poem08 Aug 2022 05:57 am
generated by crAIyon

Tony Daly

On an interstellar transport 
at a distant way-station, 
a female android with immaculately 
polished surfacing and pre-programmed smile 
helps a tentacled man slither on board.

He wears an elegant moth eaten vest 
over a compression-suit with frayed seems, 
an aqua-tube over dehydrated gills, 
with an overly lathered proboscis 
pickled in a perpetual frown.
He flinches from her touch.
In private quarters 
calculated to his planet’s specifications 
is a water chamber 
with manicured seaweed gardens, 
and an extensive shellfish menu 
with impeccable service 
by a cyborg mermaid.

But none of it is good enough for him: 
the water’s ph balance is off, 
there are pebbles in the garden, 
his crustaceans aren’t fresh, 
his mollusks are from a different ecosystem.
He flinches at the site of her. 
In the astral dome 
where passengers gather 
to gaze at the stars 
while engaging in conversation, 
he drinks too many celestial rum-runners, 
extols the inferiority of the “air breathers” 
and “circuited freaks” with whom 
he’s forced to associate. 

When his aqua-tube malfunctions 
nobody offers assistance.
The automated investigation system 
finds no evidence of tampering 
or malignant play.
In docking bay H-311,
a janitor mech lays his body in a disposal pod, 
seals the hatch, 
sets the program to “incinerate” 
and launches the ash into the transport’s wake. 
His spirit set to wonder the cosmos, alone, 
absent the “air breathers” and things he detests.  

poem08 Aug 2022 05:25 am

I’ve been having fun creating illustrations with artificial intelligence drawing program, CrAIyon. I will probably go back to the classic illustrations I usually use after this, except for those cases where I have an exact idea of what I’m looking for or where I can’t find a fitting painting. But this has been fun!

poem01 Aug 2022 08:00 am
image generated by craiyon, AI drawing images at www.craiyon.com

Hester J. Rook

Still yourself;
the moment you stop moving
the world is only breeze and your own soft breath.
not even the insects sing out here.
The sleeping giants roll across the sky and when
it rains the space before them pearls
with fishtailed light.
This is a spell place,
here, among the thumbprint birds
the damp sheen rising from the hills.
So, love, make your spell;
plant ferrets’ teeth into the bank - there,
push them deep
feel their edges sharp against your fingertips,
push, til the land rises up to meet your palm.
Draw out the shapes in the wet earth
you know the ones - you chose this calling, after all.
Pause and bless the moss with your gold-brown gaze
feel it quiver and sigh at your attention.  Stand
your own two feet in the stream and let the water bathe your soles
(who said a spell needed anything but your own charms, your own
gentle purpose).
There.  Pick the wildflower and slip it behind
your light-warmed ear.  It is done.
Let the giants sleep and your feet walk you home.
poem25 Jul 2022 05:54 am
Photo by I, Sailko, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3614837

Michelle Muenzler

It's not really a gun unless it's loaded, your father said
which doesn't make much sense the more you think about it
what with the silent zzzt of your rifle
whining in your ear, battery charger dangerously low
and your opponents
those octopodal bear-backed who-knows-whats
slinging shells from tubes that increase in speed the further they fly
as though inertia has no meaning
and maybe for them it doesn't
because where is the meaning when it's just you and them
and their closest galactic ally
some species you have yet to even identify
but mostly reminds you of a bathtub gone to rust
and trundling about on five legs, towing behind it
a half-ton rod
and if the rod intersects space and time, disconnects
and when it reconnects evaporates your companion beside you who was only
clinging as best he could to the laws he knew
to the weapons of familiarity
then yes, if said rod should break physics as well
and then reappear all handwavium aback that awkward creature once more
then is it not also a gun?
Did it not speed its target to an unlikely end
there and gone in a flash of powder as the dust of your mate collapses behind the bulkhead
Maybe it did and maybe it
it's hard to say in the chaos of combat
but if it did then maybe you can too
simply appear like a bullet, lodged in the soft appendages you think might be
your enemies' hearts or whatever is most important to them
your fist a precision rifle, death reloaded, 18 plasma charges a minute
melting your opponents and turning them into so much slick paste
running down your fingertips
And maybe you're all guns here on the battlefield
whether loaded or not
or maybe, like your father's words
none of this really matters because the battle is now
your aim is poised
and the intent to kill is etched against your finger
a bullet of its own
poem18 Jul 2022 08:00 am
It’s Touch and Go to Laugh or No, by Sophie Gengembre Anderson, circa 1857

Lynne Sargent

Do you remember when we were witches
wielding wands of wheat,
making cedar talismans
to protect against the fear of being caught
in ding dong dash?

When every tree was a portal
and every villain could be defeated
with a quest, or a century
and neither seemed quite so long.

When love was in gemstones
found in rivers, presented to you
with your own hands, claimed
by your own eyes.

When our power was in powerlessness--
in the fable of pretending
it was the kind of thing that would be outgrown.

poem11 Jul 2022 05:40 pm
Jacopo AmigoniDiana and Callisto

Mack Mani

they always told me,
You should have seen her back when she-
(before she had you)
the beautiful hairless nymphs
of Boucher and Titan
had nothing on her
cut marble eyes
Mariah Carey jeans
endless flowing midnight hair

Your mother was a looker kid,
you know that?

The men in her life,
cursing cruising Toms & Tims
good and bad and That damn boy‘s
between us allthefuckingtime
turned her into something
they didn’t want anymore,
a growling, howling mother bear
set to roam the loom and gloam

She told me once after they’d left,
I don’t feel like a woman
(or a bear)
have I really lived for 50 years?
I still feel like a girl
on the edge of the pool,
when the world was colored neonchrome
when gods still walked on four legs
when good and evil were
before I was tricked,
Just this once, I said
but it’s been justthisonce for 50 years.

And so now
she holds me close,
pinned between her
fur and jaws
outlaws together
forever cast
about the wild sky.
poem04 Jul 2022 10:28 am
‘Youth’ 150 x 130 cm, Oil on linen by Hennie Niemann jnr, 2019, (illustration on creative commons license)

Sarah Shirley

Camera flashes, crimson sashes on a catwalk in Shanghai,
the newest line of fashion on the newest line of models
fresh from the grow-vats. Tall ones, short ones, 
slim and plump ones, faces engineered to a 
blank smear onto which the audience can 
project their own features using the handy goggles 
from the gift bags: this is how you’ll really look 
in the season’s latest offerings! Bass notes pumped 
in are hypnotic and everything is energy and striding
strutting motion, the mannequins marching the
precise measurements of the walkway, no need for 
eyeballs - their feet have been told where to go. Concern
was raised a while ago, but quickly put to rest - 
no humans were harmed in the making, my friend! 
They come unstoppable, stalking the floorboards
draped in silks, wrapped in satin, strapped in leather,
and when a Float-Cam stutters and sparks nobody 
notices, not until the flames lick up the cheap material
of the sashes, turning them into ash and smoke. The
hall empties out, a thunderstorm of pounding footfalls 
and shrieks, but the models march on in the thickening
fog, driven the fifty meters from the curtain to the end
by instructions hardwired into nerve and muscle,
and the meaty beat of a porcine heart.
poem04 Jul 2022 09:46 am

I have not been posting for a while due to moving. Er, while I obviously knew I hadn’t posted in some time, I was not aware that it was six months. I have a number of accepted poems, and sadly, some submitted poems I have not replied to yet. Now that I’m settled in my new home, I’m going to push through and get back to everyone.

poem09 Jan 2022 06:12 pm
Summer Night by the Beach by Edvard Munch, 1903

Sarah Shirley

Moonburn happens on very clear nights
to the pale swimmers venturing out, their
skin bare to the air and the water. 

They call to each other in trills and gargling
fluting sounds as they crawl over 
the rubble that is left when cities fall.

Their milky skin sings at the touch of
reflected radiance, tapping into an ancestral 
memory of a time when we strode out

into the brightest days, when we stood beneath
the orange sun and bathed in heat and light.
Long ago there was a sandy beach here,

but now our children, skin bleached
by the years spent trembling in the 
shadows of the fallout shelters, creep out

into the moonlight-silvered city, and lay
their pale bodies down to rest in the dark
at the water’s lapping edge.
poem12 Dec 2021 06:20 pm
Bell Telephone Magazine, 1922

Harris Coverley

I talk to the Machine
And how she whispers back
In her cogs
And gives Word through her dials
Chrome cool
Soothing a dead thumb
Oh how I love her
And how I hate
How she goes away
Even now
I can still hear her wisdom:
This is what you want to hear
This is what you want to hear
“Turn switch off and then switch on again”
This is what you want to hear


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