Category Archives: Poetry

“Nine Masks” – Poetry by Gregory Crosby

Old Woman with Masks (Theatre of Masks) – James Ensor, 1889

We love our masks here at FLAPPERHOUSE, so of course we fell hard for “Nine Masks,” a sequence of mythical, mystical poems that Gregory Crosby contributed to our Spring 2017 issue.

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{ Mask of Born-to-be-head-of-the-world }

WHEN YOU PULL THE LIGHT ASIDE, THE DARKNESS
shines through, sable & smoky, a river
at midnight. A baby in bulrushes
doesn’t cry but makes a sound not “just like”
rushing water, but is rushing water:
a sweet gurgle of time, a waterfall
of eternity. History is the
barrel & we are all in it except
you, child. You are watching from the shore,
staring down into the mist you adore,
the one place where you can’t see anything,
the one place you’re free to forget your face,
imperious & blank. Out on the banks,
the daughters of Pharaoh stare into space.

 

{ Mask of a Supernatural Being }

THERE IS NO REASON WHY I SHOULD NOT BE,
but reason precludes me. I am proximate
without being near. I am forever
unclear in my perfect clarity.
I am great & terrible & worthless.
Anyone can wear me out, anywhere.
I dream your haunts more than I haunt your dreams.
I am the false face made real by the seam.

So why do you believe me when I tell
the tall tale of the heart’s desire?
Why do you believe me when I tell
the beginning of the beginning of
the beginning, without end? Why do you
cover your eyes with eyes as empty as mine?
Continue reading “Nine Masks” – Poetry by Gregory Crosby

“Never Be Stuck” – Poetry by j/j hastain & Juliet Cook

Rapunzel – Arthur Rackham, 1909

Individually, j/j hastain and Juliet Cook have contributed many flappy lits to our weird little zine over the years…but it wasn’t until our Spring 2017 issue that we finally published a collaboration between these uniquely gifted writers. Please enjoy their magically bizarre poem “Never Be Stuck” from FLAPPERHOUSE #13.

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NOT PART OF A PRIZE
fighting game.
Not part of a dog
fighting blood bath
that ends in death. But essentially
part of what it is that keeps
the world apart from itself. Take
a bath, throw in copper pennies
to see where they flow towards.

I know you’re afraid one of them might try
to attach itself to your eye,
but that doesn’t mean you’re dead
already. It means it is trying to make you
sing opera or howl
at the drain. Watch the lacerated
hair fly into symbiosis. Watch the hair
coming from her lovely wart
begin performing tattoos on
unsuspecting passersby.

The tattoos might grow
into tuberoses, rampions exploding
out the hair of a new Rapunzel
who will never be stuck in a tower.
The trapdoor shower shows us all
a discernible way home,
strand by strand, flying up
to the new hybrid magpie nest.
Even if you’re missing an eye,
all of the empty holes can be named
and with each name,
some unexpected
reverence renewed.

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Continue reading “Never Be Stuck” – Poetry by j/j hastain & Juliet Cook

“Static” – Poetry by Christina M. Rau

Event Horizon Gormley Over Madison Square – Photo by Beyond My Ken (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

“Static” is one of two dynamic & electric poems by Christina M. Rau in our Spring 2017 issue.

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after Antony Gormley’s Event Horizon, NYC, 2010

HE’S UP ON THE LEDGE
two feet toes over.

He’s in the park, too,
same time same size.

And on the edge of a parapet
and on a roof and another.

It’s not the lightning;
it’s the thunder that activates.
Iron resonates.

In a summer storm
one by one
they start to sway.

Big bolts become joints
stagnancy diffused
Thirty one silhouettes across
bluing sky move.
Climb
           down

An army of artwork
replicating the inventor.

A clanging systematic
meandering through
the grid. The rain ends.
They keep going
automatic.

On concrete sidewalks in rows of three
unprogrammed and seemingly sentient.
In humid heat over grates of steam and
subway screams, they march in glinting sun
unswayed, a marathon of mechanics.

Autumn comes. People stop running.
They take pictures in winter.
Then in spring,
the robotic march
remains simply another
city thing, cogs and
wheels and disused fury.

{ X } Continue reading “Static” – Poetry by Christina M. Rau

“Shananananananana Knees, Knees” – Poetry by Adam Tedesco

The Supplicant – Oskar Kokoschka, 1914

“Shananananananana Knees, Knees” is one of three uncannily powerful poems by Adam Tedesco in our Spring 2017 issue.

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CHANCE MOMENTS OF EQUILIBRIUM make it easy
to forget the signs before off ramps do not

mark your location rather destinations
and your sign is not a rabbit but a hole

in gravities where you joined the search
party the days of rage and hate boil down

one plant to change their minds when
swat team vans encircled you the fire would

not speak of danger through a doorknob
to see a father pinned under guns drawn

everything opened for you once and there
is a name for that you say they’re coming

for the children too what burden of balance
swallowing the sweat of hot house glass

while driving from a to b untouchable
by shallow graves or cold frames like

the dune buggies on the beach or sleeping
dogs shot nearby we are not home but coming

soon watch the stars move across night
we talk about the name for how we never

move and the points between all points are
inside of us too between then and now we say

there is a simple explanation for everything
except why we are alive and on our knees

{ X } Continue reading “Shananananananana Knees, Knees” – Poetry by Adam Tedesco

“Kiss With Recorder and Killer” – Poetry by Jane Ormerod

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik – Dorothea Tanning, 1943

“Kiss with Recorder and Killer” is Jane Ormerod‘s hypnotically surreal & musical poem from our Spring 2017 issue.

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FLOWERS, THE COINS OF THE DEAD,
We take on all that is thrown
Flowers, the corn of the dead
We take on all that is thrown
Flowers, cauldrons of death
We take on all that is thrown
Flowers, the call of the death
We take on all that is thrown
Flowers, columns of death
We take on all that is thrown

thump

 The link of mustard to egret
The minus and forgiveness of bone
Coin purse, the flower, meander
All is away, to take, donate
Cease and care less to the letter
The flowers of postponement
slinking to yes days of shit and anger

thump

There is rainstorm     thump
Longer days, shorter fights
A sweater with back-burning buttons
There is rainstorm and man-known complexity
Hostage scenarios     thump
The dead daubed fluorescent again     thump
The uniformed and uninformed and beautified
The blue, the blowing, the yet-to-be healed
Himberama, the past revolves
Ideals drawn willy-nilly from the box of
do-gooder illusion
The thump on the way to the inside and insiders
The coils, recoils, the insiders left in the cold
The recollected elevation, the rainstorm
Roof tiles, hooves, a mineral-hard memory
of a herd mentality

Himberama
Himberama
Him-himberama
Our light forced rectangular     thump     again
Go out? Maybe not? Maybe drink at home beside
the silencer. Sketch extra lines on the night horizon
Drink so you are simply out of reach
Stop. Stop. That’s right.
Dream of crinolines, baking apples, your numerable mind
Count and then counterweight the past
Your mind made-up like a bed with hospital corners

Happy days?
Do you savor or sweeten them?
Those spoils of the wonderful and blessed
thump
I love to carry half-eaten maple cake, business cards with
misleading detail. The fold of an egg, the average family and
the average goodbye. The average six-thirty pick-up
outside work, the average rib-eye, chops galore

I carry smoke
I carry good
I carry vegetable
Hotels that lose a star every year
This is a big and damning city
Even a small-stringed instrument cannot find a home

These are my keys
thump
These are my personal flowers
thump
I drink in a house mentioned in pages 23, 29, and 95
I sleep in the house mentioned only on the third-to-last page
I will die in the house mentioned early in the second volume
The thumps remain the same

{ X } Continue reading “Kiss With Recorder and Killer” – Poetry by Jane Ormerod

“A Cat Maybe, Or Breaking” – Poetry by Michael Díaz Feito

Cat Eating a Bird – Pablo Picasso, 1939

“A Cat Maybe, Or Breaking” is one of three fantastically feral poems by Michael Díaz Feito in our Spring 2017 issue, now available in print for $6US or PDF for $3US.

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SOME PIGEON’S WINGS REST
ripped,
                  framing an empty
oval of sidewalk where its
body would be.

                                    Food, the
stripped joints even gory
like that look like food, I
feel,

          but the feathered arcs
splayed seem living like they
would fly at a touch,
                                              or react
to another thing’s movement,

the cold maybe, or barking.

It’s singular, worth a nod.
                  (See the space between, and how
                  easy, violent the crack along
                  that fine cartilaginous border is.)

Then today I stepped into a
stringy crunch,
                                    and stuck
to my step lifted a smaller
pair of otherwise
                                        identical
wings except younger. I
shook them   off the tread
and the question, Is what

kills the birds watching now?   passed

into then out of my mind,
                  because I was so late for lunch.

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MICHAEL DÍAZ FEITO is a Cuban American writer from Miami, Florida. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Acentos Review, Axolotl, Big Echo, The Future Fire, Hinchas de Poesía, Milkfist, and Petrichor Machine. You can find more of Michael’s work at michaeldiazfeito.com and follow him on Twitter @diazmikediaz.

“The Last Cuban Militant” – Poetry by Juan Parra

illustration-to-for-the-voice-by-vladimir-mayakovsky-1920-11
Illustration To ‘For The Voice’ By Vladimir Mayakovsky – El Lissitzky, 1920

“The Last Cuban Militant” is one of two fiery & evocative poems by Juan Parra in our Winter 2017 issue.

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MY FATHER IS THE LAST CUBAN MILITANT.
Raul Castro is shaking his ass to hip hop,
And my father is still wearing his black beret, and green fatigues.
The cafés are jammed with clean-shaven youths
Whose heads are gel addicts, and bodies crave
The sexy stroke of European soccer jerseys.
A blind woman wants to discuss Rembrandt and Van Gogh with him,
And he doesn’t even want to believe that the lips that gently kiss
His swollen feet under the covers is Christ pranking him.

The Americans will bomb us one day; I’ll hide in the jungle.
The Europeans will have orgies on our beaches; I’ll pretend I’m blind.
I have a limited edition Makarov PM and a Mayakovsky poem,
I’ll fight the war being advertised for the last 50 years.

{ X } Continue reading “The Last Cuban Militant” – Poetry by Juan Parra