Tag Archives: FLAPPERHOUSE #19

“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.

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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.

“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

“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

“Questionnaire for the Gravitron Operator Before I Ride” – Fiction by Jennifer Savran Kelly

Gravitron at Night – photo by Minshullj at English Wikipedia [GFDL or CC BY 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons
Should you desire an early taste of our dazzling & discombobulating Fall 2018 issue before it flies on September 22, here’s Jennifer Savran Kelly‘s curious & captivating flash fiction “Questionnaire for the Gravitron Operator Before I Ride.”

Print copies of our Fall issue are available on Amazon, while digital (PDF) copies are available for $3US via PayPal— and remember, for the month of September, we’ll be donating 50% of all our sales to RAICES to help provide legal assistance for underserved immigrant families.

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  1. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS JOB? Do you live nearby? If not, where do you come from? Is it better or worse than here?
  2. How many times a day do you ride? How many a week? How many minutes of your life do you spend inside a dark merry-go-round that reaches twenty-four revolutions per minute in less than twenty seconds? How can you stand it over and over and over again?
  3. What is it like to be in the center? Is gravity affected the same way? Do you spin? Or are you still as the passengers (may I call them passengers?) whirl around you at warp speed? Maybe you don’t pay attention. I see you keep your head down as you exit to welcome new passengers.
  4. Why do you keep your head down?
  5. Is the ride safe?
  6. What’s so safe about giving up control? To you?
  7. What makes you qualified to operate the ride? You take our tickets like you’re afraid of taking but know you have to, opening your fingers, too long for your hands, outstretched, waiting for our tiny permission slips to fall into them. Do your fingers always tremble?
  8. What kind of person are you? When you hold a pen, do you hold it like you’re about to cross out whatever you’ve just written? Or do you plow ahead, the pressure of your hand smudging the words?
  9. What do you think of the riders? Do you love us or mock us?
  10. What about our faces, our fear and delirium splayed wide as speed plasters us to the wall? Does it frighten you how much you enjoy it—seeing us stuck? Out of control?
  11. Is that it? Do you like to be in control?
  12. Have you ever noticed you can be in control, have control, or take control?
  13. From whom do you take it?
  14. I’m over forty-eight inches tall, but how does that prepare me for more gravity? I was under forty-eight inches when I had the health teacher who thought it was fun to play Jeopardy-style games. What is dental floss? What is tobacco? What is stress?
  15. Did you know her—Mrs. Layton, who taught about the different types of child abuse?
  16. Did you know that was something you could get quizzed on in school?
  17. Do you know what it’s like to be sitting in a classroom, surrounded by friends, when you learn the real word for that disturbing attention you get from your step-dad—the one who tells you he’s giving you a “health lesson?”
  18. What is irony?
  19. Do you know what it’s like to have your brother try to save you, to rescue you from under that weight, only to be taken away for his service? What it’s like to be left alone with the ones you need saving from? To feel that fragile?
  20. What is an egg?
  21. Is that why everyone loves the Gravitron—the Devil’s Hole? They think gravity will return them to their bodies?
  22. Does it?
  23. In physics, a rigid body is a solid body in which deformation is zero or so small it can be neglected.
  24. What is psychotic? Does it run in the family? Did you ever stop to think it was you that was spinning out of control, dreaming about setting someone on fire just to watch what it would do to the flesh, how long it would take to burn?
  25. Right after he did it, my brother, he came home, and I never would have known anything happened. Not one trace of fear or regret visible on his face, not one sense that anything was different. It was how normal everything seemed that was chilling.
  26. Normal force must be zero.
  27. Is there an equation to help me make sense of this? What is the gravimagnetic moment (GM)? What coefficient at the GM equals unity?
  28. What is dizzy?
  29. Why can’t we ride for more than eighty seconds?
  30. What is one moment in a life?
  31. Is that how long it took?
  32. To watch the fire burn? To consume him?
  33. Do you think my brother knew he would survive?
  34. And pardon me, but I have to ask,
  35. Is it possible he thought, even once, about what that would mean
  36. For me?

{ X }

JENNIFER SAVRAN KELLY  lives in Ithaca, New York, where she writes, binds books, and works as a production editor at Cornell University Press. She has written for film and print, and her fiction has appeared in Green Mountains Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Souvenir LitGrist: A Journal of the Literary Arts (Online Companion), and elsewhere. She was honored to receive a 2018 grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Foundation for her novel-in-progress ENDPAPERS.

Flapping for RAICES

This month, your patronage of FLAPPERHOUSE will do even more than just support indie lit weirdos… throughout September 2018, we’ll be donating 50% of our sales to RAICES, to help provide legal assistance to underserved immigrant families.

So if you buy any subscriptions or books or zines (like our forthcoming Fall 2018 issue, currently available for pre-order), we’ll donate half that money to RAICES. (To learn more about the cause, check out RAICESTexas.org.)

In addition, we’ll be taking donations for RAICES at our September 26 reading, which is part of Reading for RAICES, a collaborative fundraiser of over 20 NYC-area reading series:

  

Thanks to Katie Rainey & Devin Kelly of the Dead Rabbits, and everyone else who’s been organizing Reading for RAICES– and we hope you’ll help us all help some folks who’ll really need it this Fall…