Category Archives: Poetry

“moon-cleansed” – Poetry by Monica Lewis

The Truth About Comets – Dorothea Tanning, 1945

“moon-cleansed” is one of three cosmically beautiful & gut-punchingly powerful poems by Monica Lewis from our Winter 2018 issue.

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I TRY TO TELL MY BRAIN, you are an organ, luminous in your undulating layers, and like a comet, you are not a dirty snowball of space, you are made of dust (my trauma, my moments of star bones, love that combusted my life, on repeat, a recurring dream i continue to pirouette through), and dust, dirt can glitter if the light of the night hits it just right. like a comet, you have brought water to my most deserted, desiccated parts. i try to tell my brain, you are a little girl in her first chiffon, and when you spin, you set the earth aswirl in possibility: the softest wisconsin green grass of a dream, a field of lavender, spreading, and the blood-jet of sylvia or every poetess who preceded both your grace and your pain, or those slippers, ruby made into a dress, reminding us all that home is the heart we all seek. brain, often, you cry. often, you must find a moat to make certain no sailors make way through your lake of ache. brain, your skull is simply one big bone and bones break easily and often, brain, i do not always handle your structure, or even your waves of sea with all the love the ocean deserves, but here is my promise today, right now: i will hold you as my mother did when i pushed out her womb and was held at her breast. i will kiss your bloody body. i will be unafraid of the grime, the slimy guts. i try to tell my brain, you are an organ, but you are the life of all that makes me a life of my own, and i will claim you as my own. i will sob at the life of you now out of me and now all of you. still, i will do my best to protect you as a wolf does; come for its kin and it will kill. and the bones of the hunter, the mother will lick as clean and as pure as the moon.

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Continue reading “moon-cleansed” – Poetry by Monica Lewis

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“the old head verses (ecclesiastes) 21-25” – Poetry by Kwame Opoku-Duku

Dreams No. 2 – Jacob Lawrence, 1965

“the old head verses (ecclesiastes) 21 – 25” is one of two fiercely beautiful poems by Kwame Opoku-Duku from our Winter 2018 issue.

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21 THE MOST BEAUTIFULEST SHIT
              in the whole world can
             be the ugliest shit at the
             same time/ like toilet paper
             & black plastic bags
             hanging from a cherry blossom
             in the spring/
or the smile of a wretch as you
             put the dollar in his cup &
             he says god bless you
              & you walk away/
or the wrath of a mother’s
             love/ beaten into her
             through generations/
or the son’s tears as he chokes
             the doctor who cannot
             save her/
22 when was the last time we
             dreamed? what did
             we dream of?
23 it gets hard to think with
             all that laughing in
             the background/
24 it gets hard & you think
             that shit will never
             change/ & the desire
             to pass through
             life like a shadow becomes
             greater than the desire
             to raise your voice in vain/
25 plus all everybody do is talk & take
             pictures of themselves/
             so you can see why folks might
             just save their breath
             when you see everybody
             huddled up crying on
             the news/ asking why/
& you see so much beauty in the world
             & you wonder  how much
             of beauty is really real

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Continue reading “the old head verses (ecclesiastes) 21-25” – Poetry by Kwame Opoku-Duku

“Sycorax Martinez is a witch from Corpus Christi, Texas” – Poetry by Luis Galindo

Vuelo de Brujas- Francisco Goya, 1798

From our Winter 2018 issue, “Sycorax Martinez is a witch from Corpus Christi, Texas” is a spellbindingly brilliant poem by longtime contributor Luis Galindo.

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TELL ME, SYCORAX, of the time your heart was broken.
How it almost killed you.
How love itself decayed overnight like filet mignon
Left out on your kitchen table.
How flies gathered to buzz your rotting meat
Your heart meat
Your love offal.

Tell me of the bottomless pain in your chest
The razor sharp scissors of reality to your center.
How you turned to magick and witchcraft
To transform you out of your misery
To exact your revenge
How you sat for months in the botanica backrooms
With more seasoned Latinx brujas
learning, honing your abilities
Your plans for revenge.

Tell me of the spells you wrought
The hexes you spawned
How you drew your own blood with a flea market switchblade
The crimson rivulets that flowed from wrist to chalice
On those Mariachi midnights.
The thick burn of mezcal on your wounds,
Your tongue fat with chanting and prayer
With Marlboros and songs.
How it singed your innards
On those Summer nights in Texas.
Your body and soul engulfed
By the melancholy flames of forever.
Creating sigils, mixing tinctures
Conjuring saints, spirits,
anyone and anything to help ease the pain.

Tell me, Sycorax, how you conjured
The ghosts of Selena and Ophelia
How Selena, with electric wings and voice
attempted to ease your sorrow with songs
and held you, her broken sister
And sang, “bidi bidi bom bom” in your ear.
How Ophelia (who was taller and more powerfully built
than you imagined) appeared
In her diaphanous gown
drenched from her descent from that willow branch
How you said to her, “I thought you were fiction?”
How she replied, “I thought the same of you.”

Tell me, Sycorax, of your bruised heart
swollen and bleeding, nailed above the blue door
Of your consciousness
Like some throbbing crucifix
Your whole impossible existence hanging from a rusty nail

Tell me of your attempted suicide
How you drove to Matamoros and jumped in El Rio Bravo
How you wetbacked your spirit into damnation
On the banks of despair.
How your Americanized pig-sty soul
Was drenched by the river your grandmother crossed
that eventually led to you, wailing and crying
In the gringa nurses’ arms to here
now, wailing and crying again
The Mexicana- Americana tears of lost and unrequited love
congregating, flowing, dividing two countries
dividing your will to live and your longing for an end.

Tell me, Sycorax, how Selena and Ophelia
Cried and pleaded with you from either shore
Watching as you bobbed in the water like a cinnamon stick
until they sensed your will to live had won
how they pulled you to the Mexican side
and held you, wept, howled, laughed and chanted with you;
a triumfeminate coven of tragically wounded witches.
How they whispered and sang in your waterlogged ears

“Bidi bidi bom bom bidi bidi bom bom
And I of ladies most deject and wretched
That sucked the honey of his music vows
Blasted with ecstasy, oh, woe is me
T’have seen what I have seen, see what I see,
Cada vez, cada vez que lo veo pasar
Bidi bidi bom bom.”

Tell me, Sycorax, how you woke at your altar
wet and muddy, dazed and mumbling
how you opened your book of shadows and wrote,

“We are the dreams of the All, falling in love
with one another’s magnificence in spite of
our limitless capacity for avarice, violence and cruelty
and that, my sisters, is the real miracle of life.”

How you tore the page from your book
and set it aflame atop your black candle
and began writing again,

“Ovum, sanguis, cerebrum, aenima
Behold the girl, the woman
Being born again and again.”

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Continue reading “Sycorax Martinez is a witch from Corpus Christi, Texas” – Poetry by Luis Galindo

Our Most-Viewed Pieces of 2017 Were…

Eyes – Nuri Iyem, 1979

Before we set our sights completely on 2018, let’s look at the pieces from 2017 that attracted the most eyeballs to our site…

10. “When I Die Someone Just Fuck My Body Please,” Ian Kappos’ punker-than-hell poem from our Summer 2017 issue.

9. “Picnic” A. E. Weisgerber’s potent & evocative flash fiction which served as the opening piece of our killer & cinematic Spring 2017 issue.

8. “Drought,” Kim Coleman Foote’s eerily surreal & fable-like flash prose which kicked off our Fall 2017 issue.

7. “Summer Water,” one of two witty & intoxicating poems by Sarah Bridgins in our Summer 2017 issue.

6. “Mission Concept,” Pete H.Z. Hsu’s trippy & unearthly (and Best of the Net-nominated) flash fiction that launched our Summer 2017 issue.

5. “Caulking the Wagon,” Devin Kelly’s poetic meditation on suffering & classic computer games, from our Summer 2017 issue.

4. “Love Song of a Femme Fatale on Scholarship,” Maria Pinto’s frisky & infatuating flash fiction from our Winter 2017 issue.

3. “Torture Game”, Ryan Bradford’s fiendish short fiction about a dark night at the drive-in, from our Spring 2017 issue.

2. “Left Behind,” Kaj Tanaka’s brief yet profoundly haunting flash fiction, and the grand finale of our Summer 2017 issue.

1. “The Cake,” Jonathan Wlodarski’s deliciously disturbing (and Pushcart Prize-nominated) short fiction from our Winter 2017 issue.

“I Ask the Netherworld if Lizzie Borden Did It & This is What it Says” – Poetry by Kailey Tedesco

Our Winter 2018 issue, FLAPPERHOUSE #16, is a magically experimental swarm of strange frequencies, like Kailey Tedesco‘s poem “I Ask the Netherworld if Lizzie Borden Did It & This is What it Says.” If your interest is sufficiently piqued, you may order a digital (PDF) copy of FLAPPERHOUSE #16 for $3US through PayPal & see it fly into your emailbox  within minutes (or possibly hours, if we’re temporarily away from our devices). Print copies are also available for $6US via Amazon.

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I. SPIRIT BOARD:

I D-O-N-T
t-h-i-n-k
i-t-s
g-o-i-n-g
t-h-e
w-a-y
y-o-u
w-a-n-t.
l-i-z-z-i-e
i-s
t-h-e
o-n-l-y
p-e-r-s-o-n
t-h-at
c-a-n
g-e-t
y-o-u
t-h-r-o-u-g-h
t-h-e
w-a-y.

II. Tarot: (Eight of Wands):

This can refer to swiftly
unfolding events whether
unintentional
or intentional (tarot.com). Just see
those staffs through the kitchen sink
or a little bit of
coffee. Things are not okay,
but it’s not too much
for you to eat.

III. iOS X Predictive:

Lizzie Borden hurt my face
and now I feel better.

I think it’s a bad thing
but that’s what happened last night

so I’m going to call her tomorrow.

Face the way of your life
and then
I’ll be there.

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KAILEY TEDESCO‘s debut collection of poetry, She Used to be on a Milk Carton (April Gloaming Publishing) will be available this winter. She is the editor-in-chief of Rag Queen Periodical and a staff writer for Luna Luna Magazine. She also performs with the Poetry Brothel. Her work has been featured in or is forthcoming from Prelude, Phoebe, OCCULUMYes, Poetry, and more. For more information, please visit kaileytedesco.com. 

Two “Ribcage” Poems by J. Bradley

“The Ribcage Explains (Again) Why It Never Votes” and “The Ribcage Dreams of Dancing on a Grave (or Two)” are just two of five wonderfully surreal & acutely affecting ribcage-themed poems by J. Bradley in our Fall 2017 issue

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“The Ribcage Explains (Again) Why It Never Votes”

YOU GERRYMANDERED YOUR HEART
where only the wolves of his name
are allowed to live. They have the facts
and still they vote to gnaw the marrow
out of you. What’s the point of this story,
this lover asks. You peel back your blanket,
show him the gore in waking up alone.

{ X } Continue reading Two “Ribcage” Poems by J. Bradley

“Existential Ketchup” – Poetry by James Croal Jackson

Heinz Tomato Ketchup with fries, by theimpulsivebuy [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
“Existential Ketchup” is a savory & poignant poem of melancholy & fast food by James Croal Jackson from our Fall 2017 issue. (To hear a recording of James reading his poem, be sure to click play below…)

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GOT A HEINZ BOTTLE FULL OF REGRETS
but it’s dried up as the crust of red’s
lost its use   you try to squeeze something
from an old heart and look how flappily
it beats sags and wheezes   yet I got a cold bag
of wendy’s to share salted and soggy
on our porch in december rain   I said
to go to be tax-free   and carefree yes
but on the swinging bench white-bagged I see
your face in wendy’s and your eyes some
sad fake black   pocket’s full of lint and loose change
and can’t stop sliding my hands in to feel my legs
burning with desire to get up and build trash
cans from scrap at the edge of the yard
then wait for the passersby
to throw their guilty pleasures in

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Continue reading “Existential Ketchup” – Poetry by James Croal Jackson