Scifaikuest

MAY 2022 ONLINE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Falling by Christina Sng

 

EDITORIAL

 

 

You can find us 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:

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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 to read? You can order t.santitoro's latest novelette, The Legend of Trey Valentine, at: https://www.hiraethsffh.com/product-page/legend-of-trey-valentine-by-teri-santitoro

And you can read 2 of her short stories, which appear in the anthology, Only the Lonely, edited by Tyree Campbell at: https://www.hiraethsffh.com/product-page/only-the-lonely-edited-by-tyree-campbell

Her newest short story appears in the Hiraeth Book's anthology, No Greater Love: Martyrs of Earth and Elsewhere, edited by Robert Krog at:

https://www.hiraethsffh.com/product-page/no-greater-love

 

Many Scifaikuest thanks to our newest NEWBIES: H. T. Grossen and Russell Nichols

 

small scrap of real paper

reminding me

of my home on Earth

 

(xeno-unit)

 

***

 

SCIFAIKU

 

persistent headache

the worms eat more gray matter

I weep tears of blood

 

Brian Barnett

 

***

 

goggles obscured 
Herb Kauderer

zero-G requires
special safety equipment:
hair scrunchies in space
 

***

 

thought you were childless

until flying saucer lands

eighteen year later

 

Denny E. Marshall

 

***

 

the loch ness monster

year after year digs up mud

to free the army

 

Denny E. Marshall

 

***

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parallel Mix by Denny Marshall

 

***

 

sunlight refracts

through joyful tears—

rainbow bridge

 

Lisa Timpf

 

***

 

   cold waters

     I feel the warmth

        of the mermaid’s kiss

 

Stephen C. Curro 

 

***

 

stalled engine

the T. rex nudges

our time machine

 

Stephen C. Curro 

 

***

 

air raid siren

gigantic eyes fill

the tenth story window

 

Stephen C. Curro 

 

***

 

gulping the potion

the rush of my DNA

reorganizing

 

Stephen C. Curro 

 

***


black hole
many spacecraft enter
none ever leave

Guy Belleranti

 

***

 

former robot girlfriend

first machine to feel love

my sparking bride

 

Gabriel Smithwilson

 

***

 

human poetic forms

seeming so quaint

alien child’s laughter

 

Gabriel Smithwilson

 

***

 

particles all spewing

vast energies now crashing

what is created

 

Doug Gant

 

***

 

bouncers keep you out

Cerberus the hound of Hell

keeps you in

 

Greer Woodward

 

***

 

The Mother Tree

 

grab-spores drift downwards

glowing death of mother tree

brings new life below

 

H.T. Grossen

 

***

 

popular mouthpiece

corrects "improper" English
Speak Proppr™

 

Russell Nichols

 

***

 

reluctant hero

loses powers in large crowds
mister introvert

 

Russell Nichols

 

***

 

SENRYU

 

you're paying for the view

 

the world
keeps passing me by—
moonporch view

 

Russell Nichols

 

***

 

SCI(NA)KU

 

lily pads 
Herb Kauderer

political
buffer states
space stations clustered

 

***

 

FIBONACCI


One Night Stand 
Herb Kauderer

The love of your life
trapped in a
time loop
each
day
is
a
first date
with a first
kiss but no future.

***

 

as
they
travel
galaxies
crew members eject
clones to guide
those who
come
next

Guy Belleranti

 

***

 

CINQUAIN

you are what you eat 
Herb Kauderer

graveyard
flowers stretch their
skeletal limbs at dawn
before hiding them away from
spring crowds

 

***

 

RICTAMETER
 

Planet

Full blue promise

All green with vibrant life

Like the one we once were knowing

Now desolate, polluted, dark and dead,

Ark I land, animals and plants

Many people hoping

We’ll preserve this

Planet

 

Doug Gant

 

***

 

JOINED POEMS

 

A Parliament of Satellites
for Jupiter's inner moons


i. Metis
first wife
jailed in a water glass
buzzes

ii. Adrastea
nanny runs
in unstable rings
all fall down

iii. Amalthea
ruddy maid
babe in a blizzard
spills goat's milk

iv. Thebe
gossamer dust
veils nymph and husband
from Jove's stare

Mariel Herbert

***

 

HAIBUN

 

 

Some Things We’re Meant to Leave Behind

Lisa Timpf

 

Sophie suggested to her granddaughter she should leave her action figure doll at the cottage, but the girl insisted—I won’t lose it. I won’t forget anything. As kids do. She remembers.

 

It’s tiring just watching the child go, go, go. From mid-morning on, she’s in and out of the lake, swimming, splashing, crafting a sand castle—a long day.

 

Supper-time, back at the cottage where Sophie lives, where her daughter's family has come to visit. A bonfire, a goodnight story, and then her granddaughter is asleep, with her doll beside her in bed. But said doll is without, Sophie notices, her tiny pink suitcase. Does she know how much this stuff costs? She huffs to herself, annoyed.

 

Did the suitcase come to the beach, earlier? Sophie thinks so, but can’t be sure. She tells her adult visitors, glued to the TV, that she feels like going for a walk. The lake calls to her, a pull that will not be denied. She strolls on the beach beside moon-silvered waters, looking for the spot where they'd been playing, earlier. She catches her breath, sharply, in surprise. There, that leaning tower—that’s all that’s left of the sand castle.

 

life’s tides—

the impermanence

of all we build

 

Then—movement, on the periphery of her gaze. A soldier action figure some other child left behind, clad in desert camo. He stands stock-still, and she turns her head away, keeping him in the corner of her eye.

 

He whistles, low and sweet, and a miniature German shepherd bounds toward him. She recognizes the bandana around the dog’s neck. It's one of her granddaughter’s doll’s accessories. It must have come from the pink suitcase which the soldier is carrying as he and the dog scurry toward the dunes, quickly lost in the forest of tall grasses.

 

She pauses, irresolute. Could she find him? And what then? She pictures herself wrestling the soldier for possession of the suitcase, and laughs. The sheer ridiculousness . . .

 

Maybe, she thinks, there are things we’re not meant to cling to.

 

sands through our fingers—

to art of letting go

lightly

 

Feeling only slightly foolish, she waves toward the dunes, then turns for home.

 

***

 

ARTICLE

 

The Missing Link:

Hyphens and the continuing evolution of human languages

Robert E. Porter

 

I sent a batch of poems to Star*Line in September of 2018. A month later, I heard back from editor Vince Gotera, who singled one out: “Cool poem!” he said -- music to my ears.

 

Then, in January of 2019, he said, “My editorial assistant pointed out something in [name withheld to protect the evanescent]: ‘low-rider’ is always either two words or one word. I've changed it to "lowrider," based on the usage of Lowrider Magazine. Just wanted to let you know for any future appearances of the poem.”

 

It’s not like he was being cheap, either. I wasn’t getting paid by the word. The poem was too short. I’d be getting the minimum flat rate, either way. No big deal, right?

 

Still, the word “always” bugged me. Literally, it’s not true. At least one person (me) wrote “low-rider” with a hyphen. And it wasn’t such a glaring error that the editor, an English professor, noticed it right away. My American Heritage dictionary had all three versions. To me, it’s a matter of degree. “Low Rider” might include any rider that happened to be low. For ex., the tick you bring home from a walk in the park, a Shriner driving his midget car in the Macy’s Day parade, or the knight on a Shetland pony with worn-out shocks. On the other hand, Star*Line readers may be as familiar with the term as readers of Lowrider Magazine, for whom it has a more specific meaning. Context is important. Mash two words together in a new or unfamiliar way, and some people are going to think that’s a typo. I don’t know about you, but I find typos distracting, and a small poem doesn’t leave much time to get back on track after losing one’s train of thought. It’s a make-or-break moment. So, in this case, I prefer the middle ground, the happy medium, the hyphen.

 

If only Gotera and his editorial assistant had not been overly zealous in promoting the chop-shop writing chops and stylistic wheelies of Lowrider’s bullpen! Star*Line readers might not have overlooked my little poem. Imagine: it wins the Dwarf Stars award to unanimous acclaim, I sell the movie rights for 6.8 million dollars, and 5’ 5” Dustin Hoffman wins a Simon and Peabody award for his role as me, REPorter, in A Literary “Giant” (Among LGM). Alas! without a hyphen, that missing link…

 

For want of a nail, etc.

 

It’s history. I like history. But it’s not his story. It’s mine. It’s a claymore pointed in the writer’s direction, and it goes off like this:

 

Any language in common use develops a life of its own.

 

Hick: “They sure talk funny on the BBC.”

Hack: “That’s not funny. That’s Monty Python.”

 

The English of Birmingham, Alabama and Birmingham, England are not only related; they’re mutually intelligible. But they’re hardly identical. If you don’t believe me, drop a thousand pounds on the one that’s able to climb into his boot.

 

In Fortean terms, “These strangely associated things were remarkably separated.” (Fort, 89)

 

As a language gets used in different ways by different people in different times and places, it changes, branching off in different directions, continuing to live and to evolve. No language can be pinned down, properly dissected and ruled over by gaggles of goose-stepping grammarians until it’s dead and of no real use to anyone.

 

“We conceive of all ‘things’ as occupying gradation…” (Fort, 14)

 

Like steps taken across the ocean and handed down through generations to establish variations of an old language in the New World, with hyphens of communication and commerce to retain a semblance to their shared past and purpose. For how much longer, though?

 

“Lineages change little during most of their history, but events of rapid speciation occasionally punctuate this tranquility. Evolution is the different survival and deployment of these punctuations.” (Gould, 265)

 

Elmore Leonard hunted exclamation points and adverbs almost to extinction. In Tom Wolfe, they find no natural predators and continue to multiply, spilling out from between his pages in a lemming-like Niagara of ink. Now: which author has left the bigger mark on writers of the 21st century? Which one has left the more permanent Hershey streak in the briefs of Belles Lettres?

 

Time will tell.

 

“New species almost always appeared suddenly in the fossil record with no intermediate links to ancestors in older rocks of the same region. Evolution, Huxley believed, could proceed so rapidly that the slow and fitful process of sedimentation rarely caught it in the act.” (Gould, 261)

 

In other words, if you walk in on a mommy and a daddy dust bunny in flagrante delicto, don’t say “Aha!” and turn this awkward moment into a psyche-scarring horror ku. Act now, before they send you an invitation to the baby shower, and you’re overrun by long-eared Tribbles. Take to the broom and fly, fly away into the vacuum of space, or stand your ground like a minimalist poet and clean house. A place for everything, and everything in its place. Know where your spaces, no spaces, and hyphens go… until deranged by knightly editorial request, trembling, overcaffeinated typesetters, and printer’s devils. For ex.,

 

A hot dog pants.

Don’t eat my hotdog.
I’m wearing my hot-dog pants.

 

WORKS CITED

 

Fort, C. (2008). The book of the damned: The collected works of Charles Fort. New York: Penguin.

 

Gould, S. J. (2007). The richness of life: The essential Stephen Jay Gould. New York: W.W. Norton.

 

***

 

FAVORITE POEM

 

thought you were childless

until flying saucer lands

eighteen year later

 

Denny E. Marshall

 

OOPS! Hahaha! How unexpectedly delightful! Nice job, Denny!—t.santitoro, editor

 

***

 

BIOS

 

Brian Barnett lives in Kentucky. He typically writes spooky middle-grade short stories and novellas such as Graveyard Scavenger Hunt and Chaos at the Carnival.

*

"Stephen Curro is a total nerd 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."

*

Doug Gant has been an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, and horror for many decades. His interest in folktales and mythology, along with his background in mathematics, allows him to meld the mystic and the analytic.

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H.T. Grossen lives in the long evening shadow of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with his magical wife, beautiful children, and several animals of varying levels of intelligence. With his free time he takes every opportunity presented to create and engage in the fantastical. Upcoming work listed at htgrossen.com

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Mariel Herbert's short fiction and poetry have been published in a few places, including Daily Science Fiction and Star*Line. She lives in California with one high-maintenance dog and hundreds of low-maintenance books. She can be found online at  marielherbert.wordpress.com.

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Herb Kauderer would write on the sidewalk with chalk knowing it was going to rain soon.

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Russell Nichols is a speculative fiction writer and endangered journalist. Raised in Richmond, California, he got rid of all his stuff in 2011 to live out of a backpack with his wife, vagabonding around the world ever since. Look for him at russellnichols.com.

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Gabriel Smithwilson: I write poetry and short fiction, play various musical instruments and live in an obscure city somewhere in California.

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Lisa Timpf is a retired HR and communications professional who lives in Simcoe, Ontario. When not writing, she enjoys bird-watching and organic gardening. You can find out more about Lisa's latest writing projects at http://lisatimpf.blogspot.com/.

 

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