Tag Archives: Rene Magritte

“Mother to Chick” – Fiction by Rebecca Ann Jordan

Young girl eating a bird (The pleasure) - Rene Magritte, 1927
Young girl eating a bird (The pleasure) – Rene Magritte, 1927

Earlier this year, we asked Rebecca Ann Jordan if she could write us a flash fiction inspired by Rene Magritte’s painting “Young girl eating a bird.” The result is the enchantingly eccentric & superbly disturbing “Mother to Chick,” one of many flappy lits you can read in our Fall 2015 issue.

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IN THOSE DAYS, WOMEN WEREN’T PERMITTED TO FLY. It would have been unseemly, like wearing pants then, or wearing skirts now.

I was born with feathers tucked between my teeth. I bet they don’t tell it that way. Screams of horror at being thrust into a cold world turned to giggles, feathers tickling the mouth’s roof. They who grasped my ankles and spun me around, who made me lust for vertigo, also made me vomit out the feathers.

It was already too late for me. I’d been hooked on flight.

The birds, they listen to me in the way that dogs or horses listen to men but not women. I’ve never seen a man could charm a finch down from an apple tree. (Disregard tall tales, always shinier in hindsight anyway.)

I, avian hoarder, began to accumulate them young. A hummingbird perched on my ear, woodpecker on shoulder, quail hurrying along in my perfumed wake. Now they hover, churning flurry, behind me—a mile-long veil of feathers and cacophonic chirps. All want attention.

All prove their value with flight.

My little dog chases the ground-dwellers until they’re forced to light upon my skin, digging in little claws.

I made my own attempt in all the usual ways, plus:

  • Lifting molted feathers, fallen in a flurry from my train. First glued, then soldered to my skin, shoved into holey pores. I thought then to skip the easily-melted wax; I’m not incapable of learning from the past
  • Weaving a net the larger birds could burrow up inside, press against the roof, and me with fingers twined in the ends, they my balloon, I their weight. (Here, you can still see the rope burn that redly elongates my lines of head/lines of heart)
  • Making a machine. Perhaps the magic wasn’t in the birds; selfish to keep it to themselves. I made it from branches and leaves; gingham and lace from my dress I tore to pieces; strings and papa’s gears and rubber bands. Rubber bands propelled the gears that tugged the strings that pulled the branches and gingham and lace, all strapped between my shoulder blades. Up and down, went my fake branch / gingham wings, up and down and up and down and up and down. I almost felt myself getting lighter on the upswing, but down always counteracted

Continue reading “Mother to Chick” – Fiction by Rebecca Ann Jordan

The FLAPPERHOUSE Bathroom Library

Here at FLAPPERHOUSE, we believe that Reading Is Fundamental, and few kinds of reading are more fundamental than Bathroom Reading. When you consider that the average person spends over 90 hours per year using the bathroom, it’s not surprising to learn that those who have chosen to spend much of that time with books have contributed a great deal to the cultural history of humankind.

That’s why we were so alarmed to learn from Factual Science Magazine how Bathroom Reading has declined over 72% since 2009. (Thanks again for devolving the culture, SmartPhones!) And as a result, we’ve decided to make it our mission to resurrect this dying pastime.

This mission will, of course, be an ongoing affair, so for now we’d simply like to start by sharing the contents of FLAPPERHOUSE‘s own Bathroom Library:

FLAPPERHOUSE Bathroom Library

Clockwise from top left: Modesty Blaise by Peter O’Donnell; Peepshow: 1950s Pin-Ups In 3D, edited by Melcher Media, with Introduction by Bunny Yeager; Magritte: Thought Rendered Visible by Marcel Paquet; Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters; Drinking With British Architects: Poems by Jeff Laughlin

So, friends of FLAPPERHOUSE, do any of you have your own Bathroom Libraries at home? Let us know, and help us spread the word that Bathroom Reading Is One Of The Most Fundamental Kinds Of Reading There Is!

Welcome To The FLAPPERHOUSE

Drum Tissue Outburst? Throbbing Dust Generation!

Dorothy Parker, Jorge Luis Borges, and HP Lovecraft walk into a speakeasy. Louis Armstrong sings “St. James Infirmary Blues” over a rusty phonograph. Behind the bar, Salvador Dalí pours absinthe into a hubcap full of peanut butter and raw macaroni, and he stirs the mixture with the antler of a live moose.

“Four martinis, Sally,” says Parker. “Plus whatever the boys want.”

Borges excuses himself to the basement in search of the restroom. He must’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere because before long he’s lost himself in an infinite labyrinth full of shelves with mirror-spined books. He starts to imagine what stories these books contain, and how he might review them.

Back upstairs, Josephine Baker dances in sensual ecstasy on Fritz Lang’s table while he peeks at her sideways through his monocle and pretends he’s not aroused. René Magritte paints himself painting them both through a castle’s window. Apples hover before their faces.

The ghost of Franz Kafka’s in a corner, leaning sharply against the wall.  Lovecraft spots him and approaches, timid yet determined, as if helpless to confront his most horrifying fear. ”What’s it like?” Lovecraft asks, referring to death. Kafka’s ghost replies only with facial expressions: First with what seems like laughter, then a grimace like he might cry instead, and finally he shakes his head to say no, I really shouldn’t tell you, no. Lovecraft sits and stares at the floor for a while.

We are neither living nor dead!” shouts TS Eliot, raising a glass of gin. “And we know nothing, looking into the heart of light, the silence!

Parker’s sipping her second drink when she finally notices the ants crawling from the stem of her martini glass and onto her hand. Fucking Dalí, she thinks, as she swats and squashes as many bugs as she can. Kafka’s ghost can hear their screams.

She holds her cameraphone in front of her face: bemused, rankled, heartsick, yet almost drunk enough to be tickled by it all. Once she’s got enough good madness framed in the background, she sips, clicks a picture, and posts it to Instagram, caption, “Just another night at the Flapperhouse… #thirsty”