Issue 30 – Hic sunt dracones… part two

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Here Were Dragons
By DS Davidson

Once dragons ruled here
No longer
The poetic beauty of living flame
Overthrown by prosaic utility
The high-flying by the earthbound
The fire gone out of the world
Leaving only memories
Memories that fade with time

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Pytho of Chthon
By Harris Coverley

serpentine figure
fiery herpetology
sweet god of chaos
until felled by Apollo
at the centre of the Earth

dragon-4417431_640Notes on the Unfortunate Extinction of Dragons
By Lee Clark Zumpe

Book 1

Little is known about the mating practices
of the predominant species:
the Welsh Red, for instance, disappeared
before a single nest could be found.

It is generally presumed that females laid eggs
once every two hundred years –
genetics predisposed them to small broods
consisted of no more than six young.

A reliable medieval source, however, reports
on the infamous lindwurm of Klagenfurt:
that beast sired a clan of twenty
two-legged, winged dragons over one century.

Tragically, locals butchered the beast’s offspring,
fearing for the welfare of their farms;
only a handful were said to have survived
the angst-fueled bravado of overzealous knights.

Biologists assert that to maintain a steady population,
to ensure an adequate food source for succeeding generations,
reproduction likely only occurred once or twice
during the ordinary dragon’s life cycle.

For thousands of years, dragons topped the food chain
in each milieu they occupied
they remained untouched by disease;
they knew no competition from rival carnivores.

When finally faced with a threat to their existence
by the emergence of human civilization,
dragons simply lacked the numbers necessary
t
o sustain a prolonged fight against extinction.

Book 2

Dragonologists unanimously lament the scarcity
of skeletal fragments for clinical research:
Unlike comparatively common dinosaur fossils
(which evidentially may
be found in anyone’s backyard twenty feet
beneath the spot where the previous
owners buried their beloved pets),
dragon bones are as hard to find as Atlantean coins,
an unflustered elferingewort and harpy feathers.

Anthropologists studying prehistoric medicine
offer an explanation for the troublesome shortage,
citing excavations in Europe and Asia:
the ancient shaman sought dragon bone
for its alleged healing properties –
moreover, ground into a fine power,
combined with unknown components,
dragon bones yield a rumored fertility tool
coveted as recently as the 17th century.

Recently, dubious reports have circulated –
countries are said to have stockpiled dragon bones,
amassing them in high-security military facilities:
concocted by conspiracy theorists,
stories suggest specialists seek to perfect
All plain unsubstantiated fiction spawned
by paranoid individuals with avid imaginations.

 

Lee’s work has earned several honourable mentions in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror collections. As entertainment editor for Tampa Bay Newspapers, his work has been recognized repeatedly by the Florida Press Association, including a first place award for criticism in the 2013 Better Weekly Newspaper Contest.

Learn more at http://www.leeclarkzumpe.com

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Dragonslayer
By DJ Tyrer

Ground shudders, shakes, quakes
Mighty dragon devouring
Kingdom helpless falls
Shining sword in hero’s hand
How the mighty are fallen

Originally published in Tigershark issue 19, Autumn 2018

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Two Opinions
By David Edwards

Diptych

Dragons went extinct
not from dragon hunts
(dragonslayer organized)
nor natural selection
nor from climate change
nor from falling stars–
too many, too strange–
but indifference.
Human beings simply found
(capriciousness it appears)
other things around
more fearsome to fear.

Haiku

Dragons never died,
they simply shrank in size. They’re
now called ‘dragonflies’.

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I Know No George…
By Harris Coverley

I know no George…
I do not recognise whom you speak of
So persistently

I was born in the darkness
Before the beginning of time
With Chronos
As he made Aether and Chaos
And the Egg of Phanes

In the chaoskampf I was slain
By a thunder-god barely formed
He the force of Order
Me his counterpart

I ran alongside Huwawa
As Enkidu took his head

They called me Leviathan
When I placed my tail in my mouth
And wrapped it around the pillars of the Earth

Against Zeus I had my myriad heads seared off
And was banished to Tartarus
Like a common Titan

But I know no George
So please don’t ask me again…

Under the Pharaohs I was treated poorly
Spat upon and fettered by the priests
My waxen effigies burned
And forced to lie below the horizon

In old Hindoostan I was struck down
By that usurping Indra
My fortresses destroyed
And my rivers stolen from underneath me

And in my greatest shame:
Beowulf did take his dirty vengeance
And plough his pathetic dagger into me

That killer of an innocent child
And his poor, grieving mother!
Such an immortal disgrace!

But as I say: I know no George
You must be thinking of someone else
And I wish you would cease asking…

Imprisoned now in overblown
And garish heraldry
For all eternity

But still, I shall say a final time:
I know no George, I know no George…

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Lunch
By K. A. Williams

Dragonslayer
Sneaks into a cave
A blast of fire
Toasted slayer
The dragon’s favourite dish

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Issue 29 – Hic sunt dracones… part one

Here Be Dragons
By David Babatunde Wilson

Sometimes, in ancient days
Maps bore the words
Here be Dragons”
In unknown lands
Where adventures lay

Sometimes, in my heart
I feel dragons
When I see your face
And dream of the unknown
Adventures ahead

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Here Be Dragons
By DS Davidson

Hidden from the world
More cunning than men
Dragons hide
In secret corners
And on unknown isles
Waiting
Waiting
Biding their time
Till the day no more slayers
Humanity grows too weak
Flabby, fearful
Then to re-emerge
Resume their crowns
In a deluge of prismatic flame

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first-born, flame-born, wyrms
wings wide, scintillating, flame
source of awe, terror
in talons hold life and death
wisdom and devastation

By Aeronwy Dafiesdragon-1969052_640

Cyberian Dragon
By Cardinal Cox

drowsy – lolling across cryptocurrency
hoard looted from datamine
each of the silicon-mix obsidian scales
etched with microcircuit processor
silver eye orbs function as inverse
VR – projecting out into the dark
fibre-optic nervous system filled
with light – liquid nitrogen
blood cooling hard-drive heart
ready in fragment of a second
to go flaming against either troll
or knight in blockchain mail

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Dragonfire
By DJ Tyrer

Alien dragon
Mythic star-straddling entity
Flesh like blazing plasma
Scales of deep-space ice
Breath like comets
Or solar flares
Blazing across the heavens
Cosmic dragonfire

Originally published in Aphelion webzine issue 236, February 2019

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Rainbow Valley
By Nieske den Heijer

Not long after the dragon had landed on top of Mount Everest, several channels were live broadcasting it to all corners of the world. Cameras attached to drones tried to catch every movement of the enormous limbs, and the pearlescent glimmer of pearly scales against the snow.

And then they spoke, greeting the human race as a whole and offering their help. They had seen that the Earth was in trouble and promised pearls of wisdom to the people who would climb up to ask their questions. But be quick, they would only be staying a short while.

Immediately the world went wild. Tibet and Nepal tried to remind the world that such a thing as ‘climbing permits’ existed, but the hoards of people were unfathomed by such technicalities. The same masses were also prepared to disregard any regulations, and common sense, for this opportunity.

Some of the first climbers were altruistic humans, asking about climate change, education, equality or medicine. These people, most of whom made it back down, quickly dispersed, with a strange glow to their skin and a clear purpose.

Sadly, most that followed them were inclined towards selfishness. Especially the rich, who were by now the only ones who could get their hands on mountaineering gear or could pay the steep fees that a Sherpa could now charge. There were also the people with the least experience, and who, overcome by cold and envy, started falling over left and right.

A rumble came from the summit, as the dragon laughed. “Ah, the first few made me so hopeful for the human race, but the rest of you… ah the rest of you. I now know what I need to know, thank you very much.” They stretched their legs, scales glittering in the sunlight, which caused a global sigh from the people watching the news. Then they spread their leathery wings and a shudder went through the massive body as it readied for take-off. A few people on the summit begged for them to stay, and others screamed as they realised what was about to happen.

The dragon pushed off, the downwind from the wings pushing tons of snow downwards. A jumble of colourful snowsuits made their way down the mountain, in a strange way mirroring the gleam of the scales that caught beams of sunlight as the dragon flew off to wherever it had come from. Then the cameras went black.

Ends

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Foolheart
By Harris Coverley

“o’er there be dragons”
“I fear nothing!”―ended up
crunchy with ketchup

 

Want tales of dragons and slayers?

Watch out for Crunchy With Ketchup – coming soon from Wolfsinger Publications

Issue 28 – Amazing Vacations

Take your submarine
Holiday in Atlantis
Nice enough, but damp

By Aeronwy Dafies

 

Best Vacation Implants
By K. A. Williams

Walking on the Moon
Sightseeing in Atlantis
Riding a dragon

 

Lubberland
By Harris Coverley

to the west of Spain
fair Cockayne — rivers of wine
facedown in vomit

 

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The Beach On Tiragell
By K. A. Williams

Twin moons illuminated the beach. When clouds briefly blocked the light, I could still hunt seashells because they glowed in the dark. I had my choice of the biggest and brightest ones because not many other people were on this stretch of beach far away from the hotels.

I was thrilled when I found a big green and blue striped shell. I picked it up. It squirted wet sand into my face and squelched. The device in my ear translated, “Throw me back in the ocean, you alien!”

I wiped the sand from my eyes and threw the bossy thing out to sea. After that I made sure the shells were empty before placing them into my bag.

I could hear the surf and something else too. I pulled zooms from my pocket and focused them on the water.

Little merpeople were riding waves in toward the shore and jumping off before they hit. And laughing. I watched them surf until they got tired and returned to the ocean depths.

As I pocketed my zooms, the sand heaved nearby. Suddenly a creature popped out. It looked like a giant lizard and headed straight toward me.

There was nowhere to hide.

I was scared until he spoke. “Aren’t you the one who asked the desk for a midnight pickup? I’m Jathorg, your ride.”

Then, I noticed the saddle. “I can’t breathe under the sand. You’ll have to travel above ground.”

“That’s all right. Get on.”

I slipped my bag full of precious seashells over my shoulder, climbed onto his back and hung onto the saddle horn as Jathorg ran toward the hotel.

I was booked on the next transport for home and would really miss the beach on Tiragell.

The End

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Minds reincarnate
Holiday in the future
Mingle with mankind

By DJ Tyrer

 

Time Travel Trip
Or, Geoffrey Chaucer and the Flying Saucer
By Mark Hudson

I was on vacation, partly research,
when I came upon a church.
It was located near Canterbury,
looking for Chaucer’s cemetery.

An American scholar, looking to learn,
the life of English writers, and visit their urn.
I visited the grave of Geoffrey Chaucer,
when I got pulled up in a flying saucer.

I was greeted by jolly green men,
saying, “Would you like to go back again?”
Just when I thought I was getting crabby,
I was stolen from Westminster Abbey!

We sailed around the town of Picardy,
and the Martians passed a fifth of Bacardi.
Then they passed around a flask of wine,
and said, “We going to party like it’s 1399.”

We hung out with Lionel of Antwerp,
and then the Martians started to burp.
Lionel said, could you watch that belch?
It sounds distinctively like the Welch.”

Then we saw the English vernacular,
I said to the Martians, “how spectacular!
might i also get to see Venice?
And see if they yet have invented tennis?’

The Martians said, “No, we took you too far!
now, we’re taking you back to Mars!
We’re taking you through an outer-space portal,
where along with Chaucer, you will be immortal!”

As I read The Cantebury Tales very thorough,
I read the Martian Tales – by Edgar Rice Burroughs!
Both writers were the kings of mighty Mars,
and there was my destiny – right with the stars!

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Across universe
Distant vacation planet
Hungry bugs visit

By DS Davidson

 

Another planet
Strange form oddly arousing
Holiday romance

By DJ Tyrer

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Issue 27 – Mars

Mars, barren planet
in which angry god resides…
red its countenance.
Barren, surfeit of slaughter.
Red with the tincture of blood.

By David Edwards

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Lonely here on Mars
Only company robots
Plus faulty AI
Unless counting the fruit-flies
Over in habitat three

By DS Davidson

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The Last Martian
By Harris Coverley

thin slither of life
found in red dust—finger slips
shit… any tissues?”

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Mars Terraforming Committee – First Meeting
By K. A. Williams

1st Speaker: “Earth has too many seas. Mars should have none.”
Chairman: “No marine life or beaches? Mars needs at least one.”
2nd Speaker: “We can bring back some extinct animals and plants.”
Chairman: “That’s up to scientists when we get the grants.”
3rd Speaker: “Bring back the dinosaurs. That would be so cool.”
Chairman: “With the new world colonists? Don’t be a fool.”
Chairman: “Guard, why did you let this man into my meeting?”
Guard: “Sorry. He must have slipped in while I was eating.”
4th Speaker: “No animals with a deadly bite or sting.”
5th Speaker: “Lots of butterflies and colorful birds that sing.”
6th Speaker: “No volcanos anywhere. Remember Pompeii.”
Chairman: “We’re making good progress. Let’s adjourn for today.”
Chairman: “I promised you lunch and there should be plenty.”
Chairman: “Unless the guard hasn’t left us any.”

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Interlude
By Cardinal Cox

The horizon on Mars is much closer than on Earth (due to the relative size of the planet) so it is easy to wander out of sight of the base aerials. Just a moments distraction by an interesting boulder and there’s only the satellite link between you and abandonment.

wind scours the plains
sand blast splits rocks – dunes advance
the slow tiger hunts

The bulk of the base is below the surface with scree piled over it to try and increase the insulation from cosmic radiation. In here the horizon is seldom more than an arms length away so mandatory exercise is conducted wearing V-headsets to create the illusion that you are in some forest or empty beach.

home a snug burrow
search for fresh cabbage fields
dream of Mount Fuji

The news is similarly enclosed. Local reports focus on the Chinese investigation into the mass suicide of the Tibetan monks (sponsored on the whim of a Mumbai billionaire) in the now abandoned former-Indian sector. The local Zen monastery (similarly the bequest of an electronics tycoon) prays for their souls but refuses to discuss the possibility of them reincarnating in the native nests in the lava tubes beneath Olympus Mons.

cargo craft is due
comforts cost more than if gold
crawls long curve from Earth

Headlines from Earth consist of the President in Yellow in the U.S.; arrests of druids of Nodens in Brittany; the civil war in Arabia and the rebel stronghold of Irem; rumours of a fresh South American A.I.

morning and evening
star – faint over horizon
home a twinkle dot

She thinks of her brother at home in Japan and hopes she will see him at the end of this tour of duty.

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If the Moon was a Part of Mars…
By Harris Coverley

Inspired by the 45th President of the United States: “[NASA] should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!”

If the Moon was a part of Mars
The canals would’ve been so much longer
And the Martians would not have had
Any need to invade us
And be killed off by our alien bacteria
Because their resource management
Would’ve been more sustainable

If the Moon was a part of Mars
The sands of both would swirl together
Into something resembling decorative bath salts
Or maybe a sugary dip for a lollipop
Something that children would want to taste
(And that I myself wouldn’t mind having a lick of)

If the Moon was a part of Mars
The God of War would be joined
At the hip with the goddess Luna
And they would make such an odd couple
What with all his masculine aggression
And her with mainly agricultural concerns
A divorce (or surgery) would be inevitable

If the Moon was a part of Mars
The tides of our world would be ridiculous
Entire continents would be submerged overnight
And fauna and flora as we know it could not possibly exist

If the Moon was a part of Mars
It’s possible that some things might’ve been easier
But that is not the universe we live in
And we are forced to act accordingly

originally published in Star*Line, 42.3, Summer 2019

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Invaders From Mars
By DJ Tyrer

Peculiar how probes missed them
Children of a barren world
Seeking a new home
Arrive in their millions
Overwhelming force
Humanity knuckles under
Preparing the counter-attack
For control of a devastated Earth

Issue 26 – The Fey

All those glints of light:
pixies… goblins… gremlins… sprites
performing their arts.

By David Edwards

The Fairy Tree
By Aeronwy Dafies

Tasselled with ribbons
Offerings to the Fair Folk
Pleasant verbal facade
For cruel and tricksy beings
Whose maidens dance here
On moonlit nights
Do not visit then
Not if you would stay
Safe and sane

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Pests
By Harris Coverley

Clogging up the gutters. Stealing grains of rice. Turning knobs that should not be turned from their optimal settings. Putting CDs in the wrong cases. Planting weeds on the patio, and moss on the roof. Leaving the lid off the cream cheese, and the cap off the toothpaste. Bursting biscuit packets to make your chocolate digestives soft and stale—your fancy cracked black pepper and truffle oil crisps as well. Tearing teabags to overpower your cuppa, and pouring salt in your coffee jar. Untightening the screwtop on the milk so it spills when you shut the fridge. Breeding the moths by the bathroom light. Snipping the folded end of the Sellotape so you can never find it. Losing you a sock from a pair for three years. Pushing cans close to expiration to the back of the cupboard, and then leaving the door open so you bang your head. Mis-angling the paper in the printer. Parking your car in first gear so it shunts into the wall when you start it. Packing stolen crumbs into furniture grooves. Moving your bookmark forward five pages to reveal prematurely “whodunit”. Pricking your condoms with a pin. Letting the menu-leaflet for the good curry house slip behind the bureau so you have to order from the mediocre one.

They are everywhere and nowhere and somewhere. Indiscernible spectres not higher than your middle finger, and always giving you theirs for your trouble. Tiny shits with two legs, two arms, big yellow grins, and too much time on their dirty little hands…

The Vilf
By Cardinal Cox

Morphogenic fields ripple through from
A higher reality via LHC
Children grow straight and pale
White of snow – of clouds – of blossom
White of split-pine – of bleached bones
Hair takes a green sheen in Spring
Turning auburn and chestnut in Autumn
Vrikshakas and Vanir in velvet
Old lace – vintage leather
Fauns of fallow fields and forests
Woses of wild woods
Leshy of the lush lawns
Dryads of distant dells
Dance the troy town maze
Imprint upon DNA helix
The Vinyl spiral of Aznageel the Mage
Reflecting back into silicon realities
Runes on LED screens
Goggles and immersion tanks
Gateways to parallel lands

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Lacking skeletons
fairies leave nothing behind,
no hinting at death;
disappearing like smoke rings
not really sure they drew breath.

By David Edwards

Mermaid Discusses Dissolution
By Akua Lezli Hope

I watched your movies for clues
when ashore collecting

shining stars as breadcrumbs
to follow through and out denial’s woods

in bits you tell a truth

The Shrinking Man
becomes one with everything
his diminution an expansion
ascending to the cosmic

Powder burst in light
fraught and heartfull
flowering grace of radiant waves
transmuted to a higher vibration

Closest to me, a Lull in the Sea’s
seagod dissolves into feeling
suffusing a now sensate ocean
with his yearning and desire

Do not recast my ending
though this communique
may be garbled

for love and lack
daring and failure
I became another
infinitude—foam

no tears, please
for my evolution.

Pookhamon
By Cardinal Cox

Little spirits sparked in Tamagochi
Cycle of rebirth takes them to furbies
Virtual pets with fleeting existence
In social media games
E-souls experiencing and growing
Karma earns them incarnations
In household smart speakers
Random laughter at 2AM
Siri – recite the heart sutra ten thousand times
Alexa – find the mechanisms mantra
Kami of the internet of things

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My Favourite Fey
By Mark Hudson

I have a favourite little Fey
I like to call her Tina Fey
She reminds me of Fey Dunaway
and the Portrait of Dorian Grey
She is a tiny little pixie,
she worked at the grocery store Winn-Dixie,
She worked at the grocery store Kroger’s,
where she served a bunch of ogres.
At the stores, she worked with elves,
who were stocking all the shelves.
She also worked with dwarves,
who worked out on the wharves.
She’s about as little as my thumb,
she’s like a shot glass of rum,
from the fairy kingdom,
she’s my microscopic chum.
She fills me with lots of lust,
with her bag of pixie dust.
It works just like a charm,
yet I don’t ever do her harm.
She knows how to please a man,
by doing what she can
I feel so attracted to she,
the woman I can barely see.

Pixie-led
By DJ Tyrer

Recognise nothing
Peculiarly confused
Led by the pixies

Issue 25 – Cosmic Joke

You Jest
By DS Davidson

Sir, surely you jest
Or, is this a test?
Such things cannot be –
They are beyond rationality!

 

Vultures from Outer Space
By Mark Hudson

The crew of the ship got off on the moon,
they didn’t know that they would die soon,
they hoped to do some science research,
but some alien vultures began to perch.
Outer space vultures, tending to frighten,
some maybe thought they came from Titan.
More notorious than vultures from earth,
and none of them were cute like a Smurf.
Bald headed birds, with red beady eyes,
they took all the astronauts by surprise.
They tried to race back to their ship,
but these alien vultures were really quick.
Sucking through space suits; biting through bones,
the astronauts wished that they could go home.
The vultures looked like monstrous goblins,
They radioed back, “Houston, we got a problem.”
Without weapons to fight crazy condors,
the astronauts found themselves getting devoured.
NASA watched this, with increasing fear,
Look out! The space vultures just might be near!

The Purple Jester
By DJ Tyrer

I am the Purple Jester
I prance and dance and sing
I clamber up inside the roof
And make the rafters ring.

I am the Purple Jester
I caper, prance and act the fool
I cast down the mighty
And break every single rule.

I am the Purple Jester
I perform for all I’m worth
I reveal strange secrets to all
For I am not of this Earth.

False-Meat Vegan Spaghetti
By Miguel Fliguer

Camilla: You, sir, should eat those ribs.
Stranger: Indeed?
Camilla: Indeed it’s time.
Cassilda: We all have partaken in the barbecue but you.
Stranger: I eat no meat.
Camilla: (Terrified, aside to Cassilda.) No meat? No meat!

The Vegan King, Act I, Scene 2


Deep in the forest portobellos grow
At the lichened foot of eerie trees
Collect them when the suns set
And twin shadows lengthen
In Carcosa

Large onions fall under the knife
Olive oil sizzles in the pan
Sautee until clear with a pinch of garlic
The way they do it in
Lost Carcosa

Cleaned quartered portobellos
Join the onions in the frying dance
Over a bed of dying embers
Watch them and think of
Old Carcosa

From the King’s secret vines
Grapes birth their crimson harvest
Simmer a cup in the fungal sauce
The fragrance will take you
To Carcosa

Ancient rivers boil in the pot
With salt, oil, and spaghetti
Serve them when al dente
Topped with sauce and vegan cheese
From Carcosa

The twin suns had drowned in the lake
Strange moons wander in the dusk
Song of my soul, I am so hungry
Suppertime is nigh
In Carcosa

 

False-Meat Vegan Spaghetti is a tongue-in-cheek prose-poem / delicious recipe, obviously inspired by Chambers’ Cassilda Song from The King In Yellow. It is a slightly edited reprint from Cooking With Lovecraft (2017), which is available in paperback and on the Kindle from Amazon.

Miguel Fliguer ( TW: @cookingwithHPL ) lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His first book, Cooking With Lovecraft, received moderate praise from genre luminaries like S.T. Joshi and Wilum H. Pugmire. His short stories and collaborations are featured in Axxon Magazine (Argentina), Círculo de Lovecraft (Spain), Crypt of Cthulhu (USA), Vastarien (USA), the Ancestors & Descendants and Weird Tails anthologies (UK), and the Necronomnomnom and Lovecraft Cocktails illustrated culinary grimoires (Red Duke Games).

Issue 24 – Cosmic Horrors

Tentacle twitches
Strange dreams haunt alien mind
Cthulhu’s nightmare

By DS Davidson

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Kosmische
By Cardinal Cox

First our machine intelligences migrated out into the void – Mars, Alpha Centauri, Polaris. We thought them immune but they built temples in orbit around neutron stars, projecting prayers around the gravity wall-of-death into the distant future. Humans had to negotiate with the higher-dimensional hive-minds of Yuggoth via their harvested multi-species tanked brains so that the flimsy spacecraft might be allowed to participate in the wormhole ceremonies of Yog-Sothoth. The whisper in orbital ports is that every starman’s a little mad. Well, when you’ve seen (ruins (older than all life on Earth) beneath a star teetering on the verge of going nova… or realised that the formulae reveals Dark Matter to be just the weight of loneliness between galaxies; the mass of insignificance before nebulae; the pressure of the microwave background radiation (the cool, ever pervading echo of the big bang)…

 

Void
By DJ Tyrer

Interstellar space
Strange horrors lurk in the void
Primordial things
Older than the galaxies
Incomprehensibly old

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Alien Thoughts
By Aeronwy Dafies

Strange ideas, conceptions
Float within brains that
Float within fluid vats
Long since divorced from flesh
Long since gone far from home
So far they cannot even recall
Their home world, its star
Or even their own form
Let alone the alien beauty
Of silver skies, coral-like trees
Or strange crawling things
That once served them as cattle
Leaving a peculiar hole
In whatever passes for a soul
And an ache when they see
Blue skies, green grass, earthly trees
That boils into a cosmic rage

Originally published in Tigershark ezine

 

Interdimensional Ghosts
By K. A. Williams

Nightmares are caused by
interdimensional ghosts
that invade our dreams.

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The Dream of the Worm
By Harris Coverley

 

Going through the Gates of Dzungaria
You come across the ruins of Gochen
Between the heights of Hyperborea
And tightly tucked within the blackened glen

 

Foolish mankind has long since been and gone
Not so much vanquished as destroyed in whole
Whether in Africa or in Ceylon
By the coming of the terrible Dholes

 

The worms ruled this world for a million years
The land stripped of all fair and nutrient
Other older races made clear their fears
As the megadriles acted prurient

 

But ev’ry civilisation declines
Falling from their arcologies of bone
Cultures decay, social orders unwind
Their slimy bodies were slowly dethroned

 

Now but an individual remains
Resting beneath that accursed city
Waiting eternally with frozen veins
The dreaming worm that still feels no pity

 

No fossilised corpses would dare to weep
While the conqueror worm so soundly sleeps

 

Originally published in Speculations: Poetry from The Weird Poets Society 2018 (March 2019, ed. Frank Coffman)

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Arcane Stars
By DJ Tyrer

The arcane perturbations of the planets
Those wandering stars that dance through the sky
Mirrored by tiny, invisible movements of distant suns
And the more curious motions of dark stars unseen
Render a certain dread alignment
That coming together in blaspheming congress
Called by hidden savants the day
When the stars are right

Originally published in Spectral Realms issue 3

Issue 23 – War over Miðgarðr

twilight of the gods
clash of arms: wolf, wyrm and fire
waters swallow world

By DJ Tyrer

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Gamla
By David Edwards

Uppsala Runestone
carved left to right? right to left? –
secret whispers of
Bragi, god of poetry –
lays Asgard aflame.
Thor’s temper, Odin’s power,
and Freya’s beauty,
urged by shape-shifting Loki’s
deception and tricks,
burn that celestial wood.
Valkyries carry,
battlefield to Valhalla,
heroes and warriors
(“carrion fed to ravens”)
used up by heaven
in their uncounted millions
while through the ages
Norse gods, under royal mounds,
slumber forgotten.

Fires of Middle-earth
By Aeronwy Dafies

In twilit realms
Gods follow reavers’ trail
Clash of arms
Aesir blades never fail
Fires spread
Engulf Middle-earth, all the Tree
Blood flows
Drained from the veins of the free
Wolf moon
Eclipse of human domain
Gods fall
Middle-earth will never be the same

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The Saga of the Gods of the North
By Harris Coverley

Across the North Sea came the Norseman’s gods
Lord Odin and the rest of the Æsir
To conquer with honour against all odds
Regardless of injury they would incur
An invasion of Britannia’s lands
And to crush its own fair gods into sand!

Gods Saxon and Celtic first did not see
For they continued to fight amongst themselves
Concerned not with that branch of Yggdrasil’s tree
Twas only when the enemy landed its elves
That Britannia’s gods came to coalition
United upon a common mission!

Belatucadros cut down brave Baldr
While Thor did burn Ialonus’s fields
Móði sheared Viridius’s alder
Mars Cnabetius smashed jötunn shields
And while blind Höðr was kept in the vague
Loki released amongst nicors a plague

Bear god Matunus mauled elf after elf
As Ankou stalked freely throughout the land
Wyrd could not predict the end herself
As gods and monsters brawled in roving bands
The common poor people’s calls unheeded
Famine came as the soil could not be seeded

The Britannic gods then brought out at last
What they thought to be their secret weapon:
Wōden—greatest fighter of recent past
How things were going he had to step in
He gathered his sword and chainmail of gold
The warrior idol—a sight to behold!

Odin and he finally clashed at Cross Fell
But on neither could mortal blow be dealth…
And yet the Norse god did see through the hell
That Wōden was in-fact but Odin himself!
All the gods then realised their terrible crime:
They were fighting themselves the entire time!

How the Aesir/Vanir War began
By Cardinal Cox

Loki said to the assembled Aesir
See there are the Vanir in their valley
See them dance? Hear the drums?
They jig with Golden Brew – Gullveig
A maiden of magical mien
Raid their ramshackle ranch
Steal her that you might enjoy her
So they rode and roamed and reached them
Where is the wondrous woman?
The raiders roughly requested
And the Vanir gave them
The flashing flask of reindeer water
Home again they poured her into a pan
Stuck in one of their ten hairy spears
Tasted her and saw their bright brother dead
So they flashed flint and struck fire
And they boiled the golden woman
Stuck in one of their ten spears bound with rings
Tasted her and saw giants breaking walls
So they boiled her a second time
Stuck in one of their ten splinter bladed spears
Tasted her and saw All Father devoured by worms
They boiled her a third time
Tasted her and called her Bright
Her sisters know her bringing trances
Revealing fates and fortunes and futures
Fair Vanir wanted weregilt for the theft
Intoxicated the Aesir stumbled forth
A battle against bushes and boulders
As much as their fearsome foes
Vanir gathered the vanquished gibbering gods
And put them in their sheepfold
Next day grey Odin swore
This seidh, this magic, is mighty
From now the bright one is my bride
No other Aesir may bed her
Even foster-brother Loki the necromancer
Is forbidden to fumblingly fornicate
With the wise woman of wishes

This began the Aesir/Vanir War

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The Battle of Valhalla
By DS Davidson

Not a feast as intended
Swords drawn
Axes swung
Prideful gods take umbrage
Curses fly
Oaths made
Weapons
drawn for battle
Immortal
Undying
Save for violent wounds
Clashing blades
Brutal blows
Battle begins in Valhalla
Overturn tables
Strike brethren
Sacred blood stains Odin’s hall
Thor’s hammer
Loki’s lies
Each sends gods to the slaughter
Meanwhile
Outside
Midgard and the Ash Tree tremble

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Issue 22 – New Beginnings

Hausōs
By Harris Coverley

the time before land
the formless red mass of Earth
fire of creation

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Steg Party
By Mark Hudson

In the new Year, emerges an egg,
and out of the egg, pops a leg,
and guess what it is? A steg.
It’s a Stegosaurus!
Can’t you hear the chorus!

Stegosaurus,
get out your thesaurus,
stegosaurus,
pompous and porous.

He’s trying to destroy like Godzilla,
but it comes out like Magilla Gorilla.
A household name, a mascot
Scotland Yard said, “Great Scot!”

The stegosaurus started to roam.
He looked in a ladies home.
She looked out the window, started to scream,
she resolved never to touch Jim Beam.

They tried to put him in a zoo
But he escaped into the woods, went through.
He ate a bunch of antelope.
This smelly beast needs a bar of soap.

Some hunters shot him dead where he stood
right there in the middle of the wood.
A loss to science and all humanity
a new year always brings insanity.

A sign that were not ready for rebirth
dinosaurs can no longer walk the earth
the death of the human race approaches
where our successors will be all roaches.

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The New One
By K. A. Williams

Do you like your fangs?
We can be together now.
Flying is such fun.

Re:Start
By DS Davidson

Cosmic rock comes tumbling
Rimed by aeon-old space debris
Blazes through atmosphere
Burning, blazing, braising
Smash down, crash down
Mantle-mangling, mesmerising
Explosive, catastrophic
Blast wave shattering stutters out
Sonic-boom angelic trumpet blast
End of the world
All anxiety over, the worst has come
Firestorm candle-snuffed by surge of air
Silence, stillness, dust falls
Monumental gash marks moment
Moment everything began over
A new start, a new world
New life
All new

Originally published in Tigershark

New Dawn
By Cardinal Cox

The moment is now! No second to wait
And history needs new heroes to come
We must demolish everything we hate
We have had enough of what makes us glum

Starting flag’s up, not a minute to waste
Every march starts with the first timid stride
There’s a storm coming that needs to be faced
Make your name one that’s spoken of with pride

Our tyrants have no plans only bluster
We have had enough of hollow swagger
Sitting Bull defeated General Custer
Soon they will start to stumble and stagger

This is the time for giants to arise
Freedom and justice is the golden prize

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The Wheel
By K. A. Williams

I could see Earth from one of the spaceship’s windows. Other passengers were getting their first looks too.

“It’s bigger than I thought,” one said.

“No,” disagreed another. “It’s smaller.”

“It’s a perfect size,” I said.

When the spaceship landed, we disembarked and boarded a transparent hovercraft where there was a waiting real estate agent.

“What happened to the Earthlings?” I asked her.

“Our researchers discovered that a plague eventually killed the entire population so, fortunately, none can challenge our claim to this planet.”

“Is there any plant or animal life?” asked one of my fellow passengers.

“There is abundant plant and animal life now,” she answered. “A lot of animals and plants were becoming extinct partly due to the unstable weather patterns that Earthlings were apparently unable to fix. The scientists have restored Earth’s damaged ozone layer and initiated climate control.”

The hovercraft was sailing along a coastline beside an area with strange structures as she spoke.

“What are those tall things?” someone asked.

“They called these areas cities, this one is named London, and the structures are known as buildings. Earthlings used to live and work in them. No one knows why they built them so high.”

“What can you tell me about that?” I pointed at an object around the same height as the buildings.

She looked at where I was pointing. “That wheel is called the London Eye. We think Earthlings used to ride in the seats as it turned.”

“That sounds like fun, ” I said, and quickly added before anyone else could, “I want to buy the city known as London with the London Eye.” I voiced my request specifically to include it because I didn’t want any misunderstanding later on. “Is the wheel structurally sound?”

“Yes,” answered the agent, “and each of you can thoroughly inspect prospective purchases before you make your final offers.”

That was good to know. I might buy something else too, I had brought lots of money.

The End

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After Man
By DJ Tyrer

Pollution settles in a thick sludge
Plastic, sewage, toxic waste
Accumulating in a seafloor ur-slime
Rearranging itself into a living organism
Vengeful in its alien soul
As it wreaks devastation upon its parents
A vile tidal surge overwhelms the land
Submerging all human endeavour
Drowning all human life
The ur-slime sets out to replace
Repopulate the world in its image
As it slowly attains sentience
A myriad of forms
And looks to the stars with envious eyes

Originally published in Sirens Call

Thus…
By Harris Coverley

primordial soup
amino acid proteins
needs salt and pepper

Issue 21 – An Alien For Christmas….

vessel from afar
brings festive message of doom;
ship, not Christmas star

By DS Davidson

Christmas invaders
Arriving from distant star
Ruin festive plans
Say: Take us to your stockings
Upset as no batteries

By DJ Tyrer

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A Green Christmas
By Mark Hudson

On Christmas we were hoping for snow,
because our spirits were rather low,
but down our chimney came a guest,
with presents held tightly to it’s chest.

It was not Santa from afar,
it happened to be a man from Mars!
With green skin and a helmet fish tank,
I thought this was some kind of prank.

“Greetings, Earthlings! I come in peace!
Your cookies will leave me obese!
Don’t hand me those vanilla wafers!
Don’t you want to see my light sabre?”

i admit, we were rather alarmed,
but we didn’t feel it would do us harm!
“”Oh, Martian, we don’t think you bring peril,
join us for some Christmas Carols!”

We got him to try a bit of eggnog,
but he gave the rest to our dog!
The dog even chose to ignore this drink,
and then the Martian gave us a wink!

“Behold, I must bring others some presents!’
then he escaped in a light of effervescence!
Oh he was brighter than our Christmas tree!
Thanks to you, guest from another galaxy!

 

1113… 2223…
By David Edwards

The pattern was first detected in Bangor, Maine. Doctor Theo Vance is credited with the discovery, although he readily acknowledged the assistance of several neighbours in his cul-de-sac. Drives in nearby additions, as well as consultation with two colleagues who lived in Bangor’s northern suburbs, and inquiries of a dozen patients confirmed his initial observations: strings of Christmas lights around town were flashing in the same pattern!

The pattern was without variance from dusk til dawn. One flash of blue, then one of green, one of red, three of white, a two second pause, followed by two flashes of blue, two of green, two of red, three of white, a seven second pause, then the pattern repeated. Curiously the pattern did not manifest itself if the lights were turned on during daylight hours.
A defect common to the lights was ruled out as the strings were of different manufactures and had been purchased from diverse retail establishments. A flaw in the power grid also seemed unlikely as the strings were engaged on several different circuits.

Dr. Vance called his college room-mate, who owned and operated a bed-and- breakfast in Portland, to see how widespread the anomaly might be. Forty-five minutes later Thomas Smithe called him back to confirm that the Christmas lights in Maine’s largest city were manifesting the same pattern: one blue flash, one green flash, one red, three white, a two second pause followed by two blue flashes, two green flashes, two red, three white, a seven second pause, then the pattern repeating without cease. The media finally took note of the phenomenon when the lights on the state’s official Christmas Tree at the Governor’s Mansion in Augusta displayed the same pattern.

Then the area of “infected” lights seemed to grow exponentially: many small villages in New Brunswick; the ski lodges of New York’s Catskill Mountains; all of Quebec; the shores of each of the Great Lakes. The Atlantic Ocean proved no barrier: lights on both sides of the Welsh/English border displayed the pattern, as did those at London’s Piccadilly Circus, the Champs-Elysees in Paris, the Oise Canal, all the bridges spanning the Tiber at Rome, and Russia’s Kremlin and Hermitage.

By now the pattern was a genuine world-wide phenomenon, with social media pages and hashtags dedicated exclusively to it. There were as many theories to its origin and significance as there were theorists. Some felt it was an elaborate hoax, others a computer hack spun out of control, still others a case of mass hysteria or hallucination. Millenarian theologians saw a message (certainly admonitory) from God. Conspiracy theorists detected a plot of the all-pervasive One World Government. Others felt it was an atmospheric disruption caused by climate change or just a cultural craze akin to the ‘Crop Circles’ of the 1990’s or the mysterious steel monoliths of the Pandemic Year.

The phenomenon took an astronomical turn when observatories in California and Peru independently confirmed that the two and seven second pauses precisely coincided with a pulsar on the Belt of Orion. Was this an extraterrestrial greeting… or warning?

The United Nations and many national governments organized commissions of inquiry, but any results disappeared down the labyrinthine rathole of bureaucracy.

The pattern did not suddenly stop, it faded away like a season. As strings of lights were taken down and boxed up in storage after the New Year, it became less pronounced. Perhaps the public just became bored with something passe. The last confirmed observation of the pattern was near Lovich, Bulgaria in late March. Whether the pattern returns must be patiently awaited until late next Fall when strings of Christmas lights make their annual appearance.

One has to wonder if the solution to this mystery lies inside those boxes containing roll upon roll of tiny glass bulbs and electric wires… or, is it somewhere out there?

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An Alien For Christmas
By DJ Tyrer

I found an alien for Christmas
Just like a Christmas Tree
Only not
It’s great fun to be with
And, when the Men In Black come snooping
It just stands in the corner
Innocuous

 

Home Invasion of the Complete Bastard from Outer Space: A Yuletide Verse
By Harris Coverley (after he had a few)

For John Cooper Clarke

Got an alien for Christmas — what a to-do!
Put a festive jumper on him and he screamed “Screw you!”
He tore it right off and ran up the wall
Then he swung from the light and kneed me in the balls

Got an alien for Christmas — rather me dad hadn’t bothered
The purple git drank all the Baileys and now he’s buggered
He sicked acid in the front room and it burnt to the cellar
Now he’s on the bathroom floor singing Paul Weller

Got an alien for Christmas — and he made a play for the girlfriend!
Ten hands is a lotta hands — she thought it’d never end!
He got real narked and puked up some more
Now he’s crying face down on the kitchen floor

Got an alien for Christmas — and he’s a pain in the arse
He sits in dad’s armchair and says we’ve no class
He says this mind over his tenth can of brew
And then he turns to his left and his guts he does spew

Got an alien for Christmas — and he’s pissed off next door
Threw a brick through his window and called his mother a whore
It took a hell of a lot to hold the raging guy back
As that monster flipped him off and swilled more cognac

Got an alien for Christmas — and he’s fucked things right up
All he does is complain and all the booze he does sup
I think it might be time for this twat to phone home
Or else to green-blooded murder will someone be prone

Got an alien for Christmas — and the bastard has gone
We registered our close encounter — the ‘kind’? Minus one.