Category Archives: Poetry

“Hey Joe” – Poetry by Jeremiah Driver

Jimi Hendrix – Abdul Mati Klarwein, 1970

“Hey Joe” is one of two gritty & gunslingin’ poems by Jeremiah Driver in our Winter 2019 issue.

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BECAUSE IT’S QUIET AND CRAZY ONE HAS REASON
to pause. Because questions
can fill the space between two people
and open anybody wider than another’s answers.
Because a truth that can be told
isn’t true. Where you goin’

with that gun in your hand? Because the first note
transforms Jimi from Jimi

who becomes a teller who is asking
Joe, who is not Jimi,
nor the person Jimi is not
the gun.

We listen because someone will die
someone will murder
because he caught her messing round with another man
but the shot is not heard. There are notes,
chords, and rhythm—blues: polyphonic shuffling

dysfunction that functions to melt people’s brains
so that the daemon can live
as long as people listen.

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JEREMIAH DRIVER earned an MFA in Writing at Sarah Lawrence College, won the Thomas Lux Award, has been a horse trainer, a service member in the United States Army, worked heavy construction in Manhattan, and taught literacy/ writing in Queens and the Bronx. He blogs at jeremiahdriver.wordpress.com. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in TerminusColumbia JournalUCity ReviewPrairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland, and Piecrust.

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“Santarella Garden” – Poetry by Kailey Tedesco

The Bride – Gertrude Kasebier, 1902

“Santarella Garden” is Kailey Tedesco‘s beautifully bizarre poem of blood & bridehood from our Winter 2019 issue.

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SWEET

on its own is not a word to conjure anything of the sort. Santarella was not home to me, yet blood runs down
my leg and into the drain of its shower.

Santarella asked to be invited into me, and I said yes. Santarella’s reflection is only seen
on the surface of its own ponds.

The photographer tells me to be serious for just a goddamned second, but I’ve forgotten that I’m the bride.

In every photograph, I’m laughing with the many hors d’oeuvres, somewhere
in the background.

The symbol of our marriage is up at the peak of the silo, with the dark and all the stars. Without it, nothing
can proceed as usual.

Is it good luck to have blood run down my leg and into Santarella’s shower? I’m asking this to everyone I see, just before I lean to kiss them on the cheek.

With each kiss, I remember I’m the bride.

Is it good luck to have fingernails full of Santarella?

The soil is crawling into me, like a tantrum. It wants to be put to bed. Moss wounds my gown, yet I must
reach the top of the silo before the photographs are taken and I forget
that I’m the bride.

In every photograph, I’m crawling on my hands and knees up the Santarella garden, like a freak storm. It’s
snowing in September. I lie there in it, knowing I may fall asleep and never wake.

When I rise my gown rises with me. The snow has cleared and we have sun for our photographs.

On the way to Santarella, blood got on the driver’s seat. I was never the bride in my entire life. As I drove up
the Santarella garden, it became so goddamned dark.

(Goddamned is used here incorrectly. The dark was not damned by any god. It was just sweet. Like blood.)

The candle light could not penetrate the dark. It grew too quickly all around me. The Santarella garden became
a sound instead of a place, and I had difficulty experiencing it fully. The guests
of the wedding only spoke to me in spells.

But the dark scabbed over my body and my gown and my blood like a new skin
and that is what I wanted the whole time. More than anything.

Once I was inside the dark, I could experience everything fully.

And so I walked up the Santarella garden and spiral wooden staircase and into the shower with checkered tile and I bled what I needed to into its drain.

And the sun shone on the pond, of course, because everything was of the dark now including the sun. Including me. My bouquet was so moody and when I tossed it, it almost refused

to bleed out from the darkness and into the drain of the shower.

I am the bride, I remembered, and it shows in every photograph.

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KAILEY TEDESCO is the author of She Used to be on a Milk Carton (April Gloaming Publishing) and These Ghosts of Mine, Siamese (Dancing Girl Press). Her second collection, Lizzie, Speak (winner of White Stag Publishing’s poetry contest) will be released in early 2019. She is the co-founder of Rag Queen Periodical and an editor for Luna Luna Magazine. You can find her work featured or forthcoming in Fairy Tale Review, Prelude, New South, fields, Bone Bouquet Journal, and more. For further information, please visit kaileytedesco.com. 

“Knives, nails and keratin” – Poetry by Alice Riddell

La temperanza, Woman Holding a Knife –
Konstantinos Parthenis, 1938

“Knives, nails and keratin” is Alice Riddell‘s raw & piercing poem from our Winter 2019 issue.

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AFTER ONE TWO MANY,
She rips the nails from their beds
Like children on Christmas morning,
Eager to open
A fantasy of something else.
But there is only coal
And air exposed on rawness.

Having eleven stitches into her chin
Felt like a bow
Tied by her mother.
Smart for church,
All dressed up
In that robe,
Where blood ran down
Between her breasts.
Kitchen knife,
Two K’s
But the silence of the last haunts her,
Its noiselessness
Cuts flesh and screams.

She digs
With small white keratin,
Not the ripped ones
Some are saved
For this very occasion.
They mark
Like crescent moons
On a powder dusk sky,
The shoulder and neck canyon
The valley of palms and wrists
Reflected back.

Pinches;
Like ants
Like too-tight denim
Like winter winds
Like plucking eyebrows
Like her sister,
Her mother made her wear mittens to school
Because she nipped other kids,
Nip sounds better than pinch
Pinch is only one letter away from punch.
She painted the most beautiful blues,
Lapis Lazuli slaps
Violent violets
Sucker for shallow skulls.

She watched the glow
Of the cigarette lighter
Its receptacle invitation,
Its perfect finger shaped hole
To burn off those remaining.
Licked by invisible flames
Sucked out of soreness
By salvia,
By means of salvation.
Fingertips aflame are like burning bridges,
They frizzle and melt into themselves
Only to regrow again more painfully.

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ALICE RIDDELL is originally from the U.K. and is currently studying at NYU’s Center of Experimental Humanities. She is Editor-in-Chief of an interdisciplinary journal called Caustic Frolic and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Breadcrumbs Mag, Vol. 1 Brooklyn and Anthropolitian. Alice has also read her work as part of the Dead Rabbits Reading Series. She is an avid table tennis player.

“Bombshell / Laughter Slaughter” – Poetry by Jessie Janeshek

“Bombshell / Laughter Slaughter” is one of four fantastically flappy poems by FLAPPERHOUSE’s poet laureate, Jessie Janeshek, in our Winter 2019 issue.

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I’M GIVING UP BEING SAD ABOUT TIME
                over it, over it.
I lie in this game and hem-stitch my waste
                launch paper ships
never realize the fizz      stringy meat      rusty keys
                stow my dress in the basket
nipple ice and no slip     the contrast is stunning.
                I lie nude in the sun      dogshit on the snow
the consolatory song of corpse in the morgue at my feet
                how she slumped on her steering wheel
knocked her gold tooth loose
                the death of the party.

I never believed platinum days could end in olive oil baldness
                two months of ooze. I didn’t need mystery
the black and white dots            or The Girl from Missouri
                nothing left but a fish kiss
and my pants don’t fit
                and it’s ok that my weakness is brilliance
I’m just acting whatever you say
                I’m already set to die in this bedroom
eleven phases of white       chokecherry stage
                I was rotting long before Hollywood
a cheaply-cut sapphire       barmaid singing in stripes
                following men with pool cues down to the tornado shelter
eating raw steaks and making them gangsters
                weeping trees, houseflies poetic.

And I was the sunflower             brownette drinking gin
                with that old-fashioned death in my chest
my body barely holding together
                my blood and piss flooding the plains
and they ghostwrote this story but I’m over that too
                I’d swear anytime it was mine.

Note: This poem very loosely uses the life and death of Jean Harlow.

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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. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. You can read more of her poetry at jessiejaneshek.net.

FLAPPERHOUSE’s Most-Viewed Pieces of 2018

Everywhere Eyeballs Are Aflame – Odilon Redon, 1888

With a new year ahead of us, let’s look back at the 10 pieces that attracted the most eyeballs to our site in 2018…

10. “Betula nigra,” Avee Chaudhuri’s beautifully twisted short story from our Winter 2018 issue.

9. “Chemtrail Mist of the New World,” C.D. Frelinghuysen’s paranoid & poignant flash fiction from our Fall 2018 issue.

8. “X-Ray,” Rosie Adams’ unnerving yet captivating flash fiction from our Winter 2018 issue.

7. “Sycroax Martinez is a witch from Corpus Christi, Texas,” Luis Galindo’s spellbindingly brilliant poem from our Winter 2018 issue.

6. “Too Late for Anarchy,” Marc Harshman’s wry and wistful poem from our Summer 2018 issue.

5. “Fetish / Recluse,” Rita Mookerjee’s magically sensual & intoxicating poem from our Summer 2018 issue.

4. “moon-cleansed,” Monica Lewis’ cosmically beautiful & gut-punchingly powerful poem from our Winter 2018 issue.

3. “Questionnaire for the Gravitron Operator Before I Ride,” Jennifer Savran Kelly’s curious & captivating flash fiction from our Fall 2018 issue.

2. “Knock Knock” Todd Dillard’s vivid & tender poem of love & parenthood from our Summer 2018 issue.

And our number one most-viewed piece of 2018 was “Snapshot from the Revolution,” Perry Lopez’s historical & horrific short story from our Summer 2018 issue.

“Head Tree,” “Life On Mars,” and “Fitting” – Prose Poetry by Satoshi Iwai

A large pigeon had flown into her face – Charles Robinson, 1907

“Head Tree,” “Life On Mars,” and “Fitting” are three psychedelically surreal prose poems by Satoshi Iwai from our Fall 2018 issue.

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“Head  Tree” 

AFTER A LONG AND INSULAR COMA, sitting up in the half-melted bed, I find an apple tree has grown on my head. Each wall of the room is covered with the fun house mirrors which reflect the tapestry of deformed leaves. Thirteen years have passed while I had been sleeping.

The tree has a dozen branches which bear a hundred fruits. The shadow of the trunk tells me an eternal noon. Hiding behind the leaves, a wise snake tells me the sweet pain of molting. When a cool breeze comes I find that I have already gotten my ex-wife out of my head.

I wonder how many apples have grown to birds on my head until I die. Fishes die in the sea, but birds don’t die in the sky. Still, all I can do is forget every summer that has gone. When the warm rain stops falling, the first cloned passenger pigeon will fly away from my tree.

“Life  on  Mars”

YOU DON’T NEED TO WONDER why that old man can paint pictures so quickly, or why he and every old man appeared in his pictures look so alike. He doesn’t care about how his pictures look like, because he has lost his sight entirely since he was a little child.

The passersby don’t care about his blindness. They admire him just because he paints his self portraits without any photograph. At the abandoned bus stop, sitting on the half-broken bench, he depicts hundreds of his own faces under the sun, even under the new moon.

He is homeless, and he believes that he is homeless on Mars. Martians have three eyes, so he is confused every time when he can’t touch the third eye on his forehead. He is always in the dusk. Dusk is called mirrors on Mars. He always feels blue. Blue is called infinity on Mars.

“Fitting”

DON’T STAY TOO LONG IN THIS FITTING ROOM. The mirror in front of you reflects you wearing a white sweater and the mirror behind you that reflects you wearing a white sweater and the mirror in front of you that reflects the mirror behind you that reflects you wearing a white sweater and the mirror in front of you that reflects the mirror behind you that reflects you wearing a black sweater. If you answer your cell phone, someone tells you in a very, very hoarse voice. You are what you wear. Then, there is no one in this fitting room. The mirror in front of your absence reflects your absence and the mirror behind your absence that reflects your absence and the mirror in front of your absence that reflects your absence behind your absence that reflects your absence and the mirror in front of your absence that reflects a crumpled white sweater on the floor.

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SATOSHI IWAI was born and lives in Kanagawa, Japan. He writes poems in English and in Japanese. His English work has appeared in Heavy Feather ReviewSmall Po[r]tionsHotel AmerikaPoetry Is Dead, and elsewhere.

“Self-Adulation as a Note Accompanied with a Bouquet of Feathers” – Poetry by Wale Ayinla

The Shipwreck – Henri-Edmond Cross, 1907

“Self-Adulation as a Note Accompanied with a Bouquet of Feathers” is one of two surreal & spiritual poems by Wale Ayinla in our Fall 2018 issue.

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TODAY, MY BODY FLOATS IN MAGENTA AIR;
and everything around me is falling
like the words rolled under mother’s sleeves.
Imagine that I am returning to a fever;
of green grass soaked in typhoid bedspread.
My sight tightens mother’s lips
as music. Frail fingers squeeze
her palms into a collage of dark hooks
and sirens, while the syringe buries itself.
Sometimes I feel like I might fold the night
into my armpit and run the length of the
city as a ghost, nevertheless, something draws me
back to my mother’s words like a magnet;
like an oath. (Never leave a widow opened
as a window.) A chimney of old wears
sewn on skin made with footprints.
I hold this memory firmly the same way
God tucks his secrets above the sky
under His soles. One day I will
hold a country and name it dreams.
Look at me the way you look a river
traveling with your face with words
holding you to a grudge. Do you see me
holding the hands of a father who is a heaven
away? Come, as a river paddling the body
into a shipwreck. I live here.

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WALE AYINLA writes from the ancient city of Abeokuta in Nigeria. His work appears or is forthcoming in Takahe, Kalahari ReviewVagabond CityThe Rising PhoenixExpoundand Dwarts. He is @Wale_Ayinla on Twitter and the founding editor of Dwarts Magazine.