Scifaikuest

FEBRUARY 2021 ONLINE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDITORIAL

 

 

Happy Valentine's Day!

 

Our DOOR artwork is Night of the Comet by talented artist and poet, Christina Sng!

 

This month we have two articles in this ONLINE issue, and four articles in the PRINT edition! We've also got two poetic forms that are new to Scifaikuest. For information on subscriptions to Scifaikuest, please see below.

 

ATTENTION!!!

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

 

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

 

I'd like to thank our newest contributor, Juleigh Howard-Hobson. Welcome to Scifaikuest!

 

stuck in transit

late Christmas early Valentine

gifts sent from Earth

 

-sakyu-

 

***

 

 

 

SCIFAIKU

 

round trip

 

a round trip to Mars​

NASA brought them back​

in body bags​

 

Benjamin Whitney Norris​

 ​

​***

 

case closed

 

your clone's DNA​

but they don't care--​

how's life on death row?​

 

Benjamin Whitney Norris​

 

***

 

Hope

 

space is cold and vast

anything could be out there

we go anyway

 

Juleigh Howard-Hobson

                          

***

 

chaos yawns

already ravenous

the stars are ripe 

 

Josh Maybrook 

 

***

 

time travel rehab

no time

like no time

 

LeRoy Gorman

 

***

 

dusk on a distant planet

pathogens call in

their offspring

 

LeRoy Gorman

 

***

 

in the green temple

of a deep forest meadow

bowing to aliens

 

ayaz daryl nielsen    

 

***

 

fondness for cats

even the aliens 

are not immune

 

Christina Sng

 

***

 

mesmerized

by the spinning fan

baby alien’s first day on earth

 

Christina Sng

 

***

 

pavlov’s bell 

summons me to feed

blood moon

 

Christina Sng

 

 

***

 

unexpected find
in alien greenhouse

my family tree

 

Guy Belleranti

 

***

 

liftoff problem

wish gravity was the cause

instead of those claws

 

Guy Belleranti

 

***

 

the speed

she leaves by

FTL

 

Thomas Tilton

 

***

 

nuclear wasteland

running into cockroaches

bigger than my car

 

Ngo Binh Anh Khoa

 

***

 

"Police Auction"

 

diamond thief apprehended

tools of trade for sale

carbon shrinking ray

 

Matthew Wilson

 

***

 

"Beware Postman"

 

Beware of pet

off her leash

will puncture space suit

 

Matthew Wilson

 

***

 

"Re-entry Fail"

 

fuel depletion

wishing for self-destruct button

to save millions below

 

Matthew Wilson

 

***

 

relativity

light speed media
up to the second newsbeats
years after the fact

 

Herb Kauderer
 

***

 

enchanted forest

the vagrant’s makeshift home

shapeshifts to a condo

 

Francis W. Alexander

 

 

Virgo -

he forms the heart

from Martian soil 

 

Francis W. Alexander

 

***

 

hungry dinosaur

wondering if

I’ll reach the gun in time

 

Stephen C. Curro

 

***

 

wind in my ears

freefalling

aboard a pterosaur

 

Stephen C. Curro


***

 

beams across the void

voices reach out: the stars

distant no longer

 

Banks Miller

 

***

 

SENRYU

 

 

podiatrist’s waiting room…

I should have

washed my hooves

 

ayaz daryl nielsen

 

***

 

martian boardroom
the heated debate
on plans drawn against us

 

William Shaw

 

***

shapeshifter
throws fitness fit at the gym
he's still out of shape

Guy Belleranti

 

 

*** ​

 

HAY(NA)KU

 

 

luring

she swoons

husband prey captured

 

Colleen Anderson

 

​***

 

HORRORKU

 

 

winter dawn

a trail of entrails

stains the snow

 

Ngo Binh Anh Khoa

 

***


good humor man
anything but good
delivers ice screams

Guy Belleranti

***

 

the hired mourner

 

after the first death ​

drying her tears ​

on necrotic tissue​

 

Benjamin Whitney Norris ​

​***

bald lies

 

fresh scalp in one hand​

bloody knife in the other ​

doe-eyed ingenue​

 

Benjamin Whitney Norris ​

 

***

 

 

TANKA

 

 

battle and pain

lost in fire and blood

alone a ghost

 

return again to haunt

the powers that betray me

 

Doug Gant

 

***

 

entrepreneurship

the necromancer opens

a new factory

dirt-cheap labor recruited

from within newly dug graves

 

Ngo Binh Anh Khoa

 

***

 

bubbles

in the holding tank

I think I’m alone

until the monster

opens its eyes

 

Stephen C. Curro

 

***

 

long after

the river beds dry

the martians crawl out

from underground

towards mars station one

 

Christina Sng

 

***

 

piano concert intermission

my wife and I agree

the alien musician's performance 

enhanced by having  

12 fingers

 

John J. Dunphy

 

 

***

 

 

RICTAMETER

 

Falling

Down to darkness

A dead star’s hungry grave

Through space tight curved, I see myself

Accelerating as a frozen wave –

A particle, perhaps, or both!

Aglow with joy, I find

Up to light I’m

Falling.

 

Doug Gant

 

For an explanation of this poetic form, you can read one in our PRINT edition at:

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

 

 

***

 

 

HAIBUN

 

 

The Valentine’s Day Invasion Haibun

Francis W. Alexander

 

Here and there the aliens shot the humans. No human was safe. It didn’t matter if it was a small town or a large city. Whether the victim was a Communist or Capitalist; Democrat, Republican, or Independent; Black, White, or Yellow. Humans were struck indiscriminately. Frantically, mankind struck back. The earthlings who escaped, nuked the alien ships and killed every alien they could find.

 

first day of spring

scientists discover humans shot

with alien love potions

  

 

***

 

ARTICLES

 

The Keyhole

Robert E. Porter

 

For a while there, my life was falling apart and I couldn’t read any fiction. I’d put it down as soon as I picked it up, put off by something in the opening lines. It smelled fishy to me. Fake. That’s a novel or short story for you. Sometimes it will bail you out, or sink you; other times, it will float on by like a turd in the swimming pool. I sought out Kenneth Rexroth’s translations of haiku instead, or Philip Larkin’s poems, or a Get Fuzzy comic strip. I couldn’t get into the Post or the Times – articles written too close to the Times I was living in, or the Post I was tied to. But I devoured Peter Ackroyd’s short biographies (of Newton, Wilkie Collins, or Chaucer) for the Canaletto-like distance and perspective they gave me.

GK Chesterton’s autobiography was a slower read but carried me along with the tour-de-force of a steampunk engine. In the photograph on the cover, the man looks more like a member of my own family than I do. That round face, that round body, those eyes, that droopy mustache, that expression. His deepest thoughts and rolling thunderous sense of humor seemed even more familiar. I never could read one of his Father Brown stories; Chesterton’s own story wasn’t nearly so cozy. What I liked best was his unrelenting optimism in the face of whatever dead man’s curves life threw at him. He stayed on track. He always seemed to be looking around the bend, down the row of houses, to the grassy plain, where he would stand alone.

 

“For nobody else specializes in that mystical mood in which the yellow star of the dandelion is startling, being something unexpected and undeserved. There are philosophies as varied as the flowers of the field, and some of them weeds and a few of them poisonous weeds. But they none of them create the psychological conditions in which I first saw, or desired to see, the flower.” (Chesterton, p. 329)

I don’t know what this had to do with his Roman Catholicism, or the genesis of Father Brown; his overwrought explanations drowned in the Buddha’s flower sermon. Chesterton pretended not to take his fictions seriously, and he took a perverse pride in sticking up for people, like spiritual mediums, or Boers, in the face of popular disdain or rabid, rabble-rousing jingoism.

 

Is your mind so small that you have to fall

in with the pack wherever they run? (Iommi)

 

There was his optimism, shining through the darkest passages, or the obscurest prose, and I liked this part of him best; it resembled me, or rather how I’d see myself -- if only I had the moral courage to cut away the waste and expose my bones to the light.

That’s the power of minimalism. And it puts us at risk. How much can we afford to leave out and still be understood? If it goes without saying, it should not remain in the final draft. But it so often does, betraying a poet’s lack of confidence in himself and his audience, or his belief that plot holes in a narrative could be covered up by more digging, or that the blind spots and floaters in his vision removed by gouging. Kenneth Rexroth, on the other hand, tried to keep haiku pared down to the essential.

 

“Often the translator has simply expanded the poem, relaxed its concentration, usually into platitude,” he said. “This is all too easy to do, because Japanese poetry depends first of all on the subtlety of its effects. It is a poetry of sensibility. If these effects are extended and diluted, the sensibility easily degenerates into sentimentality.” (Rexroth, p. IX)

It seems paradoxical to associate Chesterton with subtlety and minimalism, considering the man’s girth, the length and complexity of his sentences, or the Juggernaut of his arguments; but there it is -- like hanging some article of faith on the scaffolding of internal contradictions, or sending a footpad rocketing toward Enlightenment with the koan lifted from the back of a Crackerjack box. Chesterton’s earliest memory was of a puppet play put on by his father, who had also constructed the little stage and set.

 

“All my life,” he said, “I have loved frames and limits; and I will maintain that the largest wilderness looks larger seen through a window. To the grief of all grave dramatic critics, I will still assert that the perfect drama must strive to rise to the higher ecstasy of the peep-show. I have also a pretty taste in abysses and bottomless chasms and everything else that emphasises [sic] a fine shade of distinction between one thing and another; and the warm affection I have always felt for bridges is connected with the fact that the dark and dizzy arch accentuates the chasm even more than the chasm itself.” (Chesterton, p41)

When he was older, he walked through the city of London at night fascinated by darkened alleyways, closed doors, and cracks in the curtains. Chesterton wondered about all the lives being lived and ripper-Jacketed there behind the scenes, glimpsed through a keyhole, as it were. He saw through the costumed, scripted performances put on in the street by sneering mobs and jingoists, too. Now I wonder if it is the keyhole (or ku) that focuses and hones our interest in the genuine, or if it is only those interested in the genuine who look through that keyhole, can be startled by the dandelion, or savor a ku.

 

 

Works Cited

 

Chesterton, G.K. The Autobiography of G.K. Chesterton. Ignatius Press, 2006.

 

Iommi, Tony. “After Forever.” Master of Reality. Warner Bros. Records, 1971.

 

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

 

***

 

A Review of William Landis'

The Miseducation of the Androids

t. santitoro

 

Thoughtful and compelling, this book of poetic verse underscores the possible nature of robotic interaction with humans, and oftentimes appears to be a metaphor for human relationships throughout the eons, as well.

 

Landis' use of haibun and scifaiku to create his stories of the future, clearly expresses his vision of a time when robots have evolved enough to possess emotions which countermand their programming. His choice of both poetic forms to convey this idea, makes for poignant tales which are quickly read, but which will provoke the Reader's sense of compassion with comparative concepts of the lives of the enslaved AIs.

 

This book is not only a poignant commentary of human social issues, but also an interesting collection of poetry that mirrors our own hopes of intellectual revolution and enlightenment.

 

You can find William Landis' The Miseducation of the Androids at:

https://www.hiraethsffh.com/product-page/miseducation-of-the-androids-by-william-landis

 

 

***

 

FAVORITE POEM

by t.santitoro, editor

 

hungry dinosaur

wondering if

I’ll reach the gun in time

 

--Stephen C. Curro

 

A heart-pounding scene, all in three lines! Great work!

 

 

***

 

 

 

WHO?

 

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

***

Stephen C. Curro: "Stephen 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."

***

John Dunphy is one of our original contributors, and we're so glad he keeps on sending us his awesome poetry!

***

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.

***

Juleigh Howard-Hobson lives in the rural Pacific Northwest, where the sky is too often cloud filled. But, when it's not...wow...outer space looks huge. And inspiring. Her work can be found in Star*Line, Illumen, Eye to the Telescope, Dreams & Nightmares, Polu Texni and other fine sci fi venues. 

***

Herb Kauderer is a retired Teamster who grew up to be an English professor at Hilbert College.  Stranger things have happened.

***

Banks Miller: I grew up on the third planet of a G2-class star in the spiral arm of ... um, I mean, in the Houston area and graduated from Texas A&M with a Biology degree. I currently work in Fort Worth in the environmental industry. A lifetime love of science, SF, and adventure inspires my writing, both poetry and prose.

***

Ngo Binh Anh Khoa is currently teaching English in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In his free time, he enjoys daydreaming and writing dark verses for entertainment. His poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Scifaikuest, Weirdbook, Spectral Realms, and other venues.

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t.santitoro is our editor!

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William Shaw is a poet and blogger from Sheffield, England. He has been writing haiku for eight years, and science fiction for as long as he can remember. You can find him on Twitter @Will_S_7

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Thomas Tilton is a counselor by day, poet by night, and a lifelong science fiction fan. He lives with his family in Michigan.

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