Tag Archives: Winter 2015 (#4)

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FLAPPERHOUSE #7 (Fall 2015)


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FLAPPERHOUSE #4 (Winter 2015)


FLAPPERHOUSE #3 (Fall 2014)


FLAPPERHOUSE #2 (Summer 2014)


FLAPPERHOUSE #1 (Spring 2014)



“Act of Contrition” – Poetry by M.A. Schaffner

Optical Hopes and Illusions – Man Ray, 1928

“I detest all my sins because they offend thee, my God / who art all good and deserving of all my love,” says the Catholic prayer known as the “Act of Contrition.”

“The next age’s illusions will depend /  on Gods we’ve yet to discover,” writes M.A. Schaffner in “Act of Contrition,” one of four poems he contributed to our Winter 2015 issue.

{ X }

but there are no sins, not even creation
ranks above reflexive pathology.

I’d clean the erasers for that schoolgirl
each long afternoon her mother spent at work
mixing poisons for her daughter’s future.

It wasn’t just wanting only one thing
but continuing to want, and to plan
a life along those lines of honesty.

The garden will go in just a little while,
the soil scraped back to the Pleistocene,
and stacked with pre-fab sections of Versailles.

The next age’s illusions will depend
on Gods we’ve yet to discover — on prayers
pleading for eternities just like this.

{ X }

M. A. SchaffnerM.A. SCHAFFNER has had poems published in Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Agni, Poetry Ireland, Poetry Wales, and elsewhere. Other writings include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels, and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia or the 19th century.

“Cross Dressers: The trial of Joan of Arc” – Poetry by Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

Joan of Arc is interrogated by the Cardinal of Winchester in her prison, 1431 - Paul Delaroche, 1823
Joan of Arc is interrogated by the Cardinal of Winchester in her prison, 1431 – Paul Delaroche, 1823

“Cross Dressers: The trial of Joan of Arc” is one of several Saint Joan-themed poems by Jennifer MacBain-Stephens included in our Winter 2015 issue.

{ X }

AT THIS TEA PARTY OF BENCHES AND BIBLES, the lecturer is part drone, all queen bee.

All of the bigwigs wear wigs. They need more hair to think. Posturing as females, the powdered procure statements. The Statements sound like questions. The questions spit syllables like a furtive glance. Like a good Democrat, Joan attempts a reach across the aisle but she never learned furtive in the womb. A grandiose evening filmed for CNN or Soul Train, all the interesting bits are off camera when it’s all “take my pocket square,” and “Comb out that nest.” The robed ones might as well model maxi dresses. They in drag, She in garb. They sit and stare at each other through stained glass and vaulted ceilings. Go on, tell your tea party story how I came from underground and I will recap how they came from the sky. Our ears will foster care odd sounds of treason and devil. You do the ranting. I will do the pouring. And at the end of month’s end, whispers of pyres, of throwing a cat in for the ride, I will succumb. All because I would rather be right than apologize. All that’s missing are knuckle rings and a boom box.

{ X }

AuthorphotoJENNIFER MacBAIN-STEPHENS is the author of three chapbooks: Every Her Dies (ELJ Publications),Clotheshorse (Finishing Line Press, 2014) and Backyard Poems (forthcoming, 2015). Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net, and has appeared in public place in Iowa City. Recent work can bee seen / is forthcoming at Dressing Room Poetry Journal, The Blue Hour, The Golden Walkman,Split Rock Review, Toad Suck Review, Red Savina Review, The Poetry Storehouse, and Hobart. For a complete list of publications and other odds and ends, visit JenniferMacBainStephens.wordpress.com 

“The Love Spell” – Fiction by Tom Stephan

The Hut of Dead - Nicholas Roerich, 1909
The Hut of Dead – Nicholas Roerich, 1909

“We always recognize the evil we make,” says the narrator of “The Love Spell,” Tom Stephan‘s chilling yet heartfelt tale from our Winter 2015 issue.

{ X }

I TOOK IN THE CABIN. Sundown streamed through small, sturdy windows, caressing dust motes crazed in the agitated air. Warped pine floor, black as the stove that pierced the roof like an ancient pylon. Refrigerator, stovetop, sink, all lined up in martial order against the wall. In the opposite corner squatted a comfortably broken-in bed with brass head and footboard, perfect in patina, covered in a bright, threadbare quilt. To the right, a claw-foot bathtub old as the Wild West, visible plumbing jerry-rigged together with plastic pipes and curtain rods, suspended by chains and ropes.

“This is my cabin,” he said proudly, holding me tightly from behind. “Turn of the century. Some of the wood is a hundred years old. See that beam above the bed? A hundred years!”

I breathed in the smell of the potbellied stove, wet wool, undertones of pine and unwashed clothes.

“I’ll start the pipes for the water. You have to drain them in the winter or they’ll freeze,” he said, running for the door like a teenage boy, pausing only to grab a wrench. “If you need to use the bathroom, let me know and I’ll stand outside.”

When he came back I took his hands and pulled him in for a long kiss. When he leaned back for air I said, “This is perfect.”

His face lit up like Christmas. “It is?” I nodded, smiled, and kissed him again.

{ X }

We spent four days in that cabin. In the mornings I woke up early, pulled the scorching feather quilt off my legs and stepped lightly onto the frozen floor. Dressing hastily, I would re-light the stove, grab my coat and go out to walk the ridge.

He had neighbors on the hill. The Chicken Man was out every morning with his pail and his flock. His wife was fat and he was lean, both with smiling, achingly sweet faces like dried apples. I would wave and march up the hill to the cemetery, the bench in the middle and the gorge beyond. I would bunch my fists in my pockets and watch the sunrise pull color into the gray fields of snow. It felt like freedom.

About an hour later, I would see him poke his head up the hill. “What are you doing here?” he’d call in mock surprise. “Hanging out with dead people?”

Continue reading “The Love Spell” – Fiction by Tom Stephan

“Multicolored Blood” – Poetry by Juliet Cook

Lebanon - John Hoyland, 2007
Lebanon – John Hoyland, 2007

“Multicolored Blood,” one of two poems by Juliet Cook in our Winter 2015 issue, was written during Ekphrasis at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio Poetry Association, led by Clarissa Jakobsons, and inspired by various abstract paintings and other art pieces.

{ X }


Extracted from asylum tubes, re-shaped
into new modules with tiny insects
crawling out the mouth and growing,
glowing with dark shimmers.

These mouths are multicolored vessels,
some of them poisoned, some of them frozen,
some of them fresh but trapped.
Tiny red palpitations dangling
from the bottom of a stingray.
Bright red tissues dripping wet
confetti from abstract fetus, growing
into a horse throat cut.

It turns gelatinous and then skeletal.
A skull head with dark red painted
inside a purple casket sinking down
underwater and then swimming.

{ X }

IMG_1359 - Copy (2)JULIET COOK‘s poetry has appeared in many literary publications, including Arsenic LobsterDiode, ILK, and Menacing Hedge.  She is the author of more than thirteen chapbooks, including POISONOUS BEAUTYSKULL LOLLIPOP (Grey Book Press, 2013), RED DEMOLITION (Shirt Pocket Press, 2014), a collaborative chapbook with Robert Cole, MUTANT NEURON CODEX SWARM (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2015) and a collaborative chapbook with j/j hastain, Dive Back Down (forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press in 2015). Find out more at www.JulietCook.weebly.com.

“Amiss and Amok” – Lyric Essay by j/j hastain

By User:MatthiasKabel (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
Venus of Willendorf – Photo by Matthias Kabel (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

The Venus of Willendorf’s body is not something to be used to make a point in “Amiss and Amok,” one of four lyric essays by j/j hastain in our Winter 2015 issue.

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THE VENUS OF WILLENDORF IS PLAGUED with a peculiar but befitting dysphoria. Afraid of her aesthetic shifts ever being misread by others, ever being used as cultural stigma in support of any form of reductiveness, she is impassioned to emphasize: “Nothing in these shifts, nothing in this weight change, this weight loss, is indicative of anything lost.”

She is not trying to lose weight. She has just been more into root vegetables lately. Her weight loss is not meant to be a message or a future measure regarding the female form for generations to come. Her body is not something to be used to make a point. Her hands grab her own belly fat with a ferociousness that is familiar with itself. She is a living state; she is the summation of her skills at work to elaborate bulk.

She pulls her belly fat toward you and states: “I am still here for you in the ways I have always been. The path clots, congeals in certain areas before shrinking and settling back into itself again.” Fluctuations of the body are its valor. The drama in which to attend and attune is the enlivening and making-more-subtle of the body before it becomes entirely stone.

Continue reading “Amiss and Amok” – Lyric Essay by j/j hastain

“Transmutation” – Fiction by Alison McBain

Giant Redwood Trees of California – Albert Bierstadt, 1874

From the dissonance between nature and suburbia comes “Transmutation,” Alison McBain‘s contribution to our Winter 2015 issue.

{ X }

MY MOTHER GREW UP ON THE MYTH OF FARMS. “We’re from good, peasant stock,” my grandmother told her when she was young. The legend of the strong salt-of-the-earth, a fabrication of too many times reading the Bible. Even so, she was raised in a suburb, surrounded by the soft baaing of cars and the gentle crowing of car horns. Her family killed and ate the fresh meat of the long city blocks, grew up with the metallic sheen of industry dripping down from their dreadlocked hair, the hippy unwashed stink of progress and renewal.

That left my brother and me stranded between words and reality. When my mom got married, she had earth-stars in her eyes. She turned her sights to the mountains, to the rabid screech of raccoons fighting over garbage. She packed up the family and we drove out along a narrow dirt road that wound around redwood tree trunks so large that it took half a day to come out the other side.

I didn’t care about distance, especially when the bluebirds sang maniacally in the trees. The only birds I knew were pigeons, safely coated with gasoline dust, hopping around on twisted club feet. These shrieking birds flashing about with their iridescent flags of wings were too much of an alien takeover of the planet of my life, insidious as little green men with ray guns. I foretold Hitchcock and shut myself up in the princess’s tower.

My brother knocked on the door, took me by the hand and led me outside. He picked up a caterpillar and gave it to me–it turned into a monarch butterfly and sipped gently at my skin with its proboscis. “You see, Angie,” he said.

I nodded. I could see what he meant.

Continue reading “Transmutation” – Fiction by Alison McBain