November 2019

Happy Autumn, Readers! I hope you enjoyed a delightfully creepy Halloween. Our absolutely awesome artwork cover is Little Day of the Dead Girl by the so very talented Sandy DeLuca. Also in this ONLINE issue, we have a very informative article about Cinquain, by Lauren McBride. If you've ever wondered about how to write this poetic form, I'm sure you will enjoy her interesting take on the subject. If you don’t have a subscription to our PRINT edition, they are available in our Shop. And, if you would like to join the select group of contributors by submitting your poetry, artwork or article, you can find our guidelines in the Guidelines option under More in the toolbar.


Thank you to our newest Scifaikuest contributors- Davian Aw, Brian Barnett, Anna Maria Dall’Olio, Debby Feo, Jeff Remling.


harvest moons

every Martian autumn

has two









halloween robots
collect candy door-to-door
control from smart phone

Denny E. Marshall




by sunlight

child vampire


Christina Sng



hair of the dog
Laika's blood
drunk in orbit

overhang, by Benjamin Whitney Norris

your detached retina
my escape pod
no looking back

jetisoned, by Benjamin Whitney Norris



Space Station rules

simple enough to follow

at least for Humans


Lisa Hawkridge






entire Universe

oblivious Micro-humans

elephant skin


Debby Feo




Back into the trees

De-evolve the primates

Manual setback


Debby Feo




fleet of spacecraft

adrift amid asteroids

alien graveyard


E. V. Darke



vast asteroid field

awaiting exploration

space pirate's lair


E. V. Darke



the song I can't
get out of my head
stasis chamber

Christina Sng



top soldier program

robotic experiments

building our army


Brian Barnett




android farmer seeds

fertile fields of hyperspace

fractals of beauty bloom 


Hillary Lyon




grave robber


boxes full of spare parts

robot tries and fails

to repair its human.


Davian Aw




the smart phone

told him what to do

he should have listened


David C. Kopaska-Merkel




time farmer--

harvesting next fall’s seeds

for today’s planting


oino sakai c.2018.09.13




the circle of life

white clouds and blue oceans

orbit decaying


Jeff Remling




hard day in the microverse


hand sanitizer

most advanced society

meets apocalypse


Herb Kauderer




hypno-teacher breaks down—

settlers' kids go back to learning

the old-fashioned way


Lisa Timpf




after hurricane

spaceships arrived

relief supplies


William Landis






electrical grid

a mad scientist
steals unlimited power
nothing can go wrong


Herb Kauderer




the obsession –

looking down and staring 

at her sleeping mate


Francis W. Alexander 




window tapping --

the zombie’s belated

birthday wishes 


Francis W. Alexander




free agent --

a choice of five places

he can haunt


Francis W. Alexander




autumn takes the leaves

the farmers take in their grain

dead, I awaken


Jeff Remling






mass into photons
twenty-year journey to Gliese
photons into mass
three hundred souls embrace
surrounded by a lush green eden


Kimberly Nugent




a swim in the Arcadia's murky river

paints each of her hairs

with fluorescent motes—

outside the habi-dome, our border collie

shimmers in the twilight


Lisa Timpf




still can’t decide
whether to go in or out
our cat hovers
by the entrance
of our escape pod


Christina Sng



...time loop
the same mistakes
over and over
…time loop

Christina Sng




new galaxy –

swirls of love

in his eyes…

every day

more like home


Susan Burch



after a hard day


a five pronged socket

automaton reaches out

plugs in his fingers

and savors a first long drink

marking start of happy hour


Herb Kauderer




clearing the land on Degna—

black smoke against an orange sky

as stumps of trees

a thousand years young



Lisa Timpf





License Renewal 


At spaceship bureau

cyborg pilot stands in line

destroys the eye test


Herb Kauderer






born from star storms
forever so helpful
forever generous so kind
love you


Anna Maria Dall’Olio







monsters in masks

lurk the streets

on all hallows eve

searching for girls

not candy


we patrol the streets

to protect the weak

after the kids are asleep

with halloween masks

and real axes


Christina Sng




Monster-Movie ‘Ku


it’s in the blood

picking my teeth

by full moon’s light


unsure of himself

he stops at each mirror

still unseen



to see the living

when to clank the chain


nails trimmed short

by the undertaker

hardwood casket


David C. Kopaska-Merkel






Me and My Big Mouth

John J. Dunphy



    I didn't mean to offend her. I really didn't.


    I was taking my alien neighbor on a tour of my award-winning rose garden.  She asked me what's my favorite rose color.  I immediately replied, "Blood red!" 


    After a moment of icy silence, my neighbor pressed one of her fingers into a rose thorn. She then launched into a diatribe about the implied bigotry of such Earthcentric language and accused me of being an alienophobe.   



         dripping from

         my neighbor's pricked finger

         green blood




The Last Exodus

Lisa Timpf


The last Exodus out of New Brunswick, back in 2250, wasn't all bad; most of the exiles found jobs at sea or out in space. For example, there's the Rimbaut clan—Lazare and his sons and daughter—who took on the Degna to Fortuna run, clearing the space lanes of the junk, debris and detritus left behind by passing colony ships, passenger liners, meteor strikes, pirate raids, and even centuries-past dogfights, their origins lost in the mists of time. Doesn't matter, all pieces large or small get grappled on board with the new, improved Canadarm, for Anna Rimbaut, the lab tech, to study, sort and sift.


Like fishermen returning their catch to the sea, they toss some pieces into the gravity field of the nearest planet—atmosphere as incinerator—while other items are recycled, donated to museums, or sold to private collectors.


You can call them glorified sanitation engineers, or scorn their ship as a kind of nuclear-powered snow plow, clearing the space lanes of debris. Still, if you arrive at your destination safely, you just may have the Rimbauts to thank.


their home is the sea—

and space is just

an ocean with stars 






The Not So Simple Cinquain

by Lauren McBride

In the early 1900s an American poet, Adelaide Crapsey, invented a five-line poem inspired by Japanese tanka and haiku. It became known as the Crapsey cinquain or American cinquain, cinq from the French word for five.  

In brief, the poems are titled and follow a count of 2-4-6-8-2 syllables per line. An informative and thorough introduction to the Crapsey cinquain and its history can be found in Terrie Leigh Relf's book The Poet's Workshop and Beyond. The didactic cinquain is meant to be simpler and, by definition, used for teaching. It is patterned after the Crapsey cinquain, but uses word counts not syllable counts. There is no title. Capitalization and punctuation seem to be at the discretion of the poet. Rules vary, but in its basic form the didactic cinquain has five lines and follows a count of 1-2-3-4-1 words per line.  To illustrate the difference, I will modify an unpublished Crapsey cinquain into a didactic cinquain in the following two-poem example: 

Crapsey cinquain (titled with a 2-4-6-8-2 syllable count per line):  

Oh, the Inhumanity! 


Recycling Plant.

Dismembered arms, legs. Heads

severed, stripped, shelved. Bucket of eyes -



Didactic cinquain (untitled with a 1-2-3-4-1 word count per line):  


Robot recycling -

Dismembered arms, legs.

Heads stripped of eyes,



Freed from syllable counts, the didactic form is easier to write. Yet its total word count is almost always less than a Crapsey cinquain, and there is no title, which may or may not be limiting. In this case, I think the intent of my poem works as either a Crapsey cinquain or a basic didactic cinquain. Simple, you say, but there is more. Consider the restrictive didactic cinquain with its formal rules that vary line by line, summarized here: 

line 1: a one-word title, the subject of the poem

line 2: a pair of adjectives describing that title

line 3: a three-word phrase that gives more information about the subject (often a list of three gerunds)

line 4: four words describing feelings related to that subject (some variations allow this to be a sentence with more than four words)

line 5: a single word synonym or other reference for the subject from line one 

Not so simple, you say, with that imposing list of rules. An example might help, so I have rewritten one unpublished poem three times to illustrate the three variations of the cinquain form, beginning with the Crapsey cinquain:  

Comet's  Curse                

Look up:

Watchful, wary.

Speeding among the stars -

Fireball! Earthbound! Be warned ye



This poem draws from historic superstitions that comets were omens of bad luck or sent to punish sinners. As a Crapsey cinquain, it is fatally flawed (as I learned recently) because the word "fireball" can be pronounced as having either two or three syllables making it a poor choice to use in a poem that is based on syllable count.  However, this problem disappears when the poem is rewritten as a basic didactic cinquain adhering to word counts, not syllables:



Earthbound fireball

Speeding among stars

Sinners be watchful, wary



And finally, I have rewritten this poem again guided by the line specific rules of the restrictive didactic cinquain:



fireball, earthbound

punishing, dooming, destroying

sinners watchful and wary



While simpler than a Crapsey cinquain, the restrictive didactic cinquain has a pleasant rhythm to it and need not be overlooked. There is no correct version, only a poet's choice of which form works best to express an idea. In fact, rewriting a poem several different ways may help to refine an idea or lead to word choices that end up in the final version.  

For further experimentation, try writing a cinquain in reverse, or join two together in a mirror image, or remove one middle line for a butterfly cinquain. There are many examples and variations on the web, and an excellent history of their origins in Relf's The Poet's Workshop and Beyond.  

Why not take five and try writing a five line, not so simple cinquain? You might find it simply irresistible.

Works Cited 

 "Cinquain Examples." Your Dictionary n.d. Web.

Fineman, Kelly. "Cinquain variations." Writing and Ruminating. 28 April, 2016. Web.

Johnson, Ben. “Didactic Cinquain.” Poetry Forms. n.d. Web.

Relf, T. L. (2012). The Poet's Workshop and Beyond. (pp. 78-81). Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Sam's Dot Publishing.

Wilson, Catherine. "Poetry: The forms and the History." Prose-n-Poetry. 19 January, 2003. Web.



FAVORITE POEM by editor t. santitoro


the circle of life

white clouds and blue oceans

orbit decaying


Jeff Remling


The whole story unfolds with a powerful punch in that last line. Well done!





Davian Aw grew up wanting to write novels and make movies, but instead ended up selling a lot of poetry and getting nominated for the Rhysling Award. He lives with his family in Singapore, where he works as a copywriter and web developer and thinks Keanu Reeves is awesome.


Brian Barnett, author of Graveyard Scavenger Hunt and Carnival of Chaos, lives in Frankfort, Kentucky.


Susan Burch: Susan Burch is a good egg.


Anna Maria Dall’Olio: MA Languages: English and Portuguese (Pisa, 1985), BA Letters (Pisa, 2004). She has been teaching English in Italian high schools since 1987. She likes sightseeing as well as spending time & money in bookshops. She shares her flat with Balder, a fawn Norwegian Forest cat. She devoted herself to fiction, poetry and playwriting. Dall’Olio’s dramatic and poetic interests are stressed on reality as well as society, even if she deals with her own life. As far as poetry is concerned, it is always the topic which points out the most convenient poetic style of each poem: topics are up-to-date, and so final layouts are totally unexpected. As for fiction, Dall’Olio deals with reality as much as fantasy (and vice versa) mixing different genres of prose and poetry.


Lisa Hawkridge is a young writer and poet working boring day jobs to pay rent while embracing the writing of Science Fiction and Fantasy in both poetry and prose form, and her greatest endeavor and true calling


William Landis: a writer out of North Carolina who spends his days helping farmers, his weekends training for warfare and the fleeting moments of inspiration in between writing. 


Hillary Lyon is founder and editor for the Arizona-based independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. She is an SFPA Rhysling Award nominated poet. When not writing, she paints furniture in the Dia de los Muertos-style, and creates illustrations for horror and pulp fiction publications.


Lauren McBride finds inspiration in faith, family, nature, science and membership in the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA). Nominated for the Best of the Net, Rhysling and Dwarf Stars Awards, her poetry has appeared in dozens of publications including Kaleidotrope, Silver Blade and The Grievous Angel. She enjoys swimming, gardening, baking, reading, writing and knitting scarves for troops.


Kimberly Nugent is a freelance editor and stay at home mom who tortures her cats with death metal as she flits about the house. She is also a gamer, nerd, and lover of all things geek...and crochet.


Jeff Remling:  A past museum curator and computer programmer, Jeff Remling prefers to write horror and fiction based upon his knowledge of U.S. and world history.