Tag Archives: Summer 2014 (#2)

“Birdy Told Me” – Poetry by Frederick Pollack

Passenger Pigeon - John J. Audubon, 1838
Passenger Pigeon – John J. Audubon, 1838

We often wonder whether animals are smarter and sneakier than they let on. And after reading  “Birdy Told Me,”  the poem by Frederick Pollack from our Summer issue, we’re almost convinced that they must be.

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IF ANIMALS COULD TALK THEY’D LIE. Consider:
they know people know how they suffer
yet do nothing; maybe
(they think) we’d do better
running individual scams.
Crows get tips from pigeons on ledges
on Wall Street, at race-tracks,
exchange them for carrion. Raccoons
promise to police your rain-gutters,
guard your house; eventually
they sell protection. (Dogs keep
their mouths shut, except when eating.) Deer
set up as gurus. They’re so cute and can do
charisma. Are one with all life, with
the Goddess, they say. Whoever
shoots one of us or runs one of us down
will burn. In every city or town
there is within easy distance a vacant
lot or patch of weeds beside
a road. Sit in it, say the deer, sit
long enough in the center of the weeds
and you will be made whole and purified.

{ x }

fredpollackFREDERICK POLLACK is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness, both published by Story Line Press.  Other poems in print and online journals.  Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University. Poetics: neither navelgazing mainstream nor academic pseudo-avant-garde.

 

“Lemon Lane” – Fiction by Foust

Girl with Pigtails - Amedeo Modigliani, 1918
Girl with Pigtails – Amedeo Modigliani, 1918

From our summer issue, “Lemon Lane” by Foust is a witty, bitter, melancholy riff on fame, identity, and memory through the eyes of a former sitcom star.

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LET’S GET THIS PART OUT OF THE WAY: I know I look familiar to you. Believe me, we’ve never met before. I was Krissy on that TV show “Lemon Lane.” Back in the early seventies. Here, let me refresh your memory: If I put my hands on my hips and tilt my head to the side, you might see it. Now, I have to say “Hey! Don’t look at me.” Yes. I was that little girl with pigtails who was always in trouble.

I get that look all the time. That “Don’t I know you?” look. It’s because I was in your house. I was in everyone’s house. People think they know me. Well, they used to. I’ve almost aged out of it, but these two little moles on my cheek give me away. Remember the episode where I—errr, Krissy—tried to sand them off with sandpaper? And then she had to be in the Christmas play. And they made me be a shepherd because then I could wear a beard over where I’d sanded my face.

You know, I was a lot older than Krissy. Most people thought she was six. But I was actually nine when I got the part. When I started to get boobs, they fired me. Well, on the show I got written off to boarding school and my family adopted a little girl named Brandy who was supposed to be the daughter of a family friend who died. Her catch phrase was “Are you kidding?” She had to tilt her head to one side the same way I used to. But she didn’t have to put her hands on her hips.

Sometimes, I would get called in to make a guest appearance. Maybe for a holiday show or something. They would write up something so I could say “Hey! Don’t look at me.” The studio audience would laugh. And then the writers would find a reason for me to leave so they could get back to finding ways to make Brandy say “Are you kidding?

After “Lemon Lane,” I didn’t get another TV show. I did do some commercials—remember Fudgy Squares? Or Kiddle Kids?

It’s strange, looking like someone who’s been in everybody’s house. I have two lives that run side-by-side like train tracks. Sometimes people forget which stories are real and which are from the show. It happens to me too. But when I remember something that happened and I realize that I was wearing pigtails, then I know it’s a show memory, rather than a real one. Those pigtails were fake. They just attached them to my real hair with some water soluble glue. At the end of every day, I had to tip my head over the sink in the dressing room and spend twenty minutes washing the glue out of my hair.

{ X }

pink portraitFOUST is a writer, printmaker, and curmudgeon. She lives in Richmond VA with her lovely husband Melvyn and several spoiled rescue dogs. She has an MFA from Spalding University. She goes by one name in order to save time.

“Lunch” – Poetry by Jeff Laughlin

Christ Feeding the Multitude - Artist & Date Unknown
Christ Feeding the Multitude – Artist & Date Unknown

In our Summer 2014 issue (currently available in PDF form for $3 US), our old friend Jeff Laughlin has two viciously funny and deeply incisive poems about poverty & other job-related miseries, excerpted from his fantastic new collection Life and Debt. We’re very flappy to present one of those poems, “Lunch,” below.

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OH WHAT WONDROUS STORIES AWAIT THE MASSES–
oh counterculture, lie down next to each of us
band us together under avarice-torn skies
as we rip to shreds our love of the moment.

This sandwich belies the true ideas of the gods!
Tuna fish! Tuna fish! I hearken to the days when
only seven of you would have fed 5,000 of us.
Now I am still hungry after devouring you whole.

Do you remember when we got an hour? I gave
lunch up for overtime long ago—when the air
was still clean and soda cost fifty cents and oh
when the myth of raises weren’t so horribly stale.

When the old guard still worked here, we drank
all day and cavorted with women all night, but
some of them died and others disappeared, say,
have you heard from them? I miss their candor.

They would never have taken these benefit cuts.
No, they would have painted their faces and boldly
attacked with blind rage! No matters of money or
heart can destroy the will of those ineffable beasts!

Send us the treasonous, venomous lying horde of
office-workers! We’ll crush them, hands wrenching
raw neckbone, blood streaming down our arms, but
I need a ride to the bank first, please, I have overdrawn.

{ X }

JarffJEFF  LAUGHLIN writes about the Bobcats Hornets for Creative Loafing Charlotte & about sports in general for Triad City Beat in Greensboro, NC. His 1st book of poetry, Drinking with British Architects, is riddled with mistakes but available free if you want it. His 2nd book is Alcoholics Are Sick People, and If you ask nicely, he’ll probably give that to you too. Contact Jeff on his seldom-used twitter (@beardsinc) or email him (repetitionisfailure @gmail.com). He likely needs a haircut.

“The Virgin” – Fiction by Dylan Jackson

Schädel (Skull) - Vincent van Gogh, 1887/1888
Schädel (Skull) – Vincent van Gogh, 1887/1888

In a dark, clammy alley near the intersection of loneliness, ignorance, violence, and lust, there’s Dylan Jackson‘s wry yet tragic tale, “The Virgin,” one of the many flappy lits included in our Summer 2014 Issue.

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SOMEONE GOT SHOT. Or, rather, many people were shot during a single incident. Some of them died, while others, despite varied injuries, managed to survive for the time being. He didn’t know where or when the incident took place, but from the little he could glean of the broken news report coming over radio in the front of the cab, Boneface knew that somewhere, people may have been as sad as him. It didn’t matter though. People die, just as more are created or brought into the world every day.

He hated getting out. Though, if it was a matter of necessity, it was reserved as a task carried out under the veil of night. On this particular evening, Boneface had found himself in want of a woman. This would be his first. After twenty-five years of unintentionally chaste living, the decision to procure intimacy had come almost as suddenly as he was sure to upon the initial encounter.

All evening he’d been sitting alone in his apartment—as he’d done nearly every evening of his adult life—pondering what it must feel like to be touched by another human to whom he bore no direct relation. The inspiration had come from nearly three hours of scanning through the titles of pay-per-view pornos that he couldn’t bring himself to purchase. It was less a matter of finance, and more an issue of pride, as his mother, and executor, would be the one to receive the bill. He’d made that mistake before and found himself wildly aroused, only to be met with deep embarrassment and shame the following month. Tonight though, he knew which mistake to avoid, and which new mistake he would forge. Continue reading “The Virgin” – Fiction by Dylan Jackson

FLAPPERHOUSE #2 is Now on Sale!

FLAPPERHOUSE #2 is no longer for sale– because it’s now available for free!
Just click the cover to read.

FLAPPERHOUSESummerCoverNova

including

“The Heartless Boy”Ed Ahern
“The fallow months,” “What’s cooking” – Daniel Ari
“Faerie Medicine” – Julie Day
“San Vicente”Robin Wyatt Dunn
“Lemon Lane” – Foust
“Boko”John Grey
“The Virgin”Dylan Jackson
“The Workaday World,” “Lunch” Jeff Laughlin
“One of those women” – Aoibheann McCann
“Waning & Waiting,” “Erotics of Silence”Lonnie Monka
“Still Shooting” – Todd Pate
“Birdy Told Me” – Frederick Pollack
“Breakers”J.E. Reich
“The New Mother” – Judith Skillman
“Scars”Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
“Other Side of the Fence”Anna Tizard
“Hypothetical Foundations of a Quantum Theory of Familial Social Physics”
Joseph Tomaras

“Breakers” – Fiction by J.E. Reich

Birthday - Marc Chagall, 1915
Birthday – Marc Chagall, 1915

“There are two things one is absolutely forbidden to write about: writers and bars.” We love how J.E. Reich’s  “Breakers” doesn’t give a flap about such silly rules– and that’s just one of many reasons why we chose to include this story in our Summer 2014 issue (FLAPPERHOUSE #2, currently procurable for only $3 US).

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I WENT ON A DATE WITH A WRITER WHO WAS LITTLE MORE THAN A RACKETEER. At the exhibit showcasing the works of the long-dead artist who had once been in exile from an old country, he read the descriptions of the paintings and wrote down one word from each on his uncalloused palm.  He was merely borrowing, would save these words for later. I tried to catch them while I drifted from painting to painting of women and bouquets, levitating upwards.  Exuberant, one might have said, or maybe exhume.  They fluttered and crumpled each time he closed his palm.  The rituals of creative types are only a few degrees away from felony.

Afterwards, we went to a bar, where the writer told me that there are two things one is absolutely forbidden to write about: writers and bars.

I told him that when I was a kid, I used to drink my mother’s aromatized vermouth straight from the bottle and never even blinked; how the burn would wear the silk recesses of my throat, to sever it from the inside-out.  I was a young drinker: twelve, thirteen.

Erode, he said.  It would erode your throat.

Yeah, okay, I mean, it would erode it, I guess.

A date between two men or a date between two women might as well take place on an analyst’s expensive chaise.  Here are the ways in which my life has been harder.  Let me count them, let me hold them up for you to see, let’s both feel bad together.

His username had been HexameterMe; his online dating profile had listed his occupation under Creative/Writing/Art.  So of course, I asked about it.

Well, yeah, I freelance. He paused.  The dark mahogany light of the bar dimmed for the exchange of ambience.  A stout, unlit candle stood on every table.  I also work for an agency.  I database for them.  I database during the day.  So he, too, wanted to be his better self. Continue reading “Breakers” – Fiction by J.E. Reich

“Scars” – Fiction by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

Untitled - Zdzisław Beksiński
Untitled, Zdzisław Beksiński

Digital copies of our Summer 2014 Issue will drop on June 20, but you can pre-order one right now for just $3 US. One of the very flappy lits featured in our 2nd issue is Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam‘s “Scars,” a surreal flash fiction seemingly spawned from the hazy hinterlands between dream and insanity…

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NATALIE DIDN’T KNOW WHERE THE MUSICIANS CAME FROM. When she woke from an ill-advised three-hour nap they were there in her spotless living room, their instruments strung out like her old college friends all over the brown plush carpet.

The empty carcasses of their instrument cases confused her. She stepped around them. She did not ask the musicians why they were there, but she did think it odd that they were not playing. Their instruments looked lonely leaning against her dusty elliptical, her empty bookcase – she had sold her books for cash at the local bookstore – her coffee table with the missing leg. As she stood in the kitchen door, which looked out at the living room, and shoveled peanut butter granola down her throat, she catalogued the instruments: one thick upright bass, one legless Casio keyboard, one worn acoustic guitar with a blue stripe down its middle, one tarnished brass trumpet, and one silver saxophone relaxing awkwardly on the couch beside a man whose dark fingers strangled its neck.

She looked, blurred by a nappy haze, from musician to musician, cataloguing them too, trying to place each man to his instrument. And they were all men, she realized with a start, five strange men in her home.

The one attached to the saxophone had dreadlocks to his hips, thick and black and beaded, a squarish face; beside him a thin man with two scars on his lips the shape of a trumpet mouthpiece sat with his legs crossed at the upper thigh; a rounder, cleaner man with the upright’s curved silhouette stood in the door to the study, his hands pressed against the frame as if blocking her escape, though the exit to the hallway was clear, thus that couldn’t have been his intent; a Hispanic man crouched behind her lazy boy, his hands poised across its back like a piano. The guitar player with shaggy brown hair covering one eye and black tape wrapped around each finger she didn’t have to guess at.

Continue reading “Scars” – Fiction by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

“The Heartless Boy” – Fiction by Ed Ahern

pandoras_box-400
Pandora’s Box, Omoi Tsuzura and Yokubari Obasan – Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1880

We’re giddy to open the box of our Summer 2014 Issue and unleash its first excerpt! Ed Ahern‘s “The Heartless Boy” is a mischievous modernization of one of the world’s most famous myths, swirling with twisted humor, demonic spirits, and wisps of what you might call romance.

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TOM WILLMAN WAS BORN EXPERIENCING NO STRONG FEELINGS–in fact, no feelings at all. No love or affection. No hate or dislike. Certainly no fear. The closest he came to emotions were pleasing or displeasing sensations.

Tom’s parents, desperate for a smile, had him tested for a litany of diseases, but he proved to be uncaringly above average. They quit trying to show Tom affection by the time he was six, and by the time he was ten were providing only what was legally required of them.

He ate because the tastes were good and food kept him alive. He avoided the harmful and the idiotic, so no drugs or gluttony, but also no designer water or wandering chickens. He exercised and bathed because his body felt better, and exhibited an attractive trimness about which he was oblivious.

Girls in high school viewed Tom’s indifference as cool and his trimness as attractive, feelings heightened once they discovered that his lack of emotion gave him extraordinary staying powers. Tom viewed his frequent sex acts as pleasant consensual exercise.

The person who tried hardest to know Tom best was Arthur Lausten, the high school psychologist. Lausten, with no significant life of his own, compulsively coached people on how to live better. His recurring daydream was perching in a confessional and prescribing atonements.

Tom was required to attend frequent sessions with Lausten, who toiled through hundreds of hours trying to etch Tom’s stainless steel persona with the bristles of a verbal toothbrush.

“Tom, you appear to be neither sociopathic nor psychotic, but except for satisfying basic biological requirements you’re completely indifferent to your humanity.”

“What’s your point, Mr. Lausten?”

Lausten was desperate He pulled out a large folding knife, flipped open the blade and waved it in front of Tom. “What would you do if I threatened to stab you?”

“Run.”

“And if you couldn’t get out of the room?”

“Ask somebody to reason with you.”

“And if that didn’t work?”

“Hit you with this book end.”

“How do you feel about me right now?”

“That question is inane.”

Early in his freshman year a bully had cornered Tom on the football field. Tom let the boy hit him twice before retaliating, knowing that in order to avoid discipline he had to have the boy’s aggression witnessed. Then he broke enough of the boy’s bones that the boy couldn’t be aggressive again for several months. The onlookers noticed that Tom’s expression had remained calm.

At the graduation ceremony, Tom was approached by several girls and avoided by most boys. Tom perceived both the attention and avoidance as irrelevant. An unknown young woman was among those who approached.

“Mr. Willman, I’m Raissa Pandorapolis. I have a job offer for you.” The young woman curved aesthetically and looked no older than he was, although her eyes had the worry lines of middle age.

“Ah.”

“Am I correct that you’ll be leaving home and are looking for work?”

“Yes.”

“Am I also correct that you’ve had difficulties with pre-employment screening?”

“The human resource departments tell me that I’m inhuman.”

“Not me. Please join me for lunch while I explain my offer.”

Continue reading “The Heartless Boy” – Fiction by Ed Ahern