MAY 2021 ONLINE
I hope the flowers are blooming where you are and that Summer is close behind.
Our DOOR is Indestructible, by Christina Sng. And if you enjoy this colorful artwork, please see our PRINT edition, where many of Christina's other talents are showcased in her Featured Poet section!
In this ONLINE issue, we have two articles, one which feature the artwork of Denny Marshall, and written by R. E. Porter, and the other is about the history of haiga by Tyree Campbell!
If you don’t have a subscription to our PRINT edition, they are available at:
And we hope you will avail yourself of one.
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:
Pssst! Looking for something to read? You can order t.santitoro's latest novella,
Adopted Child, at:
You can also get a copy of her novelette, The Legend of Trey Valentine, at:
A warm Scifaikuest welcome to our newest ONLINE contributors, Briana Peterkin, and Desirae Terrien!
alien trees flowering
absent of songbirds
metal in the air
colony faces winter
for special occasions
twenty dollars a vial
time travel intent:
elucidate my past self
What a stupid jerk!
James Ph. Kotsybar
revving my hovercycle
for one last race
Stephen C. Curro
suddenly that crazy neighbor
doesn’t sound so crazy
Stephen C. Curro
the whole neighborhood saw it
dogs barking like mad
there is much at stake
for the vampire
abandoned high tech lab
primitive creature touching
evolution's start tab
abducted by aliens
I prefer to live on the earth
than a perfect exoplanet
lovers past and future
a thousand tentacles
reaching for the surface
our destinies unfurl
free for a good home
"Show and Tell"
to headmasters office
no human pets in school
sorry you weren't in
alpha centauri office
hotheads playing chicken
loser backs off first
full speed at black hole
touch and scent garden
I find a service robot
reaching and weeping
ayaz daryl nielsen
this day’s needed rest
our florescent nipples
flicker and dim
ayaz daryl nielsen
under two moons
Ann K. Schwader
a sigh of relief
while preparing the guest list
Aunt Lorna's still in stasis
misdiagnosing the problem
time travellers slumming
black birds circling
grim reaper attends
pleasure turns to work
inside I feel
my DNA curdle
Stephen C. Curro
alien babies now wake
after your death
what’s left of me
but straw –
add yeast, store, wait
bitter red wine
SEDOKU or SEDOKA
victims of experience (sedōka)
two ride in a small spaceship
will we be friends at the end?
that would be something
we did not set out as friends
we simply got vacuum sealed
I don’t know how they did it, but they did it. They made an undo button for real life. Press it, and it’ll undo your last action. But there’s a catch—and you can’t know what the catch is until after you’ve pressed the button. Maybe it’s some torment befitting each user, Dante style. Maybe it fills the vacuum of undone realities with something worse. Or maybe it plays an annoying jingle for hours.
Of course, you can always undo pushing the button in the first place. You won’t even remember trying it—at least not consciously.
Nobody has ever pushed the button.
always the spider
rebuilds her web
the ceiling is lava
Ambitious men with dual degrees in programming languages and mechanical engineering got free rides on colony starships. Their skills were necessary for humanity's survival, so no one bothered to question their devoutness. The complex commands these learned men generated—inscrutable engravings on ancient tablets—required far more power than oil or coal, than magic or faith. When traditional and sacred fuel sources ran out, the engineers found alternatives: wind and water, sun and uranium. One putz even tried magma.
looped paper chains
Not One to Rest on His Laurels:
An Interview with Denny Marshall
By Robert E. Porter
DENNY MARSHALL'S Scifaikuest Covers included with this article:
Attack from the Space Fabric Rip--May 2018 COVER
The Signal--August 2018 COVER
Floodlights Deco--May 2019 COVER
Falling Friends--May 2020
Not of this World--November 2020 COVER
Streaming Chair--November 2020 DOOR
I've often shared a ToC with Denny Marshall. I look forward to seeing more of his black and white interiors – high contrast, minimalistic pieces that resemble woodcuts and stand out from the pack like a werewolf running the Iditarod. For years, I’ve wanted to know more about how he worked and achieved this effect. Finally, I reached out via email – for the following interview with Marshall:
Where do you draw? On what kind of surface?
On the kitchen table. Before I moved into a house, the living room coffee table.
How do you prepare? Do you have a routine?
No set routine. Just get some paper and start drawing.
What goals do you set for yourself, or for a given project?
Since I draw for the fun of it, I don’t set any goals. But, if possible, do a drawing I like. Except if my last few drawings looked similar, then I will try to draw something that is different. If it is a commissioned drawing I try to get as close to possible what the editor wants.
How long does one of your black and white illustrations usually take, from beginning to end? Is it all done at once, or in multiple sessions?
Currently I average about 3-4 hours per B&W drawing. This year I had two drawings that took about 1-2 hours. The Oval Universe series I did in 2018 took about 8-10 hours each. But have a few drawings that have taken longer. I could save time if I used thicker pens but like using 01 & 03 pens. The texture looks a lot better to me but it is time consuming. Done all at once or in multiple sessions. Sometimes I will draw for up to six hours straight, occasionally longer.
At what point are you thinking in terms of market or genre?
I do mostly Sci-fi, horror, fantasy, surreal & abstract. I like to mix in something different or realism once in a while. As far as market… after the art is done, I’ll read the submission guidelines.
Do you use toys, photographs, or other objects as "models" or inspiration?
When I started drawing, not really. Now I will look at pictures, the T.V., around the house and yard, photographs, the window or out the window, at objects around me, and take photographs locally when I ride my bike.
Do you have a clear image or idea in your head before you begin?
For hand drawn art, sometimes, yes, but most of the time no. Sometimes I get an idea in my head just like in poetry and try to draw it. For computer art, most of the time.
Do you make a thumbnail sketch? Do you pencil anything in before using the sharpie? Do you ever use a brush?
For a long time, I didn’t. Now I used a pencil a lot more, mostly to do the outside lines.
I use a sharpie set for color drawing. For B&W drawings I use mostly Sanford Prism-color premiere & sometimes Staedtler, mostly the 01, 03, & 05. Like I said, it’s time consuming but worth it. And some I do with black sharpies and pilot. Did four brush ones, years ago, with black light paint and one oil base painted. Haven’t recently.
Do you use (or improvise) tools like a straight edge or stencil?
I do mostly free hand but have always used a ruler if needed. At times I have used a Campbell’s soup can and the caps from shaving cream to draw circles. And have a drill bit guide I use to draw small circles.
In 2018, I bought three French curve rulers and a bunch of Staedtler rulers that have circles, squares, triangles, and other shapes. Then my sister bought me some other ones recently. Can draw perfect circles now.
How do you handle mistakes? Do you throw the paper away and start over? Do you cover them up? Or do you draw them out, find ways to use them, as if they weren't mistakes at all?
All of the above. If the mistake is right at the start of the drawing, I throw it out right away. One time I [made the same] mistake three times in row and ending throwing the completed drawing away. I try to draw out if I can, unless it nags at me, then throw it out. Sometimes I cut it out by resizing the drawing. This year I have thrown away 12 drawings, so far.
Sometimes I draw in “Mistakes” that aren’t really mistakes, just to confuse people and get them to say, “That should not be there,” or “That is not right.”
For computer art, I draw in layers and draw one image at a time as separate drawings. If I make a mistake, just hit the undo button. As I’m doing each single image, after some time, I will do a “save as,” and continue on. May have twenty files for one drawing. After all the single images are done, I merge all the layers together to get the finished drawing and delete the rest.
Does a finished piece often meet your expectations?
This year, for example, I had about a half dozen B&W ones that met my expectations. Not so much for color art yet. If I can get 10% of my drawing that I like and 5% that I really like, that would make me happy. But time fades my opinion of my art. Drawings I really liked three or four years ago I don’t like so much today. But I think this is true for everything, not just art.
“Oval Sphinxes Taken” is one of my latest favorites. I’m sure he’s working on something new as I write this. He’s not one to rest on his laurels.
You can find his work at
by Tyree Campbell
If you’ve read an issue or two of Scifaikuest, the quarterly digest devoted to scifaiku and minimalist poetry, you’ve probably seen something called a haiga. A haiga consists of a piece of art on which is written a haiku or scifaiku inspired in some way by that art. That seems simple enough.
If you check out an online reference such as Wikipedia, you’ll find a similar definition of haiga, plus a smattering of unreferenced history. Yet the origins of haiga lie in the distant past.
No one quite knows who began to inscribe words and phrases on pieces of Japanese art. What we do know is that in the XVI Century, painters and calligraphers began to work together to produce their lovely prints, mostly of nature scenes, but often enough scenes of everyday life. Ukiyo-e is the name for the style that developed; it means “pictures of the floating world.” This reflects a Buddhist influence in regarding the world as visible transient and melancholy. It was also during this time that art became more personal, as artists drew on their own lives for inspiration.
One of the earliest examples of ukiyo-e is a book titled Sanju Rokkosen, or “Thirty-six Poets.” In it, the prints of the poets have been embellished with calligraphy by Honami Koetsu [1558-1637], a famous name in Japanese printwork.
It was the Buddhist monks who began using wood engraving in the Chinese style for pictures and texts at the onset of the Edo Period (1615-1867). Around this time a caste called chonin developed, of merchants and craftsmen, and the monks established schools for the children of the chonin, teaching them to read and write, and in this way introducing them to Japanese culture. This included ukiyo-e, the result was that students of these schools were familiar not only with the work of various poets, but also with the major Buddhist texts.
Over the next century, various process in print and art were refined. Color prints developed. At first these were in pink and green; later on, what might today be considered earth tones, such as ochre, yellow, and brown were added. Eventually, prints were produced in all the colors. The process of art and calligraphy improved as well.
One of the greatest practitioners—and perhaps most famous artist—was Hokusai, a XIX Century artist known for his “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.” Today many of his pieces can also be seen on Japanese postage stamps, an uncommon honor for an artist. (He served as the artistic inspiration for Roger Zelazny’s award-winning short story, “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji by Hokusai”).
A tradition developed, then, of merging art and calligraphy. The technique of haiga, in which a work of art merges with a haiku, is then essentially Japanese. Usually the subject matter of both are related in some way, even if only in the vision of the artist. Here are some examples:
Interest in Japanese art and calligraphy has developed in the United States (I need not go into the accretions of that development here). Suffice it to say that the art is usually the haikujin’s, as are the words. Where in Japan, the artist and the calligrapher were separate individuals, that is often no longer the case now.
I’ll close, then, with a couple of contemporary examples of this combination of artist and writer.
Delay, Nelly: The Art and Culture of Japan
MY FAVORITE POEM by t.santitoro, editor
inside I feel
my DNA curdle
Stephen C. Curro
Wow! This one packs a punch! Well done, Stephen!
Tyree Campbell: The author is a retired U.S. Army translator with two dozen novels, over a hundred short stories, and some forty poems published. He resides in New Mexico with his husky, Coda, and tends a garden on his deck. Peas and beans and beets and carrots and tomatoes. Not all in the same planter pot, of course.
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."
Amitava Dasgupta was born in India and came to the US in 1980. He has written poetry from his childhood but for the last 15 years he is focusing on writing haiku. His haiku have been published in Scifaikuest, Modern Haiku, Frogpond, Anthology of New Zealand Poetry Society and others. His day job is as a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Texas McGovern Medical School at Houston. He lives in Houston with his wife Alice and two cats.
LeRoy Gorman continues view the stars from the north shore of Lake Ontario.
Mariel Herbert enjoys reading, writing, and discussing speculative fiction. She is drawn to engaging characters and voices, and to myths and the shapes of stories. Her short fiction and poems have previously appeared in a few places, including Daily Science Fiction, Silver Blade, and Star*Line. She lives in California with one high-maintenance dog and hundreds of low-maintenance books.
Herb Kauderer is a retired Teamster who grew up to be an English professor at Hilbert College. Stranger things have happened.
William Landis B.S. Agricultural Education Concentration Plant and Soil Science Class of 2012 North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
Avra Margariti is a queer Social Work undergrad from Greece. She enjoys storytelling in all its forms and writes about diverse identities and experiences.
ayaz daryl nielsen, veteran and former hospice nurse, lives in Longmont, Colorado, USA. Editor of bear creek haiku (30+ years/160+ issues) with poetry published worldwide, he is online at: bear creek haiku poetry, poems and info. Among other deeply appreciated honors, he is especially delighted by the depth and heart of poets worldwide whose poems have a home in bear creek haiku’s print and online presence.
Briana Peterkin lives in Aurora,Colorado. She is an inspiring author who has autism. She wants to let people know that people with autism can do ANYTHING!
Kiri Recktenwald grew up in Saudi Arabia, mainland China, and Japan, has attended college in Maine. She writes mostly short poetry and aphorisms. Is intractably epileptic . . . in and out of the twilight zone.
Semi, AKA Terrie Leigh Relf, lives in Ocean Beach in San Diego, CA. She is a lifetime member of the SFPA and an active member of HWA. In addition to being a scifaiku poet, she writes other forms of poetry along with short stories, novels, and articles. Currently, she is the judge and editor for Hiraeth Publishing's quarterly drabble contests and the co-editor, with Marcia Borell, of a new anthology, It Came from Her Purse. She is also the poetry editor for Tales from the Moonlit Path. You can learn more about her at https://tlrelf.wordpress.com/
Brian Rosenberger lives in a cellar in Marietta, GA and writes by the light of captured fireflies. He is the author of As the Worm Turns and three poetry collections - Poems That Go Splat, And For My Next Trick..., and Scream for Me. He is also a featured contributor to the must-read Pro-Wrestling literary collection, Three-Way Dance, available from Gimmick Press.
Ann K. Schwader lives, writes, and gardens in suburban Colorado. She is an SFPA Grand Master and the author of several collections of dark & speculative poetry. Two of these have been Bram Stoker Award Finalists. Her website is Her Dreamwidth blog Yaddith Times can be found at https://ankh-hpl.dreamwidth.org/
Christina Sng did our lovely Door artwork
Desirae Terrien is a speech-language pathology graduate student. Having grown up on a Christmas tree farm, she is pretty handy with a pair of pruners and sometimes applies a similarly ruthless approach to poetry.