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SCIFAIKUEST ONLINE
February 2024

 

 

Drip Dinosaur by Denny Marshall

 

 

Greetings, Readers!

 

Happy New Year, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Time really speeds by, doesn’t it? Already we’re into the second month of 2024. Here’s hoping that this will be a really wonderful year full of love. We need one. Between Covid and the war with Hamas, the Earth and its people have been struck some horrible blows recently. When are we as a species going to learn to live together in peace? To live and let live? To respect each other? What we do to ourselves now cannot help but affect the future of our planet. When do we draw the line and say, Enough is Enough? Time races by and, instead of becoming more enlightened, we seem to be devolving, to our own detriment. Maybe we need a really fantastic year to change our outlook. Instead of gloom and doom, perhaps we need some miracles.

 

Hate to tell all y’all, but those miracles are up to US.

 

Scifaikuest finally has its own ISBN!!! Please inform your local book stores 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

 

You can also read our ONLINE VERSION at:

https://www.hiraethsffh.com/scifaikuest-online

 

Pssst! Looking for something good to read?

You can get t.santitoro’s newest novella, Those Who Die, at

THOSE WHO DIE by t. santitoro | Hiraeth Publishing (hiraethsffh.com)

You can also 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

 

NEWBIES: David Arroyo, Jenelle Clausen, Dennis Maulsby, Michael Nickels-Wisdom, and James O'Melia.

 

Terran sunset

this time the drone

is just a drone

 

(xeno-unit)

 

 

SCIFAIKU

 

better halved

husband and wife  

can’t live apart  

surgically conjoined  

 

Benjamin Whitney Norris  

 

***

 

fire suit required

hazard pay warranted

dragon dentistry

 

Randall Andrews

 

*** 

 

floppy-eared space dog

too cute to leave behind

takes over the ship

 

Randall Andrews

 

***

  

fatal weather

weatherman mistaken

a capital crime

 

Jenelle Clausen

 

***

 

Gildin sunsets

breathtaking to the dying

before they go blind

 

Jenelle Clausen 

 

***

 

the gags and the laugh tracks

stern faced aliens

critique our sit-coms

 

dan smith

 

***

 

Halloween-

on CK-67

wooly-bears six feet long

 

dan smith 

 

***

 

kaiju hunting

I forget these canyons
are actually footprints

 

Stephen C. Curro

 

***

 

botched portal

a robot emerges
in a dragon nest

 

Stephen C. Curro

 

***

 

the basement stairs 

a life-size black rectangle

smelling of earth 

 

Michael Nickels-Wisdom 

 

***


a mother’s love
risking her neck she nurses  
vampire baby

Guy Belleranti

 

*** 

 

surrounded by flowing earth
sparkling with colour
Venus birth pools

 

Roxanne Barbour

   

***

 

humans helping Martians
plant homegrown flora
green Martian dunes

 

Roxanne Barbour

 

***

 

extinct

mistook the tar pool  

for a parking lot  

self-driving car’s demise  

 

John Granville  

 

***

 

upgrade 

“original sin”  

in your software  

back door for hackers  

 

John Granville  

 

***


mayor’s obligation 
the annual speech
the state of the colony
short to conserve air

 

Herb Kauderer

***

 

lasting security  

a robot that can be  

(t)rusted  

 

LeRoy Gorman  

 

***  

 

fresh snow on old  

it’s all the same on this planet  

far from home  

 

LeRoy Gorman  


***

 

Narcissus

gives himself the same thing

every year

 

David C. Kopaska-Merkel

 

***

 

SENRYU

 

born with echolocation

he never loses
at Marco Polo

 

Stephen C. Curro

 

***

 

HORRORKU

 

upgrade

head on your shoulders  

not the one you started with  

age before beauty

 

Benjamin Whitney Norris  

 

***

 

something outside 

disturbing the dogs 

no one has 

 

Michael Nickels-Wisdom 

 

***

 

overgrown field

restless corpses clawing free

escaping unmarked graves

 

Daniel R. Robichaud

 

***


sulfur world 
fire & brimstone
all smells of the colony
Planet Perdition

 

Herb Kauderer

***


sinister shadows

 shatter peace of mind into

    pieces I can't find

 

James O'Melia

 

***

 

 

Circly by Denny Marshall

 

***

 

TANKA

 

VR sim—

I jazz up my avatar

her cleverness seems cute

till she starts buying goods

with my real-world bank card

 

Lisa Timpf

 

***

 

OTHER FORMS (including: Sijo, Fibonacci, Cinquain, Minutes, Diminuendo, Ghazals,Threesomes, Brick, etc.)

 

FIBONACCI

I
will
never
again be
frightened by the ghosts
and eerie sounds haunting my house    
because I joined them
after they
scared me
to
death

Guy Belleranti

 

***
 

JOINED POEMS (incl. renku and sedoka, joined fib. etc.)

 

RENGAY

 

Exodus

 

coming through

with toys with food with nothing

Earth survivors

 

the sound of hammers

families wait in the rain

 

some say shut the Gate

others say keep it open

mouths to feed

 

the urban poor

learning to swing a hoe

and raise blisters

 

planting what bears well

how long till winter?

 

we store grain

from a bounteous harvest

native critters hatch

 

David C. Kopaska-Merkel

 

***

 

HAIBUN

 

Malaprop Pop, Paralysis Don’t Stop

 

Forty-Sven days: two hours of weep a night. You are breaking biblical barriers. You are redefining Lint. Wake with thin brandy cane stripes on your forearms. Folk remedies blur with the new science and hale marys jumble with your hour fathers because you slept on your size which is a preventative for nightmares but is no good for low back pane. Stumble into the kitchen. Parasomnias aided and abetted by a stark Maine winter set your devious septum loose. Paralysis begets allergies — the Erkle of Life. Slap Vick’s vaporwave on your chest. It yellows. Wait, this is Grey Poupon. 

 

rising laughter

rats your words

the fridge giggles

 

David Arroyo

 

***

 

The Literature Says Try Communicating

 

In the kitchen, I felt the Presence. Saw a tall darkness reflected in the knife. My joints slowed and stuck together. Without looking up from the jar of Peter Pan, I asked the Primordial Intruder what he wanted, would he like peanut butter and jelly sandwich on brioche? I did this with my mind as I could not speak. He stepped closer, and I prayed to a god I didn't believe in that the Intruder did not mistake my kindness for insolence. He replied

 

Vegan laughs 

wide mouth

inside a flytrap cries 

 

David Arroyo

 

***

 

The Tap 

 

I walk into TNT Martial Arts, behind me a low red sun. The children’s class shouts and thuds. My favorite white belt, lanky, dark-eyed, quicksand on the mat, asks to try a standing guillotine on me.  He wraps his arm around my neck. “Drive your shoulder forward. Pull your elbow back.” I tap. He does not let go. I tap again.  Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.

 

the shadow strangles

but this choke is prophecy

betrayal will clot 

 

David Arroyo

 

***

 

The Sting of Realization

Lisa Timpf

 

The aliens, when we met them, struggled with Earth-based analogies, having grown up with a completely different set of experiences. It’d be, we told ourselves, like expecting a flock of lambs to understand the social dynamics of a wolf pack. They seemed gentle and wise, and we treated them with kid gloves, striving to shield them from awareness of our dark side.

 

nothing to see here—

diverting attention

with sleight of hand

 

It wasn’t until much later that we realized that their silver eyes took in far more than we’d have guessed. When we made our first fumbling forays into deep space, they were there, watching. Not, as we initially thought, to protect us. But rather, to protect other species. Because, as it turns out, they understood the story of the scorpion and the frog far better than we gave them credit for. And they sensed what was in our nature.

 

eternal night of space—

even here

our shadows follow

 

***

 

ARTICLE

 

Pay Attention: Digging the Roots of Ku

By Robert E. Porter

 

Preliterate cultures had no trouble distinguishing prose from poetry. What was poetry? That was the lover singing to his beloved, or a mother to her child. It was the ritual chants and hymns of a tribe around the fire -- or at the gateway to the otherworld. Unlike prose, it had the power to move people who didn’t even understand the language. Didn’t poetry affect “dumb” animals, even? Didn’t it calm the raging seas, please the gods, and avert calamity? And why not? It moved us, after all. Poetry could stand alone, of course. Or a chorus, strings, wind, or percussion instruments could back it up. And poetry is easier to remember than prose. Consider the Homeric “novels,” or the histories of a West African griot. Stories in verse could be told and retold for generations before anyone wrote them down. They helped to sustain and inspire their cultures. They kept the past alive. They recorded the day’s events. They warned future generations, helping to prepare them for the troubles ahead. They kept people going when the only way out was through.

The invention of writing, the printing press and cheap pulp paper changed things. They put newspapers and literacy into the hands of Everyman. They led to compulsory education, institutional democracies, the post office, and public libraries. Most people today can read, and they have access to reading material. Fact-checking, thought, is expensive. It also interferes with our prejudices and wishful thinking. I’ve heard some poets say that songs are not poetry. Why? Songs are set to music, not captured with ink on the page. Might as well say that a tiger is only a tiger once taken out of its natural habitat and put in a circus or a zoo. But let those poets have their paper tigers. Songs have always been the most popular form of poetry. To exclude songs and music from considerations of poetry? And pretend that only a few appreciate poetry?

 

How un-democratic! And untenable.

We play music. Hard work becomes play once we get into a good rhythm. Then our tools and materials become musical instruments. We keep going because it’s fun, and we get things done. This also builds a sense of community. Work songs have appealed for countless generations and across many cultures. Why? Because they work. Traditional work songs from West Africa came over with the slave trade. They survived the American Civil War and the horrors of post-Reconstruction. Their descendants moved North with the Great Migration. They played the chitlin’ circuit. They played dance halls and studios in Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Harlem, “Motown.” Vinyl records and radio crossed segregation’s chalk outlines. They inspired social experiments in sound and sense. Dixieland, boogie-woogie, blues, jazz, folk, swing, bebop, R&B, rock and roll, rap, hip-hop, heavy metal... The rock star with his “ax” stands in for the traditional griot with his kora! Not Lizzie Borden or a headsman for the Virgin Queen.

The song has remained the same.

And why not?

It’s an old, old story.

In The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine brought the Biblical “prophets” down to earth. Were they hawking astrological determinism or playing Nostradamus to historical revisionists? No. They were as Geezers to the Black Sabbaths of their day. The common denominator? Some deep-thinking bassist, probably, penetrating his audience in the obvious ways. Paine broke it down. He defined poetry, like music, in terms to rhythm:

"The composition of poetry,” he said, “differs from that of prose in the manner of mixing long and short syllables together. Take a long syllable out of a line of poetry and put a short one in the room of it, or put a long syllable where a short one should be, and that line will lose its poetical harmony. It will have the effect upon the line like that of misplacing a note in a song." (Paine, 15)

That’s great. But… how do I tell my long syllables from my short ones? For that matter, what’s iambic pentameter? How many of us have perfect pitch, or can recognize the beats per measure? Who can recognize -- or forge -- a time signature? If only I knew this all by heart. Then I’d crank the stuff out. My greatest hits! More intuitive, I often miss my mark. I have to go back and make changes. By trial and error, I find my way. Like anyone, I know what sounds good to me.

“In short,” said Ezra Pound, “behave as a musician, a good musician, when dealing with that phase of your art which has exact parallels in music. The same laws govern, and you are bound by no others.” (Pound, 204)

Pound, for all his faults, and in spite of his fascism, introduced haiku to the West. He injected some of the art and purpose of haiku into literary Modernism. Influencing the Imagists, sure. Later, dharma bums like Jack Kerouac. And from there, the beat goes on – to Bob Dylan, his platinum records, a Nobel prize, etc. Shadows pushed before the dawn.

"Japanese poets, and probably before them the singers of Japanese folksong,” said that poet and translator Kenneth Rexroth, “developed a complex and subtle pattern depending mostly on the pitch of the vowels, certain echoes and repetitions which are not the same as rhyme, and a number of peculiar devices of meaning. I know that hitherto Japanese scholars have not paid much attention to vowel pitch, but the singers have." (Rexroth, xiv)

More of us listen to singers than scholars, anyway, and for good reason. They sound better. So, don’t plug your ears to the “Sound of Silence” or Quiet Riot. “Rock and roll ain’t noise pollution.” Pay attention to the singers, song-writers, and musicians. What we learn from them improves our craft and ku.

WORKS CITED

 

Paine, Thomas. The Age of Reason: Part I. 2nd ed. Bobbs-Merrill, 1957.

Pound, Ezra. “A Few Don’ts By an Imagiste.” Poetry, March 1913.

Rexroth, Kenneth. One Hundred Poems from the Japanese. New Directions: New York, 1964.

 

***
 

FEATURED POET Dennis Maulsby

 

puppy chews

something rubbery

spits out a dead alien

 

*** 

 

saucer hovers

a beam of coherent light

engulfs m—

 

*** 

 

martian lap-dance

my skin shredded

by her scales

 

***

 

time machine fizzles

eye-to-eye with

tyrannosaurus

 

***

 

bubble bath

rubber duckies

grow piranha teeth

 

*** 

 

fangs sprout

she says

your neck or mine

 

***

 

suction-cupped tentacles

wait

in the toilet bowl

 

***

 

fog wets cobblestones

gas light glints

off a scalpel

 

***

 

three days into

grandma’s stroke

starving cats circle

 

***

 

FEATURED POET’S BIO:

 

Dennis Maulsby is a retired bank president and military veteran living in Ames, Iowa with his wife Ruth, a former legal secretary, and his dog Charlie, a retired CIA operative. His poems and short stories have appeared in The North American Review, Star*Line, The Hawai’i Pacific Review, The Briarcliff Review (Pushcart nomination), and on National Public Radio’s Themes & Variations. His traditionally published books include: Near Death/Near Life, Free Fire Zone, Winterset, Heart Songs, and House de Gracie. Maulsby holds memberships in the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, the Science Fiction Poetry Association, The Military Writers Society of America, and is a past president of the Iowa Poetry Association.  On a side note, his latest book of poetry, Heart Songs, has recently won first place in the poetry category of the 2022 American Fiction Awards.

 

***

 

INTERVIEW WITH FEATURED POET Dennis Maulsby

 

How long have you been writing poetry?

I became serious about writing in 2000 while still employed full-time. The creative act of writing turned out to be excellent therapy for quieting the Vietnam war memories I acquired while in the Army (1964 – 1969). A fellow vet guided me, saying. “When we returned from Nam, we fought our demons with drugs, women, or creativity.” I chose the least dangerous of the three.

I began with poetry, hoping to carry the passion and imagery of the form into future short stories and novels. So far, I have had two full-size books of poetry, two books of short stories, a collection (poetry and short stories), and a traditionally published novel. Five books have won awards, two in both print and eBook versions. As of this time, drafts of additional works, five novels, a play, two short screenplays, and numerous individual short stories and poems seek publishers.

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

I began writing haiku eighteen years ago. I found well-written haiku and senryu wonderful short poems with delicious surprise endings. And if you put all the lines together in the fashion of the American Sentence innovated by Allen Ginsberg, you frequently find remarkably effective prose sentences.

Intrigued, I tried other Japanese forms: tanka, senryu, samonka, and haibun. The last form, a short prose piece augmented by haiku, is perfect for poetry writers wishing to sharpen their prose writing and for prose writers wanting to sharpen their poetry skills.

How did you learn about scifaiku?

I learned about scifaiku through the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association and various internet sources and immediately became fascinated. They satisfy my appetite for both poetry and science fiction/fantasy.

Where did you learn to write scifaiku?

Personal research and study, tied together by an excellent online lecture: Poetry Pea’s Writers Workshop: https://soundcloud.com/haikupea/s5e7scifaiku.

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

I write much free verse, occasional limericks, and some rhyming forms about various subjects: war, ekphrastic art/photos, historical events, and nature.

Whose poetry has influenced you the most? Who is your favorite poet?

Primarily Emily Dickerson — “Because I could not stop for Death – He kindly stopped for me.” Her use of the M dash is particularly worth studying. Strong secondary favorites include Poe, Cummings, Sandberg, Kipling, Elliot, Bell, Collins, and Kooser. In Asian forms, Li Po, Basho, and Buson.

What/who is your main inspiration?

As a military veteran, I write because I need the therapy. Struggling against memories of war is the fate of all soldiers returned from killing places. The creative act, whatever that might be, is the most potent healing power I have discovered. Ideas for poetry and prose come from various sources: everyday and historical events, other writers’ work, and my deep subconscious. I occasionally attend workshops, audit college classes, participate in writers’ retreats, and take part in online presentations on writing subjects.

What poetry magazines do you read/contribute to?

I read and/or contribute to Haiku Journal, The Briarcliff Review, Lyrical Iowa, Star*Line, Poetry Quarterly, Scifaikuest, and many, many others. My acceptance rate floats around 19%, or looking at it the other way; I receive rejection letters on 81% of my submissions.

 

***

 

FAVORITE POEM by t. santitoro

 

“original sin”  

in your software  

back door for hackers  

 

--upgrade, by John Granville  

 

Whoa! This says so much so subtly! Well done!--t.santitoro, editor

 

***

 

BIOS

Randall Andrews is a speculative fiction writer and poet from southern Michigan. When not writing, he can be found wearing the soles off a pair of running shoes, listening to his favorite John Williams soundtracks, or hand-feeding his loyal flock of wild songbirds.

*

David Arroyo is a nerd and ex-catholic and a former altar boy to boot.  He loves horror films and verse novels.  Rumor has it he is currently teaching college composition in China. This is false as he was recently spotted at the University of South Carolina.  His Dungeons & Dragons alignment is Neutral Good.

*

Roxanne Barbour is a writer from Burnaby, BC, Canada. She has written numerous novels: An Alien Collective; Revolutions; Sacred Trust; Kaiku; Alien Innkeeper; An Alien Confluence; Alien Innkeeper on Particle. She also writes speculative poetry, and has published in Scifaikuest, Star*Line, Polar Borealis, Polar Starlight, Dwarf Stars, and many other magazines.

*

Jenelle Clausen lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where she writes Medicaid publications by day and poetry by night. Her poetry has appeared in various literary journals.

*

Stephen Curro hails from Windsor, Colorado.  Along with Scifaikuest, his short fiction and poetry has appeared in The Fifth Di... and Daily Science Fiction, among other venues. His sci-fi novelette The Spark is also available through Hiraeth Publishing.  In addition to speculative fiction and poetry, Stephen 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.

*

John Granville: Granville by the way makes up the fictional round robin with Robert E. Porter and Benjamin Whitney Norris.  He’s a lab tech, supposedly.  Their SF specialist.  

*

LeRoy Gorman continues to view the stars from the north shore of Lake Ontario.

*

Herb Kauderer lives in a windstorm where his sighs cannot be heard.

*

Dennis Maulsby is a retired bank president and military veteran living in Ames, Iowa with his wife Ruth, a former legal secretary, and his dog Charlie, a retired CIA operative. His poems and short stories have appeared in The North American Review, Star*Line, The Hawai’i Pacific Review, The Briarcliff Review (Pushcart nomination), and on National Public Radio’s Themes & Variations. His traditionally published books include: Near Death/Near Life, Free Fire Zone, Winterset, Heart Songs, and House de Gracie. Maulsby holds memberships in the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, the Science Fiction Poetry Association, The Military Writers Society of America, and is a past president of the Iowa Poetry Association.  

*

Michael Nickels-Wisdom has written haiku since 1990 and speculative haiku since 2008, two of which were published then in Scifaikuest. In 2011 he began to study anomalous experience as a serious nonfiction subject. Many of his speculative poems have come out of that study. 

*

Daniel R. Robichaud lives and writes in Humble, Texas. He writes weekly reviews of film and fiction at the Considering Stories (https://consideringstories.wordpress.com/) website. Keep up with him on Twitter (@DarkTowhead) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/daniel.r.robichaud). 

*

dan smith likes to rock out with the Deep Cleveland Trio and enjoys discovering people who most everyone else already knows about like Ray Wylie Hubbard doing Snake Farm. 

*

Lisa Timpf is a retired HR and communications professional who lives in Simcoe, Ontario. When not writing, she enjoys bird-watching, organic gardening, and taking walks with her dog Chet. You can learn more about Lisa's writing at http://lisatimpf.blogspot.com/.

 

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