Scifaikuest May 2017

MAY 2017 ONLINE
Bubble Gum Wrapper-Girl_Sandy DeLuca
DOOR Bubblegum Wrapper Girl by Sandy DeLuca

EDITORIAL
Greetings, Readers!
I hope you had a safe, happy and healthy winter season, but Spring is in the air–finally!
It’s the season of rebirth, when a feeling of newness pervades everything. In keeping with that theme, this issue contains not only some new names and faces, but also original poetry and artwork that I’m sure you will enjoy. Both our ONLINE and PRINT issues offer a plethora of poetry for your entertainment, and in this edition we even have an interesting article, Seriously, by Robert E. Porter. Our colorful door artwork is Bubblegum Wrapper Girl by Sandy DeLuca.
If you don’t have a subscription to our PRINT edition, they are available at: http://store.albanlake.com/
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: http://albanlake.com/guidelines-scifaikuest/
A big Scifaikuest Welcome to our newest contributors: Chris Galford, Lisa Hawkridge, and David J. Kelly!

AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Anyone who sent me color or black-and white-artwork in the past that was never used, please RESEND. I had to get a new computer, and lost most of my artwork submission files from the old one. Thanks in advance!

I hope you will relax, get comfortable, and join us as we go along on another Scifaikuest!

our children’s bunny
grown in the genship’s lab
just in time for Easter

(xeno-unit)


SCIFAIKU

Juno by starlight
twin flies
orbiting my leg

~ Christina Sng


mega tsunami
after the asteroid
a fresh start

~ Christina Sng


busy intersection
blind man guided by
his seeing-eye android

~ John J. Dunphy


happy hour
each bar patron given
a 60-minute joy implant

~ John J. Dunphy


too long alone
astronaut travels light speed
to capture the past

~ Guy Belleranti


sunspots flare
plasma fingers dance, grasp
solar flash mob

~ WC Roberts


evening swim
the moons
become her

~ Joshua Gage


Taurus to Libra
a satellite’s journey
via Cancer

~ David J Kelly


five kilobytes
in less than one song
men on the moon

~ Tom Sacramona


vision corrected
proudly sporting
new eyes

~ Robert Shmigelsky


feathered deathbed
extra aerodynamics
for your ascension

~ Robert Shmigelsky


automated spring
between 2 and 3 o’clock
a robotic ode

~ Chris Galford


SENRYU

cyberstore visit
grandma insists we buy her
that new “enhancement”

~ Carolyn M. Hinderliter


days of solitude
it’s good to have time alone
this uncharted star

~ ayaz daryl nielsen


HORRORKU

passionate kisses
he wakes pale and drained
sees her lips dripping red

~ Guy Belleranti


supine dead
reclining on beach-front chairs
umbrella skeleton

~ WC Roberts


jump drive error
the horror
of a starless sky

~ Carolyn M. Hinderliter


TANKA

black holes
darkened corpses
of former stars
ravenous
after death

~ Christina Sng


blue grass
beneath an azure sun
after twenty years
still unaccustomed
to this somber foliage

~ Christina Sng


BEYOND COORDINATES

parallax useless
intercept point exceeded
Cepheids uncertain
unfathomable depth of space
long vanishing point awaits

~ Will H. Blackwell, Jr.


JOINED POEMS
Spiritual Samurai

not on your bookshelf
art of war audio book
in its display case

the angst and rage of
former wearers, the world’s
greatest generals

a temporal knight’s helm
to yell orders in your head
wage a short war

~ Robert Shmigelsky


HAIBUN
Tea Leaves

The plant made one tear up, crimson drops of fluid trying to protect the upper and lower eyes from the poignant sting of the chemical that coated the leaves. Those who picked it returned from the fields with purple streaks marking where their tears had fallen and dried away. The elders said that it appeased the gods that brought them the better metals though, so who was anyone to argue with that?

silent crimson tears
coating every damn tea cup
on some foreign planet

~ Lisa Hawkridge


Taken
by Guy Belleranti

I’d read about people who claimed they’d been taken by aliens, but I’d never given the stories much credence. In fact, I thought the stories were nothing but that – stories.

Until now.

You see, last week while I was sleeping, I was taken.

When I awoke, I wasn’t in my bed, wasn’t in my house, wasn’t in my world. I was in a strange land surrounded by big-eyed, long-eared, large-lipped creatures.

“Help!” I croaked. “Help!”

The creatures’ eyes grew larger, their ears lengthened and their large lips squeaked, “Help, help!” right back at me.

I stared.

They stared back.

I closed my eyes and then slowly opened them, hoping to find it was all a crazy dream.

The creatures, still there, closed and then slowly opened their own eyes.

I shook my head. They shook their heads.

I blinked. They blinked. I smiled. They smiled. I laughed. They laughed.

Then one of them, a very cute one, took my hand and led me to a glistening table made of some smooth hard substance I had never seen.

Soon, the cute one, the others and I were all feasting on the most delicious food and drink I’d ever tasted.

“Wow!” I exclaimed.

“Wow!” said the cute one.

“Wow!” said the others.

By the time we finished eating I felt like I’d been accepted as part of the family.

Many days, or perhaps weeks, later they brought me back to Earth. I phoned my human family and my close friends and asked each to come over to my place for a big surprise…

history is made
lovely ceremony
cute alien bride and I


ARTICLE
SERIOUSLY
By Robert E. Porter

Some people take poetry much too seriously. Even genre/spec poetry. They just don’t get it. Poetry is not going to save the world, or a life; it’s not going to save the day, or lift a single person out of despair. Whatever people say or write, it’s not the poems that move us, and it’s not the words themselves. To be moved by a poem, we have to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps. If a poem is to have any meaning at all, it’s something that readers or listeners bring along and give to the poem; then it has meaning only to them, and only for as long as they remember it. To the forgetful, or to those with their fingers in their ears, it might as well be chicken scratches in the yard or fingernails on a blackboard. So much depends on our approach to these things — these stupid little poems.

“Stupid” because, whatever we may think of them, they are unthinking. “Little” because, however long or popular they are, however we might hold them up and try to hang onto them — some poems are little more than prayers to a “Higher Power,” like VALIS or Cheech and Chong – poems are insignificant compared to the lives and the well-being of those around us. No soldier is going to stop in the middle of house-to-house fighting to read Frost’s “Road Not Taken,” but he’ll read a good map, if he has one. No paramedic is going to stop in the middle of CPR, like in some Hollywood musical, to recite “What a piece of work is man?” with the hand gestures and the melodrama of a Mel Gibson or a Mel Blanc. And no father or mother with love in their heart wants to go on reading Beowulf while their child is dangling from a crook in the tree by their ankle and screaming for help, or — without a sound — drowning in the kiddie pool. These things should go without saying, and — who knows? — maybe the seriousness about poetry is generally a pose, like some joke passed down from one generation to the next with a deadpan delivery and the perennial fruit cake.

The seriousness I’ve come across online with “esteemed” members of the genre/spec poetry community, their reaction to Scott Kelly’s “Green Reich,” for ex., is certainly like that; it’s nothing compared to the seriousness, the deadly seriousness, of Catholics and Protestants during the Reformation/Counter-Reformation or of today’s Islamist gangbangers. Question their favorite chapter and verse, their Red Queen says, “Off with her head!” and — if they can help it — off it goes. There is damned little humor to be found in scripture, which is probably what all of the fighting and killing comes down to: they can’t take a joke.

It’s not the poems but our approach to them. And if what belongs in the gutter is up on a pedestal, there’s some humor to be found in the people who put it there, if only at their expense. The joke’s on them; if they can’t laugh at themselves, they just don’t get it. But don’t let them hear you laughing or they’ll come after you and your family with sharp objects, which may already be closer than they appear, and Alas! remember: where those Dutch cartoonists dared to show their poetic license to the mob, the Western media and their retailers took a stand for — censorship. Appeasement. Likewise, by blaming the poems, book-burners like the Westboro Baptists unwittingly let the world’s most violent poetry fans — fanatics — off the hook; and by taking their own favorite poems too seriously, they put devotion to their gay-bashing “Higher-Power” above showing others some common decency and respect. For ex., at military funerals.

Unless an AI’s programming could also be a kind of poem, there is nothing we can do about the stupidity of poetry. But we can think better. We don’t have to take these things too seriously, and the insignificance of these little things, these poems, might be their greatest strength. Unlike the warlords and pirates of today, and yesterday, and in days to come, poems at least do no harm, and that is no mean thing. Even in this world of beheadings, IEDs, Cialis commercials, and Ebola. So why not take a Hippocratic Oath and have some fun — with poetry? As little as poetry is, some of the littlest poems are ku, and that’s great, for reasons I’ve tried to explain in previous articles. So imagine my surprise when I recently came across this passage in a book I was reading to my daughter:

“I was starting to love blank pages of paper. They were a chance to start over — to begin again.
“I realized that my extra effort at writing haiku had helped me write more easily. I’d stretched my brain — and it was becoming more flexible and stronger every day.” (Casanova)

That the book ends with a ku is also telling. It as though the author, Mary Casanova, through her narrator, the gymnast McKenna, wanted the world — and especially young girls, like my daughter — to know that ku is a destination as well as a launch pad. That we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff, but one little step — after another, and another… — can take us much farther than the fanatics, who take poetry much too seriously, with all of their martyrs and their miracles. Ad astra per aspera — with humor and justice for all. Amen.

WORKS CITED

Casanova, Mary, and Brian Hailes. McKenna. Middleton, WI: American Girl, 2012. p114. Print.

[My credits now include “Bloodthirst and a Bucket of Nails,” an article forthcoming in Bloodbond. ]