Category Archives: Flappricana

“omen” – Poetry by Monica Lewis

Winged Creature on Silvery Ground – Vajda Lajos, 1938

“omen” is Monica Lewis‘s beautiful, blooming poem from our Fall 2018 issue.

{ X }

A FLUTTER OF WINGS CAUGHT
stuck inside a rain soaked gutter
i count the seconds between
each beating

the tree they thought dead last year
now specked with tiny blooms on every arm
a hundred branches splitting themselves open
to flower the life that though
encased, all winter months,
never stopped breathing

this land where beauty lays herself
out like an easy lover, but
between every blink, she reminds,
for every inch given there is an inch
taken, and the seconds between
grow longer,
the beating of wings
grows weaker

he steps out into the mud, sweet, slow
heavy boots toward the life caught drowning
as five turns into ten turns into twenty seconds between
my own beating turns to a bleeding
and the gray fog clouds the mountains until
they are sucked into sky

and i can no longer see the blue or the green

but he returns
points a thick, steady finger to the elm tree
just as the night is all i start to see, i hear,
“there, there, there she goes” and a bird,
not our bird, but a bird with unwetted wings
flits, flies, and flutters above

and the branches are blooming
and the gutter is silent
and i remember amy’s words:
“the woman on the ledge will
ask herself a question, the
question that occurred to that man
in Bogotá. he wondered, how we know
that what happens to us
isn’t good?”

{ X }

MONICA LEWIS lives in Brooklyn, New York and holds an MFA from Columbia University. Both her fiction and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly, Apogee Journal’s Perigee, and The Margins, and her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Boiler Journal, PUBLIC POOL, Yes, Poetryand(b)OINK, among others. She is a VONA/Voices alumna and has been twice nominated for “Best of the Net” in 2017 and 2018. Her full collection of poetry, Sexting the Dead, will be published later this year by Unknown Press. Follow her on Twitter at mclewis22.

“Be Open to the Miracle of Human Limitation” – A Conversation with Julie C. Day

Julie C. Day was one of our weird little zine’s earliest contributors, as her short story “Faerie Medicine” appeared in our second issue back in the Summer of 2014. Other stories by Julie have appeared in  InterzoneSplit Lip Magazine, and Black Static, to name just a few. She’s also the author of Uncommon Miracles, released this fall by PS Publishing, and currently available in hardcover or Kindle editions. Pulitzer Prize finalist Kelly Link called the book “a collection of stories to unsettle your dreams and make the world a stranger and more delightful place.”

Julie recently exchanged emails with our managing editor Joseph P. O’Brien about Uncommon Miracles, as well as analog artifacts, virtual travel, and the value of surrealism…

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JO’B: There are various kinds of “Uncommon Miracles” in the stories in your new book: scientific, religious, magical– sometimes even a mixture of two or three. Do you believe in miracles, in the supernatural sense? Or do you think most “miracles” are potentially explicable by science? Or do you believe both are possible?

JCD: Let me start by saying I believe in the part selves, subpersonalities and the dissonance of beliefs these various parts can create. In other words, yes and no. Humans, as biological creatures, can only perceive what our bodies are capable of experiencing. If you consider reality an amalgam of all the sensory data biological creatures perceive, we already miss so much, whether it’s the infrared markings on flower petals or the navigational guides provided by the earth’s magnetic fields. If you consider how much more there must be to the universe beyond that, we miss the majority of reality.

Science is a methodology that allows us to both gain and organize knowledge about the universe. But no matter how often people correct and refine and illuminate, our scientific understanding will never present the objective universe. We humans will always be limited to viewing the universe through the lens of our biology.

JO’B: Have you ever witnessed anything you’d describe as a miracle?

JCD: This is a bit of a sideways answer, but it’s also the best answer I can think of. When I was thirteen my family moved into a house that was over two hundred years old. On the right-front side of the house was a separate front door leading to a small room, too big to be a hallway. We were told that before funeral homes, the dead and their caskets were given their own entrance into and exit from the house. That feeling you have that you see something, like a trailing bit of white fog, from the corner of your eye? I repeatedly, though not frequently, felt that when I lived in that house. I even felt the emotional presence of people like my grandfather, someone who had died thousands of miles away. Part of me says none of it was real, my imagination is a wild tangle inserting itself in much of my experiences. Another part of me says be open to the miracle of human limitation. There will always be the miraculous, aspects to life we may never fully experience or understand.

JO’B: As someone who was raised Catholic (and has since lapsed), I get the sense while reading your work that you also might’ve had a somewhat religious upbringing (or at least been surrounded by religion as a child). Is that true, and if so, how do you think that may have influenced your writing?

JCD: I was born in the North of England but my family moved to southern Indiana when I was six. In other words, my first real experience with religion was abrupt and painful and incredibly alienating. Like many in the U.K. I was raised in a very secular family. Columbus, Indiana was full of churchgoers who believed in a very restrictive Christian orthodoxy. They were completely oblivious at best and antagonistic at worst to the idea that there were people unlike them in their midst. Despite our common language, English, it was a funhouse-mirror of what I considered the real world.

My imagination was my refuge. But I’ve also always had a very analytical mind. Thinking things through and finding the pattern or the common thread is very much my thing, that and a love of the unexpected truth found in our physical world—truths that require scientific observation and experimentation. So when a teacher taught creationism and evolution, making it clear evolution made no sense; when a teacher quoted a bible verse about women being silent in the church; when some civic group came around our elementary school handing out the new testament; when all of those things occurred, I felt trapped between needing to be quiet to feel safe and needing to be true to how I saw the world. It was an intensely uncomfortable experience. And because it is tangled up with far more personal family events, there is a deeper darkness tied to it as well. In the end, on an emotional level, organized religion will always have an association with that Bible Belt childhood.

All this and yet my younger child and spouse both attend a lovely local church that does much for the community. While I appreciate that sense of connection they find there, it’s not for me.

JO’B: Did you, like me, also spend a lot of time wandering through the woods as a kid? (I kind of get that sense too.)

JCD: Yeah, absolutely. I still do. 🙂 My childhood was a different time. On the outskirts of the subdivision where we lived, just a block or two away, were woods, a stream, and corn fields. My friends and I were very much “free range.” It seemed like we were the only ones who went down there. We attempted to cross the stream on rotted-down trees, messed around with the “quick sand” along its banks, and fretted about the possibility of lockjaw from the rusty nails we came across—or at least I did.

JO’B: Your story “Raising Babies,” as well as “Faerie Medicine,” the piece you contributed to FLAPPERHOUSE, involve people undergoing plant-related metamorphoses. If you were to shape-shift into some kind of vegetative life-form, what would it be, and why?

JCD: Can I cheat a little and claim kinship with fungi? With the entire fungi kingdom? They are thrilling. Some fungi reproduce both sexually and asexually at different points in their lifecycle. Funguses can poison or heal or provide nutrition. They decompose organic matter so that the living world can continue. They are mysterious and numerous and not nearly as well understood as the other two eukaryotic kingdoms. Looking at pictures of bioluminescent fungi raises my mood every time. That green-yellow light is my type of magic. And they have chitin—yes the material used for insect exoskeletons and fish scales—in their cell walls! Continue reading “Be Open to the Miracle of Human Limitation” – A Conversation with Julie C. Day

“The Moon Made Out of Bloated Cheese” – Poetry by Juliet Cook & j/j hastain

The Voice – Agnes Lawrence Pelton, 1930

“The Moon Made Out of Bloated Cheese” is one of two fantastically freaky poems by Juliet Cook & j/j hastain in our Fall 2018 issue.

{ X }

THE MOON WILL ALWAYS BE PRETTY WHEN IT’S OLD,
at least until it breaks the earth into pieces.
Flings more grappling hooks into each of our eyes.

It all ages quickly. Tomorrow is the day the leaped will
invade my larynx and contribute
to my paranoia. How are we supposed to know
what constitutes a healthy or unhealthy
size or shape of our own voice box?
How do we know if it’s even our own?

Sometimes I wonder where my voice comes from
and where it will go next.
My stomach keeps gurgling like it wants to be my voice.

I don’t think my stomach can handle American Cheese anymore.
It feels loaded with toxic chemicals.
When she asked me if she could change my voice for me,
I was not suspect I was grateful I am tired of this thud.
She got out a large carving knife.
What was she going to cut out

and what would it be replaced with?
Maybe she would somehow ascend
the tired parts of me to the moon

{ X }

Continue reading “The Moon Made Out of Bloated Cheese” – Poetry by Juliet Cook & j/j hastain

“Flu in the Time of Allergies” – Poetry by Juan Parra

The Ninth Plague, Darkness – Gustave Dore, circa 1877

“Flu in the Time of Allergies” is Juan Parra‘s darkly infectious poem from our Fall 2018 issue.

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PLUCK OUR EYEBROWS IN THE DARK.
Stare at the horizon, that place where
Another place is born away from our dark corner

Yield.
Dig furrows and
Lick each other’s knees and elbows in our dark corner

Dance.
Cast voodoo spells on the rotten berries
Love me in our dark corner

Grind the dead skin from the souls of my feet on my shadow.
Incite nightmares to suicide using our umbilical cords
In our dark corner

Sneeze prudently so as not to wake the doves
Sleeping on the homeless dog
And kill the fever with a cold shower in our dark corner

Hold your breath
Transform from flesh to ashes, from ashes to specter.
Play like old people disguised as happy in our dark corner.

The morning that is born
Lame, heels broken, bruised limps
Hush its tears and lure it
To our dark corner.

{ X }

JUAN  PARRA is a Cuban-American poet. His work has featured in the Indiana Review, Basalt, The Lake, Pear Drop, Driftwood Press, 4ink7, FLAPPERHOUSE, and REAL.

FLAPPERHOUSE 3rd Annual Halloween Reading, In Pictures

Our eternal thanks to everyone who helped make last night’s reading such a gruesomely grand evening: Stephen, Michael, Cooper, Jeremiah, and Deirdre for performing your flappy lits; Pacific Standard for the ever-gracious hospitality; and all you marvelous individuals who spent your All Hallows’ Eve with us…

Hope we’ll see you again for our grand finale reading, sometime in the Spring…

Our fiction editor Stephen Langlois tells his bizarre story “Man Crawls Across Parking Lot”

Michael J. Seidlinger shares an excerpt from his new book MY PET SERIAL KILLER

Cooper Wilhelm performs a gripping tale of culinary weirdness

Our Poetry Consultant Jeremiah Driver reads some of his own brutal & shadowy poems

Deirdre Coyle closes the show with a sharp tale of blood & art

 

 

FLAPPERHOUSE’s 3rd Annual Halloween Reading

Join us Wednesday, October 31 from 7-9 PM at Brooklyn’s Pacific Standard as we celebrate the season of the witch with our 3rd Annual Halloween reading!

starring

JEREMIAH DRIVER

ALIBI JONES

STEPHEN LANGLOIS

JOANNA C. VALENTE

COOPER WILHELM

& the late ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

facebook event page here

“Last Halloween” – Fiction by Cameron Suey

Head of a Stag – Diego Velazquez, 1634

Parents struggle with the dire consequences of a high-stakes bargain in “Last Halloween,” Cameron Suey‘s feral & frightful fiction from our Fall 2018 issue.

{ X }

ON THE LAST MORNING I WILL HAVE WITH MY SON, I make him pancakes with fresh blueberries from the community garden mixed in the batter.  When the Patels from down the street heard the news, they brought us a flask of fresh maple syrup from the trees in the western woods, and I’ve chilled it overnight in the fridge. Butter from the community farm sizzles and spits on the griddle as Malcolm drags his feet down the stairs. Outside the kitchen window, perched on the skeletal frame of an old oak, the crow gazes at me. Its head crooks to one side and beetle-shell eyes flash in the October sun, fixed on mine. I look away.

“Morning,” I grunt, trying to keep the desperate quaver out of my voice. “Thought maybe you’d like to try some coffee with breakfast.”

He narrows sleepy eyes, skeptical of the offer, then shrugs. “Doesn’t it, uh, stunt my growth?” I wince, but he doesn’t notice.

“I think maybe one cup is okay.” I set the chipped, steaming mug down in front of him with the first batch of pancakes. “Just don’t tell mom.”

He tries to play it cool, like it’s no big deal, but I can see the excitement in the corners of his smile. He wraps his small hands around the mug, half covering the Notre Dame crest, and sniffs at the steam. I realize that I’m staring at him, so I look out the window again. The crow catches my eye and nods, then takes flight in a burst of sparkling black feathers.

After breakfast, Malcolm lays out his goblin costume, itemizing and accounting for each piece and prop. I watch from the hallway, passing by with the same load of laundry again and again. I don’t want to make this day any harder than it has to be.

From our bedroom, Annie’s tiny cries drift out alongside the sound of Rose singing gentle lullabies. Rose said her goodbyes to Malcolm as he slept last night. She doesn’t trust herself not to upset the boy, so she’s planned to stay with our infant daughter until he’s gone. I told her I would cover for her if Malcolm asked.

When I’ve run out of reasons to pass by his doorway, I go to the garage. In a box above the workbench, still packed from our move last January, I find what I’m looking for. A cracked plastic bucket, molded in orange like a child’s drawing of a jack-o-lantern. It was mine from childhood, in a place far away from here. I’d hoped both my children would have the chance to use it, but if I send it out with Malcolm, I know it won’t be coming back. Annie won’t be old enough to carry it for at least another year.

My throat is tight again, and I clear it to chase away the tears. What’s one more loss tonight, in the greater scheme of things? Malcolm should take it. He’s always loved it.

As I turn back towards the house, I hear scraping on the rafters above. The fox strides across the beam and sits on his haunches. I have an idiot impulse to fling the pumpkin at the animal, an impotent urge for violence in the muscles of my forearms. Instead, I sigh and nod. It looks at me from pools of liquid black, grey fur rising and falling with each patient breath.

There is no malice in those eyes, nor the others. We all know what has to happen tonight. Rose and I signed the pact when we came to this town. We accepted the risk, because it seemed worth it. Maybe it is, still. This is a safe town. Safer than anywhere else on earth. Annie will be exempt in future years.

The fox is gone when I look up.

Continue reading “Last Halloween” – Fiction by Cameron Suey

The Fall of the House of Flapper – A Letter from the Editor

Hail and Farewell – Aubrey Beardsley, 1898

DEAREST FRIENDS, FOLLOWERS, & BENEFACTORS OF FLAPPERHOUSE,

I profoundly regret to announce that the next issue of FLAPPERHOUSE magazine– our Winter 2019 issue, scheduled to fly on December 21 of this year– will be our last. It’ll be our 20th issue, and the end of our 5th year– considerably longer than many other equally good (or better) creative endeavors, and certainly longer than I would have anticipated 5 years ago.
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It isn’t that I’m not still proud of what we’ve been doing, or that I don’t still love publishing & promoting surreal, shadowy, sensual, and/or satirical literature by highly talented writers. It’s just that, for a whole mess of reasons that have been tangling together over the past year or so, I can no longer devote the time & effort to keep this weird little zine afloat, let alone provide the kind nurturing it would need to continue evolving into the majestic butterfly queen it deserves to be.

At this point, I must stress how much FLAPPERHOUSE– and all the warm, fuzzy, fervent support it has received from so many brilliant & good-hearted people these past 5 years– has meant to me. Not only have so many of you made me feel validated as a creator & curator of bizarre lit, but more importantly, along the way I’ve made countless relationships I would not have made otherwise, which I will cherish forever & continue clinging to as I begin the next phase of my life & career. I am far beyond grateful to anyone who has provided any degree of support to us, be it a simple retweet or a hefty financial donation.
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Thanks as well to all the amazing writers who have contributed their work to our pages or performed at one of our readings this past half-decade; FLAPPERHOUSE would be nothing without them. Thanks to our esteemed editorial team: Sherrel McLafferty, Stephen Langlois, Maria Pinto, Jeremiah Driver, and Aicha Martine Thiam, plus our editors emeritus T. Mazzara, Beck Havens, Dean Blumberg, and Brittney Williams; collectively, they volunteered myriad hours of their lives to help make FLAPPERHOUSE as flappy as can be, and without them, this enterprise certainly would have come crashing down far sooner. And last but not least, a galaxy of thanks to Alibi Jones, my most beloved muse of everything.
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Back to the housekeeping: In addition to the zine, our reading series will also come to a close, though probably not until Spring next year. Copies of our zines & books should remain available on Amazon indefinitely, as those are print-on-demand. We do plan to publish, as per usual, a print anthology of everything we’ve published this calendar year, which we’ll release in early 2019. We have no plans to ever remove our website from the internet, so we expect our archives to remain online indefinitely as well– though we plan to cease posting new material here once all the pieces of our 20th issue are up, shortly before Spring starts. Again, our 20th and final issue is set to fly December 21; our final deadline for submissions will be November 28.
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To our subscribers whose yearly subscriptions would’ve still been active following our 20th issue: rest assured that you shall, in due time, be refunded the value of any future issues you will unfortunately not be receiving after all.
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And to everyone & anyone who might feel even remotely sad or disappointed by this turn of events, I hope you understand that this decision comes with a heavy heart, a bottomless well of gratitude, and eyes wide toward a brighter future…
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Peace, Love, & Flappiness,
Joe O’Brien
founder / managing editor

“On the Backs of Cats” – Fiction by Kathryn McMahon

detail from The Garden of Earthly Delights – Hieronymus Bosch, 1515

A couple fights to survive through their dystopian world of mutant rats & hyper-surveillance in “On the Backs of Cats,” Kathryn McMahon‘s fantastically frenetic flash fiction from our Fall 2018 issue.

{ X }

MY BOYFRIEND HAS A CAT NAMED KALASHNIKOV and the three of us go hunting at midnight. He brings his taser, I bring my magic whistle. Kalashnikov listens for the unique squeaks of rats with human ears growing out of their spines. Grenadine-pink test subjects that escaped during The Spills and roam the alleys eavesdropping on every conversation.

To pay rent, we sell the ears to collectors. What they do with them, no one knows. Ear-bearing rats are squishy, naked things, and I feel bad killing them. I tell my boyfriend this every night before we head out.

He has a glass eye that he records me with. I think he records his bar fights too because for him, routine is not enough. When we go to the pub through the crack in the museum wall, we hold hands by rotting dromedary bones and watch combinations of couples and talk about who in each pair would be better in bed. We never ask them to join us, though our lust is harmonic.

At home, I dance for him. He records me then too. It is exothermal, watching him watch me. But does he play back the audio, not just what I do with my hands? “I said I like that it’s only us. Are you listening?”

“Mmhmm.”

Before we go hunting, he shuts off the lights, draws the curtains, and it’s his turn to dance. So beautiful, rough-edged and pale. Taking off his clothes, he pumps up the music pissing out of the ham radio and holds it over the shelves of ears waiting to be sold, white and brown and black. So many extra ears, but for whom? My boyfriend claims the rats were released intentionally. He says the government is always listening, but I’m not convinced.

I lean back on our half-torn mattress. “Just because the ears are full of silicone wires, it doesn’t mean they care what they hear.”

His rollie is crisp red in the shadows, and he blows smoke away from me. “Oh, they care.”

“What, about how much we fuck?”

“They’re pervs.”

“You have theories about everything.” My boyfriend is an inventor and sometimes I wonder if I am another invention. A cog. A circuit. After all, he forgets I was the one who cobbled together the rat whistle.

“What’s mine is yours,” he says, gyrating and squeezing the curve of my belly.

Mmhmm.

Continue reading “On the Backs of Cats” – Fiction by Kathryn McMahon

“A Tad of Advice with Chad Vice” – Vol. 3, October 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 this month’s Halloweenish installment of Chad Vice‘s advice column, “A Tad of Advice with Chad Vice.” 

{ X }

Dear Chad,
I read bedtime stories to my 4-year-old son every night, and it’s one of our favorite things to do together. I want to start reading him some of the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales, which can get quite dark, but my husband strongly objects, on the basis that with all the real-life horrors in the world, children should not be further traumatized by late-night images of bloodthirsty wolves, child-hungry witches, and the like. I believe that confronting fictional horrors early would better prepare a child his age to face the terrible, shitty awfulness of real life. What do you think?
Gary Q in Athens, GA

Gary,

I wish you were from Indiana.

Regardless!

You can’t hide a kid from darkness. They go to sleep in it. If you are a child of the early 80’s or 90’s, you have been exposed to “fairy tales”. Even going back to the 50’s for those brothers.

I think anything that teaches a child to see and feel beyond what they see and know is good, even if it is dark.

Without the dark, how would we know to sleep? And sleeping is great. It gives us an even greater chance to dream.

Once upon a time,
Chad

Dear Chad,

I am 25 years old, 98% Caucasian, and gender-fluid, equally comfortable presenting masculine as feminine (or somewhere between). I’ve been invited to 3 separate Halloween parties this year, and I want to wear a different costume to each party. I have a decent amount of disposable income & time to spend on constructing / acquiring these costumes, but am having trouble thinking of what they should be. What are some cool costumes I could wear that won’t resort to disrespectful cultural appropriation, and would be cleverly topical without being obvious & trite?

Alyx A in Minneapolis, MN

 

Hey Alyx,

Right off that bat? Toaster. I don’t know the design or how you would construct it, but go as a toaster. If it were me, I would go as a toaster and then spend the whole party cornering people and telling them (with deathly seriousness) that I was a toaster.

1. (I decided to make this a list after the fact)

  1. Put on anything you have always wanted to and never dared to and go show the public. Wear a disco ball on your head, oversized sunglasses, a kilt, a belly shirt that says “tequila mockingbird”, and tape your BFA to you back. Or you know, whatever that is for you. If someone asks you what you are, you say: “I am beautiful!” And try not to burn them to death, because really (like really really) you are a Phoenix.
  2. A witch because always.
  3. Carrie.

 

  1. (I skipped some) the devil (with a buttplug in); he’s filthy.

 

  1. Helena Bonham Carter’s character in Oceans’ 8.
    9. Your dad.
    What will I be on Halloween, you ask? Honest.

Yours,
Chad

Continue reading “A Tad of Advice with Chad Vice” – Vol. 3, October 2018