Tag Archives: Spring 2016 (#9)

excerpts from Priest/ess 4 – lyric essay by j/j hastain

Eternal-trans-temporal - photo by j/j hastain
Eternal-trans-temporal – photo by j/j hastain

Priest/ess is an ongoing work on gender by j/j hastain, and as usual with j/j’s writing, it’s magical & illuminating & mystifying (in the best possible way). Three excerpts from Priest/ess have previously been published at aglimpseof.net as part of their Narrative in Progress titled “A Thing Like You and Me,” and we were honored to include a 4th excerpt of this one-of-a-kind work in our Spring 2016 issue.

{ X }

IT IS POSSIBLE TO BE POSSESSED BY THE ENTITY to which you have devoted your life.

That possession is not necessarily like they show it in horror movies; sometimes possessions are sacred offerings of synonymous identity, felt due to synonymous embodiment. The cave often calls through me, comes to me, begging for attending. I consider attending the cave a form of self-love.

As I was walking up the hill, after spinning and drowning in what I could only describe as the cave’s primal grief regarding any time it has ever been overlooked by the women that it serves, I began losing it. I was not yet up the hill in such a way that I could lean on Quan Yin (her statue was still hundreds of feet ahead of me) but I was also hundreds of feet away from the cave-proper. Would I remain alone in this moment: the practical and ephemeral moirologist for a complex, cosmic grief which, even in its need to express its depressions, its sadness at being overlooked by the populations in which it serves, it is also desperately in love with every woman who might or might not overlook it?

The cave’s love of and for women is both physical and mythic.

My sisters must have heard my cry just like I hear the cry of the cave.

In a manner of moments they had run over to me, were surrounding me, touching me on all sides. “Present and essential, your roots, your worms, your cave-holding that surges underneath all of these workings with light in the above…” Their touch, their words as touch, begin to bring me back to life.

“Yes, essential but not always celebrated as such.”

I am choking on the feeling. Cave synonym needs cave union.

Whenever I am not appreciated or acknowledged as cave I can feel the result is my slowly dissipating from behind my human woman eyes. This sensation is like slipping; it terrifies me. It is as if any moment in which I am not being touched, I am being overlooked. Kept out of the light. In these I can’t feel Sophia so obviously anymore.

“I feel so isolated from the circle when those who are in the circle are looking only into the circle and not into me (the Below).”

My sisters understand me. They are humming, rocking me, putting pressure on my body. I am crooning with the dark crown as it moves from the cave, below ground, up and through the blood in my veins in its manner of making its way to the top of my head.

The more pressure they physically put on me, the more they puja me as the cave, the more I am able to slowly return to the seat behind my eyes. They don’t let go of me until they know for sure that I am all the way back inside of myself.

Continue reading excerpts from Priest/ess 4 – lyric essay by j/j hastain

“Bodies,” “Another Failed Poem about Unrequited Love,” and “Synesthesia” – Poetry by Lauren Milici

Sensuality - Franz Stuck, 1891
Sensuality – Franz Stuck, 1891

“Bodies,” “Another Failed Poem about Unrequited Love,” and “Synesthesia” are three  darkly sensual poems by Lauren Milici featured in our Spring 2016 issue.

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“Bodies”

STILL. TOGETHER WE
smell of burning; lit votive

                             candles. Hit me, he said
                             so I did. Save me, so

I did. Right through new sheets, bled
and fucked like glass breaking. Once

                             tasted; skin, like unfinished portraits.

 { X }

“Another  Failed  Poem  about Unrequited  Love”

WHEN YOU DREAM
of me your wife

is dead. I wear nothing
but thigh highs and hot

desperation. I wait
at the foot of your bed,

in the dark.

{ X } Continue reading “Bodies,” “Another Failed Poem about Unrequited Love,” and “Synesthesia” – Poetry by Lauren Milici

“Redfield” – Fiction by Stephen Langlois

1906FireA mysterious name turns out to have a sinister history in “Redfield,” Stephen Langlois‘ chilling short story from our Spring 2016 issue. (And now, you can hear Stephen read this story & chat with Ilana Masad on The Other Stories podcast!)

{ X }

FIRST TIME SHE SAID IT—well, it hardly sounded like anything at all. She was aside me, asleep. Her eyes were doing that thing–that rapid movement thing–and her lips kinda pursed for a second before going all slack like she was struggling to tell someone something real important. The second time it was just two disconnected syllables. Third time there was words. There was definite words that third time.

“Red field,” she was saying and what it brought to mind was like a field of thick reddish grass like what you might see in a painting of some distant countryside somewhere. That, or it was like a field which had caught fire—ablaze is what they’d call it—radiating a deep red hue there in the twilight.

“Redfield,” she said again and that’s when I understood it was a name. A man’s most likely. For a second my brain even latched onto the idea of another lover—like how in movies they’re always accidentally confessing to secret affairs—but there was a kinda fearfulness in her voice that made me decide otherwise.

I was wide awake by this point. Had been really for hours. It was the medication I suppose. The doctor said if we was to keep upping the dosage it’d start interfering with my sleep cycle and he was right. It did.

“You know anybody goes by the name of Redfield?” I asked her in the morning.

“Redfield?” she said, thinking on it for a while. I liked that about her. She was what you’d call a deep-thinker. “No,” she said. “No Redfield.”

 

Next night, though, was the same damn thing. “Redfield,” she kept on saying and it was like she was unconsciously –or is it subconsciously?—trying to issue a warning about this individual. It was unsettling laying there in the dark, listening to that. It was like maybe this Redfield was out there, leaning against the chainlink between the yard and Riverside Park, looking up at the bedroom window, just kinda enjoying the fact that someone was up here uttering his name with what might be described as a sorta dread.

“Sure you don’t know anybody by the name of Redfield?” I asked her over coffee.

“I know Redfield,” her kid said, coming into the kitchen in search of breakfast. “I know about Redfield anyways. I had a whole dream about him last night. His name’s Redfield,” she told us, “and he lives in a field. A red field,” she said.

Though I knew I weren’t supposed to—not after what happened the previous time—I decided to skip my meds. I was getting sick of laying awake after working my ass off all day and come eleven o’clock that night I pretty much passed right out. Stayed that way, too, for a good two or three hours before waking up like I ain’t never been asleep in the first place. I’d been saying his name. I knew it somehow.

“Redfield,” I said—trying it out like for investigative purposes—and I admit I was a little spooked by how familiar it sounded coming outta my mouth. It was like probably I’d spoken his name quite a bit before that night. Like I was trying to speak to him directly almost, a prayer you might say of the unhallowed variety.

“Redfield,” said a voice, louder this time, and I figured it was my own before comprehending it was the woman aside me, still asleep. It weren’t too long before another voice could be heard from down the hall joining in—it was the kid’s—and I tell you it was almost like Redfield was there in the house now. It was like our late-night utterances really had somehow gone and conjured this man a body with all the fleshy weight that came along with it, the unrestrained limbs, the brain matter sparking with what it is they call cognition. I could picture Redfield peering around the doorways into each room, envisioning to himself what sorta devastation he might someday bring about to this otherwise unharmed space.

Continue reading “Redfield” – Fiction by Stephen Langlois

“The Libidinal Economy of the Suburbs” – Fiction by Joseph Tomaras

Smiling Blonde - Marjorie Strider
Smiling Blonde – Marjorie Strider

“Things said and unsaid that cannot be unheard” make up “The Libidinal Economy of the Suburbs,” Joseph Tomaras‘ flash fiction from our Spring 2016 issue.

{ X }

YOU HAVE TO FLUSH THREE TIMES to send all your excreta to the town café’s septic system. It was the kind that is pleasurable but leaves you feeling a bit dirty afterwards, no matter how vigorously you wipe. You wash your hands and leave the bathroom, book in hand, three-quarters of your second mug of coffee gone lukewarm on the table.

She, overtanned with sun-brightened hair in the manner of white American women of the middle classes, says as you sit, “Have I seen you before?”

“It’s possible,” you reply from your Saturday morning stubble, your hair uncombed and two months overdue for a cut, in your faded jeans and the blue, buttoned-down shirt whose threadbare state is visible only at close range.

“No, I mean, here, today, earlier this morning. Have you been here a long time?”

“What time is it?” You ask honestly. You wear no watch and left your phone at home.

She flashes her tennis-braceleted left wrist and says “A quarter past a freckle,” chuckles, then looks at the iPhone in her right hand and says, “No, really, 10:32.”

“About an hour, then.”

“You said something to me on the line.” You never speak to people on the line. “I stopped in here after I dropped my son off at soccer, and you were with a group of people.”

“You must have me confused with someone else.”

“Actually I’m just trying to pick you up.” Her sons, five-to-eight years older than your kids, roll their eyes at one another as you steal a glimpse at her breasts, five-to-eight years lower than your wife’s. “No, I’m just driving my kids crazy.” By which she means:

“Really I am trying to pick you up but with my sons here I have no idea how to make that happen and you don’t seem interested and this is embarrassing, abject really, please help me out.”

Continue reading “The Libidinal Economy of the Suburbs” – Fiction by Joseph Tomaras

“The Weight Between Want and Desire” – Poetry by Christina M. Rau

The Desire - Remedios Varo, 1935
The Desire – Remedios Varo, 1935

“The Weight Between Want and Desire” is one of two stirring and beguiling poems by Christina M. Rau in our Spring 2016 issue.

{ X }

SILENCE MOVING FAST,
it plummets off cliffs in gusts.
A search for nothing
takes forever,

slated out, left for loss
in other people’s warrens:
a broken magnet, unsure compass
poking through a canvas sack.

A coffin, a casket,
a green and purple basket:
full, heavy, reeking of apples
stored up for the last half of tomorrow.

{ X }

Continue reading “The Weight Between Want and Desire” – Poetry by Christina M. Rau

“Muse, Elucidated” – Poetry by Innas Tsuroiya

Hesiod and the Muse - Gustave Moreau, 1893
Hesiod and the Muse – Gustave Moreau, 1891

The enchanting “Muse, Elucidated” is one of two enigmatically beautiful poems by Innas Tsuroiya in our Spring 2016 issue.

{ X }

IN THE END, WHEN YOU CAPTIVATE

the       h          o          l           l           o          w          tunnel

channeling through my dilated pupil

with me capturing back to you, already enchanted

spell-bound and damaged in a cryptic melancholia

being unable to dissuade such moment from aerifying

into free air and summer atmosphere;

may your papers be sated with raw alphabets

streaming until the end of page

not stopping until you ambit the very last breath

or the thrill of having backache

 

do you not have to sway back and forth again

to incarnate those dead words into divine subtlety

for I am here casting shadow over your body

between dimmed candles and city lights

between promises and frights, between us

l           o          o          s          e          n          i           n          g

each other’s grip for once in a while

{ X } Continue reading “Muse, Elucidated” – Poetry by Innas Tsuroiya

“Cape Valentine” – Poetry by Catfish McDaris

Omnia Vincit Amor, or The Power of Love in the Three Elements - Benjamin West, 1809
Omnia Vincit Amor, or The Power of Love in the Three Elements – Benjamin West, 1809

We’re not sure we’ve ever seen “love” defined as wonderfully as it is in “Cape Valentine,” one of 5 fantastically madcap poems by Catfish McDaris featured in our Spring 2016 issue. (And should you want to read even more of Catfish’s work, you could check out his new collection “Sleeping with the Fish,” now available from Pski’s Porch Publishing.)

{ X }

LOVE IS A RUNAWAY TRAIN
An elephant stampede
The Grand Canyon at sunrise
Van Gogh’s bedroom
Good days bad sad dogs cats babies death
Beautiful intelligent enchanting intriguing
A memory of a memory
Back to back against the wall and the wolf
and the tax man and the ripper and the vultures
Mona Lisa’s whisper and laughter
A hurricane of dreams on the precipice of life.

{ X } Continue reading “Cape Valentine” – Poetry by Catfish McDaris

“Doodlebug” – Fiction by Emily Linstrom

Immortality - Henri Fantin-Latour, 1886
Immortality – Henri Fantin-Latour, 1889

Our Spring 2016 issue is our most invincible issue yet, its pages resounding with time-slaying stories of immortality, reincarnation, and eternal recurrence. And setting the table for this otherworldly affair is “Doodlebug,” Emily Linstrom‘s haunting tale about a family of monstrous immortals hiding out in “a part of London even London has no recollection of…”

{ X }

{ Prologue }

THE HOUSE IS SITUATED ON A CRESCENT ROW, nicknamed by the rustics the “h’moon.” It is not a street you will ever stumble upon, and count yourself lucky for it. The crescent is located in a part of London even London has no recollection of, a corner canopied by centuries of soot and smog, fog off the Thames tapping at the streaked glass panes with wraithlike fingers. The row is silent and, one would suspect, largely abandoned.

Except for one house.

Standing four stories and flanked by an equal number of fluted columns, it is a study in Grecian symmetry: wide steps leading to imposing double doors, the Gorgon’s head knocker stiff with disuse; an iron gate clenches the house—the whole row, in fact—in its jaw, nothing that enters may escape. The silence is a sound unto itself, a weird sort of life that is not alive at all.

The family has a name, ancient and unpronounceable, and that name has been etched over the front door for centuries. And so too have they resided within. For centuries.

Back when Britain was a wild isle ruled by tribes, a general carved a highway into the land and conquered those tribes, and built great temples and fortresses, and erected gods that were not their own, then toppled those gods and replaced them with one. The old ways were set afire, and strong Roman feet trampled the ashes. The city went up, one they could not stop building, expanding, adding on to. The general believed himself a god, and worthy of a god’s lot, and so he built himself a home that could only be called a temple. And did things only a god would dare, until he damned himself and his kin right into monstrous immortality.

Monsters, they truly are. Or would be called, had the world even the vaguest notion of them. Their lives are delivered to the door by an equally obscure messenger, unnamed and unseen, and the h’moon keeps its secrets. Continue reading “Doodlebug” – Fiction by Emily Linstrom

“weather” – Poetry by William Lessard

A Woman Ghost Appeared from a Well - Katsushika Hokusai, circa 1800
A Woman Ghost Appeared from a Well – Katsushika Hokusai, circa 1800

The supremely spooky & surreal “weather” is one of 3 marvelous poems by William Lessard in our Spring 2016 issue.

{ X }

THE NIGHT THAT BECAME
night. We open the door

in the middle of our bed.
The door is candy corn tear.

The door is blue giant
ear. You go first. I follow.

The map says call ghosts.
You call with the side

of your hand. No ghosts.
You call. Not a ripple

in the curtain dark. I say
call with a different voice.

You cup your hand, call
as the girl that stands

behind your eyes. The girl
is ripped dress tacked

to a post. The girl is
blood wiped from the tip

of his favorite tie. I know
this girl. She thinks she’s

hiding, but I catch her.
I’ve seen her often peering

out, sometimes with eyes bolted
to the jewels of foreign fingers.

Her voice is your lace curtain
voice, speaking in gasoline flame.

All the ghosts know her. All the ghosts
know you. They appear as smoke

blown beneath a door. This is how
the night begins. Your voice, this tree.

{ X } Continue reading “weather” – Poetry by William Lessard

Beyond-the-Grave Blurbs for FLAPPERHOUSE #9!

#9FLAPPERHOUSE #9—  now available in DIGITAL (PDF) form for $3US and in PRINT for $6US— is being blurbed by some of literature’s deaddest legends!

FLAPPERHOUSE #9 is a cloud
impregnated with a
thousand lightnings.” – Rumi

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