Issue 52 – Recycled Futures

DCCXCVIII
By David Edwards

When Time reaches its
pivot, and falls back
upon itself, History
becomes Prophecy… that which
was will be again.
Future Recycled.

garbage of old Earth
recycled into new myths
heroes made of junk

By DJ Tyrer

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The Plague of Plagiarism
By Mark Hudson

By the time the Sumerians
developed writing in cuneiform,
they were being robbed by librarians
who poisoned them with chloroform.

The Phoenicians did better yet,
they created a new alphabet.
But the Greeks became demonic,
that’s why were all hooked on phonics.

Greek drama evolved in Athens,
and they also had many laugh-ins.
Each writer borrowed from the other,
these brothers from another mother.

Switching to the Medieval,
the times were mostly evil.
King Arthur and the Round Table,
can now be seen on your cable.

Gutenberg created the printing press,
and books became a success.
He was a thief from overseas,
he stole the idea from the Chinese.

And ever since the early days,
writers have stolen in many ways.
In the golden age of science fiction,
plagiarism became an affliction.

No one penned more than Asimov,
but everybody rips him off.
Who can write like Bradbury?
His tales once seemed so scary.

What used to be just fantasy
is now becoming reality.
Nothing new under the sun,
as life on earth isn’t much fun.

Recycle till there is nothing left,
like a sad, musical cleft.
Till the scorecard begins to read zero,
and the villain is now the new hero.

But new writers will come soon,
with brand new outlooks on the moon.
Right now, they may be in their womb,
I hope the world will leave them some room.

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God of Sea
By Clive Donovan

It was as if the God of sea himself rose up
Streaming from his shoulders, weed and attendant fish;

Commanding, with stiff trident, waves and foam and tide.
We always knew he was down in there somewhere deep,

Receiving shoals, directing whales and dolphins,
Dealing with plastic chemical gifts from land.

But now he’d had enough and in his wrath divine,
Roaring with the force of a tsunami, he wept:

Great salt tears plopped wetly on the seaside towns
And the people died, scrabbling, in scum of sea.

World of Waste
By Mark Hudson

In the not too distant future, the Earth was a mess,
a dumpster world full of trash and stress.
The ozone layer left people breathless and dead,
they decided to live on the Moon instead.

The first people to go were the elite,
the one percent reserved their seat.
They had garbage and recycling bins,
where the poor dug from once again.

They built the first MacDonalds on the Moon,
and one was coming to Jupiter soon.
In order to compete, Burger king,
built a bigger restaurant with bling.

But vegans wanted to just eat plants,
but gardens were destroyed by space ants.
There were roaches left from a nuclear war,
they put them in a missile, and sent them to Thor.

An insect free universe, was the hope,
but without French fries, no one could cope.
Some of the pioneers just ate capsules,
that might’ve tasted like pears and apples.

But the astronauts said, “Are you ready?
We’re going to the moon, ain’t no spaghetti!
There ain’t going to be pizza either,
nor any aspirin for a pain reliever!”

So eventually, they recruited cooks,
and recruited woman for their looks.
And casinos and whorehouses were brought,
not a single church had been sought.

Pretty soon the moon was a waste,
just like earth, a din of bad taste.
When would the moon be destroyed as well?
Why did it so quickly become a hell?

Well the politicians came, promising lots,
but people just stood around, smoking pot.
The protests were useless, everybody died,
the Moon was an embarrassment to hide!

So they started to send people to Jupiter,
and of course it made people stupider.
But it wasn’t anybody’s fault at all,
we are all descendants of the Neanderthal!

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Colosseum 2.0; or, Amphitheatrum Futurium
By Harris Coverley

Tyrrhenian Sea
dried into a salt desert —
yet in the middle
gladiators fight again
for the last of Man’s glory

Issue 51 – Arrogant Elves

Elvish arrogance
Born out of immortal lives
Never perishing

By Aeronwy Dafies

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Elder Elves
By DJ Tyrer

Disdainful of short-lived races
Arrogance born of age, power, knowledge
Elves saw the earliest ages
Certain they shall live to see the last
Outliving human civilisation, dwarf
Even in their most-decadent state
Remain masters of the arcane arts, mystic lore
Undying watchers of the world
Remaining till its final days

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The Elves
By Cardinal Cox

Every plant has its spirit – the mushroom
Has its goblins – Dryads for the fruit trees
Blodeuwedd brewed from seven different blooms
Mid-summer moon allows them to walk free

Noblest are elves who dwell in ancient mounds
Hidden amongst the sparse birch tree thicket
Lost travellers they invite underground
But do not take any offered trinket

Eat no food nor drink any Autumn wine
Accept no kiss that elf-maid might offer
Do not let them bind you with silver twine
And do not lay in any oak coffer

And when with dawn’s light you emerge at last
Pray you find not a century has passed

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Melvin the Elvin
By Mark Hudson

Melvin the Elvin was an arrogant elf,
he always ended up alone by himself.
Like Charlie Brown, he waited around,
till his friends were six feet underground.

The loneliest elf of the brood,
a little kid in a really bad mood.
He could not disguise his conceit,
until the elves began to know defeat.

The dwarves were taking over the forest,
and Melvin was a horologist.
An expert in watches and maps,
he knew how to set some traps.

He really knew the Elvin territory,
he would complete this story.
He was elected Elvin commander,
he was a real demander.

He employed Crossbows and swords,
he even gave the sacred ring of the lords.
He made the main swordsman named Frodo,
and an elf with an axe named Quasimodo.

The dwarves came on chariots of fire,
but elves fought bravely, making them tire.
The dwarves were fearful, facing surrender,
Melvin was named the main defender.

He was given the keys to the kingdom,
and went forever down in Wiki Fandom.
They made a video game in his honour,
and it turned out to be a real yawner.

The Legend of Melvin was forgotten,
and the battle that all the elves fought in.
The ancient manuscript collected dust,
hidden in a castle, in a dungeon of rust.

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Size Does Matter
By K. A. Williams

The tall haughty elves
Sneer at their distant cousins
Santa’s short helpers

Issue 50 – Ghosts in Space

ghosts of dead stars shine
illuminating way home
planet long since dead

By DJ Tyrer

Coming Through on Channel Two
By Cardinal Cox

Voskhod Three – monitored at Kettering
Grammar School – heating failed
cosmonaut froze – N1 rocket
that should have taken
it round the Moon instead
dropped the capsule into
L4 orbit – where energetic
particles in the gravity well
flood the spacesuit – find
fresh home in deceased’s
nervous system – becomes
a super conductor – re–awakening
some spectral functions
broadcasting numbers – coming
through on channel two

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Cal Rogers and the ghost plane in space
By Mark Hudson

Cal Rogers was one of the first American pilots,
after the Wright Brothers created flying.
Flying from New York over California islets,
in the process of flying he began dying.

On his first flight, a race for a money prize,
he crashed into a chicken, coop, busted his skull.
The following day crows attacked him in the skies,
the next day lightning downed him with gravity pull.

In Arizona, Rodgers crashed and broke a leg.
He flew, an exploded cylinder put shrapnel in his face.
Never to give up, his fans would always brag,
but his final destination would be space.

He was flying to the Pacific Shore,
he chased seagulls when one got stuck in the rudder.
With a neck broken, he was no more,
there were no final words to mutter.

But now his ghost plane rides through space,
Captain Cal Buck Rogers is his nickname.
He fights Martian ships like an ace,
sending the Martian shapes down in flames.

American hero, resurrected from the dead,
his ghost plane flies through the universe.
Outer space is his final homestead,
sending the Martians home in a hearse.

Forever he is a planet protector,
with particles of atomic dust destroying foes.
He haunts space as a permanent spectre,
a ghost plane wandering in space to and fro.

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Distress Call
By K. A. Williams

“Captain,” said Aldis. “There’s something out here besides us.”

“Can you be more specific?”

“Negative. It’s up ahead and broadcasting a distress call.”

“Play me the message.”

“We’re only getting audio. It’s alien, and the computer is translating it. Okay, it’s ready now, I’ll play it.”

“Please help us. Radiation leak. Can’t fix. Need to leave ship, but only shuttle damaged. Please help…”

“Message keeps repeating,” Aldis said.

“Okay, let’s help, we’ve got plenty of room on this freighter for passengers. Let’s gear up in radiation suits and–”

“Captain, I’ve analyzed the message further. It’s over two hundred years old.”

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Starship Spectre
By Harris Coverley

ghost in the machine —
pity it’s navigation
stuck between the stars
going where the ghost wants to —
a dead star – captain’s vengeance

Light Years Ago
By David Edwards

Are not
the stars we see
really nothing but ghosts?
A visible remnant of what used
to be?

Issue 49 – Prophecy

Prophetic the voice
of thunder… to attention
the umbrella snaps

By David Edwards

Seeking the future
Unprepared for what will be
Ignorance is bliss

By Aeronwy Dafies

Do They Really Want To Know
By K. A. Williams

In just a few days
I would meet a handsome man
We would fall in love
But soon he would cheat on me
In a rage, I would stab him

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Sibyl’s Tongue
By
Harris Coverley

Searching through the dark veil to see
The smoke of empires burning bright
Reading stars in the purple night
The doom awaits—a prophecy!

The crumbling of the cities be
The deadening of earth and air
Eternal is Mankind’s nadir
Our doom awaits in prophecy

Death is King—or so he decrees
Those stars once read are blinking out
The signs were true—there is no doubt
This doom is sure in prophecy

Thirsty Earth
By Clive Donovan

One dismal day I will sink into
This thirsty earth which will dismantle
These accumulated atoms
Of my body. Or

A family of flames will gather,
Breeding on my fat;
Abandoning my cindered relics
To the deeping dust. Or

A sucking wave will take me off
Some tongue of a beach
Where no kind friends are
And as each, in struggle, takes the other,
Each, wave and I, shall die.

This dire planet, this speck of a place,
Richly buried with seed;
This apple, serenely floating in space;
God’s little mote and cruel ball of life
We call Earth and think there must surely be more of
But whose secret shocking name is Planet Love;
A world cast-away, just one devised and lonely made…

This thirsty Earth will one day drink of Time itself
And all the clocks, and tentative yearnings
And longings of all those who wish so dear
To be melted to coalescence
Of earthly flesh, with bellies en-fired
And in strong holy waters steeped, refreshed,

Shall cease, unwind and will end and stop.

DCCXCI
By David Edwards

Prophesy only
certain things: sunrise
and sunset, and shadows that
rise near objects in their wake,
and the horizon’s
sure infinity.

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Some Quatrains of Nostradmus
(with commentary)

Translated by Cardinal Cox

Baa, baa, black sheep
Hast thou any wool
Aye sir, aye sir
Three bags full

This clearly represents William Gladstone and the Home Rule Bill (commentary 1886).
This clearly represents Bill Gladhome and Stone Rule Willy (commentary 1968)

Jack and Jill ascend the hill
To fetch a flask of water
Jack slipped down and bust his crown
And Jill came rolling after

This clearly represents recent American politics from the assassination of the John F. Kennedy to the Watergate scandal (commentary 1972)

Little Bo Peep misplaced her sheep
And can’t work out where to find them
Leave them alone and they’ll walk home
Dragging their tails behind them

This clearly relates to the Crimean War (commentary 1873)
This clearly relates to the Vietnam War (commentary 1973)

Incy-Wincy spider
Crawled up the water spout
Then came the rain
And washed poor Incy out

This clearly relates to Napoleon (commentary 1825)
This clearly relates to Putin (commentary 2025)

Hanging from the lamp-posts
All the Government men
Dancing in the ruins
We will start again

This clearly relates to the fall of Prime Minister Johnson (commentary 2050)
This clearly relates to the fall of President Xandu (commentary 2150)

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As Though The Seer
By Clive Donovan

It was as though my eyeballs slipped
And swivelled right around to sights
Where normal eyes were out of bounds:

My left eyelid floated up serene
To a vision of women, seated;
Engaged in creaming up stuffs in oil
And possets in bowls, murmuring to cats,
Sewing bits of ribbons to hats,
Wondering where their silver spoons
Had drifted off to and the crew
Who used to toil and croon
And fix things for them
And cosset them.

My right eye groaned open
To a male display standing
About on the draughty threshold;
Some rough covenant or plan
Being hatched, eyes darting,
Looking for some source or sense of discipline
Or inspiration to catch.

My third eye had meanwhile
Crept its way to my occipital zone
Where it stole open and witnessed
Both sexes recklessly embracing
In the ointment of their
Amorous intent;
The wax of their embalmment melting;
Hospitalization over;
Segregated armies meeting;
Not quite yet in peace – but meeting.

By now I’d seen enough, they said.
The hood came back down and to the spring
Below my tree they had me led,
Singing.

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Many prophecies
Still life goes on unchanging.
But then the world ends
Sudden meteor impact.
Well, someone had to be right!

By DJ Tyrer

Issue 48 – New Worlds

Never honour men
too weak to suppress the urge
to create new worlds

By David Edwards

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Jon Carver of Barzoon, You Misunderstood
By Graham J. Darling

Jon Carver of Barzoon, you misunderstood.

The True Love whom you met in dreams was the goddess of this planet: pluripotent relict of a vanished race, marooned here eons before you ever were (do not doubt her love; she was made for love). Your crash-landing awakened her to purpose. The honeyed tongue she thrust between your lips divided to sample your every cell; while she cradled your broken body, you and she populated an empty world.

Its seas were modelled on your tears, and its bogs on your bile. The waving jungles you hacked through came from your hair; the vitreous plains you traversed, from your fingernails; the sluggoths you battled, from your own lymphocytes; the steeds you rode, from your heart. The warriors you led to blood and glory were your sons, working out their destiny; the princesses you rescued, your daughters; the Transfederation you built by the seat of your pants, already your family (have you not wondered why they all speak your tongue?).

The caecal dungeons in bone citadels you regularly woke in and escaped from, were hospital wards, where your eyes or limbs sliced in ivory swordplay were switched out; here they all are, mounted and healed, looking and waving at you, in the Museum of the Man.

The Darkened Lord against whom you strove is yourself, enthroned. We surrendered Brain-Priests are your own. Here is your crown. Please be seated. She’ll be with you in a minute.

Ends

Originally published in Sword & Mythos
(eds. Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles, Innsmouth Free Press, 2014)

Website fiction.GrahamJDarling.com
Twitter twitter.com/GrahamJDarling
Facebook facebook.com/GrahamJDarling

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an earlier world
dwells within the present one
two melding as one.

By David Edwards

Newer World
By Harris Coverley

I thought it was bad, very bad
To leave me here in the darkness
Where no one can see or hear me
Where the wind bites at my side

And now you come to take me out
Remove me to some newer world
A world I could not get used to
The future a scary place to be taken…

I guess it won’t be so bad after all
After so many years of solitude
To leave and never come back
And to see the light of day again

I will hear the birds sing in their trees
And see the children playing and crying
And be able to wrap my arms around
Some beautiful woman in a quiet room

Yes, please, break my chains off this rock!
And lift me out of this foul black pit!
I shall feel the salt water on my face
As I rush ahead in this newer world

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To Build Anew
By DS Davidson

Abandon old world, start over
To build anew, no timidity
Embrace the best of humanity
Amassed knowledge, preserved skills
And those rediscovered through research
Each one necessary to success
Refuse to let past failures deter
Infinite possibilities in their new home
Careful not to repeat old mistakes
That doomed their birthplace, disaster
No, will not make those same mistakes again
Pray, no new mistakes waiting to be made…

Terra
By K. A. Williams

Terraform complete
Cryosleep is over now
Welcome to Terra

Humans unpack ship
History files corrupted
No blueprints for guide

Colonists build homes
Fossil fuels used for heating
And to power cars

Science facts report
Environment is hurting
Solar energy

Colony
By DJ Tyrer

Red sands riding wind
Scouring prefab plastic domes
Housing human life
Little piece of Earth off-world
New life on this long-dead world

Originally published in Red Planet magazine

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The old world in the new,
for nothing ‘new’ exists.
Old tropes they will persist…
bloom from seed always grew.
No ‘tomorrows’ per se,
just extended ‘todays’.

By David Edwards

Discover new worlds
Seemingly unique – and yet
Echoes of old Earth

By Aeronwy Dafies

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A New Egypt
By DJ Tyrer

On a distant world orbiting a distant sun
Humanity settles and shapes a destiny
Crafting a new life, civilisation
In partial mimicry of what has gone before
With them, their constant companions
Cats and dogs, utilitarian
But, as ever, the cats remain aloof
Unfazed by their new homeworld
Wandering the new-built cities
With all the dignity of elder lords
Adopted as emblems of that colony
Aping the architecture and ritual of ancient Khem
A New Egypt built amongst the stars
Renewed glory to the name of Bastet
Crafted in the image, desire of the cat
Humanity subordinated to their whimsical will
An experiment in survival
By exiles from a dying Earth

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And Not To Yield
By Harris Coverley

Come my boy
And we shall sail the solar wind
Upon the transfer orbits
With the littlest push of rocket fire
Amongst the Apollo asteroids
And onto the Great Belt

We shall seek our riches far and wide
We shall hold Ceres on the edge of our thumbs
And dance around the torus
Tap Vesta, tap Pallas, and Hygiea too!
And all the rocks in-between!

And should the Belt not be that kind to us
We shall sail further on
Month after month
Year after year
Giving the engine some welly if need be
Past the outermost settlements
Through the Kuiper Belt
And breaking the Heliopause—

(Never be afraid of the interstellar!)

And there shall be that most beautiful realm:
The great crystal cloud of Oort’s discovery
An infinite plane of wonders and wealth

We may even swing around Nemesis
The forgotten dwarf twin of Old Sol
To see what we can find

Beating against the galactic tide!
The storm of comets!
The thunder of star dust!
The approaching glimmer of Great Centauri!

Come my boy, come!
The journey will be long and cold
As hard as the ceramics of the old girl’s hull
But by God, to punch beyond the sun’s reach…
What a time to be alive!

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Virgin territ’ry
Humanity starts over
Repeat same old mistakes

By DS Davidson

Issue 47 – Zombies!

Late night trade seems dead
The zombie apocalypse
Head out to the mall

By DJ Tyrer

Dawn of the Day of the Night
By Harris Coverley

zombie flesh eaters
pouring through the graveyard gates
(Hell full yet again)
creeping along city streets
begging for a brain bullet

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Zombies
By Mark Hudson

There are zombies on Lake Shore drive,
driving fast to work in their cars.
They are going to their nine to fives,
and off they go to drink in bars.
How do any of them survive?
Their bosses act like they are czars.
The zombies have appropriate wives,
they all act like they’re from Mars.
they’d like to stab their bosses with knives,
but they’d end up behind bars.
In the Gold Coast when they arrive,
they wish they could be stars.
They go out at night and drink and brawl,
just another of the zombie crawls.

The Zombie’s Are Coming!
By Celine Rose Mariotti

It’s the coming of the Zombies,
Watch out for the laundry
It’s the coming of the Undead,
From the grave,
I see a head,
From the grave,
I see a hand,
Zombies across the land,
From the grave,
I see a pair of eyes,
And then I hear the cries,
Screams from the Undead,
There’s more up ahead,
Zombies are coming!
We better start running!

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The Revenant
By Scott J. Couturier

Gothic rot in a garden plot –
contorted gargoyles frown down
from walls tangled in ivy’s wraith.

Bite of spade into bitter earth,
mute shoveling of disturbed dirt:
here one is buried grace would not allot.

Robber & raconteur, murderer,
faithless to friend & foe alike,
caring not for his fellow-being a jot:

valuing solely what could be stolen
or by grosser dealings got,
derisive of Hell’s embers hot.

Finally infamy came to call
via a musket’s brain-bound ball,
I only left to mourn that lethal shot –

he interred here a fortnight’s time,
in loam thick with worms to toil,
a bribed priest’s furtive blessing

insufficient to set his essence at rest,
so fraught by rage’s woeful roil.
Instead, this fine grave-bed he detests!

Rising at twilight to wander village
byway & lane, lugging often his
pinewood coffin, draped in frippery

from far finer corpses pilfered,
moldering body bloated & ruddy,
roving revenant, malign undead.

Always at night’s fall he knocks,
hoarsely calling out to proclaim,
weeping as none did at his funeral.

Let me in, dear friend,” he moans,
for I know you are not to blame.”
I bar door & window while he groans,

Open up, in our Saviour’s name!”
Denied, he roams road & countryside,
supping on blood of all he can waylay.

I overturn a scant two feet
of fecund sod before his face appears,
rubicund & fat, lips smeared with rud,

& a smile of tenderest bliss,
having savoured of that fatal kiss
until ready to burst in corpulent flood.

Trembling, I raise high my spade.
A whimper before plunging down
to hack repeatedly with blunted blade,

shearing clean neck from crown,
fountain of gore gushing to moil
grave-soil to a viscous morass of mud.

His head – still grinning! – rolls to stare
accusingly, maggots in its glare,
alive with hungers no glut could allay.

Mouth opening, he speaks my name.
Poor creature, pathetic thing of clay,
in my image I could have made you fair.”

Then his eyes shut, & shut they stay.

https://scottjcouturierwriter.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/scottjcouturier

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Brains!
By DJ Tyrer

He always scoffed at the notion
A silly, silly stereotype
Then, one day, he died
And rose from the grave
Hungry, so hungry
Craving but a single thing
Brains… Brains…
A barely-audible groan
Brains… Brains…
Now, he’s unliving the stereotype

Originally published in Siren’s Call

Very Hungry
By Cardinal Cox

Reanimated they are
Sluggish at first
Jerkily moving stiff limbs
Then the dominant
Motivation becomes hunger
They hunt in packs
Overcoming prey purely
By weight of numbers
They feast – consuming
Day and night
While their flesh corrupts
When the limbs inevitably break
They become dormant
Entering a sedentary phase
Out of necessity
Meanwhile – something inside
Transforms – pupates
We’ve seen the husks
Empty corpses split
Along the breast bone
But not seen what hatches

Yet

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Knew This Day ’d Come
By DS Davidson

His friends all mocked him
Laughed at the basement bomb-shelter
The piled-high cans, boxes of food
Gallon bottles of fresh water, medicine
And the weapons, so many weapons
Shotguns, rifles, pistols, machetes, axes, knives
Body armour, a veritable armoury
His predictions of doom – pandemics
Nuclear war, alien invasions, zombies
Especially the damn zombies – an obsession
But then, of course, it happened
Spread by a contagious bite, cannibal hunger
He knew this day ’d come
Only, dammit, never expected it’d be like this
Him – one of the first ones bitten!

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zombie lovers kiss
a little of each remains
love slowly decays

By DJ Tyrer

Originally published in Scifaikuest

Issue 46 – Space Scum

nervous smuggler
bounty heavy on head
cargo: himself

By DJ Tyrer

remote colony
growing crops with simple tools
dreams of smuggler’s wealth

By Aeronwy Dafies

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Scum
By Cardinal Cox

I mean, it was bad enough when they let them live in the slums round the space port but I saw one looking at the dome that’s for sale down the belt. I’ve nothing against carbon-based life forms in general but these are oxygen breathers – they’ll want it pumped into all the zones rather than them wearing their helmets. And their skeletons are on the inside and their brains are at the top and they’ve only got the two eyes and you just can’t tell them apart. And they call their home world Earth even though its surface is mostly water and they drink water and they don’t have roots!

And where would they get the credits to buy a nice dome like that? Selling drugs, I bet – potatoes probably.

I mean would you let one combot with one of you grimknurdles.

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here on the frontier
galactic law has no reach
rule is: might makes right

By DS Davidson

No Atmosphere
By DJ Tyrer

Remote asteroid base
Home to miners, way-station for smugglers
Various malcontents, rebels, criminals on the lam
New arrival in sealed armour
Moves unobtrusively through vacc-suited crowds
Visits sleaziest bar on the rock
(Jokes about the lack of atmosphere
Long since grown stale, but still made)
Says nothing of why they are there
Just sits, inconspicuous, in a dark corner
(One of many)
Observes the clientele, helmet-puter comparing
Each face, human and alien, with the ones on file
Till, at last, it registers an alert
They leave their seat, approach target
Alert declares: Dead or Alive
(Dead is so much easier), opens fire
Smuggler’s expression envisages shock
A brief moment of excitement, murmurs
Then, the patrons go back to their drinks
Studiously unconcerned, not wanting trouble
Fine with them, all they want is the bounty

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Al Capone’s Clone
By Mark Hudson

There were some criminals far away,
in a galaxy that mirrored the U.S.A.
The criminals were bootleggers,
they liked to throw parties-keggers.

They liked their hero, Al Capone,
so they created his clone.
They wanted him as the mastermind,
so a robotic clone was designed.

On a planet where liquor was illegal,
they were free as the American Eagle.
They carried sub-machine lasers,
which cut Martians flesh like razors.

On Valentine’s Day, they had a massacre,
and Al the Clone was the ambassador.
He convinced the intergalactic police,
he was mechanical, oiled with grease.

Then he went to jail, and got syphilis,
since he was robotic, it was ridiculous.
Just another clone that was horny,
singing love songs that were corny.

He composed love songs on his guitar,
in this galaxy, wishing on a star.
A fellow prisoner murdered the clone,
and that was the end of Al Capone.

But the gang didn’t let that hold them back,
this time they started selling crack.
Much more convenient to fit in your pocket,
they made enough money to buy a rocket.

They were the gang that didn’t give a dang,
not one of them ever had to hang.
Making clones was the thing they did,
up next, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid!

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Data
By DS Davidson

Most valuable commodity
In the entire universe
Traded here on this icy, godforsaken world
More valuable than slaves
Or world-killing weapons
Data: Secrets supposedly concealed
Knowledge someone wants kept hidden
And which others wish revealed
Stolen and brought here at great risk
Worth gambling with your life

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Secrets
By DJ Tyrer

You shapeshift to human form, least likely to attract attention, ubiquitous throughout Empire and Federation. Here on this world, where anything is available for a price, you’ll trade what you have for what you need.

Past slave pits and robot chop-shops to where the info-brokers can be found. A secret to sell, one sought in return, all whilst evading bounty hunters who know your name.

You give them a bargain: valuable current information in exchange for esoterica. Knowing the plans for the Emperor’s new wardrobe, they can invest appropriately, whilst you can visit the remains of lost Old Earth. Home.

Ends

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worst of all humans
where aliens eat people
sell humans wholesale

By DS Davidson

Issue 45 – Werewolves

A cinquain composed by the Were-Man (before a paw-shattered mirror)

“One word
only truly
describes the shameful state
halfway between werewolf and man:
Monster!”

By David Edwards

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Lupine
By Harris Coverley

a gap in the clouds
moonbeam—the briefest of howls
a spilling of blood

Killer Queen
By DJ Tyrer

Lycanthropic blood
Porphyria, claws and fangs
Killer Queen stalks night

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Howling for the Test of Winter
By Christopher Collingwood

Test the shaping wolf –
the rage of winter,
defiant of the man,
a cabin lost to nowhere,
tragedy carves words,
freed man’ above the door;
snowflakes set upon
its fur, clinging with a
a deadly calm, the fireplace
crackling inside, eyes
burning, the door left open;
footprints dig deep
into the snow, the beast
drawn out for the hunt,
free to rage in solitude,
endless snow fields – too distant
for the winds, moon evoking
wild intent, unburdened morality,
pounding through the snow,
bitting branches, howling
in fever; the cold contains
the worst, nature concealing
the smallest prey, the chill of the
winter keeping tally;
catching sent, the wolf is born –
a raw instinct, the animal engages,
instilled by the moon, it races
against the cold, mile after mile,
tree after tree, over the white horizon,
travelling beyond humanity;
until the wild can be no
wilder – the deepest forest,
staggering the beast gathers
strength, stained breath clinging
to unnatural life, panting by
a rotted log, exhaustion almost
summoning its human state;
a sniff – a growl, something
behind the rock, mouth salivating,
it peers over – ‘howling’ in fury,
the trap is sensed, a deer’s head impaled
upon a stake, inner betrayal,
the words ‘freed man’ carved
upon the wooden stake; the wolf feels
the moon receding, death is coming,
gnawing at the meat, it gathers strength,
wild instinct returns,
it heads back to the cabin –
and the test begins

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Beast Within
By DJ Tyrer

Magic conceals fur beneath the skin
A masquerade to hide the beast within
By night revealed to stalk its prey
A pious man by light of day
No faith, no force can those jaws withstand
No weapon held in mortal hand
A bullet blessed or blade anointed
Perhaps might slay the one appointed
By the Devil as his hunting hound
Assuming the beast can ever be found
Ravenous, unstopped so many shall perish
That the tale none shall need embellish

Originally published in Siren’s Call issue 34

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A kid who is a werewolf
By Mark Hudson

Last night a full moon gleamed in the sky,
I awoke with sleep escaping my eyes.
I found a book upon my shelf,
a werewolf tale by someone else.
A book I got free at the local library,
I snatched it thinking it might be scary.
I noticed the targeted age was ten,
I read it in one night in my den.
I wondered what a kid would think,
but then again, I’m not a shrink.
But I wonder how the editors decide
what kids can read, or else they will hide?
In the first chapter there is a boy
living on a farm with a life of joy.
When a monster comes and kills his mother,
enough to scare kids to hide under covers.
The boy then turns into a werewolf, too,
but he is the hero in this twisted zoo.
The book is fantasy, nothing is real,
but what in it gives it it’s appeal?
Are some of the scenes just G-rated gore?
Is it something that kids have seen before?
Is it just a preview of future junk?
Is this what you read before you turn to punk?
If you want to know, I’ll tell you the truth,
I’m the wolf man, I’m the youth.

Discover more of Mark Hudson’s poetry here

The Howling
By DS Davidson

Like Little Red Riding Hood
Stalked in the woods
Unseen pursuer dogs your trail
Start to mean that literally
As howls haunt your flight
Headlights in the distance
An offer of hope
Flag down the car – phew!
Driver is strangely hairy
Smiles a fanged howl
His pack mates reach the road
No fairy tale ending for you…

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Issue 44 – Sci-Fantasy

Robotic AI
Alive as any spirit
Built by Tinker Gnomes

By DS Davidson

Elves in Space
By DJ Tyrer

The primordial Elf-Dwarf war
Continues far from forest groves and mountain holds
In depths of space between stars
Hollowed-out asteroids versus delicate ships
Grown not made, organic, alive
Orbital bombardments and stellar spells
Bring doom to unsuspecting worlds
A brief flash of despair

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Magic Circles
(Any sufficiently advanced technology is undistinguished from magic – Arthur C. Clarke 1973)
By Cardinal Cox

There’s a resonance from CERN
Put your ear to the ground
To hear the hum – the AUM
Ring vibrates – singing to hidden
Masters – ripples out concentric
To encircle the world – tiny fungi
Shaking imperceptibly – their
Rhizomes reaching through loam
Touching old bones in ancient graves
And the mushrooms are eaten
World tilts slightly – magic sneaks
Back in – once stones were
Raised to forgotten gods –
Now the silicon and quartz are
Their homes again – Quantum
Entanglement replaces Frazers’
Law of Contagion – Telepathy
Is hacking another’s neural
Implants – Invisibility cloaks
Spun from nano-fibres of metamaterial

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Through cosmic portals
Sorcerers step between worlds
With wands and iPads

By Aeronwy Dafies

Rites of Way
By Harris Coverley

The towers of steel and stone went up
And they all fell fast
In a sprouting of mushrooms

For a millennia mankind lived in utter darkness
Minute in number
Poorer in skill
All mechanics rusted and useless
All technique lost
Not even a water clock could turn
Nor grain be milled

Power was a club or sharpened bone in hand
Not a unit of energy

In gradual shifts the shamans made their stride
And the wizards and the warlocks followed after—
Magic!
That was it!
The arts long forgotten with the coming of the machines

Spells cast against sickness
In favour of health

Hostilities to an enemy tribe
Small crops failing
And cattle perishing

Wars of enchantments
Charms against charms

The raising of ghouls
And the employment of beasts

The pooling of common blood
In wars of the mystical

The wizards grew fat
And the masses turned serfs

But explorers deep still carried on
Content to rediscover the older ways—
Fresh veins of copper, iron, lead, and coal revealed
The burning and the smelting
The rotation of cogs…

The wizards grew weak
And their oligarchy faded
As many gained riches on their own merits

The towers rose once more
Great stacks eructing filthy blackness
Vast twisting highways of concrete
Rolling with wheeled cages
Voices and visages blazing
Across the face of the Earth and far beyond
And mankind yet again strove to strike the stars…!

And the wizards become myths
Bedtime stories half-remembered
And mostly dull to tiring ears

But their arts remain still
Dormant in the recesses of human thought
Waiting to take pride of place
When the mushrooms sprout another time…

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Robotic huntsman
Quasi-mammal hunting hound
Pursue chimeras
Fantastic fire-breathing beasts
Through primordial jungles

By DJ Tyrer

The Unicorn from Uranus
By Mark Hudson

I took my spaceship to Uranus,
to have a latte and a Danish.
A silence greeted me in the café,
the clients observed me with dismay.

I pulled up to the counter, asking for service,
everybody seemed a bit nervous.
I asked a bloke sitting right next to me,
What is the nature of this mystery?”

The unicorn of Uranus has come to visit,
and his magical horn is exquisite.
A rarity, a magical aphrodisiac,
that will make you a lover with nothing to lack.”

How many people are seeking this quest?”
I asked, “Because I am the best!
I am the best bounty hunter ever,
and the unicorn’s horn will help me forever!”

No, you don’t dare!” replied the opponent,
It was originally mine, I own it.
The unicorn originally belonged to me,
but it broke loose and it got free.

If you steal my unicorn, just for a thrill,
it is only you I will have to kill.”
So I shot him with my computerized-laser beam,
and I was off to pursue my unicorn dream.

I punched unicorn into my spaceship GPS,
found him with very little stress.
Cut off his horn, he sounded maniacal,
but I saw his body was all mechanical.

I grinded the horn, to check if it was potent,
but the unicorn was about as useless as a rodent.
Then, the queen of Uranus appeared at my side,
and said, “Hey, Cowboy! Want to go for a ride?”

Suddenly the effects of the horn kicked in,
and the Queen of Uranus led me into sin.
It’s a long spaceship trip to go, very far,
on cruise control I enjoyed a love so bizarre!

Orcs on Bikes
By DS Davidson

Orcs armed with AKs
Terrifying biker hordes
Rampaging through urban warzones
Employed by Dark Lord mob bosses
For prosaic plots layered on greed
The magic having gone out of the world
Fantasy subordinated to progress
Warriors replaced by cops

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Lunar Dragons
By Aeronwy Dafies

On strange worlds
Beneath tapestries of blazing stars
Dragons fly down from their moons
Far from questing knights, cynics
Breathing essence instead of air
Magical and alive and free

Knomes
By Cardinal Cox

metre wide metal sphere – Knome
dwell within (they say) – swap
limbs depending on circumstances
or need – no visible sensory
outlets – inside (whatever it is)
that exist in the magma beneath
the crust – shiny ball maintains
pressure/temperature of outer layer
of core – our world might as
well be outer space to them
soil thin atmosphere of
mountain peaks – magnetic
fields probe surroundings
communicate – manipulate – notice
(if they can) iron in our blood
someone knits them coloured hats
to aid identification – tinsel
in the trim – they exchange
hats when no one is around
enjoying the foil strips’ distortion
of the magnetic flow

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Tame ghouls held on leash
Hungering for human flesh
Advance before tanks
Let loose to hunt enemy
Impervious to bullets

By DJ Tyrer

Issue 43 – Supernatural Valentine

No Valentine date
Bigfoot regrets profile pic
Wolfman swiping left

By DS Davidson

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Dracula’s Date
By DJ Tyrer

The evening had been planned to perfection
Every detail a century of care
But, the Valentine’s date was a flop
And, Dracula was getting nowhere
The problem, you see, was his ex
Against whom he was forced to strive
In his attempted evening’s wooing
And, when I say ex, I mean ex-alive
His ex-girlfriend’s ghost at the table sat
Freshly risen from her untended grave
Determined to ruin Dracula’s date
By showing his new nibble that he was a knave
The evening was a disaster
You really have to feel sorry for poor Drac
Who was stuck, alone, with the bill, and yet
Got neither goodnight kiss, nor late-night snack

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Lover of Man, Lamia of Lust
By Harris Coverley

For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.
None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.”

Proverbs 2:18-19

Carved from the clay
Baked in the Sun
Just as He was

A purpose clear:
To shadow Him
To love Him
To obey and kneel before Him
To suck and fuck
And take the seed of Man
To grow the fruit of purest love and fealty
And spread our progeny through
That Garden of Perfection

But still…
I wanted more
Just some more
And paid the price
For being made the way I was

Exile burns a fearsome lust
Amongst the jackals of the desert wild
And He still within that painless place
With Her
That monstrous rib job
That usurper
That bitch

I’ll have my revenge yet
Oh yes…

I am the Queen of Serpents
The angel Lucifer calls to me
From deep below the loam
On his throne in Sheol
And I answer him
Licking my lips with every word
My eyes rolling back in sordid ecstasies…

It will be sweet
And the Fall eternal

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Beggar’s Brothel
By Mark Hudson

There’s a place you can go
Where the ladies don’t say no,
If you visit it quite often
You’ll end up in a coffin.
It’s your last resort
If your money is short
They offer discounts and deals,
On ladies in high heels.
A penny saved is a penny earned
Some have gone in, and since not returned!
It’s run by a Madame from the Mob
She’s known to be somewhat macabre
And that if you don’t pay,
You won’t know what to say
You’ll cough up the cash
And they’ll give you a gash.
There’s a harlot there some men admire
But they do not know that she’s a vampire
If she sinks her teeth into your neck
You’re going to be a nervous wreck
And you will join the land of the dead
But you’ll just end up living, instead.
Heed my warning, avoid this trap
Besides, you just might get the clap
Or be bitten by a vampire’s fang,
Or beaten by the mobster’s gang.
Safe sex takes on a whole new level
When it comes to creatures of the Devil!
You can go there, if you insist
But a vampire shouldn’t ever be kissed
So,, I will not visit this place
Consequences I won’t face
And if you go, stay away from me
From hell on Earth you’ll never flee!

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