Tag Archives: XX (Winter 2019)

“Santarella Garden” – Poetry by Kailey Tedesco

The Bride – Gertrude Kasebier, 1902

“Santarella Garden” is Kailey Tedesco‘s beautifully bizarre poem of blood & bridehood from our Winter 2019 issue.

{ X }

SWEET

on its own is not a word to conjure anything of the sort. Santarella was not home to me, yet blood runs down
my leg and into the drain of its shower.

Santarella asked to be invited into me, and I said yes. Santarella’s reflection is only seen
on the surface of its own ponds.

The photographer tells me to be serious for just a goddamned second, but I’ve forgotten that I’m the bride.

In every photograph, I’m laughing with the many hors d’oeuvres, somewhere
in the background.

The symbol of our marriage is up at the peak of the silo, with the dark and all the stars. Without it, nothing
can proceed as usual.

Is it good luck to have blood run down my leg and into Santarella’s shower? I’m asking this to everyone I see, just before I lean to kiss them on the cheek.

With each kiss, I remember I’m the bride.

Is it good luck to have fingernails full of Santarella?

The soil is crawling into me, like a tantrum. It wants to be put to bed. Moss wounds my gown, yet I must
reach the top of the silo before the photographs are taken and I forget
that I’m the bride.

In every photograph, I’m crawling on my hands and knees up the Santarella garden, like a freak storm. It’s
snowing in September. I lie there in it, knowing I may fall asleep and never wake.

When I rise my gown rises with me. The snow has cleared and we have sun for our photographs.

On the way to Santarella, blood got on the driver’s seat. I was never the bride in my entire life. As I drove up
the Santarella garden, it became so goddamned dark.

(Goddamned is used here incorrectly. The dark was not damned by any god. It was just sweet. Like blood.)

The candle light could not penetrate the dark. It grew too quickly all around me. The Santarella garden became
a sound instead of a place, and I had difficulty experiencing it fully. The guests
of the wedding only spoke to me in spells.

But the dark scabbed over my body and my gown and my blood like a new skin
and that is what I wanted the whole time. More than anything.

Once I was inside the dark, I could experience everything fully.

And so I walked up the Santarella garden and spiral wooden staircase and into the shower with checkered tile and I bled what I needed to into its drain.

And the sun shone on the pond, of course, because everything was of the dark now including the sun. Including me. My bouquet was so moody and when I tossed it, it almost refused

to bleed out from the darkness and into the drain of the shower.

I am the bride, I remembered, and it shows in every photograph.

{ X }

KAILEY TEDESCO is the author of She Used to be on a Milk Carton (April Gloaming Publishing) and These Ghosts of Mine, Siamese (Dancing Girl Press). Her second collection, Lizzie, Speak (winner of White Stag Publishing’s poetry contest) will be released in early 2019. She is the co-founder of Rag Queen Periodical and an editor for Luna Luna Magazine. You can find her work featured or forthcoming in Fairy Tale Review, Prelude, New South, fields, Bone Bouquet Journal, and more. For further information, please visit kaileytedesco.com. 

“Knives, nails and keratin” – Poetry by Alice Riddell

La temperanza, Woman Holding a Knife –
Konstantinos Parthenis, 1938

“Knives, nails and keratin” is Alice Riddell‘s raw & piercing poem from our Winter 2019 issue.

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AFTER ONE TWO MANY,
She rips the nails from their beds
Like children on Christmas morning,
Eager to open
A fantasy of something else.
But there is only coal
And air exposed on rawness.

Having eleven stitches into her chin
Felt like a bow
Tied by her mother.
Smart for church,
All dressed up
In that robe,
Where blood ran down
Between her breasts.
Kitchen knife,
Two K’s
But the silence of the last haunts her,
Its noiselessness
Cuts flesh and screams.

She digs
With small white keratin,
Not the ripped ones
Some are saved
For this very occasion.
They mark
Like crescent moons
On a powder dusk sky,
The shoulder and neck canyon
The valley of palms and wrists
Reflected back.

Pinches;
Like ants
Like too-tight denim
Like winter winds
Like plucking eyebrows
Like her sister,
Her mother made her wear mittens to school
Because she nipped other kids,
Nip sounds better than pinch
Pinch is only one letter away from punch.
She painted the most beautiful blues,
Lapis Lazuli slaps
Violent violets
Sucker for shallow skulls.

She watched the glow
Of the cigarette lighter
Its receptacle invitation,
Its perfect finger shaped hole
To burn off those remaining.
Licked by invisible flames
Sucked out of soreness
By salvia,
By means of salvation.
Fingertips aflame are like burning bridges,
They frizzle and melt into themselves
Only to regrow again more painfully.

{ X }

ALICE RIDDELL is originally from the U.K. and is currently studying at NYU’s Center of Experimental Humanities. She is Editor-in-Chief of an interdisciplinary journal called Caustic Frolic and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Breadcrumbs Mag, Vol. 1 Brooklyn and Anthropolitian. Alice has also read her work as part of the Dead Rabbits Reading Series. She is an avid table tennis player.

“And Nothing But” – Fiction by dave ring

The Truth – Ferdinand Hodler, 1903

“And Nothing But” is dave ring‘s brutally honest flash fiction piece from our Winter 2019 issue.

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MY TRUTH? THE FUCK. 

My truth has teeth and hundreds of legs and chews apart the bodies in the middle of the night.  My truth leaves a smudge behind to remind you of what it once undid.

My truth knows the way to the door.  My truth has weight.  My truth can get me into any hardhold in this town fast as anything.  My truth gets me kicked out even faster.

My truth stops motherfucking trains in their motherfucking tracks.

My truth has a reputation.

My truth ain’t all class:  My truth fucks the landlord.  My truth pays the rent.

My truth got me the codes to T-Rex Tsang’s secret stash.  My truth saved Billy Jean Angelou’s ass during the Smoketown Massacre.  My truth scored rides on the jury-rigged rollercoaster at Beth the Eastside Boss’s cannibal roadshow and then got me out alive.  My truth slid along One-Eye Lawson’s hairy tit, flitting back and forth, while my hand did things to his dick that made him shout so loud I could hear his bodyguards gritting their teeth from their post outside the door.

My truth tricked power chords from the pulverized Stratocaster that Skullface Suzy has hanging on her wall like it was a stuffed elk, the barely tuned strings twanging with sadness like a lover that knows every amp in the world is dead.  My truth returned that guitar to its place with a reverence when Suzy called me back to bed, even though Suzy doesn’t deserve her.

My truth went back after dark.  My truth had sticky fingers.  My truth knew when to admit that it got us into all this trouble.

My truth knows that Skullface Suzy never stops.  My truth can tell when the hourglass is running out.

My truth knows when to get out of town and how to bum a ride on the I-90 all the way here from where the sun licked the surface of the lake with a flicker of magenta at the first light of dawn.  My truth knows never to stop looking over my shoulder.  My truth lets the chariot idle on the tarmac, chauffeur snoozing in the back, his bare spine slick with sweat against the vinyl seats, jeans still around his ankles, lips still tingling from a post-coital smoke.  My truth still sings of the spark, the sweet tar.

My truth knows to check that the gun is loaded.

My truth can’t do this much longer, but this gun has seven 9mm lies in the clip, plus one in the chamber.

And Pinocchio ain’t shit.

{ X }

dave ring is the community chair of the OutWrite LGBTQ Book Festival in Washington, DC, and the editor of Broken Metropolis: Queer Tales of a City That Never Was from Mason Jar Press. More info at www.dave-ring.com.  Follow him on Twitter at @slickhop.

“Protest Magic” – Fiction by Justine Talbot

Nude witch with red hair riding a broom surrounded by bats in a moonlit sky
The witch – Luis Ricardo Faléro, 1882

“Protest Magic” is Justine Talbot‘s surreal & spellbinding flash fiction from our Winter 2019 issue.

{ X }

THE SPELL WON’T WORK. Hardly any protesters showed up to the combination sit-in/die-in/group hexing session, and those who did left immediately after their deaths. Lucille knows one witch’s rage isn’t enough to save the lake. Still, when the air around her pops and fizzles like dying sparklers, she can’t help but blame herself.

She conducts her spellwork in front of a large brown cube with gray glass windows. All of her magical implements have been respectfully borrowed from the lake. The elements are represented by a ramekin full of lake water, a pile of ashy weeds, a goose feather, a fishbone. Her wand is a moldy stick.

Inside the cube, twelve men and one woman sit at a long table and pretend not to agree. Lucille can hear them when she puts her ear to the glass. “If we drain the lake, what will the tourists do in the summer?” asks the woman.

“There won’t be any tourists next summer,” says one of the men.

“Oh, thank God,” the woman says quickly. “I just meant, if there were still tourists … well, they’d need somewhere to go, wouldn’t they?”

“Without the lake, there won’t be any tourists,” says a different man. “You can be sure of that.”

“Thank God,” the woman says again.

Lucille paces around the cube a few times, murmuring to herself. Then she crouches down out front and peers through the glass, squinting at each board member in turn.

“I bind you,” she whispers, concentrating on a very fat man with mean eyes. The fat man sneezes.

“I bind you.” A pugnosed young man starts scratching at his collar like a stray dog.

“I bind you.” A skinny old man starts coughing and doesn’t stop.

“You okay, Mickey?” asks one of several balding men with his back facing the window. “You need some water or something?”

“I need something,” the old man says hoarsely. But no one gets him water.

Lucille turns her attention to the woman, who sits at the head of the table—or maybe it’s the foot. “I bind you,” she whispers.

But the woman doesn’t act bound. Her slender hands twitch against the table. “I think I’ll go out for a smoke,” she says.

Continue reading “Protest Magic” – Fiction by Justine Talbot

“Bombshell / Laughter Slaughter” – Poetry by Jessie Janeshek

“Bombshell / Laughter Slaughter” is one of four fantastically flappy poems by FLAPPERHOUSE’s poet laureate, Jessie Janeshek, in our Winter 2019 issue.

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I’M GIVING UP BEING SAD ABOUT TIME
                over it, over it.
I lie in this game and hem-stitch my waste
                launch paper ships
never realize the fizz      stringy meat      rusty keys
                stow my dress in the basket
nipple ice and no slip     the contrast is stunning.
                I lie nude in the sun      dogshit on the snow
the consolatory song of corpse in the morgue at my feet
                how she slumped on her steering wheel
knocked her gold tooth loose
                the death of the party.

I never believed platinum days could end in olive oil baldness
                two months of ooze. I didn’t need mystery
the black and white dots            or The Girl from Missouri
                nothing left but a fish kiss
and my pants don’t fit
                and it’s ok that my weakness is brilliance
I’m just acting whatever you say
                I’m already set to die in this bedroom
eleven phases of white       chokecherry stage
                I was rotting long before Hollywood
a cheaply-cut sapphire       barmaid singing in stripes
                following men with pool cues down to the tornado shelter
eating raw steaks and making them gangsters
                weeping trees, houseflies poetic.

And I was the sunflower             brownette drinking gin
                with that old-fashioned death in my chest
my body barely holding together
                my blood and piss flooding the plains
and they ghostwrote this story but I’m over that too
                I’d swear anytime it was mine.

Note: This poem very loosely uses the life and death of Jean Harlow.

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JESSIE  JANESHEK‘s second full-length book of poems is The Shaky Phase (Stalking Horse Press). Her chapbooks are Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia(dancing girl press, 2016), Supernoir (Grey Book Press, 2017), Auto-Harlow (Shirt Pocket Press, 2018), and Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming). Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010) is her first full-length collection. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. You can read more of her poetry at jessiejaneshek.net.

“Heavenly Body” – Fiction by Ava Wolf

La Guillotine – Oscar Dominguez, 1938

Our final issue opens with “Heavenly Body,” Ava Wolf‘s delightfully sardonic & surreal meditation on time, death, & decay.

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I OPENED NOVEMBER WITH TREMBLING HANDS, much in the way one hesitates to pitch a lobster into a boiling pot. The knowledge that I had killed something as simple as time was devastating to me, a person conceived from a petri dish, and I was aching with discord—the delicacy, the resiliency! This month belonged to me and I yearned to watch it spoil.

While France reinstated the guillotine as its method of judicial execution, I shed myself of time and its earthly contingencies. In retaliation, my body began to rot, as though it no longer possessed the faculties to operate without a future. Time, I told it, swore us to grief. My body humbled me. I punished it accordingly. Thousands of miles away, some poor fool hurled a Christmas ornament through the president’s window, and a missile that would eventually destroy humanity was launched into space.

As I lay decaying in bed, I turned to face my lover, who had been dead since the inaugural meteor, and asked whether discipline was a consequence of time: “Do we not fear penance in its relation to temporal length? And which is worse—the loss of time, a construction intended to commodify the lived experience, or the prolonging of one’s misery for sport?”

My lover, or a permutation of such, rose from the grave and bruised my jaw with ivory fingers. “To be present is to endure the general unpleasantness of a world malignant by design,” it said. “I’m told death is the body’s natural response to insubordination.”

Years later, my mother’s prized dieffenbachia began to wilt.

Once, when I was young, my body behaved against itself: I snuck up behind a boy and bludgeoned him in the skull with a plastic doll. He wept and wailed and shrieked an incomprehensible siren song, luring the shadows of other children from various corners. They formed a ring around us and pelted rocks and pebbles that had manifested from the earth. I became ill, disoriented, feverishly scanning the room for an exit. The children pointed and sung violent hexes in a language beyond conception. Shame lodged itself inside of me like a hot coal. At that moment, I became an expense.

Like a shark—I could smell it.

{ X }

AVA WOLF is a writer, designer, and several children stacked on top of one another in a trench coat. Her work has appeared in Bedfellows Magazine, Occulum, Tilde Literary Journal, and more. She lives in Philadelphia with her broken hamper and an abundance of dying plants.

Our Final Issue, FLAPPERHOUSE XX, Now Available for Pre-Order

Death, ghosts, demons, spells, death, dystopia, magic blankets, ultracapitalism, journalistic supervillainy, class warfare, death: FLAPPERHOUSE XX.
coming

DECEMBER 21, 2018
PRINT COPIES AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW! $7US via PayPal 
[ships early January 2019; US addresses only]
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(print copies available on Amazon by December 21, 2018)
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