answer made itself known. He was shaggily handsome, but not awww-inducing, nice eyes, slightly scrawny limbs, a shiny, healthy coat. Not the best looking cat I’d ever seen, but well-cared for with an inquisitive stare. You, it said. Yes, you.

“Are you negging me?” I asked.

“No,” he said, and I believed him.

“What’s your name?” he asked me.

“Kayla,” I said. “What’s yours? I should’ve asked first.”

“Gus,” he replied. “You’re interesting, Kayla.”

“Thanks.”

“What do you do?”

“I’m a physician’s assistant,” I replied. “Derm.”

“Derm. Which one’s that again?”

“Dermatology. Skin.” Cancer and vanity, I sometimes say, but of course that’s reductive and I don’t want to seem petty. I flushed at the thought.

“Skin. Right. I wouldn’t know.”

The joke melts the ice a little.

As the girl walked past I saw a textbook sticking out of her bag. Aleinikoff, Martin, Motomura, Fullerton and Stumpf, Immigration and Citizenship: Process and Policy. “That looks intense,” I told her, and she gave a half-smile. “Yeah,” she replied. “I’ve barely slept this semester.” The shadows under her eyes looked Sphinxy instead of tired. Her other hand held a plastic bag of potato chips, mac and cheese, frozen burritos. My moment of investigating her as a person immediately dissolved. Idiot bitch, I think. It just popped into my head, no warning. She’s skinny as a rake, except where it counts. My own basket contained some yellowing broccoli, corn popped in coconut oil, a sad but large carrot. This bodega is convenient; the produce is lousy.

“Come visit me again tomorrow?” the cat asked.

“Yes,” I said. “Yes, I will.” And I felt something I hadn’t felt in a while.

{ X }

It was innocent enough, to start. It was so hot. That night I’d lain on top of sweat-damp linens, sprawled so that each joint of my body hung as if off ball bearings. I lay there waiting for the man on the news that had been breaking into houses to steal money and stroke women, unable to sleep a wink, though I was so, so tired. I was tired because it was in my bones, that exhaustion of having to explain myself, of having to check myself at every second-guess. I was tired because I walked everywhere, a remnant from the days when I said I walked because I wanted fresh air, but really the air was fetid and I couldn’t afford a subway ticket.

I wondered if the man who was breaking into houses was maybe a nice guy. If he was just looking for something. He was just running his fingers through women’s hair; I wanted to run mine along the cat’s flexed spine, and I’m a good person, I thought.

Before he started breaking into houses my greatest fear was waking up with a mouse between my legs. Mouse shit appeared on the kitchen mantel, the vanity where my hair dryer sat, even on fresh sheets. I wondered where the cat was, slinking along a roof or a fire escape. Or if he was keeping the bodega clear of rodents, protecting it in the night, a service he hadn’t even thought to offer me.

That night, my torn underwear looked like an invitation. Not for vermin, I reminded myself. Not for the man pushing in A/C units to find sleeping beauties. And slid a hand into my knickers.

Continue reading “Bodega Cat” – Fiction by Tabitha Laffernis