Tag Archives: Winter 2016 (#8)

“djanitors” – Poetry by Ian Kappos

Ganesh - M.F. Husain
Ganesh – M.F. Husain

Gods and guardians and age-old  resentments  haunt “djanitors,” one of three decidedly flappy poems by Ian Kappos in our Winter 2016 issue.

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WE CARRIED EACH OTHER’S WATER PAST THE TREES
I couldn’t name,
down toward the lake, can’t remember which, but
there was a spatula in my chest flinging oil thru my teeth,
speckling your back and on it making daytime constellations.
The pillars spooned green-gray onto our saddlebags, we could’ve been
new, or as good as

She could’ve taken us
back
Into her pantry, I thought, into her ancient loam,
named us, tongue click-clack cloud applause—she
could’ve named us
caretakers of those
untenanted archives

But you well know, those were
ancient times when
my skin was dead to stirring winds, dry lips

While
now: you follow Ganesh
up a staircase to Babylon, wide eye smile cutting walls
crumping mirror-frames, joy untold on a veranda, a beach
awaiting everywhere

And I angry-read,
starlit on the carpet, colonizing
the stucco w/ ceramic eyes,
thinking about our unborn empire, the nirvana-life
of custodians

{ X } Continue reading “djanitors” – Poetry by Ian Kappos

“Long night on Lake Oblivion” – Poetry by Luis Galindo

Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion - John Martin, 1811
Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion – John Martin, 1811

Grand romanticism collides with cerebral surrealism in “Long night on Lake Oblivion,” Luis Galindo‘s phosphorescent poem from our Winter 2016 issue.

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THE NIGHT, THE NIGHT
The long blue forever
Of the goddamned night
Flayed my heart wide open
With its hour-long blades.
It lay there butterflied down the center
Like an inside-out raven,
The bleeding love muscle
With its twisted dishrag ghosts
Galloping forth from my chest
Across the razor-fanged chasm
Of my indigo eggshell
Of a room
Clogging the silver gears
Of the moonlight’s machinery
With the bulky sinews
Of my nightmares
The cosmic clock jammed the brakes
At two twenty-three AM.
And as I waded in the murky waters
Of Lake Oblivion
Fishing for hope
With my inside-out heart
Baiting a golden hook
Crooning to lure salvation
From its platinum fortress
A headless angel hovered above me
Skywriting in phosphorescent
Green vapor

WAS IS NOT IS

I stumbled to the slippery shore
Of Lake Oblivion and drifted
Off to sleep
As the headless angel
Careened out of sight
Leaving an exclamation mark
Of Chernobyl green smoke
As it
Vanished.

{ X } Continue reading “Long night on Lake Oblivion” – Poetry by Luis Galindo

“Damaged Goods” – Fiction by Ron Kolm

Clutter in Basement - Tomwsulcer, 2011
Clutter in Basement – Tomwsulcer, 2011

A city apartment dweller is beset by clutter and kooky neighbors in “Damaged Goods,” Ron Kolm‘s comically claustrophobic short story from our Winter 2016 issue.

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“SONOFABITCH! GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY CAB!” drifts through the open third floor window, waking me up. Damn, it’s probably my downstairs neighbor, Mitzi, returning home after another night out. She consumes amazing amounts of alcohol to blot out the pain she’s in. She suffers from osteoporosis; her muscles and ligaments atrophying as well. The only way she’s able to ambulate at all is by using numerous braces and splints: small ones on her arms, large ones on her legs, a corset-thing for her spine. Plus she’s got a complete set of dentures, which she pops in and out (to get the occasional laugh) and one glass eye. To complete the picture, she must weigh close to 300 pounds. Her brace-like contraptions are essentially tiny dams holding a tremendous lake in place. She’s usually still sober enough at closing time to make it into a cab where she immediately unstraps and unhooks them, probably heaving a huge sigh of relief as she does so. The moment they’re all undone her shapeless body flows like unchecked lava into every crevice of the back seat and she passes out. I totally sympathize with the frantic cabbie, whose angry voice I can still hear, and wonder how he explained this situation to his dispatcher.

“Pockita-pockita, Brooklyn Bridge, squatch-squatch, wrap-it-up!”

Great. Eduardo, who lives in the first floor front apartment, must be awake too. Eduardo is a small dark man from Panama. He has salt and pepper hair–mostly salt. Smoke and fire are his elements. He disconnected the old gas stove in his kitchen, removed the jets and burners, and filled the resulting cavity with charcoal which smolders day and night, creating a dense black cloud. We called the fire department more than once after he moved in, but they said there’s nothing they can do, so we’ve learned to live with it.

If his element is smoke, his expertise is cunnilingus. He has set, he assures me, an official record of two hours and forty minutes while doing it. His entire stock of broken English expressions revolves around that particular part of the female anatomy and his special relationship with it. “Windshield wiper,” he’ll say, elbowing me, or “Brooklyn Bridge.” Sometimes it’s “going to the basement” but most of the time he calls it “swimming.”

I know I’m not going to get any sleep unless I help the cabbie get Mitzi out of his car and into her apartment. I pull on my pants and slippers and head for the street. As I pass by his door, Eduardo throws it open, smoke billowing around him like a stage effect, shouting “I’m gonna break my nose! Wrap-it-up!” and leers in my general direction. His glasses are fogged–spirals of smoke rise from his sweater. He places his forefingers and thumbs together, so that they seem to form a crude vagina, and sticks his enormous meaty tongue through the result, wagging it up and down.

“Chewcha!” he cackles.

“Eduardo, you are a sexist pig,” I say, trying to wave him back into his apartment.

“Chung-doom-bloom,” he sniggers, retreating.

Somehow the cabbie, who’s a big guy, and I manage to drag Mitzi out of the car and into the building where we deposit her in front of her apartment door. The driver goes back out and brings in an armload of splints and her purse, which he drops next to her inert form. He then gratefully exits, having collected his fare in advance. Now there’s only the little problem of rousing Mitzi and making sure she gets safely inside her flat. Not a moot point as Eduardo materializes in the hallway in a puff of smoke like a sooty genie. He proceeds to dance around Mitzi’s supine body, pointing out the, by now all too obvious, fact that her legs are spread wide open and she seems to be lacking any undergarments, which drives him into an absolute frenzy.

“Toonyfish! Chewcha! I’m gonna go to de basement and break my record! Two-to-one!”

“Damn it!” I hiss, grabbing him by the shirt and shaking him to break the spell. “Please get back in your apartment, Eduardo—this isn’t helping things!”

I push him away from Mitzi and clumsily try to rearrange the voluminous folds of her skirt in such a way as to cover her exposed parts.

“Mitzi, please wake up. Mitzi, I need your help. Mitzi, where are your keys? Mitzi, this is a nightmare!”

Continue reading “Damaged Goods” – Fiction by Ron Kolm

“Patahistorian Seeks” – Poetry by Ahimaaz Rajesh

The Rooster - Ivan Generalić, 1966
The Rooster – Ivan Generalić, 1966

 The first of our readers who can find & collect all the items listed in “Patahistorian Seeks,” Ahimaaz Rajesh‘s poem from our Winter 2016 issue, will win a free 1-year subscription to FLAPPERHOUSE! Happy hunting…

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ALE,
Eggs,
Darts,
Tacit lies,
Subshrubs,
Tesla Tower,
Bills ignored,
Karmic waves,
Bamboo straws,
X-rays of digits,
Opulent beggars,
Immunoglobulins.
Underwater desert,
Abandoned umbrellas,
Gamma rays in a bottle,
Cash-consuming termites,
Squirrel atop a broken tile,
Raindrop at the tip of my little toe, rust. Rooster flying to a treetop,
Lovers doing it in the graveyard, dandruff at the tip of a ponytail, False
asoka trees in a churchyard, volumes of Kathāsaritsāgara in a library, plastic
lips, page of a zine stuck in a tree branch, paper planes made of manifestos,
Ashwagandha washed ashore, mist. Dandelion caught in a cobweb,
Questionable good deeds,
Plant reflected in water,
Puppies in the rooftop,
Bursting soap bubbles,
Dust inside a keyhole,
Dislocated kneecap,
Birthmarks in a cat,
Handmade soap,
Yawning snake,
Welded fabrics,
Stained eyelids,
Chipped tooth,
Jellyfish dish,
Band-Aid,
Neti pots,
Toy gun,
Petals.
Clips,
Zip.

{ X } Continue reading “Patahistorian Seeks” – Poetry by Ahimaaz Rajesh

“Hush, little baby, don’t say a word” – Poetry by Ally Covino

Susan Comforting the Baby (no. 2) - Mary Cassatt, circa 1881
Susan Comforting the Baby (no. 2) – Mary Cassatt, circa 1881

We kinda wish the lullabies our parents sang to us in our youth were more like “Hush, little baby, don’t say a word,” Ally Covino‘s sweetly offbeat poem from our Winter 2016 issue.

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DOTTY’S GONNA BUY YOU a mockingbird that guts with song.
And if that mockingbird don’t sing, my furnitures
Are bleeding. Dotty’s gonna buy you a diamond ring,
But I am in need of new fingers famished for something more
Than slothing. And if that Diamond ring turns brass, all too
Green, Dotty’s gonna buy you a looking glass. I am sick
Of bartering and sideshows, and if that looking glass
Gets broke, Dotty’s gonna buy you a billy goat. But, I am allergic
To Bovidae and melancholia and if that billy goat won’t pull,
I am fucked. Dotty’s gonna buy you a cart and bull, gonna buy
You a dog named Boozer, and if that dog named Boozer
Won’t stop barking, Dotty’s gonna impound him, buy you
A horse and cart and if that horse and cart fall down,
You’ll still be the sweetest little bastard in town.

{ X } Continue reading “Hush, little baby, don’t say a word” – Poetry by Ally Covino

FLAPPERHOUSE Podcast #1 + an Excerpt from “The Wendigo Goes Home” – Fiction by Sara Dobie Bauer

If you haven’t already heard, the very first FLAPPERHOUSE Podcast has taken to the air! This 30-minute episode features an interview with the incomparable Sara Dobie Bauer, where she reads an excerpt from “The Wendigo Goes Home,” her contribution to our Winter 2016 issue. The podcast is below, and the text of the excerpt is below that, if you’d care to read along…

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CLEVE PACKER PRIDED HIMSELF ON EATING ONLY PEOPLE WHO WERE ABOUT TO DIE. Over his hundred and fifty years of cannibalism, he’d evolved not only his senses but his morality.

While traveling through northern Ohio, he smelled death on a large young woman with blond hair and expensive shoes. The scent was subtle. She wasn’t the one dying, but someone close to her. Cleve approached and made conversation at the local coffee shop. She was happy to oblige, Cleve looking so tall and handsome in his best brown suit.

Her name was Bree Shepherd, the manager of a high-end clothing store in Cleveland, single but looking. She liked to talk about herself, her family. Her mother was going through some sort of aging crisis, embracing hot yoga and spin at her local gym. Bree said she even suspected her mother of shopping in the juniors section at JC Penney, all in an effort to “stay young forever.” Her dad was a retired lawyer who now spent most of his time reading murder mysteries and pretending he would one day write a novel. There was the elder sister, Bianca, who was married with three children. Bree talked most about her little brother: poor Blake, the “hopeless homosexual”—perpetually single, despite his good looks and pleasant, albeit quiet, demeanor. She said he studied science at the nearby university.

Cleve was careful to say very little about himself, other than that he was new in town. He was always new in town.

After a refill, Bree invited him for a late summer bonfire at her parents’ house where there would be extended family and friends, and “Oh, won’t it be nice for you to meet new people in your new city!”

When they parted, she waved and carried the smell of death down a sidewalk lined with leafy trees at full tilt August green. In her absence, the air smelled of coffee grounds and oil from nearby leaking cars.

The sick person could be anyone, really, but Cleve suspected he would meet that person if he stuck close to cheerful Bree Shepherd. Perhaps at the bonfire, filled, she said, with so many family and friends.

It had been weeks since his last feast; nothing satisfactory, just an old woman in a lonely house that smelled of dishwasher soap and Band-Aids. He preferred younger meat. In the early 1900s, there were all sorts of diseases that sprung up and took people by the dozens. Such a holiday, back then! But such feasts were rare nowadays, with advances in medicine and preventative treatment. Still, there was hope for the bonfire—hope for a good, hot meal.

Continue reading FLAPPERHOUSE Podcast #1 + an Excerpt from “The Wendigo Goes Home” – Fiction by Sara Dobie Bauer

“P.J. Harvey Says She is Going to Take Her Problems to the United Nations” – Poetry by Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

Anxiety and diplomacy  tango in “P.J. Harvey Says She is Going to Take Her Problems to the United Nations,” one of two utterly flappulous poems by Jennifer MacBain-Stephens in our Winter 2016 issue.

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I WILL MEET YOU THERE P.J.
Who will kill the weeds in my back yard?
Who will stop my son from scratching kids at recess?
Will there be a panel discussion
on just the scratching
or just the weeds?
How many people will be on the panel?
Will I get to vet these people?
Will my mother-in-law be on the panel?
What if all the solutions are bad ones?
Does that make that word, “solution” not a solution?
But a “problem solution?” like a “problem play?”
What if I think the solutions are bad but the panel does not?
What if a lunch break comes too soon?
Like right when they are in the middle of some good solution talking?
What if a break comes too late and people’s blood sugar drops?
Like really drops, hard, so that women in pearls pass out?
Like right when we are reaching some good compromise?
What if the men get angry because they are hungry?
What if I pass out from hunger?
What if there is no one to get home to my children because I’ve passed out?
What if I have been taken to a quiet office space to recover?
What if no solutions are reached because I am not in the room to
announce, “yes, I  agree to that.”
What if the solutions are reached because I am not there;
a proxy appoints herself to be my proxy and
she says, “yes, I think Jennifer will agree to that.”
Or conversely, what if she says, “no, Jennifer will never agree to any of this?”
What if I never agree?
What if I agree?
What if time stands still like in The Twilight Zone?
It’s all pant suits and gavels now.

{ X } Continue reading “P.J. Harvey Says She is Going to Take Her Problems to the United Nations” – Poetry by Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

“Spell for the One Whom You Desire Who Doesn’t Desire You” – Poetry by E.H. Brogan

Cocktail Drinker - Max Ernst, 1945
Cocktail Drinker – Max Ernst, 1945

We hope you enjoy “Spell for the One Whom You Desire Who Doesn’t Desire You,” one of four wonderfully witchy poems by E.H. Brogan in our Winter 2016 issue. While we can neither confirm nor deny whether the recipe in this poem makes for an effective love potion, we can attest that it does make for a rather tasty potent potable– and of course, we beseech you to drink responsibly.

(And to hear E.H. read her poem, check out the Soundcloud file embedded below~)

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THIS IS A DRINK WITH BITTERS.
Not a Negroni, precisely, but how
close to it in form – instead of gin add citrus
vodka. Then a shot of Van Gogh
espresso, you know, caffeine to keep you
way up later than
you wanted. A drop of absinthe to color
dreams, one yellow hair plucked from
a false friend’s scalp.
A teaspoon squeezed
of toads’ warts. Throw a tablespoon
of coarse salt on, what your cat spilled
last Thursday, that afternoon you weren’t
looking. Add all to a shaker, mix
together and pour on ice, this drink
is generous, it will take a pint.
Swallow every drop, and then see
what happens.

{ X } Continue reading “Spell for the One Whom You Desire Who Doesn’t Desire You” – Poetry by E.H. Brogan

“Fire Ants” – Fiction by Perry Lopez

The Ants - Salvador Dali, 1929
The Ants – Salvador Dalí, 1929

Get toasty & tropical with “Fire Ants,” a surreal & revolutionary piece of short fiction by Perry Lopez from our Winter 2016 issue.

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THE CUBAN’S SKIN IS BLACK WITH SMOKE. He sits beneath the shade of the palm, cross-lashed with sunlight through the fronds, rolling a dead ant between his fingertips. As he toys with it, the soot comes off his pads and encases the ant in a sticky ball that grows and grows until there is no more ant-shape to it. Just a tiny planet of pitch, smoothly gyrating and gathering and dereticulate, obeying the laws of form. He is shirtless and shoeless and thin, his eyes are blood-webbed and watching. Thermo means heat means fire.

He cannot smell himself. Cannot smell the ocean either, though he can hear it. That mellow storm of crash and suck he has heard all his life. He cannot smell the rotting plantains, but tastes them when he breathes. Sweetness and salt in the air that burns in his raw throat, sticks there piquantly burning. His own smell covering everything, but then he cannot smell himself. All he smells is smoke.

“Ah Cristo, my eyes are stinging. I think I will go blind soon.”

Arlo is drunk. He may in fact go blind. They went to the University of Havana together where he studied science and Arlo studied culture. Now he is drunk with a bottle of fine spiced rum in each fist and is crouching over the anthill, squinting and rubbing at his eyelids with the back of his hand, spitting dark gobs full of cinder-grit down on the mound— the mound that sits between the two men and pulses with their frenzy, those thousands, those millions, their knobby red bodies strung together like simple molecules. Swarming along their prickly vortices, building up their warren of dirt on the shore.

He rolls the ball of grime back on his thumb then flicks it into the beach-grass, shooting out so fast and small that his eyes cannot follow as it disappears soundlessly into the airy shush between breakers. He looks back and searches for another.

“But so what if I do, eh? A man should go blind after seeing such a miracle as I have; the rest of the world would only disgust him! Make him wish he was in the dark, alone with just the memory.”

There are hundreds of them at his legs, drawn in by the acrid smell. They tickle-fight atop his toe-crests and caravan down along his shins; at his knees they eddy and trace out in strange ellipses, caught up in the foci of his body’s landscape, skirting his mountains. They are red and his flesh is black and they travel him without rest, cherry bright in the morning sunlight through the fronds, their tiny antennas held out like dowsing rods, silly stupid things, searching him for their need, something to carry back to the mound. They are hundreds but he cannot feel them. They cannot bite him and he cannot feel them. The smoke-crust is far too thick and they will find nothing to eat of his body today.

One ant stands motionless atop his kneecap, waggling its tendrils and watching the others scuttle-dance by. He reaches down and carefully crushes its head between his thumb and middle-finger, then pinches it up and sets to rolling again just like the last.

Across, Arlo spits and drinks and bares his teeth at nothing.

“And can you believe the fool had no guards posted? Only a Captain could be so stupid, so secure. Pah! What do you think it was that finally woke him, uh? The whole damn town knew his house was burning before he did, the pig! How he ran out still naked from sleep and batting embers from his beard to find everyone watching! How he looked back and screamed Oooooooh Mi Madre, Mi Madre, Dios ayuda a mi Madre…”

Between them and the sea is a comb of palms, their scaly shafts serried close like whale teeth, the kind used for straining. And will they hold out the tide? No, no, of course they mustn’t. See the salted, sandy bands about their trunks, a meter high where the surge-tide has risen and will rise and rise and rise again. Carrying it all back out to waste until…

Continue reading “Fire Ants” – Fiction by Perry Lopez

“Lucifer Says” – Poetry by Joanna C. Valente

Untitled - Dora Maar, 1936
Untitled – Dora Maar, 1936

Enter the magically surreal secret room of “Lucifer Says,” one of 5 spellbinding poems by Joanna C. Valente in our Winter 2016 issue. Buy yourself a copy of FLAPPERHOUSE #8 if you’d like to read the rest…

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AT NIGHT, THERE IS A SECRET ROOM in your aunt’s house with a little door
and inside the little door, a heart beats. there is no body to house the heart
like the house houses a million bodies with guts inside that beat a body
inside an ocean so salty, there is hardly any blood. inside a room without
windows, R tries on black dresses, lets down his hair and puts charcoal
around his eyes until they are as dark as his closet, puts silver on his lids
and bats until a boy emerges from his armoire, his legs molting into feathers
until he flies into the ceiling fan—splits open like a zebra torn apart
by a lion. R stands naked in front of his mirror and the mirror turns into
a faraway forest where a wizard plays ukulele over a dying woman’s body
until the woman lies dead until the full moon turns her into a boy and then
back into a woman until she is neither. R dreams of this woman.

the woman wakes up in a field of trees made by metal and rock. she walks
down a crooked path until she finds a sign that says downtown r train. she
throws her body—so slow and tired it feels like someone else’s body not
even human—onto the train until she falls into R’s bed. R sees her
from the mirror—cradles her until she becomes human again, until she
feels like the earth is forming in her belly, giving birth on his bed and he
holds their baby in his arms, breathing it out, breathing it in. He looks at
the woman and calls her T and breathes into her ear and she breathes into
his until they no longer are, until they both are everywhere else outside
their bodies.

{ X } Continue reading “Lucifer Says” – Poetry by Joanna C. Valente