Tag Archives: Spring 2017 (#13)

“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.

{ X }

{ 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.

{ X }

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.

{ X }

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

“The Monster Study” – Fiction by Andrew Davie

“The Monster Study” is Andrew Davie‘s nightmarish short story from our Spring 2017 issue.

{ 2014 }

DURING HIS TRIAL AT THE EXTRAORDINARY CHAMBERS in the Courts of Cambodia, Number 2 was asked how he could perpetrate such vile actions against fellow human beings? Silence followed as he stared blankly, a former party leader turned pariah.

The ceiling fans did little to cool the room, which had now housed the attendees for almost seven hours. Pressed shirts, which still reeked of moth balls and chemicals, now shone like they had been rubbed down with ham.

When he failed to respond, his crimes were repeated by one of the co-prosecutors. It took fifteen minutes to go through each particular count and subset. Spectators in the audience often had to leave the proceedings; their wailing could be heard just outside the room, piercing lamentations. One person fainted, and another became sick.

Number 2, as he was referred to during his leadership, looked somewhat annoyed now, a frail elderly man whose accused crimes took place nearly forty years prior. The co-prosecutor wiped sweat from her brow, and continued, stating these crimes had been corroborated by Numbers 3 and 4, whose testimony had been heard mere days before this particular trial started. She appealed to his vanity. She made bold declarations, systematically destroying everything he supposedly held dear: his patriotism, his leadership. She stated how his admission of guilt might save him from a death sentence. When she finished her remarks, she looked drained, aged, like she’d recently been paroled and released from the grips of a fever.

Throughout it all, he did not betray his inscrutable countenance.

{ 1981 }

Wes Craven sits at his desk staring at his typewriter. He is forty-four years old, and already the director of two films, which will become cult classics, noted for their graphic and sexual violence. However, he’s still mulling over what he regards as a failure with his first studio picture, Swamp Thing.

What makes matters worse, his friend and occasional collaborator, Sean Cunningham, has borne a successful series with his Friday the 13th films. Originally dubbed a failure, the third movie, now boasting a hockey mask-wearing villain, recently displaced Poltergeist as the number one movie at the box office.

Craven continues to stare. The ideas are not coming, and the frustration builds.

An avid birder, he grabs his binoculars and walks the winding path near his house out into the sunshine. The woman jogging by has no concept, no idea; this man is responsible for some of the most deplorable cinematic scenes released in the last few years. Their ignorance always pleases him; how he resembles some corn-fed Midwesterner but lurking right beneath the surface the capability for such atrocity. Flaubert once wrote, “Be regular and ordinary in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” This mantra epitomizes Wes Craven. Returning to his house, he goes out onto the porch with yesterday’s newspaper. He begins skipping around from byline to byline until something grabs his attention: Cambodian refugees who die in their sleep.

Craven’s heart beats a little faster.

He skims over technical jargon about cardiac arrhythmia, or Brugada Syndrome, as possible causes of death and reads an interview with an assistant medical examiner who had treated six who had died.

As Craven reads the examiner’s words, the idea begins to form in his mind.

There are no bullet wounds, no puncture or stab wounds, no signs of any trauma or foul play, the examiner says: “I’ve been searching through medical journals for the last few days, and the only thing I can tell you is those people were literally scared to death.”

Relatives of the deceased believe the deaths to be the work of Khmout Sukkhot, a demon of Asian folklore who kills you while you sleep. Continue reading “The Monster Study” – Fiction by Andrew Davie

“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.

{ X }

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

“Believe Me” – Fiction by Jono Naito

Dreaming of the Astral Plane – Norval Morrisseau (Copper Thunderbird), 1995

A mysterious man reunites with an old friend in “Believe Me,” Jono Naito‘s eerie & alluring short story from our Spring 2017 issue.

{ X }

AN OLD ACURA PULLED INTO THE DRIVEWAY in early November, during the last of the cold rains. I had my hand down the drain of a hot tub. I was out at my late uncle’s place, which I rented to rich types from the city. The deck was broken, the wires frayed, the roof peeling back with each passing year, but I would still come up the mountain to fix it. I liked the long breaks though, when no one was there, where I could be by myself for a week or so. A water-proof headrest floated in the leftover tub water. Being there was my purpose, at the time; I thought it was all I had. I stepped around the rusted metal furniture to watch the unexpected visitor, dangling my dripping arm far from my body. The car pulled away, leaving a man with a black coat and two hard leather briefcases. Facing me, I could see it wasn’t a coat, but a robe. It took a moment, but I realized the person was somehow Nathaniel Sharp.

“I need a place to stay,” he said, at a distance.

“Do you have a reservation?”

“Rules are prisons.” He hadn’t outgrown his familiar tone. His face was thickened by age, though the eyebrows, twisted over like the touching of two bent river-reeds, those were his. In grade school Nathaniel had little, round spectacles and carried notebooks with him wherever he went. The former was still perched on the tip of his raven’s beak nose, and at least one journal dangled from his hand. My body shivered in the wind as he approached. We were both the same age, but what thinning hair I could see made me second-guess the time. It had been twenty-five years since the tenth grade, when he left school without saying a word. It couldn’t have been that long already, I thought, I was still fairly young. Nathaniel, standing quietly before me, removed his hood.

“LaFarge gave me your info. He said you had a place up here. I have money.” He pulled a clod of bills from his pocket, aligning his eyes with mine. LaFarge was the one guy I still knew from school.

I took and unfolded the cash. “Why do you need a place?”

“I just do. Just for a few days. I have news, quite the news, but I can’t share it with you. Not out here.”

He looked at the trees around us, holding the suitcases closer to himself. When we were young he thought himself a wizard, and, for some time, so did I. I became worried, quickly, that he still thought this.  “What’s in there?”

“My equipment,” he said. “The standard, everything I need to continue my work.” He looked at the cottage wall. “It is nice here. Isolated. You must like it very much.”

I nodded. It had been awhile since a friend had to lean on me for help, and I couldn’t, at that moment, think of a way to say no. “Front door’s unlocked,” I said. “Loft bedroom to the left. You can set up there.”

Nathaniel nodded and put a hand on my shoulder, the edge of his thumb resting on my clavicle. It was strange to be touched. He smiled that same, child-wonder smile.

“It’s good to see you, Ford. I have much to show you.”

He left me in the chilled air and went to the front door. I considered changing my mind, but as I unfolded the bills I saw they were hundreds, quite a few of them. Money was money. Moving about inside I heard the suitcases, percussive. I returned to the hot tub, dipped my arm deep, and pulled on the valve to drain it.

{ X }

I sat on my couch and stared up at the loft. Nathaniel had fallen asleep quite abruptly, one boot visible. The scent of incense settled on the room; lavender, a smell that I used to adore for its ability to cleanse a space of bad energy. My phone shook on the table; it was, perhaps, a new tenant, finally messaging me back. Or junk email. In both cases I didn’t get up, and instead I continued to watch the single boot like a television for the next half an hour, wondering how long he’d be like that. As if he heard me thinking, Nathaniel eventually grunted and got up.

He maneuvered himself down the steps, hood back, exposing the edges of tattoos extending from his ears, down under the collar of an undershirt. He sat in the armchair by the wall, and looked out the window, licking his lips in silence. His socks were not matching; I could see under the hem.

“I finally did it.”

“Did what?”

He untangled the robe at his feet, hiding his socks again. He looked out again.

“It’s incredible.” He ran his fingers through his hair, almost like he was removing a toupee. “We spent all those years, and now I can do it.” I began counting the rings on his left hand. “Are we alone?”

“Yes,” I said.

He leaned forward. “I can do it, Ford. I can get into dreams.”

Continue reading “Believe Me” – Fiction by Jono Naito

“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.

{ X }

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.

{ X }

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