Scifaikuest Online

August 2021

 

 

 

Lucy Dreams by Sandy DeLuca

 

EDITORIAL

 

Greetings, Readers!

 

Please join me in celebrating Scifaikuest's 18th Anniversary! Whoo-hoo!!!!

 

That's right, we've been doing this for 18 years! We started out as a scifaiku magazine, and we now publish almost FIFTY forms of minimal genre poetry! Thanks for growing along with us!

 

I'd also like to take a moment to revisit where it all started: scifaiku. Those little gems of poetry with a SF/h/f twist. August 21st of this year, we will celebrate the very first International Scifaiku Poetry Day! Please read the notice about it, by John Dunphy, included below.

 

Our awesome DOOR artwork is Lucy Dreams, by Sandy DeLuca. You can read an interview with Sandy, by RE Porter, in his article included in this issue.

 

For our Anniversary this year, we have a FEATURED POET in the ONLINE version as well as in the PRINT edition!

 

Our ONLINE Featured Poet, Francis W. Alexander, also has an article in this ONLINE version, about a new poetic form he invented! If you want to know how to write Forbidden Haibun, Mr. Alexander's article will tell you how, and if you want examples, his Featured Poet spot will show you how! To find out more about Francis W. Alexander, you can read our interview with him, directly following his Featured Poet spot. He also has a scifaiku page in the August 2021 PRINT edition!

 

You can now find us at Hiraeth Publishing at: https://www.hiraethsffh.com

 

You can read about another new form, the sestet, in John Dunphy's article in our PRINT edition!

 

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 novelette, The Legend of Trey Valentine, at: https://www.hiraethsffh.com/product-page/legend-of-trey-valentine-by-teri-santitoro

And you can also find her novella, Adopted Child, at: https://www.hiraethsffh.com/product-page/adopted-child-by-t-santitoro

 

A huge Scifaikuest welcome to our newest ONLINE contributors: S P Jenkins and Brian Rosenberger!

 

another anniversary

performing our Spacer duties

just like always

 

-sakyu-

 

***

 

AN EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT by scifaiku poet and author, John J. Dunphy:

 

As many of you surely know, April 17th is International Haiku Poetry Day. Well, I have some wonderful news for you. This August 21st will mark the very first International Scifaiku Poetry Day.

 

I request that you help publicize International Scifiaku Poetry Day by posts on social media. And while you’re at it, why not share some of your scifaiku as well? Too many persons are still unacquainted with this remarkable literary genre. Let’s change that!

 

John J. Dunphy, 2021

 

***

 

 

SCIFAIKU

 

ice queen crone

 

theirs was a love

to last for ages

cryogenic sleeping

 

Benjamin Whitney Norris

 

***

 

"Blue Plaque"

 

marker commemorating battle

home team losing

regretful first contact

 

Matthew Wilson

 

***

 

frosted window

my escape pod bounces

off the atmosphere

 

Stephen C. Curro

 

***

 

nightly tryst

at the cemetery

undead lover

 

Ngo Binh Anh Khoa

 

***

 

snow on snow on snow –

spring on the new colony

still two years away

 

Lee Strong, OFS

 

***

 

the calculations
off by a decimal point -
debris field explained

 

Lee Strong, OFS

 

***

 

leaving Earth—

the sights you know

you’ll never see again

 

--Lisa Timpf

 

***

 

super rice

planted, grown and steamed

only six hours ago

 

Stephen C. Curro

 

***

 

high as the stars

my roommate debates

life's meaning with a robot

 

Stephen C. Curro

 

***

 

sentient fungus

infecting those in power

spores of love bloom forth

 

S P Jenkins

 

***

 

embrace first contact

exploring the alien

incompatible

 

Freya Pickard 2020

 

 

***

alien autumn
my neighbors change their color
then expose bare limbs

Guy Belleranti

***

twilight—
the dead mailman
chases a dog

Greg Schwartz
 

 

***

 

SENRYU

 

robots fall in love

why does this keep happening

must be a virus

 

S P Jenkins

 

***

next-gen A.I.
the car decides
you shouldn’t get out

Greg Schwartz

 

 

***

 

SCI(NA)KU

 

specialist sci(na)ku

 

studying

butterfly nebula

astronomer summons lepidopterologist

 

Herb Kauderer

 

***

 

HORRORKU

 

Dahl, baby

 

Not a tattoo

Her skin crawling

Over to you now

 

Benjamin Whitney Norris

 

***

 

your ghost wakens me

a bitter-sweet memory

life after doomsday

 

Brian Rosenberger

 

***

 

 

Rebound Relationship by Herb Kauderer

 

 

***

 

TANKA

 

TRIPLE MOONS

 

drawing down their strength

an asteroid changes course

bears our lesson home

next time don't banish witches

to a planet with three moons

 

Marsheila Rockwell

 

 

***

  

new planet, new nightmares—

they’re not sure what it was

but it came in the night,

wide-winged and large enough

to cover the moon

 

Lisa Timpf

 

***

 

still not used

to this new planet

a girl sits on the porch

naming new constellations

after Game of Thrones characters

 

Stephen C. Curro

 

***

 

eaten alive

by the little bugs

in the cloud deck

first team searching

for life on Venus

 

Christina Sng

 

***

 

new secretary –

they bite off her head

and start the meeting,

before she can grow back

a new one

 

Susan Burch

 

***

 

SESTET

 

 

A Sestet

 

Sunday service

an android visitor interrupts

the minister's sermon

to ask whether

it was a sin to create her

without a soul

 

John J. Dunphy

 

***

 

FIBONACCI

 


they
will
never
become lost
in their space travels
so long as their eyes shine like stars
lighting the route they
must journey
to come
back
home

Guy Belleranti

***
 

we
lock
the doors
and windows
as armed aliens    
exit from multiple spacecraft
then discover they
also have
hands that
high
five

Guy Belleranti

 

***

 

ZIP ONE-BREATH

 

soft patter         of methane rain         Titan tour          

 

Lauren McBride

 

***

 

JOINED POEMS

 

TITAN LIFE

 

never realized

Titan’s life forms

were mimics

 

following us

back to earth

as our crew

 

Christina Sng

 

***

 

SATURNE

 

 

 

dead

sapling

by Marsdome

failed dream brought from

Earth

 

Lauren McBride

 

 

***

 

SATURNE BINARY

 

First Day Among Humans

 

when

he heard

a mom say

"time for baby's

change"

a

young shapeshifter

changed too    screams

still haunt

him

 

 Lauren McBride

 

***

 

ARTICLES

 

SIGNS OF EVERYDAY MADNESS

Robert E. Porter

 

 

Alan Watts wrote a book called The Way of Zen, but I wonder if he stood in the way of Zen. “[T]he masters talk about Zen as little as possible,” he said, “and throw its concrete reality straight at us.” (Watts, 127)

While he went on and on about his subject. Was he getting anywhere?

Jack Kerouac picked up the standard in Dharma Bums. Here, his character talked with a character based on the poet Gary Snyder:

“It’s mean,” I complained. “All those Zen Masters throwing young kids in the mud because they can’t answer their silly word questions.”

“That’s because they want them to realize mud is better than words, boy.” (Kerouac, 9)

 

That last word, boy, seems condescending. Kerouac’s the target of the master’s mudslinging. Or maybe it wasn’t mud that hit the fanboy.

Watts and Kerouac (and Snyder) cut “rebellious” figures from the fads and fashions of their time by introducing white middle class Americans to Japanese cult and culture, during the post-war boom. The air had cleared over Hiroshima, and the Rape of Nanking had been swept under Emperor Hirohito’s curly Mohair rug. General MacArthur faded. The “yellow fear” had given way. The children of the Greatest Generation now rejected the values and the experience of their parents, and began toying with other values, and other experiences, before they grew up and slipped back into the well-worn groove again, which had been prepared for them.

Looking back, I see American Zen as part of a general wave including George Harrison’s sitar, transcendental meditation, and the previous lives of Shirley MacLaine. It was an excuse to burn incense to cover up the smell of potheads and roaches. It would go on to inspire Jedi masters and their slavish devotees.

But there is more to Zen than can be put into words. I think Kenneth Rexroth’s translation captures that here:

 

No one spoke,

The host, the guest,

The white chrysanthemums.

--Kyota (Rexroth, 116)

 

“Basho’s poems,” said Watts, “have the same inspired objectivity as a child’s expression of wonder, and return us to that same feeling of the world as when it first met our astonished eyes.” (Watts, 184)

He wasn’t wandering into the weeds there, and neither was Rexroth here:

 

A blind child

Guided by his mother

Admires the cherry blossoms.

--Kikaku (Rexroth, 115)

 

“Japanese poetry,” said Rexroth, “does what poetry does everywhere: it intensifies and exalts experience. It is true that it concentrates practically exclusively on this function.” He went on. “It is possible to claim that Japanese poetry is purer, more essentially poetic. Certainly it is less distracted by non-poetic considerations.” (Rexroth, ix)

Kerouac chimed in, a few years later, in the words of Snyder’s character: “A real haiku’s gotta be as simple as porridge and yet make you see the real thing”. (Kerouac, 44)

In other words, it’s more like mud than wordy abstraction.

“The artificial haiku,” said Watts, “always feels like a piece of life which has been deliberately broken off or wrenched away from the universe, whereas the genuine haiku has dropped off all by itself, and has the whole universe inside it.” (Watts, 196)

I’m beginning to get it now. But it’s one thing to talk about artificial and genuine haiku. It’s quite another to tell the difference, and harder still to make a difference.

“In my own translations,” said Rexroth, “I have tried to interfere as little as possible with the simplicity of the Japanese text. I have always striven for maximum compression.” (Rexroth, x)

Compression. Isn’t that part of what turns coal into diamonds?

“Walking in this country,” said Kerouac’s titular bum, “you could understand the perfect gems of haikus the Oriental poets had written, not getting drunk in the mountains or anything but just going along as fresh as children writing down what they saw without literary devices or fanciness of expression.” (Kerouac, 44)

What could be simpler? Sitting still, maybe?

“There is, indeed, nothing unnatural in long periods of quiet sitting,” said Watts. “Cats do it; even dogs and other more nervous animals do it. So-called primitive peoples do it – American Indians, and peasants of almost all nations. The art is most difficult for those who have developed the sensitive intellect to such a point that they cannot help making predictions about the future, and so must be kept in a constant whirl of activity to forestall them. But it would seem that to be incapable of sitting and watching with the mind completely at rest is to be incapable of experiencing the world in which we live to the full.” (Watts, 155)

That is what it all really comes down to, I think. Not thinking so much that we fail to experience the world around us. If we are not fully alive, in that way, we are philosophical zombies. If we are so lost in abstractions that we have disengaged from reality, can those thoughts ever lead us anywhere worth going? I don’t think so. It’s more likely to get us run over in the street than notice anything real with a childlike sense of wonder. It’s more likely to result in an obit than haiku.

So I’m thrilled on those days when I notice things, when I’m out of my head and into the moment. The blue heron waits, patiently. The screen of algae passes, revealing a fish. Sometimes, it is possible to capture the moment (or “fish”) in a haiku. Obviously, scifaiku and horror ku aren’t as grounded in what’s real and present. But the poet can be real and present, in the making of these little gems. If that’s not enough to tell the diamonds from the paste, it’s better than crossing at the light in brain-eating mode.

 

 

 

WORKS CITED

 

Kerouac, Jack. Dharma Bums. Viking Penguin, 2008.

 

Rexroth, Kenneth. One Hundred Poems from the Japanese. New directions, 1964.

Watt, Alan. The Way of Zen. Vintage Books, 1989.

 

***

 

POINT OF DEPARTURE:

AN INTERVIEW WITH SANDY DELUCA

Robert E. Porter

 

 

In October 2020, I reached out to Sandy DeLuca…

“I actually just finished up a novel this afternoon,” she said, “and your questions proved to be a fun way to unwind.”

Great to hear:

“When younger, I wanted to attend art school, but my father was very pragmatic and insisted that I attend business school so that I could support myself. I did so and began working in banking after I attended business school for a year.

“Afterward, I went to art school in the evenings while working full time at the bank. I was raising a small child by myself and it was hard work juggling everything.

  “I was fortunate to study under a painting teacher who was/and still is sensitive to my work. He encouraged me to keep painting. Recently, we had a two-person art show together and we also published a book together. His name is Bob Judge and he’s a wonderful painter.

  “I was raised by second generation Italians and their work ethics were very conservative. A lot of that rubbed off on me, I guess. So, I stayed in that banking job. If I had to do it over again, however, I would have forsaken the stability and pursued my creative work full time.

  “Working in banking did allow me to be free as a visual artist (and a writer). I had a paycheck and didn’t have to rely on art sales to pay the bills.

  “My last job at the bank involved working in the small business area. I was a lending assistant/or what they called a processor. I actually enjoyed the work and it did help to pay the bills.

“In 2011, when I was eligible for bank retirement, I left the bank to care for my elderly father. Six months afterward, he passed away.”

I asked about her creative process and sharing her work with others, the value of art and the price we put on it:

  “I often say that the creative process is like ‘touching God’. It’s very spiritual for me.

I feel as though my art is part of my soul, an expression of my life and normally, when doing a series, it expresses what I am going through at the time. I am also a writer, and lots of my work are expressions of the written work that I am involved with.

  “I have works that I refuse to part with and they are not for sale because they are so personal. I am so bad at marketing and naming prices. I only know that there are certain pieces that I won’t sell.”

Sandy’s creative as writer and artist. Different processes?

  “Visual art comes easier to me than writing,” she said. “You can make a painting within less than a day and be satisfied with it. Writing consists of lots of rewrites and edits. It's truly a different process for me.”

I asked: Does your visual art tend to be inspired by words, or your words by images?


“Both,” she said. “Often, a painting will inspire a poem or story. Other times, I paint and draw scenes from written pieces that I am working on.

“Example: I am working on and off on a novel called 19 Strand Street (working title). It's inspired by my great grandfather's house in West Warwick, RI. One of my cousins still lives there. The structure has been there since the 17th century and the wall outside the house still has brass rings attached to it...where horses were secured.

“The house was once a stagecoach stop and through the years it's been renovated extensively. It sits above a river and below a rocky hill. The area is a bit spooky. One of the guys who worked on the old Ghost Hunters show actually took photos in the attic. He said that there were a lot of orbs up there.

“I went there to take photos of the landscape last winter and began writing fiction. I've also painted some landscapes related to it. The name of the fictional village is Oracle and I've done a series of Oracle paintings.

“Also, my fiction is very surreal and dreamy...like a painting.”

In 2014, Marge Simon emailed: “Sandy DeLuca's paintings have inspired the poetry in three of my poetry collections - most notably the Bram Stoker winning Vampires, Zombies & Wanton Souls.” I asked Sandy about their collaboration.

“I would often send Marge a piece of art. If it inspired a poem, she'd let me know and soon she'd produce beautiful verse to accompany my art. It was wonderful working with Marge.”

The German expressionists were an early big influence on me. Did I see their influence…?

“I love the Expressionists,” she said, “and am happy that you see their influence in my work. Nice to meet someone who understands and sees that expression.”

And what about Goya or Grosz? How can the "ugly" be beautiful? 

“They say that true art can be ugly,” said Sandy. “A lot of the German Expressionists proves that, Beckmann is a good example. Grosz is as well. I don't care much for Romanticism, but that's just me. I also think that often one can spend so much time being technical that they forsake true expression. Although, I do admire a lot of the photo realists.

“I used to go to the Modern in NYC and sit on the bench in front of Beckmann's triptych, Departure. I'd stare at for a long time when I was there. Last time I visited, they told me that they'd put it in storage.”

With apologies to the cat: What a shame, what a shame, what a shame. But the work of Beckmann lives on in those he inspired. Sandy DeLuca’s work has inspired Marge Simon and others, including those who might now combine writing and visual art in a haiga or picture-poem.  

https://sandy-deluca.com/

(homepage – novelist and painter)

https://sandy-deluca.pixels.com/

(wall art, home décor, lifestyle, stationery, tech, apparel, collections)

 

***

 

REVIEW of Amanda Desiree's Smithy

by t.santitoro, editor

 

A real roller-coaster of a ride!

 

Set in the 1970s, this story follows a team of researchers doing scientific studies while attempting to teach a chimpanzee American Sign Language. What they aren't aware of, is that the location of their studies--a huge old mansion--is actually haunted. What happens when the only one who sees and feels the spirit is the chimpanzee?

 

A disturbing commentary on the treatment of research animals, a frightening look into what it takes to care for wild creatures in captivity, a mixture of paranormal activity and scientific research, all within the confines of a crumbling Golden-Age mansion, where a team of researchers face an unknown entity--or is the subject of their study actually the culprit?

 

This is an eerie and unique story, told through journals, diary entries and video transcripts, full of tension and mystery, and the ending is unexpected.

 

I didn't want to put this down, and it'll stay with me for a long time.

 

You can find Smithy on Amazon, CTRL +click to follow link at:

 

Smithy: Desiree, Amanda: 9781950301218: Amazon.com: Books

 

[Parts of this review appeared on Amazon.com]

 

***

 

About Forbidden Haibun

Francis Wesley Alexander

 

Since the haibun is defined as a prose poem combined with haiku, I thought I’d make the prose section consist of haiku. I’ve never seen where haiku could be written as part of the prose section, so I called my haibun, “Forbidden Haibun.”  A haibun is essentially a travel poem. Be it science fiction or life in general, time goes by as we travel. This time is represented by the seasons.  Sometimes, like in olden times, the season changes as a person travels. As I got comfortable writing this form, I decided to introduce each prose section with a constellation haiku. Thus, I would use a spring constellation such as Cancer in my haiku. Then, the prose section would give spring moments. Lyra introduces the reader to summer moments. A Cassiopeia haiku would mean there is no change in season because from the north we can see that constellation all year.  Thus, we have a forbidden haibun.  

 

***

 

FEATURED POET

Francis Wesley Alexander

 

Francis Wesley Alexander is the author of I Reckon (Bottom Dog Press), a book of haiku and haibun; and When the Mushrooms Come (Alban Lake, ). The Sandusky Ohio native is a five-time Rhysling nominee who has had poems published worldwide in such publications as Illumen, Scifaikuest,  Frogpond, Mainichi Daily News, and  Space and Time

 

 

When Universes Blend

by Francis W. Alexander

 

Xena came to visit me last night. She smelled of lilacs and vanilla. She seems to be the only person who’s concerned about my feelings, so nobody should wonder why she is my best friend.    

 

“My parents,” I said, “told me that you are imaginary. They say that I should have grown out of this. For some strange reason, they think I’ll harm myself.”

 

Xena placed a warm hand on my wrist, said, “My parents say the same thing to me.”

 

Cassiopeia –

laying on the floor of this padded cell

in the reformatory

 

***

 

Reading of the Will

by Francis W. Alexander

 

It was a surprise any of them came to his funeral. The nieces, nephews, sisters, and brothers were shocked the old man had dated a younger woman. And she had the audacity to be at the funeral wearing all that black. “All she wanted was his money,” they’d said. It wasn’t much.  Yet, they were prepared to fight her for that.

 

She had a lot of nerve, thought they whose dust she had wiped off the shelves and cabinets after moving in with him. The only communication he’d had from them was when they liked a comment he’d typed on their Facebook pages.

 

When the lawyer started reading the will, they were happier than a snake oil salesman hightailing it with his booty out of a pandemic infested village. They were surprised to learn the eccentric geezer owned a mansion and he’d given it to them. Surely, there was some value to the place, if not the property value.

 

they can enter

but they can never leave –

house of mirrors

 

***

 

Forbidden Haibun: Bolide*

by Francis W. Alexander

 

Orion -     

news that an asteroid  

is headed earth’s way

 

Winter night – fighting feelings of consternation. Raven – something tells me the asteroid will hit a year from now. Of family gatherings and the smell of glazed ham - card games.

 

Leo - 

the kittens play

while I spring clean

 

Tranquil – a slight breeze enters near the computer. Soap bubbles – the sound of my neighbor mowing his lawn. News of murders, war, and politics – serene.

 

Sagittarius -

that near-earth asteroid

is still on my mind

 

Cool afternoon – boasting, gossiping, and girl watching with the fellas. Summer moon – a UFO or meteor streaks through the eastern sky. Tired, sounds of trains and ambulances send me to sleep - short night

 

Andromeda –

my favorite college football team

is voted number one

 

Morning cold – awaking to the sound of street cleaners. City lights – bringing a carload of groceries home. Scientists say they were wrong, the asteroid will hit earth – fog.    

 

Taurus -

hoping my little shelter holds 

after the impact 

 

***

 

Stressed

by Francis W. Alexander


The Solar System is vanishing. I know that it is happening because of the collision of three universes. I am at the Library of the Cosmos and cannot for the life of me find the Librarian. She seems to have vanished. Yes, I am a Time Lord, but it would take me an infinity to find the volumes of all three universes and get this right. I see something white and it’s shining bright. It’s a note. Someone has knocked it under the desk. 

 

will return shortly

the Librarian is out to lunch –

long day

 

***

 

Forbidden Haibun: It

by Francis W. Alexander                                                                                                       

 

Cassiopeia –

tremors slowly snaking

throughout the masses

 

Scarlet gore courses through dark veins – Draco. Ursa Major – they know It’s growing but they can’t see it. Cepheus – dreams of its devastation but not about It.

 

Aquarius –

It ushers in

a frightening new dawn

 

Morning glory – the lambs go to their places of worship. It creates keys to enter and replicates itself – new straw. Mass confusion between reality and fantasy – night chill.  

 

Canis Major –

they begin to trundle 

and don’t even know it

 

A cough and sniffle are signs It has an ally – withered reeds. Blizzard – It wreaks havoc and they don’t know how to resist. It’s Prospero telling the peons to ignore the plague – sleet.

 

Hercules –

the masses search for a hero

to save them

 

Pegasus – the many battles have just begun. The civil war apocalypse – bright moon. The sound of shambling, screams, and gunfire – long night. What It doesn’t get, the plaque finishes – flower garden.

 

first sun –

It puts the pestilence

back in the box 

 

***

 

INTERVIEW WITH FEATURED POET

Francis Wesley Alexander

 

How long have you been writing poetry? 

I’ve been writing poetry for nearly sixty years.  As a grade schooler, I was shy.  I’d write love poems to girls I liked and penned them in the name of my rivals who also liked the girls. I sometimes tried to write some ordinary poems. My friend Jack Bennett wrote better poems, so I stuck mostly to writing stories.  I got my first poem published in 1968 as part of the first Black History Week celebration at our school. I wrote the poem about Harriet Tubman, it was put in the school’s showcase, and then a reporter wrote an article in the Sandusky Register and included my poem.  I continued to dabble in poems until college when I started writing more of them.  I’ve been submitting and getting my poems published for the past thirty years.

 

Did you begin writing haiku before you branched out to scifaiku? 

Yes.  I saw haiku in a literature book and liked the form.  That was around the time I saw a review of Lenard Moore’s haiku book titled The Open Eye. That made me dabble more with the form.

 

How did you learn about scifaiku? 

I saw what at that time was called science fiction haiku in Starsong magazine.  I liked the idea of science fiction and horror written in haiku form.

 

Where did you learn to write scifaiku?

Thanks to Writer’s Market, I found Scavenger’s Digest and saw scifaiku in that publication.  I studied Scavenger’s and Star*Line, and got published in them. Then I joined the Yahoo scifaiku group to learn more about it. That’s where I saw Tom Brinck’s Scifaiku Manifesto and learned more about scifaiku. 

 

Do you write poetry other than genre poetry? If so, what kind? 

Yes. I write free verse science fiction and horror, haibun, and drabbun.

  

Whose poetry has influenced you the most? 

I would say Edgar Allen Poe’s poetry has influenced me the most.  His poems Annabelle Lee and The Raven are classics.

 

Who is your favorite poet?  

Poe, Langston Hughes, and Lenard D Moore are my favorite poets.

 

What/who is your main inspiration? 

My main inspiration is to see someone struggle and succeed. If I’m in a funk, I am inspired if I see someone I know succeed.

  

What poetry magazines do you read/contribute to? 

Some of the magazines I contribute to/read are Scifaikuest, Illumen, Frogpond, and Failed Haiku.

 

***

 

FAVORITE POEM by editor, t.santitoro

 

theirs was a love

to last for ages

cryogenic sleeping

 

ice queen crone, by Benjamin Whitney Norris

 

Wonderful word play! Awesome!

 

__________________________________

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