Tag Archives: Spring 2017 (#13)

“My Teen Ghost is Hungry” – Fiction by Caroll Sun Yang

Ice Cream – Evelyne Axell, 1964

Until today, Caroll Sun Yang’s vibrant & Proustian experimental flash fiction “My Teen Ghost is Hungry” could only be read in copies of our Spring 2017 issue, FLAPPERHOUSE #13… but now, as a special treat, it’s freely available to read on FLAPPERHOUSE.com ! Dig in…

{ X }

Prognosis. Oakland, 1974.

FATHER’S MATE SERVED STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM IN DEPRESSION ERA BOWLS. We prodded lobsters in ten gallon barrels. Babysitter froze colorful fluids in Gerber jars—I chipped away for taste and to birth gemmy shards. Nurse fed me marinated fish on sticky rice. Mother pushed me in a special stroller, post-hospital chocolate cookies leaving muddy smears on me. Picking Froot Loops out of olive shag while loving mangled dolls in heat. I taste/d air, a bustling mid-70’s melting pot with boiling grease, steamy grates and desperate immigrant kisses.

Prayer. Vallejo, 1981.

Fingered globs of Duncan Hines lemon frosting when none noticed. Held stolen Olive Wood rosary beads in my mouth. Balmy winds thrashed as devils chased me on my bike—mouth open to the antiseptic, wild fennel and sour flower fumes. I smoked candy cigarettes. Grandmother fed me bloated Captain Crunch in warmed milk. Fevers. I burned, snuck out in rain, pressed my cheek to a crippled Oldsmobile Cutlass, and lapped up lukewarm raindrops.

Remission. Oxnard, 1985.

Father arrived wielding a fluffy banana birthday cake with a tub of PB&J ice cream. Guzzled grape Slurpees with Randall while watching scrambled sexy movies. Malt-O-Meal quicksand drowning sliced hotdogs blanketed in Kraft Singles. Sunshine frolic with grimy kids, sucking Tang covered ice while wading in muddy backyard ponds. Slabs of Jolly Rancher Fire! Manure fields. Hot. Grainy Orange Metamucil doled by mother frowning.

Relapse. Camarillo, 1988.

We undressed easily, bodies collapsing on heaped clothes, chewing homework pencils and breaking Miracle Whipped bread with Libby’s corned beef that never met my hips. Final rays filtered through pale lavender drapes, faces painted in dreamy shadows, first/ last kisses. Radiant sick eyes, blather about heaven’s boys between sips of Minute Maid Punch in crystalline tumblers. Feverish. Settling sadness. Tongue fade.

Outcome. Here, Now.

Hunger.

{ X }

CAROLL SUN YANG earned her BFA at Art Center College of Design, an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, and holds certification as a Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist. Her work appears in The Nervous BreakdownNew World WritingMUTHA MagazineThe Los Angeles Review of BooksMcSweeney’s Internet TendencyNecessary FictionIdentity TheoryWord RiotColumbia Journal and Juked. She lives and toils over her gestating debut collection while writeressin’ and matriarchin’ in Eagle Rock, CA. She can never have enough personality-disordered friends/ lo-fi anything/ human touch/ sarcasm/ cell photo filters/ art films featuring teens/ Latrinalia/ frosting flowers/ bio changes. She spews forth as Caroll Sun Yang on Facebook.

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“Mercuria, the AndroGenie” – Poetry by Zoel Paupy Stirner

Venus – Walasse Ting, 1980

The grand finale of our Spring 2017 issue is Zoel Paupy Stirner‘s bawdy, lyrical epic poem / post-modern sailor’s shanty “Mercuria, the AndroGenie.” 

{ X }

STICK MY JUNK IN A BOX? / only if we’re talking ’bout Schrodinger’s
Yet with a bod like a vase / I sure ain’t boasting no dough figure
cause I sport no bigger a waist / than a glossy fat-shame trigger
yet no smaller my nates / than your own favorite pop singer’s
and if we’re talking ’bout face / mine’s as good as it gives
plump lips like felt lace / where I hook my svelte finger
and my beard’s long and dark and / carefully grizzled
into which I comb petals / among crumbs of old vittles,
stogie butts and gnawed bones, / glit-ter and dried spittle
I shake out my mane as I girlishly giggle
“Mercuria’s here, who’ll buy me a drink?
step quick to me, children / fate comes fast as a dink”

And the barman will nod as a queue quickly forms
Old men and young women, students fresh from their dorms
who’ve heard the queer tales of my magical wiles
stories teased out through whispers and half-ashamed smiles
A weaver of wishes / A teller of truths
A seer of souls / and a good lay to boot
Breasts that spill milky from a red-sequined dress
and gams that cross coyly, grained black like hir chest
with curling dark hair, refused to be shaved
but take care not to stare, lest you find Mercuria’s gaze
upon you and pleasure forever denied
along with your fate, to live haltered and blind

So they say, So they say / though my work’s still much stranger,
to portend’s my play / and your love is my languor

For every augur, a glass / mine’s a lipstick stained beer-mug
For every Samson, an ass-bone / and a fond parting ear-tug

“A prostitute priestess?” / “A hermaphrodite Christ?”
“Nailed ‘gainst the loo boards most ev-er-y night?”

All this, lovies, my dovies / All this and much more
Mercuria’s Queen where the sky strays the shore

Continue reading “Mercuria, the AndroGenie” – Poetry by Zoel Paupy Stirner

“Manifesto for Alata, Transcinematist; or Winged Imagination, by GLB Pym” – Fiction by Amanda Sarasien

The Miracle of Light While Flying – Gerardo Dottori, 1931

Esteemed art historian & cultural critic GLB Pym returns to FLAPPERHOUSE to praise an underappreciated genius in “Manifesto for Alata, Transcinematist; or Winged Imagination,” Amanda Sarasien‘s high-flying fiction from our Spring 2017 issue.

{ X }

THE BLOTTING OUT OF THE NAME ENNIO ALATA from the avant-garde is a glaring stain upon art itself. While my left hand, armed with its pen, charges in frenzied formation across the page, my right hand holds aloft its battle standard, a three-hundred-meter strip of film, Alata’s masterpiece. I march against immobile sentries, lay siege to concrete parapets that mire this ivory tower in the swamp of centuries. My just war has three simple aims:

  1. To emancipate the name Alata from the trenches of narrow minds who dismiss him as a minor Futurist; who, guided by their arbitrary geography of genre, confuse map lines with walls; who shed ink like blood dizzy with defeat weak with worry wondering where is his art? Where are the relics of his creative rituals? Sighs dissolving on passéist lips extol the mummified manuscript the cadaverous canvas, while I revere animate art, the silver-screen breath the radio hiss the zoetic flash across the stage.
  2. To lay at Immortality’s feet this celluloid garland spirited from the underworld of oblivion. Let breasts projecting the white light of curiosity, undimmed by petty doubt, convene. Together we will revive argentine idols frozen in webs of x-ray shadow, return them to the empyreal screen where they will take up once again the silent dance of deities.
  3. To sing the ballad of Alata’s electric exploits, lightning bolts rending complacent clouds. This high-voltage life is an aura hovering over Time and Space supercharging the twentieth century. Heretofore, critics averted their eyes from its ultraviolet brilliance, banished it to the upper reaches of the ionosphere to avoid the constant shock of its vibrations. With just a few anecdotes, I will harness this violent current, feed it to the ravenous power station to pulse through a radial network of static chatter, conducting new energy heart oxygen spirit into the bloodstream of art. My oratorio will bring the man—airplane down to earth for a momentary landing before launching him refueled into the firmament.

 

Although enfant terrible Ennio Alata never signed his name to a single Futurist manifesto, Marinetti’s founding credo must for him have represented a creative call to arms. Why else would he have kept his clipping from the February 20, 1909, edition of Le Figaro taped to the wall above his writing desk until the day of his death? To what extent Alata hitched his artistic ambitions to the racecar that was Futurism, as it hurtled down its collision course with history, remains a subject of disinterested debate. But no matter how the arguments vie, lapping round and round one another, the outcome is always the same: Absent material artifacts to attest to the value of his artistic production, Alata is discounted as a fickle dilettante, his early death a loss modernism suffers unmourned.

My appeals to the critical elites to reevaluate Alata’s legacy in light of the film fragment whose contents I will, in due course, unveil, have all gone unheeded. Dr. Bertram Beake of Wexford, Chair of the International Society for Modernism, defiled my panel proposal with a curt rejection which may as well have been a slap in the face, as that would have stung less. I cannot help but find such a rejection ironic, given the Futurists’ own abhorrence of academia, of so-called cognoscenti heaping -isms on top of one another like gravediggers filling a crowded cemetery. That a stodgy conference on Futurism would constitute a farce of colossal proportions clearly scurried right under Beake’s turned-up beak. With this manifesto, I mobilize the vanguard of avant-gardists, those wishing to revolt against institutes and societies who stick the corpses of Modernist movements under glass with pins. Together, we will declaim the genius of this brief film, in a forum not unlike those Futurist Evenings which, in their day, so upended correctness. Alata, of course, would have approved.

Continue reading “Manifesto for Alata, Transcinematist; or Winged Imagination, by GLB Pym” – Fiction by Amanda Sarasien

“Dead Squirrel Oh My Soul” – Fiction by Caroll Sun Yang

Squirrel Nutkin – Beatrix Potter, 1903

A vision of roadkill gives life to some wonderfully psychotropic short fiction in “Dead Squirrel Oh My Soul,” one of two pieces by Caroll Sun Yang in our Spring 2017 issue.

{ X }

Jesus, don’t want me for a sunbeam.
Sunbeams are never made like me.

Nirvana

{ Squirrel }

IS THERE NOTHING SO EXTRAORDINARY ABOUT ROADKILL? Today, I have taken the exact measure of java, carbs and psycho-tropics to be able to keenly observe that this squirrel does not look dead but rather in slumber. An earth-colored body unmarred, at rest with a bushy tail curled slightly in, sharp-tipped paws laid upon each other as if in lazy prayer, a round frog belly covered in a down of cocoa-cream fur, overgrown teeth in a surprised mouth, slit wet eyes and such bitty folded ears pasted against its head. If I scream, will it hear me?

Los Angeles’ sunlight is stark, with a pale topaz gleam that provokes a suicidal nerve. I felt it many Augusts. Sometimes you will come out into this luster, from within dank dream-infested apartments or sprawling pseudo-Mediterranean abodes or any of the ill-composed habitats between and blink many times in an effort to calibrate self to such exposure. Blink, red behind the lids, blink, white, blink sunset, red-orange, white, blood oranges, white, tracers and floaters, veins, pomegranate, blink, open blue, blink… Thick polluting dust and the molecules of deferred hopes might take you. Sometimes that dazzling light plus the babble of traffic, daytime neon, alarms, vendors, construction, birds, elevators, footsteps, chewing, whispers… mated with the smell of tar and industry and perfumes and decay will deliver you straight to panic.

A poisonous sun shines hard on our dead squirrel, stiff rays push through a.m. clouds and smog. A religious feeling light spills over the beast, like it is a Virgin Mary in a master painting. The squirrel has a mother, as all must. A juvenile death is incorrect, even in the case of a peanut-brained mammal; premature death steals opportunities for action. Actions like falling in love, breaking up, falling apart, giving seed, taking seed, trusting again and slowly not. Imagine this rodent, before the vehicle met him, doing what it knew instinctively to do. Forage, collect, store, mate. It had innate sense of beginnings and endings. Begin spring. End spring. Begin summer. Reproduce. End that. Start fall. Collect like mad. Store. Feed. Reproduce. Spring. An ancient rhythm.

Cycle. Wilderness. Go.

Continue reading “Dead Squirrel Oh My Soul” – Fiction by Caroll Sun Yang

“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