Tag Archives: Fall 2014 (#3)

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FLAPPERHOUSE #3 (Fall 2014)

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FLAPPERHOUSE #2 (Summer 2014)

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FLAPPERHOUSE #1 (Spring 2014)

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“Buried Treasure” – Fiction by Ashley Lister

The Caran d'Ache 1010
The Caran d’Ache 1010

The grand finale of our Fall 2014 issue is Ashley Lister‘s Choose Your Own Adventure tale “Buried Treasure.” Is it an amusing literary diversion spoofing a once-popular genre? Or is it a bleak satire on the illusion of free will? YOU DECIDE!

(Or DO you?)

{ X }

YOU ARE ONE OF SEVERAL PEOPLE SITTING BEFORE A SOLICITOR. You are in the room that was your late Uncle John’s home office. It’s a sombre day because you’re attending to hear the reading of Uncle John’s will. Uncle John was one of your favourite relatives. He made his vast fortune from writing Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stories.

Do you attentively reflect on the incongruities and peculiarities of all the other beneficiaries? (GO TO SECTION A.) Or do you tell the solicitor to hurry the fuck up? (GO TO SECTION B.)

 { A }

The walls bear framed covers from Uncle John’s many adventure stories. The room is dominated by a large old-fashioned desk that takes up half the room. Behind the desk sits the small, bespectacled solicitor.

The other half of the room is crowded.

Aside from being a popular writer, Uncle John was something of a ladies’ man. It’s been suggested this is what probably killed him. Your parents had always advised you to never eat at his house, especially not anything from the fruit bowl. Your mother always said he had more STIs than readers – and she made this remark after Uncle John had been on the NYT Bestsellers list. Your father claimed the coffee at Uncle John’s house tasted of rohypnol.

Many of the female beneficiaries are dressed in black. Some of them are sniffling into delicate, lace-edged handkerchiefs. Most of them are giving evils to each other through smudgy eye makeup as though only one of them is entitled to feel bereaved.

The most obviously upset is Dorothy.

Dorothy had been Uncle John’s off-again on-again girlfriend for the best part of a decade. She’d been living with Uncle John and putting up with his peculiar ways for the past five years. It’s widely known that she has forgiven more unforgivable indiscretions than the last three Popes. With jet black hair and jet black eyes and a jet black dress she looks like she’s auditioning for the role Morticia Addams. Her lips are thin. Her eyes are tired and bloodshot. And she’s glaring at the redhead wearing skin-tight leather pants.

The redhead is deliberately ignoring Dorothy. It’s likely the redhead was the most recent of Uncle John’s indiscretions. If there is any truth in the stories about his body being found in a wardrobe, with a shoelace round his balls and an orange up his arse, then it was probably a wardrobe in the redhead’s house. Even though she looks the sort who would introduce citrus fruit to sphincters, her tears look genuine.

There aren’t many men in the solicitor’s office.

You’ve met Tommy before. Tommy was Uncle John’s simple best friend. He’d read all of Uncle John’s Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stories and proudly told  anyone who’d listen that each new title was another book all about him and his exploits. You suspect the scars on Tommy’s forehead are the results of corrective surgery that was possibly too invasive.

You also recognise Uncle Jack, Uncle John’s brother. Uncle Jack is a police officer although he inspires no trust. He’s the type who will likely one day have to take early retirement under the embarrassing cloud of a bribery accusation, or the discovery of his improper involvement with a cache of controlled substances. Uncle Jack keeps glancing at his watch.

You clear your throat, ready to tell the solicitor to hurry up.

 { B }

Before you can speak Uncle Jack shouts, “Hurry the fuck up, man. We haven’t got all day to put up with you and your fannying around.”

A handful of those gathered chastise Uncle Jack for his coarse turn of phrase but there seems to be a consensus that the solicitor has been fannying around. Suitably motivated, the solicitor polishes his wire-framed glasses and then begins to read out the contents of Uncle John’s will.

Do you listen attentively to the final will and testament of your beloved relative? (GO TO SECTION C.) Or do you doze for a while and come back to your senses when you hear your name being mentioned? (GO TO SECTION D.)
Continue reading “Buried Treasure” – Fiction by Ashley Lister

“Painstaking” – Poetry by Jessie Janeshek

Mermaid - Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann, 1862 or 1873
Mermaid – Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann, 1862 or 1873

Birds, bones, mermaids, brains in jars… these are all things we love to see in poetry, and they’re all here in “Painstaking,” one of the 5 Jessie Janeshek poems featured  in our Fall 2014 issue.

{ X }

   YOU SAY THE ONLY GOOD BIRD’S A DEAD BIRD
when Sunday’s are empty
and most girls crave a witness.

I fill the oven with muscle
   hope for a mermaid, a nursemaid
   to spread the stovetops with slop.
   I give myself leeway
   to leaning into bone
   on the outskirt of meaning.

You shove my head in the lake.
I let the algae dry on my face.
They gawk from the swanboat
as you ride my dark part
the brain in the jar
the key to keep
then I crawl in the treehole
cheeping to bleed.

{ X }

jessie janeshek headshotJESSIE JANESHEK‘s first book of poems is Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010). An Assistant Professor of English and the Director of Writing at Bethany College, she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. She co-edited the literary anthology Outscape: Writings on Fences and Frontiers (KWG Press, 2008).

“Year of the Horse” – Poetry by Emily O’Neill

Head of a Horse - Alexander Orlowski, 1821
Head of a Horse – Alexander Orlowski, 1821

2014 is the “Year of the Horse,”  and Emily O’Neill‘s poem of the same name (included in our Fall 2014 issue) has some strongly-worded things to say about eating these kind-faced creatures.

{ X }

I’M NOT INTERESTED IN HOW TO BREAK
a horse because what’s uglier
is whether you would eat one.

Not alone in the dessert
staring down saguaros, dying
at the hands of your own stupidity.

Would you eat one for dinner
just to say you’ve done it?  Could you
look into its kind, unknowing face,

scoop out the crude oil eyes, & carve
flank into a rain of steaks to last
until your next success?  When

what carries you has been devoured
what will hold you until you’re away?
If tendon tangles in your teeth

I hope it tastes like trampled grass.
I hope you see daybreak as a monster.
I hope your hands stay chapped and red

for as long as it takes guilt to grow
into a shaded place hung with honey
hives where the bees sting without asking

what meat you are made of, or if
you might rot in the heat of the day.

{ X }

IMG_1535EMILY O’NEILL is a writer, artist, and proud Jersey girl. Her recent poems and stories can be found inElectric Cereal, Gigantic Sequins, and Split Rock Review, among others. Her debut collection,Pelican, is the inaugural winner of Yes Yes Books’ Pamet River Prize and forthcoming in 2014. You can pick her brain at http://emily-oneill.com.

“reflect / refract” – Poetry by Emily O’Neill

5th Pentacle of Mars (Devil's Trap from The Key of Solomon)
5th Pentacle of Mars (Devil’s Trap from The Key of Solomon)

Emily O’Neill gets Supernatural in “reflect  / refract,” one of the 5 poems she contributed to our Fall 2014 issue.

{ X }

PAINT ME SILVER
with power / let mine be the mouth
to echo all of it back / no praying,
no Devil’s Traps drawn in yellow
chalk / keep your scorpions, your virgin
blood above the door, that Latin
compulsion to leave the body
behind un-cursed /

                                              I don’t speak any holy
tongue / in it my name means mirror / call me
the rain / I’ll make puddles, each puddle a leak
towards the future / in the desert even
the rocks bloom to greet rain / let everything
kiss me that way / let death twist
back around itself like a moonflower / let the moon
drop like a pebble into my mouth /

forgive me / I’ll crawl up your shirtfront to lick the salt
there /  bang bang / call me cured / the only true trap
door out of any ritual is death / the mantra to chant—no fear
without flying, without falling,
without a haunting

                                                          where there’s a cliff
there’s a chasm / then a chill / then a voice shouting back
each secret born from your lips & dropped
into the barren dark

{ X }

IMG_1535EMILY O’NEILL is a writer, artist, and proud Jersey girl. Her recent poems and stories can be found in Electric Cereal, Gigantic Sequins, and Split Rock Review, among others. Her debut collection, Pelican, is the inaugural winner of Yes Yes Books’ Pamet River Prize and forthcoming in 2014. You can pick her brain at http://emily-oneill.com.

“Ode to Joy” – Poetry by Jessie Janeshek

Untitled (From An Ethnographic Museum) - Hannah Höch, 1929
Untitled (From An Ethnographic Museum) – Hannah Höch, 1929

Jessie Janeshek‘s transgressive yet playful style is in full effect in “Ode to Joy,” one of 5 poems she contributed to our Fall 2014 issue.

{ X }

IT’S DISINGENUOUS
to sleep through the day
when you’re riding a lamb-headed
totem through fireworks
scratching morality plays in the dirt.

So I eat the mercury
hang from black rings
beg you to circle my ankles in duct tape
bludgeon the megrim from me
with a jumprobe.

                            Whose hand slinks up
                            the cat puppet’s back
                            mouths my desire’s
                            too greedy, taboo?

                            Who shaves me bald as a child on the table
                            spreads my legs in the loft
                            satyrs my crotch full of sawdust
                            as you jerk the ladder away?

{ X }

jessie janeshek headshotJESSIE JANESHEK‘s first book of poems is Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010). An Assistant Professor of English and the Director of Writing at Bethany College, she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. She co-edited the literary anthology Outscape: Writings on Fences and Frontiers (KWG Press, 2008).

“I Climb Down the Tree One-Handed and in Another Life” – Poetry by Jessie Janeshek

Autumn Trees: Chestnut Tree - Georgia O'Keeffe, 1924
Autumn Trees: Chestnut Tree – Georgia O’Keeffe, 1924

Dreamy, feral, and sensual, “I Climb Down the Tree One-Handed and in Another Life” is but one of 5 magical poems by Jessie Janeshek included in our Fall 2014 issue.

{ X }

I CLIMB DOWN THE TREE ONE-HANDED
AND IN ANOTHER LIFE

 

to varnish trains and paint a buck by number
my right eye twitching anthems
obsessed with melon braids.

Fucking left me empty
but I miss that icy month
handprints on my ass
pink stilettos under glass
and, afterwards, two capsules.

Third date I scaled the gate
slammed the Dodge into the slag heap
glowed in neon panties, my best paper bra.

 

The rain starts up again.
I scrub the wild dog yellow
name a concrete goddess
Our Mother of the Birdbath.

She says the world’s no worse here
it’s just I stay awake
half-cracked and waiting on the meat truck.

{ X }

jessie janeshek headshotJESSIE JANESHEK‘s first book of poems is Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010). An Assistant Professor of English and the Director of Writing at Bethany College, she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. She co-edited the literary anthology Outscape: Writings on Fences and Frontiers (KWG Press, 2008).