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SCIFAIKUEST

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDITORIAL

 

Autumn Greetings! Happy Halloween!

Our spooky DOOR artwork is Halloween Hello by Denise Noe who also did our PRINT Cover! We have two articles in this edition, one on somonka by Joshua St. Claire, and another one by Herb Kauderer!

 

Scifaikuest finally has its own ISBN!!! Please inform your local bookstores and library that they are now able to ORDER SCIFAIKUEST!!!

 

You can always find us here, at Hiraeth Books at: https://www.hiraethsffh.com/home-1

If you don’t have a subscription to our PRINT edition, they are available at:

https://www.hiraethsffh.com/product-page/scifaikuest

 

And, if you would like to join the select group of contributors by submitting your poetry, artwork or article, you can find our guidelines at: https://www.hiraethsffh.com/scifaikuest

Pssst! Looking for something to read? You can order t.santitoro's latest novella, Adopted Child, at:

https://www.hiraethsffh.com/product-page/adopted-child-by-t-santitoro

You can also get a copy of her novelette, The Legend of Trey Valentine, at: https://www.hiraethsffh.com/product-page/legend-of-trey-valentine-by-teri-santitoro

 

 

chill Halloween evening

something moving

in my treat bag

 

(xeno-unit)

 

***

 

SCIFAIKU

 

 

another 1969

the Union Jack unfolds
over the moon

 

Stephen C. Curro

 

***

 

just arrived on Mars...

feral chickens

prowl the airlock

 

Stephen C. Curro

 

***

 

redirecting an asteroid...

one planet's solution

is another planet's problem

 

Stephen C. Curro

 

***

 

shelling peas

children holding Neptunes

in their hands

 

Joshua St. Claire

 

***

 

child of Mars

logging onto Earthnet

distance learning

 

Brian Gene Olson

 

***

 

scar on my right cheek

doing a 4D backflip

scar on my left cheek

 

Brian Gene Olson

 

***

 

2068

a fifty-something man

buys a red flying car

 

Greg Schwartz

 

***

 

old robot kaput
remains cremated
now a shiny urn

Gary Davis

 

***


space alien scouts
discover bright new talent
all become stars

Guy Belleranti
 

***

 

SENRYU

 

forty years in cryo

our generation ship arrives

I hit the snooze button 

 

T.R. Jones 

 

***


lovely silk bedding
comfortable corpse
sleeps like the dead

Guy Belleranti
 

***

 

MODIFIED SCI(NA)KU

 

To Each Their Own

 

galactic conference restrooms -

urgently seeking

the

appropriate door

pictogram from among

the various

genders

and general

species body types

  

Lauren McBride

 

***

 

HORRORKU

 

blood-red rain

falling from the sky

full moon

 

semi

 

***

 

silence

the astronauts' screams swallowed

by the black hole

 

Ngo Binh Anh Khoa

 

***


dead head comes alive
headless horseman tries it on
now no one is safe

Guy Belleranti
 

***

 

harvest moon—

the children learn to share

their father

 

Greg Schwartz

 

***

 

the taste
of my own blood
first fangs

Christina Sng

 

***

 

“I’ll always love you”  

The honest man lies  

In Alzheimer’s grave  

 

limbo, by Benjamin Whitney Norris

 

*** 

 

a chorus of birds  

cawing at daybreak  

hungry for my eyes

 

gibbet, by Benjamin Whitney Norris  

 

***

 

KATUATA

dream job 
Herb Kauderer

cadet struts on stage
graduating in top ten
suicide mission awaits

 

***

 

TANKA

 

when my cat hissed
at the new guy
I just knew—
out he went
through the trap door

Christina Sng

***

 

once again
I vanish into my safe space
while atrocities happen
in the real world
dissociation

Christina Sng

***


rogue planet
swerving
in and out
of galaxies
universal pinball

Christina Sng
 

***

 

FIBONACCI


I
met
a face
just like mine
on a head like mine
attached to a body like mine
and I thought it was nice to have my very own clone
until I learned it was not mine
and was not a clone
but instead
I was
the
clone

Guy Belleranti

 

***

 

CHERITA


Dreams of Sealife 
Herb Kauderer

She reveled in the magic of the Dreamers Mall.
Within that virtual reality
everything was part of a creative economy,

so she molded her dreams
of Devonian life freed from water
and filled them with air to float above the crowds.

***

 

RICTAMETER


Subjective Work Conditions 
Herb Kauderer

“This year”
artificial
construct based on orbits
of random globes of space matter
yet dictating budgets
and vacations
for all.

***

 

JOINED POEMS


touch defensive (joined tanka)
Herb Kauderer

below the ocean
one last arcology prays
hidden from warfare
of DNA & disease
outwaiting armageddon

the aliens find
a frightened arcology 
deep in the ocean
more afraid of first contact
than military conquest

***

JOINED POEMS--(RENGAYS)

 

Brothers, We  

John Granville and Benjamin Whitney Norris  

 

drunk on millet beer by noon  

grief stalks her prey  

across the Sahel  

 

tall yellow grass bends  

a burned-glass sky  

 

from a lone Baobab  

hang silhouettes  

dancing at sunset  

 

no strangers to me  

under limbs  

raised to the crescent moon   

 

nooses of woven bark  

creaking, bending  

 

one whispered word here  

stills the talking drums  

in the distance  

 

***


THE GIFT OF SIGHT (joined poem)

the veil—
a gift I never asked for

all the monsters I see
wearing human faces

walking on the streets
smiling at me

Christina Sng

 

***

 

HAIBUN

 

Fine-Tuning Fall

 

Earth residents of old who loved the beauty of autumn foliage had to content themselves with the hues that Nature provided.   I'm so glad that is no longer the case.

 

Yard Control app

I make the color of our trees' leaves

just a tad darker

 

John J. Dunphy

 

***

 

ARTICLES

 

A Grownup in a Time of Pandemic

Herb Kauderer

My grandfather Herb Kauderer was born in October 1903.  While World War I (WWI) officially began on 28 July 1914, the US maintained neutrality for years.  After loss of American life and wealth due to Germany’s decision to return to unrestricted submarine warfare on all ships in contested areas, the US entered the war on 6 April 1917, and, as Herb told it, suddenly all the men were gone.  In truth, it was only about four percent of all Americans mobilized in the war effort, but they were all men of a servable age and they created a labor shortage that pushed thirteen year-old Herb into leaving school and working full-time in one of the family businesses. 

Grandpa told me there were hopes he would become a medical doctor.  Instead, the 1940 US Census reports his highest level of education completed as eighth grade.  In that era it was not unusual for people to end their education at the conclusion of primary school, but that had not been the intent in this case.  The hopeful doctor was left to lead a horse drawn wagon around small neighborhoods, ladling unpasteurized milk from ten-gallon milk cans into bottles people brought to the street from their homes.

The great maybe is what happened next.  The war officially ended 11 November 1918 and even before then, in March of that year, the Spanish flu pandemic had begun to spread in America.  Perhaps Herb might have returned to school when the military veterans returned to Buffalo and returned to work.  Except the schools were not open.  On 10 October 1918 Buffalo “Mayor Buck ordered closed all schools, churches, saloons, movie houses and theaters, pool halls, five-and-ten stores […], ice cream parlors and soda shops, and barred all indoor gatherings and meetings of any sort” (Buffalo).  Herb continued to be a grownup. 

Herb told me that the flu didn’t truly hit Buffalo until 1919 when it seemed every third person died of it.  It moved so fast that he said his Uncle Jack caught the flu in the morning and put on his best suit so he could be buried in it.  He was dead by nightfall.  (Uncle Jack was Herb’s mother’s younger brother, 35 year-old John Fries, Jr.)  The veterans were not coming home to work, they were returning to die.  There were roughly ten million military deaths in WWI.  They were followed by fifty million flu deaths.  Added together, they were the death of many dreams, including Herb’s dreams of being a medical doctor.

Flashforward to late 2019.

I had downsized, sold my house, moved into an apartment complex near work with my twenty-one year-old son Arthur.  While I had divested myself of eighty-five percent of my possessions, I acquired a few new ones, along with services available with my new residence.  Key additions were: a fifty inch television of my preference, the first brand new couch of my life, an overly long one to accommodate the overly long specimens likely to use it, a new adjustable bed, industrial grade internet, and new desk chairs.

In late January 2020 I began my usual teaching semester with students from five continents in my classes.  Soon thereafter I contracted COVID-19 and spent a brutal two weeks laboring to breathe, and using that new adjustable bed many hours a day.  As a special gift, I had profound COVID toes, a symptom in only a small minority of cases, but solid confirmation of the diagnosis before tests were readily available.  My feet could have starred in zombie movies without need of makeup.

I just got back to being able to breathe reasonably, and to enjoying my job, when the country shut down for the pandemic in mid-March.  Suddenly all my classes were online, and the net effect was to take much more of my time, first for conversion, and second for calming students’ distress.  The incredible internet service, the new office chairs, and the already outstanding computer proved essential to continuing to teach.  Comfortable accommodations were hugely valuable to staying inside for a year, and I deemed us very lucky to have just achieved such a comfortable circumstance when the pandemic hit. 

But I am surrounded by people who focus on what they consider the serious issues of the pandemic without including the need for dreaming.  Dreaming is essential to human health.  In the formal sense of falling asleep and dreaming, dreaming provides essential pruning and organizing of thoughts.  In daydreaming, it is the relief of stress, and the special stress of quarantine which is not an opponent that can be actively combatted.  In planning, dreaming is the process of imagining solutions to problems, and ways to create a greater future.

Dreaming can be fostered by television and my streaming services.  Or by the eight full bookcases.  Or access to the internet.  Or the ability to write stories and poems.

I write speculative poetry to dream.  Of things good and bad.  Of pasts and futures that are different.  Of new mythologies, and old legends.  To escape the current dilemma.

Too often advocates of mindfulness push for an excess of being in the moment, which is great if you aren’t trapped in a room for a year.  And you’re not struggling with the prospect of personal economic disaster.  A pandemic requires dreaming, an imagining of alternatives.  We have the wealth and technology to foster a golden age of dreaming in response to this pandemic.  I advocate for the birth of dreams.  Let’s give this pandemic a new twist.  Let’s use it to launch a golden age of creativity.  I’ll try to do my share with speculative poetry.

References:

 “Buffalo, New York.”  The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919: A Digital Encyclopedia.  University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine.  https://www.influenzaarchive.org/cities/city-buffalo.html#

***

FEATURED POET:

Jonathan Roman

 

SCIFAIKU


nuclear winter
their ashes somewhere
in the ash


***

 

beach day
she covers up
her gills

***


alone in bed
the trapped heat
of Venus

***

 

SENRYU

 

launch sequence . . .
thrust into another
new job


***

 

multiverse
the childless version
of myself

***

 

tied game
beaming courtside
for the fourth quarter

***

 

off worlder
his speech still full
of old earth idioms

 

***

 

shrink ray
a praying mantis corners
the bully

 

***

 

exoskeletons
bolster brittle bones
nursing home

 

***
 

BIOGRAPHY of JONATHAN ROMAN, Featured Poet

 

Jonathan Roman has a penchant for doing things he is not particularly good at (writing poetry & fiction, playing basketball, living, etc.). He is delighted when words conspire to make him feel things. His poem, “ghetto garden”, was longlisted by The Haiku Foundation for the 2021 Touchstone Award for Individual Poems. He co-authored a book, After Amen: A Memoir in Two Voices, which received an Honorable Mention in the 2021 Touchstone Distinguished Books Awards & placed third in the 2022 Merit Book Awards. Say obscene things to him on Twitter: @deft_notes

 

*** 

 

FAVORITE POEM

by editor t.santitoro

 

a chorus of birds  

cawing at daybreak  

hungry for my eyes

 

gibbet, by Benjamin Whitney Norris  

 

What a despairing scene this conjures! Well done!

 

***

 

 

 

WHO?

 

Stephen Curro hails from Windsor, Colorado.  Along with Scifaikuest, he has published or forthcoming work with Acorn and The Fifth Di..., among others.  His novelette The Spark is also available through Hiraeth Publishing, and he writes educational materials for the nonprofit Taproot Guru.  When he isn't writing, he works as a high school paraprofessional.  When he isn't working, he enjoys scuba diving and plotting to trick his dad into watching Lord of the Rings.  You can keep up with his shenanigans at www.stephenccurro.com.

***

T.R. Jones lives in northern Texas, where he writes both mainstream and genre prose and poetry.  His work has appeared in Lalitamba, Illumen, Scifaikuest, Spaceports & Spidersilk, and Star*Line. He is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association.

***

Herb Kauderer would be a professional poet, if such a thing existed.

***

Lauren McBride finds inspiration in faith, family, nature, science and membership in the SFPA. Nominated for the Best of the Net, Rhysling and Dwarf Stars Awards, her poetry has appeared in dozens of publications including Asimov's, Dreams & Nightmares, and Fantasy & Science Fiction. She enjoys swimming, gardening, baking, reading, writing and knitting scarves for troops.

***

Ngo Binh Anh Khoa is currently teaching English at Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology (HUTECH), Vietnam. In his free time, he enjoys daydreaming and writing dark verses for entertainment. His poems have appeared in Scifaikuest, Weirdbook, Star*Line, Spectral Realms and other venues.

***

Benjamin Whitney Norris built his first rocket out of a balloon, a drinking straw, Scotch tape, and string.  The times have changed, but he still rushes forward, blowing raspberries and shooting for the moon

***

Brian Gene Olson lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, two kids, and a demon cat named Pharaoh. He mostly writes children's works, some of which have appeared in Ladybug, Babybug, The School Magazine, and Highlights Hello. Find him on Twitter at @BGOwriter.

***

Jonathan Roman has a penchant for doing things he is not particularly good at (writing poetry & fiction, playing basketball, living, etc.). He is delighted when words conspire to make him feel things. His poem, “ghetto garden”, was longlisted by The Haiku Foundation for the 2021 Touchstone Award for Individual Poems. He co-authored a book, After Amen: A Memoir in Two Voices, which received an Honorable Mention in the 2021 Touchstone Distinguished Books Awards & placed third in the 2022 Merit Book Awards. Say obscene things to him on Twitter: @deft_notes

***

Greg Schwartz works in a cubicle or his basement, depending on whether there's a worldwide pandemic ongoing at the time. In a past life, he was the staff cartoonist for SP Quill Magazine and a book reviewer for Whispers of Wickedness.

***

Joshua St. Claire is a certified public accountant who works as a financial controller at a small company in Pennsylvania. He is married and the father of three active boys. His active boys and long hours as an accountant demand an IV drip of coffee. You can follow the smell of Joshua's coffee to the following publications: Eastern Structures, Eye to the Telescope, Failed Haiku, hedgerow, Poetry Pea, Scifaikuest, and The Starlight Scifaiku Review, among others. Of course, he also loves writing SEC filings and accounting research memos just for fun.

Halloween Hello by Denise Noe.jpg
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