Uncategorized22 Mar 2020 03:44 pm

Sorry we were down for so long. There were some technical issues that required updates, and it took me a little while to get it all working. Next week we’ll be back publishing regularly.

Some good news — a number of poems we published were nominated for Rhysling awards, the main speculative poetry awards. Congratulations to the poets!

• “Stormbound” by Marsheila Rockwell

• “Envoy” by F. J. Bergmann 

• “Bright Record” by John W. Sexton 

• “The Snow Globe” by Marge Simon 

• “The Journey” by Deborah L. Davitt 

• “The Certainty of Seeing” by Michelle Muenzler 

• “Blood Moon” by Sara Backer 

• “Witch” by Mary Soon Lee 

• “children of the trees” by Deborah L. Davitt 

Uncategorized17 Feb 2020 10:50 am
Dulle Griet by Pieter Breugel the Elder

Lorraine Schein

On my way to the next Millennium
I passed Christ blessing a witches' coven,
circle-dancing in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The hordes of the dead had risen up,
shielding their multi-clustered eyes
from further genetic warfare.

I saw the Dark Goddess, Kali
and Green Tara, the Compassionate One,
locked in battle, many-handed,
each hand wielding a sword
that fought the others senselessly.

My eyes stung from the dirty red wind
blowing nuclear waste
through our glow-tainted cities,
burning with designer plagues.

I heard the muted prophecies of Prozac,
the new Cassandra rescorned.

poem02 Feb 2020 07:15 pm

Michael Fosburg

He comes when the light turns sour 
as through a throb of starlings 
or bruised clouds hunched with rain,  
Clad in shapes that twist the eye 
like wind-bent smoke. 
He seeds the honeyed madness. 
Centaur stink, cloven wanderer, 
hump of dappled shadow. 
You breathe him in— 
(the remembered terror
claws constricted veins,
scored eyes search
through darkened trees,
teeth like spears 
tear innards strewn 
across ancient dust)
and you are no longer. 
What remains are just shapes
the blood remembers.
Uncategorized13 Jan 2020 08:01 am
Mosaic at Belgrade Zoo

John Grey

Yes, he’s a butterfly.
drank the nectar,
thinking he’d
evolve into a giant wasp
once the chemicals kicked in.
He’d sting the naysayers,
the ones who doubted him,
the fools who kicked him
out of the government laboratory,
who labeled his experiments
as “science fantasy”,
who even laughed
when he approached the subject
of inter-species hybridization.
But he’s grown fluttering fairy wings,
not buzz-saw pinions.
He’s flamboyant, pretty almost,
far from threatening
And there’s no sting to his fury,
just a desire to suckle on rosebuds.
He seeks revenge
but his enemies merely
point and say, “How pretty.”
His experiment failed
but his color scheme triumphed.
poem06 Jan 2020 07:15 am
Cropped and edited lobby card for Lost Continent (Lippert Pictures, 1951)

David C. Kopaska-Merkel  and Kendall Evans

I doubt the dinosaur will notice us,
Said Kyle but he could not have been more wrong,
Tyrannowhatsit’s nostrils flared; it turned,
And fixed us with a huge slit-pupiled eye,
It took a dainty step and then one more,
I longingly remembered Uncle Dan,
His case of dynamite, his gun, his axe,
His foot and entrails strewn across
This Mesozoic era, what a mess.

I’d only had to outrun Kyle and Sue,
I spun the dial and punched the button: go!
But, oops, I’d meant to follow time's arrow
The other way; I've traveled
Deeper in the past, not back toward my own future Now.
Too late, I saw my journey’s final end,
4 billion years before Christ’s fabled birth,
There’d be no oxygen for me to breathe,
I’d have to hold my breath, re-jump, and hope!

Problem is,
My re-jump efforts failed,
I'm stuck in this eternal moment:
Bare earth and lifeless sea,
It'll take long hours before
The solar batteries recharge,
I'm pretty sure I cannot hold my breath
that long….
poem30 Dec 2019 08:00 am
By Boris Kustodiev – http://www.zeller.de, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15720327

Christina Sng

“There’s always a price to be paid
For everything a man gives you.”
My mother told me when
I was old enough to listen.

But of course, I was foolish
Like most girls in love,
Never noticing the jaded faces
Of those long-suffering wives

Of the elders in the village,
Trying to muster a smile
When they heard
I was to be married.

I regaled them with stories
Of his time as a Beast and
How my love changed him
Back into a Prince.

They bowed their heads
And bit their lips,
Telling me a child
Would be my life’s blessing

And truly, she is,
My beloved daughter,
Beside me here in the tower,
The same age as I was

When my mother
First warned me
Of what I know now
To be true,

For my Prince
Is once again a Beast
Despite his human face,
Snarling and slashing

With his once-clawed paws,
Throwing me across rooms
If I ever dared to be brave,
Standing up to his angry tirades,

Defending our daughter
From his scorn, 
And comforting her in my arms
When he was done and gone.

I realize now there was a reason 
Why he had been cursed:
To show the world 
The Beast really was his true face,

For nature does not simply
Conjure beasts out of thin air. 
The monster could never
Have been summoned

If he wasn’t already there.
Too late for me now, trapped
And caged at the mercy
And whim of a mad king.

No long thick braid 
Or a dragon to escape,
But an endless fall
Down the tower.

But perhaps… wait.
One day,
We might be able
To flee this place.

My daughter’s hair
Has now reached her waist.
poem22 Dec 2019 05:12 pm
Department of the Interior. Patent Office. 1849-1925
Artificial Christmas Tree
6 July 1911

David C Kopaska-Merkel

The office-party planners,
not in the mood to waste
a perfectly good plastic tree,
Didn’t take it down post-Christmas.

They repurposed it for Valentine’s Day,
using heart-shaped lights and beads
and red decorative balls.

For St. Patrick's day the tree
wore a green sequined hat,
rainbow fringe, and individualized elves,
bearing the faces of the office staff.

Next, for Graduation,
they made miniature caps and gowns,
and improbable resumes;
my favorite work experience
was Orca groomer.

Independence Day, a fire hazard,
had to be canceled,
but Thanksgiving was a hit,
with construction-paper hand turkeys
favorite recipes, food pix cut from magazines,
and real chocolate-chip cookies.

The tree was not taken down until 2036,
and then only because
of the predatory mutant fungus.

But by the time they burned the tree,
it was far too late.
poem08 Dec 2019 02:53 pm
Die Gartenlaube (1856) 

Marge Simon

Once upon a time,
a child is given a snow globe
by an aunt or an uncle,
he can't remember which.
Inside the globe,
a little man sits on a bench
looking at a little woman
with silver slippers,
her arms are outstretched
as if to embrace the sky.
When he shakes it
the world inside
becomes alive.
He thinks it’s magic,
but he doesn't know for sure,
he is only a child.
His conscience, a cornucopia of hopes. On this night, he shares it with the graceful woman in

silver slippers. He takes her hand, for he has much to say. She listens attentively, but she
already knows what it will be. She loves the way his hair fall across the small scar on his
cheek. The way he smiles before a sentence, as if to be sure she is following him. He has so
much to tell her, but the snowing always ends too soon. There's never enough time.

Tomorrow, she says, we’ll stretch our arms farther across the infinite, to be born again

within the past. Skirts whirling, she turns round and round. Her slippers dissolve in a slivery

blur. A snowfall of stars descends.

The child is sleepy.
He stops shaking the globe,
places it carefully on his dresser.
But before climbing in bed,
he looks again at the snow globe.
Just for an instant, it seems
the little man is waving
as if to say goodbye.

poem24 Nov 2019 05:17 pm
Selene by Albert Aublet, 1880

Sara Backer

At twilight, my dogs run ahead on slopes of scree
while I walk the train tracks. The ties are spaced to thwart
my gait: too close for one step, too far apart for two.

Between two pines, the full moon reflects the dark side
of the sun. Parallel rails echo moonlight—twin silver serpents.
Hypnotized, I travel into my past.

I am again a young virgin hunting love
alone at night, believing in Keats’ magic hand of chance
and some unknown good destiny resulting from my twisted path.

Again, an insecure flirt, dressed to dance
with men who twirl me once or twice,
failing to find romance.

A crone with an aura of frizzled silver hair appears,
neck and brow splotched and wrinkled, glad for the silent
awareness of tending two retrievers.

My convoluted path turns into a track so straight and strong
the rails bear the weight of trains. I understand the hazard
of navigating by the moon, meandering like flotsam.

I whisper to my former selves:
use the sextant, do the math,
the stars will steer you safely!

But I can’t listen to my self, bedazzled by illusion
that makes this huge white cratered orb
seem close enough to kiss.

Uncategorized11 Nov 2019 07:25 am
Remigius van Haanen (1812-1894) – Faggot Gatherers in Winter Landscape

David C. Kopaska-Merkel

It comes from the forest
and winds about your limbs,
a scent you shouldn’t recognize,
but you turn, like a windsock;
the campfire at your back,
you stumble toward the shadows
waiting beneath the trees.

Hands clutch,
drag you back,
set you down by the fire,
voices, urgent voices, beset you,
senseless as the calls of birds.
Eventually, you sleep.

You dream of running, of leaping,
of soaring above tall brown boles,
green mantles ashiver.
Stars beckon from the inky reaches,
their ringing voices call you home.

Morning breaks
over the tiny camp,
your cold and empty tent;
friends follow your tracks
miles through the snow,
farther and farther apart they come,
till at last they vanish
under an endless sky.


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