AUGUST 2022 ONLINE
DOOR: Waiting in Anticipation by Andy Graber
Greetings and Happy Anniversary!
This issue marks the 20th Anniversary of Scifaikuest! When we started all those years ago, I was told that most start-up magazines don’t last more than two years. Well, I’m happy to say, here we still ARE! And it’s our Readers and our Contributors who have gotten us this far. Thank you so much to all of you!
Our awesome DOOR is Waiting With Anticipation, by Andy Graber.
In keeping with our heritage of discovering and presenting new poetic forms, we have another new type of poetry to introduce! It is called the Drabbun—a combination drabble/haibun, and you can read more about it in this issue.
Our Featured Poet for the ONLINE version is Joanne Morcom, and I’m excited to share her wonderful poetry with you.
There are so many wonderful poems in this--our Anniversary issue! I hope you will agree with my choice, a unique and awesome horrorku by Gordon Brown.
Our Featured Poet for this Anniversary edition, is Joanne Morcom. The last time her poetry was featured was in NOVEMBER 2004, so I’m delighted to have her back again as our Featured Poet!
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:
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
NEWBIES: Gordon Brown, Valentin D. Ivanov, Jenny Thompson
everything comes around again
on the Galactic wheel
third eye covered
space soda jerk’s cap
Akua Lezli Hope
sail size petals drift
1,000 feet to ground
meat eating flowers
Akua Lezli Hope
I skid to a stop
Stephen C. Curro
a dragon coiled
along the walls
Stephen C. Curro
red dust all over
the bed again
Stephen C. Curro
picking hydroponic greens
for the Farmer’s Market
Stephen C. Curro
the end of Eternity
never comes for an atom
falling in a Black Hole
Valentin D. Ivanov
share a slow kiss
Valentin D. Ivanov
waking from a dream
of moonblades and cages
blood scents in her sweat
imagining a future
for Schrodinger’s cat
this unexplored cave
bats hanging from the ceiling
some as big as me
ayaz daryl nielsen
the spilled wine
a pixel flickers
eons of library silence
the silicon stories
still write themselves
stars in summer sky
sparkle and softly whisper
you are not alone
a fistful of teeth
in a bloody handkerchief
my fairytale souvenirs
--pillow talk, by Benjamin Whitney Norris
one hot mama’s
the birth of arson
--burn out, by Benjamin Whitney Norris
that strange smell
of roast beef tenderloin -
Francis W. Alexander
as I bite into the cone
a shapeshifter unravels
Francis W. Alexander
weird winter night
we dance to a waltz
in our body bags
turning back around
the tools at hand
ocean world seagulls
lack rocks to open mussels
wait for human boats
to emerge from the water
shellfish artillery rain
we came to party
but too late
all the lights are out
and the music's gone
from dome, sans
back in the high school gym
disease-free humans prepare
for forced emigration
to sterile space stations
The Cycle Repeats
Wasn’t till 2081 that we realized what the aliens had been up to all those years. Some fumble-thumbed tech at their end mis-set the time leap two centuries too late, and suddenly there was the OK Corral historic site awash with them, making the jump from a future age. That’s when we first thought to pore through the personal records of Tombstone area residents, circa 1881.
we pen the things
we dare not say aloud
Sure enough, we found mention of strange doings at the Corral, after dark. Shadowy crowds. Gun play. And whiskey, after, the quarter-eagle coins fabbed up by synth-machines passing for good.
From what we’ve pieced together, we can imagine how they must have stuffed their hooves or feet or tentacles into cowboy boots, rested them nonchalantly on the brass rail while they ordered up a round of shots. How, in hushed tones, they’d discuss their own re-enactment of the Gunfight. The way they reached for their stunners and zap zap zap battled it out. The way the bodies looked when they tumbled to the ground.
every nerve prickles
till “go” time
The aliens were seen. Written about. But why should we be surprised to find we share this much in common with other species—the belief that adventure can only be found any old where but here.
Forbidden Haibun: Missing
Francis W. Alexander
On Nathan Jones’ grave we decide to make love – scent of cut grass. Briefly empathizing that Nathan died a virgin – shrouded moon. Her hair splayed along the headstone - soothing breeze. Consumed by her scorching heat – sagging headstones. Quicksand - the sudden sense of sinking. Full moon – grabbing my pants as the dirt swallows her.
even in this town the cops
eye me with suspicion
By Robert E. Porter
For years, I thought my dad escaped his polio sickbed with Ray Bradbury stories. That’s what I told Bradbury in a letter, penned back in the 1990s. But I was wrong. My dad had polio in 1952, three years before the Salk vaccine came out. He started reading Bradbury (and John Steinbeck!) towards the end of that decade, when Kennedy beat Nixon for the presidency. “I was more into SciFi at the time,” he said.
Those two authors had crossed paths before:
“During several weeks in October 1945, Ray Bradbury had breakfast most mornings in Mexico City with John Steinbeck.” (Eller, 263)
Dad had never heard that. “Cool!” I told him how Bradbury looked up to Steinbeck, and Steinbeck read Bradbury tales to his kids. “All news to me, wow.”
Bradbury returned from that Mexico trip, and he ran into Maggie:
“[I]n the spring of 1946, her employer at Fowlers had asked her to watch the strange young man with his overcoat and briefcase, in case he turned out to be a shoplifter." He would become her life partner and the father of her children. "She read much faster than he did, but she appreciated her husband’s ability to retain what he read.” (Eller, 266)
Bradbury was a time machine…
Rather backward, though:
“He never learned to drive a car; he didn’t fly on an airplane until the age of sixty-two; he owned a computer for only a short time later in life but never bothered to learn how to use it.” (Weller, 180)
The typewriter got him where he wanted to go. It wasn’t Mars, not by a long shot.
“Ray spent a week in Houston, touring mission control and chatting it up with John Glenn. When the week was up, Glenn even offered to personally fly Ray Bradbury home in a private jet. Of course, afraid to fly, Ray declined. Glenn shrugged. “Stage coach leaves for Tombstone in the morning,” he said, with a good-natured smile. “What a fool I was!” said Ray, looking back on it. “I could have had my first flight with one of the most famous astronauts in history.” (Weller, p. 277)
He'd have passed on a spaceflight too, if given the chance. He was a fearful man, though he did have his convictions. Bradbury didn’t go to war like John Glenn, or cover the war like Steinbeck. But he defended flammable books, magazines, and the right to read (what’s left) from behind a barricade of incendiary typewritten pages.
Glenn wasn’t the only pilot Bradbury knew. He also knew Gene Roddenberry. Roddenberry flew B-17 bombers over the Pacific during WWII. He flew for Pan Am, as a civilian, before getting into television. Bradbury praised Roddenberry's Star Trek. But he never contributed a story to the franchise. (SciFi writers Theodore Sturgeon, Robert Block, and Harlan Ellison did.)
Gerald Ford (not to be confused with David Gerrold, who wrote Star Trek's Tribbles-troubled episode) fought in the Pacific, too -- aboard the US aircraft carrier Monterey. (Coincidentally, Steinbeck’s Cannery Row was set in the city Monterey.) As president, Ford bowed to Roddenberry’s franchise in 1976:
“[A]n orchestrated campaign by Star Trek fans deluged the White House with over 100,000 letters arguing that Constitution should be named Enterprise in recognition of Captain James T. Kirk’s iconic starship. Faced with what appeared to be the will of the people, Ford went with it.” (White)
“[Astronaut] Fred Haise wondered whether the trekkies had realized that this Enterprise wasn’t ever going into space.” (White)
Did it matter?
The other day, my dad sent a 60x telescopic photo he’d taken of the moon… with the first series starship Enterprise CGI’d into the background, referring to 90-year-old “Kirk” actor William Shatner’s recent, real-life venture.
“’This is a pinch-me moment for all of us to see Capt. James Tiberius Kirk go to space,’ Blue Origin launch commentator Jacki Cortese said before liftoff. She said she, like so many others, was drawn to the space business by shows like Star Trek. (Luscombe)
About the time I wrote Bradbury, in the 1990s, my dad was working for NOAA aboard a research vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. I sent him The Log from the Sea of Cortez, Steinbeck’s collaboration with his marine biologist friend Ed Ricketts. (Ricketts also inspired the novel Cannery Row.)
Bradbury’s work is closer to Noah than NOAA. Stem to stern, like Kentucky’s Ark Encounter, crammed with nostalgic fantasies. Ears plugged to the siren song of science. Bradbury however has two important traits in common with Steinbeck. Both authors share a sense of humanity and a taste for “hooptedoo." (A word drawn from the prologue to Sweet Thursday.)
Steinbeck received a Nobel in 1962 for the humanity in his work. Bradbury received a grand master (lifetime achievement) award from the SF Poetry Association in 2008 for “hooptedoo”. The poetic language of The Martian Chronicles, for ex. (SFPA pretends the GM was for Bradbury’s verse. But his not-prose poetry has been collected since the 1970s. SFPA was founded in 1978. And yet Bradbury’s tied for SFPA yearly Rhysling nominations with my friend WC Roberts, whose poems didn’t begin appearing until after 2008.)
In Zen in the Art of Writing, Bradbury described his creative process. It’s do-able. Word association, automatic writing… Outrun your self-saboteur, basically. “In delay comes the effort for a style, instead of leaping upon truth which is the only style worth deadfalling or tiger-trapping.” (Bradbury) It won’t get you to nirvana, or to escape velocity. But it can help you dredge the sludgy, trough-like canals of your own Mars for pearly hooptedoo.
my uplifted boar’s
clutching a nib pen
Bradbury, Ray. Zen in the Art of Writing. Capra Press, 1989.
Eller, Jonathan R. Bradbury Beyond Apollo. University of Illinois Press, 2020.
Luscombe, Richard. “William Shatner in Tears After Historic Space Flight.” The Guardian, 13 October 2021.
Weller, Sam. The Bradbury Chronicles. HarperCollins, 2005.
White, Rowland. Into the Black. Simon and Schuster, 2016.
Drabbun--Haibun with a twist!
Drabbun are a relatively new hybrid poetic form that was invented in 2020 by Hiraeth Publishing’s Terrie Leigh Relf, Francis W. Alexander, and teri santitoro.
They are basically a cross between Drabbles (a 100-word prose story) and haibun (a prose section with an accompanying scifaiku). Therefore a drabbun is a 100-word prose section with an accompanying scifaiku, the two of them together comprising 100 words total. The title is not included in the word count. The scifaiku may come before the prose section, or after it, and may or may not explain, intensify or be explained by the prose section. Sometimes drabbun have more than one prose section or many scifaiku or many of each.
Here is an example of drabbun:
Betwixt Twins by t.santitoro
When Ethin's twin brother Lian poisoned him, Ethin found himself blinded by the effects of the toxin. Because he was no longer capable of performing the functions of Arzone's ruler, the younger twin was elevated to that status instead; thus Lian inherited the throne of Arzone.
To secure his position, Lian had Ethin cast out of Arzonian society, exiled to wander the planet's wastelands, where feral beings roamed.
It wasn't long before the elder twin found a more loyal following, with the power to rival even that of his brother, the king.
blinded and betrayed
a new religion forms
back through the worm hole
I pose and smile
for da Vinci
mired in the mud
destroyed by Huns
the stray cat
from another world
finds a new home
trapped in amber
to rule the world
I have a root canal
in all of them
the true color
of the universe
big bang beige
I read a book
made from human skin
the pages supple
cannibals nibble on
seems like the real thing
my phony smile
no one believes
I’m in charge
reveals a fossil
not of this earth
I buy thermal socks
from REM sleep
same old ghost
by my side
from the space station
thrift store find
a shrunken head
in a suitcase
Mandy the mischievous doll resides in a quaint museum in a small British Columbia town. Dressed in white, she sits primly in a locked glass case with a toy lamb nestled in her lap. Although her porcelain face is marred by a spiderweb of cracks, her pink lips smile and her sparkling blue eyes seem to follow visitors. Staff report strange happenings since she was given to the museum years ago. Things go missing and turn up later in unexpected places. Even Mandy’s lamb disappears and reappears. Whether she’s playing tricks on people or people are the tricksters is anyone’s guess, but one thing’s for sure. Little Mandy keeps on smiling and staring.
a full moon
the doll’s tiny hands
break the lock
on a long space journey
to a planet
rumored to have
enter Jewel Cave
become the hunted …
search and rescue team
INTERVIEW WITH FEATURED POET
How long have you been writing poetry?
I started writing poetry way back in junior high school, but it wasn’t very good. I’ve been writing Japanese style poetry such as haiku, tanka and haibun for a long time. Hopefully, it’s good!
Did you begin writing haiku before you branched out to scifaiku?
Yes, I wrote haiku before writing scifaiku, but I don’t recall how many years passed between the two endeavors. The sequence of events is lost in the mist of time.
How did you learn about scifaiku?
I happened to read Tom Brinck’s The SciFaiku Manifesto and was intrigued by the idea of writing haiku with science fiction and speculative themes.
Where did you learn to write scifaiku?
I learned how to write scifaiku by reading as many of them as I could. Scifaikuest is a great source!
Did you write poetry other than genre poetry? If so, what kind?
I used to write limericks but they may be a form of genre poetry.
Whose poetry has influenced you the most?
I’m influenced by every poet whose work I’ve read. Of course the Japanese haiku masters such as Basho, Buson and Shiki have influenced me, as well as Jack Kerouac, who wrote haiku as well as novels. As a youngster, I thought that he was the king of cool.
Who is your favorite poet?
I enjoy Ogden Nash’s short, funny poems, and I also admire Christina Rossetti’s romantic and devotional poetry. In addition to being a poet, she was a volunteer social worker who worked with “fallen women”. That must have been quite a challenge in 19th century England.
What/who is your main inspiration?
Currently, I’m inspired to write scifaiku by a website called LiveScience.com, which features articles and videos about space, technology, the environment, culture, history and much more. I’m also inspired by nature and human nature.
What poetry magazines do you read/contribute to?
I’m a member of Haiku Canada and my poetry and book reviews appear in the Haiku Canada Review, as well as the annual members’ anthology. My poetry has also been published in Scifaikuest, Tinywords, Autumn Moon Haiku, and other journals. My tanka and book reviews appear in GUSTS: Contemporary Tanka, which is Canada’s only tanka journal. In 2021, I submitted a haiku to the annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational and it received a Sakura Award. I also participate in the annual When Words Collide Literary Festival held in Calgary, at which I promote haiku and scifaiku.
MY FAVORITE POEM by editor, t.santitoro
weird winter night
we dance to a waltz
in our body bags
Whoa! What a strange picture this poem conjures up! A very unique story in a very small package! Well done!—t
Francis W. Alexander: The five-time Rhysling nominee is the author of When the Mushrooms Come and I Reckon. He is a frequent contributor to Scifaikuest and has had poems published in Otoroshi Journal, the It Came from Her Purse Anthology, Tales from the Moonlit Path, Illumen and Star*Line.
ARPY is one of our awesome illustrators!
Gordon Brown grew up in the deserts of Syria and now lives in the deserts of Nevada. Since his arrival in the New World, his work has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Tales to Terrify, Nightscript, and Modern Haiku. He spends his time writing feverishly and looking after his cats, of which he has none.
"Stephen Curro hails from Windsor, Colorado. Along with Scifaikuest, he has published or forthcoming work with Acorn and The Fifth Di..., among others. He also 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."
Andy Graber: I taught myself how to draw, use pastels and to paint.
John Hawkhead (as now known) was found in a burnt-out crater just south of the Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England. His joints have never quite recovered.
Mariel Herbert's writing has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Liminality, Scifaikuest, Star*Line, and other venues. She currently lives in California with one high-maintenance dog and hundreds of low-maintenance books. Links to her published fiction and poetry can be found online at marielherbert.wordpress.com
Akua Lezli Hope is a creator and wisdom seeker who uses sound, words, fiber, glass, metal, and wire to create poems, patterns, stories, music, sculpture, and peace. She sings songs from her favorite anime in Japanese, practices her soprano saxophone, cajoles her black cat, and prays for the cessation of suffering for all sentience.
Valentin D. Ivanov: I am a Bulgarian SF writer, working abroad. Professionally, I am an
astronomer with numerous publications in research journals. SF is my hobby. I have published in my native country about thirty stories. A speculative poem of mine appeared in the Apr 2021 issue of Star Line. I also have a few stories in English, German and Russian.
Herb Kauderer would write on the sidewalk with chalk knowing it was going to rain soon.
Tyler McIntosh was born and raised where the mountains meet the valley to the south of Jackson, Wyoming. He is an environmental scientist, skier, and map-lover now based out of Boulder, Colorado.
Joanne Morcom is a published poet, book reviewer, obituary reader and social worker who lives in Calgary, Alberta.
ayaz daryl nielsen, veteran and hospice nurse, lives in Longmont, Colorado, USA. Editor of bear creek haiku (35+ years/175+ issues) with poetry published worldwide, he is online at: bear creek haiku poetry, poems and info.
Lisa Timpf is a retired HR and communications professional who lives in Simcoe, Ontario. When not writing, she enjoys bird-watching, organic gardening, and tossing a flying disc for her canine friend. You can find out more about Lisa's writing at http://lisatimpf.blogspot.com/.