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Flapper Press Announces 2023 Nominations for Best of the Net in Poetry

By Flapper Press:


Flapper Press is proud to announce our 2023 nominations for

Best of the Net in Poetry!


For the past three years, we have had the honor of nominating our poets and their work to the award-based anthology series Best of the Net. This year was particularly difficult to narrow down, as our poetry submissions have grown substantially, poetry flooding in from across the globe. It is all very exciting, and we want to thank all of our poets for sending us their work this past year.


Best of the Net was created by Sundress Publications in 2006 to support the work of online literary magazines, journals, small presses, and all those who submit their work to these digital publications. The Best of the Net anthology is available at the end of every January, with submissions open from July 1to September 30 each year.


If you are interested in submitting a story, work of nonfiction, artwork, or poetry to Flapper Press, please visit our Submission Guidelines for more information!


Without further ado, here are our 2023 Best of the Net nominations for Poetry!

Congratulations!


 



I’ve written about my mother a lot; in fact, more than any other person in my life. It was already so before she died 20 years ago but moved into hyper-drive upon her passing. Mainly, I think I’ve been working out the demons of our relationship, which was wonderful and terrible in equal measure. And this poem, my newest about her, is no different. One more in a long line of exorcisms. Not of her, but of pain, which still mimics hers.


You Look Just Like Your Mother


All the church ladies have said this for years

You look just like your mother


There’s an uh huh and a head shake and a Praise Jesus

because they miss her


gone too young


and my sole haunting


I shake off the dread I feel that I look like her

Not because my mother wasn’t beautiful

Not because I didn’t love her

She wore the shroud of not enough

of self-absorption of addiction

And I dread these very shrouds that

want to smother and prickle me

like static cling


like the firecracker that was my mother

in all the ways good and bad

And when she was good she was very very good and when she was bad…


I stop myself passing mirrors

with the stunning revelation of

our twin-ness


I pray to embrace it

to welcome the compliment

when all I want to do is block it

A weapon hurled my way


And even with that especially sweet smell

of soaked charred ash

vacuum-sealing every lung of me

my mother never fails to wink and shimmy and

whisper tickles in my ear because

it’s how she casts her spells


And whether I want her or not

she is refracted off me

Flashes of light bouncing

on the ceiling and wall

a mirror ball

Because

She lived awkward radiant messy

A force on my planet that dented mountains

and cracked the stubborn earth


 


In "October Weave," I plunked my thoughts about families during a visit to family. I think my own extended family may be the patchwork that remakes itself, but I'm not sure.


October Weave


Some do not find family

until we fabricate it

from strangers and oddballs.


Some find family strange.

We get labeled “oddballs,”

prefer “black sheep” and flourish.


Some strange families remake

themselves at intervals—

patch the quilt with fabric scraps


found on the closet floor,

discarded for a tear

in a matriarch’s blouse


featuring acorns and leaves

in browns and yellows—colors

of fall. The cloth spread now


accents themes once background.

We love the branches, hiding

before, their abrupt twists


away from the ground, up

or suddenly left, a warp,

believe it or not, of purple.


 


This poem was inspired by Bob Hicok’s poem “How Origami Was Invented.” I wanted to capture my stream of consciousness in its rawest form while being vulnerable about my insecurities.


How Fish Were Invented


In kindergarten, we had two


pet goldfish. They say that

goldfish are smart. I didn’t think so.

In kindergarten, we were drawing fish, because

we had just finished reading The Rainbow Fish, and

my classmates marveled at mine, all innocent and wide-eyed,


like fish. “It’s better than Mrs. Culbertson’s.”

In kindergarten, we were spelling

fish: “f, i, s, h,” and I knew that

the plural of fish is still fish, and I thought that

the f in fish looked more like a two-legged alligator than a fish.


In fifth grade, my handwriting


was a fish. It

took hold of my pencil

took hold of my hand

took hold of my mind. It

took me minutes to write out


a single sentence. At least my handwriting looked

like a printer’s, all

straight lines and

straight curves, never

straight enough.


Now,


it’s just chicken scratch, but chickens are better

than fish. In my physics class, we were learning about entropy,

disorder, like coffee spilled haphazardly onto a page.

I don’t even drink coffee. I

prefer water, water


that stills in an empty fishbowl,

broken by a dip of a toe,

or just broken.

I felt like a fish.

I never liked fish.


 



I love the way that writing makes me feel. It helps me get thoughts and feelings out

that I may be unable to do so through speaking.


If I Could Pause For a Moment


The trees sing me a song of strength and resilience

Wisdom and scars radiate through their veins Their branches reach out and beg me to listen If I could pause for a moment, I could take it all in.


The birds sing me a song of contentment and freedom

Journey and adventure radiate through their veins

Their voices call out and beg me to listen

If I could pause for a moment, I could take it all in.


The ocean sings me a song of abundance and caution

Vastness and surrender radiate through her veins

She runs towards my feet and begs me to listen

If I could pause for a moment, I could take it all in.


The sun sings me a song of hope and forgiveness

Comfort and warmth radiate through her veins

She nudges my body and begs me to listen

If I could pause for a moment, I could take it all in.


The stars sing me a song of mercy and beauty

Illumination and brilliance radiate through their veins

They captivate my eyes and beg me to listen

If I could pause for a moment, I could take it all in.


The moon sings me a song of adjustment and stability

Perseverance and grace radiate through his veins

His soul permeates me and begs me to listen

If I could pause for a moment, I could take it all in.


My daughter sings me a song of life and its meaning

Love and connection radiate through her veins She shows me myself and begs me to listen I pause for a moment and I take it all in.


The awareness and emotion that come with this presence

Are all that I’ve needed to see that I’m whole

A new day is dawning and its beauty delights me

The live long light is like a dream

The time is ours to spend.


 




Legacy


Anna Maria García

My grandmother told me that I was born Anna Maria García. But somewhere between the birth canal, incubator, and maternity ward, my name included more letters and the last name that belong to another family. I have a feeling that a lack of a Navajo translator, a white nurse and my mothers death had conspired to provide for me a persona that was not me nor mine. Therefore, the logic was that I died on the same day I was born I am not a life or a definition, just a notion.


Lordes Maria García

I spied on her and thought it was wrong. I was a voyeur in my parents' attempt at making love. It was not making love really: it was having sex under a pine tree. They did not utter words of sensuality, nor did they acknowledge their love for each other. It was just heavy breathing and mimicking each other’s body movements. I became a possibility when my father stopped his movements and said, "Shit!" It was not a glorious beginning for me, but I believe my mother created an essence for me that day. Thus, my mother was not flesh to me, just a feeling.


Hope Maria García

My grandmother journey to California and married four times. She ran away from home at thirteen and married that Sarracino boy who later changed his name to Lincoln because he liked the 16th president of the United States and smoked punching cigars to make an impression at the tribal offices. Later she married a soldier named Newsome. She moved to Nevada with him but he gambled his fortune and love away.


She came home to Laguna as a García woman. The stories about her third marriage are vague. No one knows who she married or what she was called. She was just Hope. Her last marriage was to Anaya‘s cousin Bardo, the one who worked for the railroad: he was the steady one who loved green chili and the Detroit Lions.


He was my true grandfather and I think he would have enjoyed my face to my company. Unfortunately, he died two months before my mother was born. A railroad tie fell on him, and he turned gray just before he died.


Hope died in May when my mother was born. I like to think that Hope died of a broken heart, but the women in my family die at childbirth.


Maria García

I once saw a black-and-white picture of Georgia O’Keeffe walking towards the camera. She had a calico dress and scarf that covered her head like those grandmas at the Navajo Nation’s Fair. She really looked Navajo in the picture.


I have no idea what Maria looked like. She probably looked like my Grandmother Hope but maybe, just maybe, she looked like Georgia O’Keefe in that black-and-white picture I saw in the museum.


It was a face with lines of wisdom and eyes that had seen love, hope, and tragedy. It was a face that was inquisitive. It was the face that captured knowledge just like the canyons capture the rain water. It was a beautiful face. It was tired and it was old— Grandmother old. It offered a comfort and a sense of home.


Maybe my Great-Grandmother Maria had a Georgia O’Keeffe persona too. Maybe she was an artist who saw beauty.


 



This poem is a reflection of what struggles with mental health might look like. A house, a mind, that is rotting away from storms it can’t control.



Rain trickles at the roof


Of an empty house.


Filling the walls that


Held a home once before.


It trickles through the roof


That’s been repaired


A thousand times.


You can’t stop the rain


And its undoing.


A thousand repairs


Can’t stop it from seeing through.


It may be the ruin of the home,


This place.


The Sun don’t shine long enough


To remodel.


This roof


Is rotting.


This house is melting.


These walls are drowning.


And this rain


Is destroying my home.


 

Presenting a wide range of poetry with a mission to promote a love and understanding of poetry for all. We welcome submissions for compelling poetry and look forward to publishing and supporting your creative endeavors. Submissions may also be considered for the Pushcart Prize.




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