Issue 69 – Rifts

We travel in Time and Space.
Find rift between them…
journey anywhere and when.

By David Edwards

Portal between worlds
Momentary opening
Fissure then closes
What went through – both ways – now trapped
Unable to return home

By Aeronwy Dafies


By K. A. Williams

One second here,
next second there.
A brand new place,
out of thin air.

It all looks strange,
the grass is blue.
How I got here,
I have no clue.

I can’t go back,
the rift has shut.
And then I see
a light grey mutt.

It walks my way
and talks to me.
“You don’t fit in,
who might you be?”

I say, “I’m Chris.
How do you do?”
“Oh, I’m all right.
My name is Drew.”

He changes form,
becomes a man.
“Well, that’s a first,”
I say deadpan.

“Can I return
to where I was?”
He shook his head.
“I know this ’cause,

I’ve tried before,
I can’t get back.
I sure do miss
my own wolf pack.”

“You can shape-shift.”
He nods. “That’s true.
Can you believe
I’m from Earth too.”

“We can escape,
I see a light.”
I say to him,
“I know I’m right.”

We step back through,
to where we were.
The wolf runs fast
till he’s a blur.


Gate between two worlds
Strange things pass through unnoticed
Carry home a snack

By DJ Tyrer

DJ Tyrer’s website is at


Portal to Purgatorio
By Mark Hudson

Let’s go to Purgatorio
through a narrow door.
We’ll eat an Oreo,
we’ll cook a S’more.

We’ll commit a vice,
and call it a virtue.
We’ll do it twice,
and claim it’s new.

We’ll read an allegory,
guided by Virgil.
Beatrice tells the story,
and Winston Churchill.

We’ll go to the Island Shore,
and we’ll see Gilligan.
The skipper is on tour,
he looks like a gorilla man.

Down to the Casella,
to the north of Tiber.
Who sings about Stella?
Maybe Justin Bieber.

The troubadour of Sordello,
is from Mantua.
He is in bordellos,
with vices gargantuan.

Free will is discussed,
with Marco Lombardo.
Lucille Ball fussed
over Ricky Ricardo.

We go through the terraces
of the seven deadly sins.
Nothing embarrasses,
but you leave with a grin.

After going through the portals,
you arrive Monday morning.
Back to work as a mortal,
and nothing is more boring.

The paradise was lost,
but you won’t find it here.
The closest you’ll get,
is a case full of beer.


By DJ Tyrer

Not your standard, stable
Back-of-a-wardrobe portal
Linking two worlds like a bridge
But, a sudden, violent rip
Tearing a rift from one to another
Two times, places, dimensions, states
Bemused travellers step through
Lost in a world not their own
Monsters surge through, hungry
To cause chaos, kill
Magic leaks, or strange matter penetrates
Only for it to close
As if it never were

By Harris Coverley

breaking into hell
tentacles burning in light
blue-blue-green-green Earth —
not at all suitable for
ninth dimensional beings

Issue 67 – Fantastic Weather

By Harris Coverley

skies bronze—thick and dense
an arenose alloy world
foundries in the clouds
drizzling down sharp flakes of death
upon luckless astronauts


There are ghosts within that wind:
shouts through distant trees;
the siren screams of phone wires;
object disrespect –
children’s toys and neighbour’s tools;
upon our own porch
unoccupied chair rocking…
window pane whispers…
the unhinged door opening,
then closing behind,
some guests you’ve not invited.

By David Edwards

Snow Queen
By Aeronwy Dafies

Frozen beauty, heart
Mistress of the icy north
Hidden by snowfall
Wishes only to be loved
Ever thwarted by herself


Fairy Tale
By Ken Poyner

The clouds are painted, but the moon polished. As the clouds keep drifting away, the painters tape off another section of sky. They consult on the particular hue for this tranche – are they depicting a seamless day of invincible uniformity, or portraying change, the beginning of darker or lighter or more entertaining days? There is no question with the moon. The moon circles unchanging. The phases come of big brother Earth stealing the moon’s sun. Polish it once, occasionally inspect for touch-up. The girl bonds to this work with energy to waste. It profits me: I have slept with her.



The Truck in Oz
By K. A. Williams

The whirlwind lifted up me and my truck and sailed us through the air. I ain’t never been so sick to my stomach.

When the wind finally set us down, the truck bumped over something and took off. I heard yelling and looked in the rear view mirror at a bunch of midgets shaking their little fists. Something white and sparkly glittered on the road behind me. That must have been what I’d landed on. Wonder what it was?

Nothing seemed familiar. I didn’t think I was in my hometown anymore. Was that a scarecrow hanging up in a cornfield? Yep it was. And it turned its head to look at me as I passed. Creepy.

If I hadn’t been staring at the tin man standing in front of a tree with his axe frozen in mid-air, I might not have hit the lion that ran out into the road in front of me. But honestly I couldn’t stop the truck in time.

SMACK! I got out and checked the beast. Dead. I examined the road I’d been on. First time I ever seen one made out of yellow bricks. I drug the lion into the woods and covered it with leaves and some twigs.

I was fixing to get back in my truck when I noticed something in the sky. Was that a witch coming toward me on a broom? Yep. Ugliest woman I done ever seen. Just my type. I took off my cowboy hat when she landed in front of me. “Howdy ma’am.”

“Are you the one that killed my sister?”

Uh-oh. “Did she have on a sparkly white dress?”


“Why ma’am it were an accident. My truck and me got picked up by a whirlwind that just sat us down where it pleased. I’m awful sorry.”

She smiled. It were a gruesome sight, my heart pounded in excitement.

“Don’t be sorry, I never liked her.”

“Is that right? How about giving me a reward then?”

“What kind of reward?”

“A kiss. That’s all I want. For now, anyway.” I winked.

She smiled again. “Well, what are you waiting on?”

I moved closer and kissed her. What we done after that ain’t nobody else’s business.

The End


Weather Report
By Ken Poyner

The clouds kept coming down, kissing our ground. At first, the clouds simply touched down. Then they began to compact. They grew dense and it became hard to move about in them. It was as though trudging through water thigh deep, with the mist of clouds above. Finally, the tops of the clouds passed below eye level, and there was the sun. The clouds, still compacting, settled so low and hard that we could lift our feet out and walk on a macadam made of cloud alone. Nothing blocked the sun and we thought fearfully of the coming rainy season.



Tornado From Oz
By DJ Tyrer

In reverse scenario
Twister spirals over the rainbow
Depositing a bemused witch
And a dozen irritating Munchkins
Atop a bland Kansas-dwelling farmer
Resulting in lawsuits, insurance claims
But – no quests, nor murder
Just a great deal of confusion
And, unending asylum claims


By Mark Hudson

The tornado was haemorrhaging
Over dim skies and towns
Thinning out the herd

Cutting through, reaping
Damaged nation, nothing new
Soon it will be old news

Houses demolished
An entire town laid flat
People sucked out of mobile homes

A jail in Kentucky affected
But nobody was able to escape
Not fair to the prisoners

Blonde haired blue eyed girl
Found abandoned in a field
Returned to her parents

Why do we question mortality?
We laugh at death
Till it’s our turn to go…

Issue 54 – Fantastic Skies

Aerial city
Safe from almost all dangers
Except… dragons fly…

By DJ Tyrer

By Harris Coverley

city in the clouds—
forever cursed to look down
on the world its lift-off charred


By Anna Cates

Wind rushes through the desert dawn.
Lightning bolts from heaven’s vault.
Gracefully, the thunderbird glides down.
Wind rushes through the desert dawn.
Wings unbreakable, gleaming brawn—
Acrid smoke, rainbow lights—then it’s gone!
Wind rises through the ravaged dawn.
Lightning bolts to heaven’s vault.


A Recasting
By David Edwards

Listen to this sordid tale
of a dream that never fails
to rend my every sleep,
however shallow or deep.
Fairies take me on their flights
up to castles in the night;
floating on candles of doom
without departing my room;
mysterious skies traverse
with ungainly stride and verse;
celestial voices sing,
then meld with alarm clock’s ring;
a traveler’s weary yawn
introducing each new dawn.

Dinner Plans
By K. A. Williams

A great winged shadow
Villagers flee in terror
Dragon prefers fish

Issue 53 – Fee! Fi! Fo! Fum!

Chant: Fee! Fi! Fo! Fum!
Hungry giants seek victims
Bones to grind for bread
Should never have climbed beanstalk
Stayed where things are the right size

By DJ Tyrer

Cloud Cuckoo Land
By Cardinal Cox

They were born as normal babies
Amidst screams and blood
And grew but did not stop
Doctors scratched chins and stroked scalps
As they weighed no more than normal
A white-coated scientist studied
And measured and theorised
That their atoms were more diffuse
Like gas to liquid or liquid to solid
They continued to grow
Clothes – being as our gross matter –
They could not wear so went naked
Hiding in distant places
In forests and mountain ranges
And still they grew
Normal matter passed through
Leaving ripples of painful punctures
Until at last the giants
Climbed aboard peak encircling clouds
And they drifted away
From the lands of tiny men


Giant’s Feast
By Aeronwy Dafies

A dozen giants gather
Together in a humongous huddle
Hungry, begin their feast
Humans by the dozen
Gobbled up, gorged upon
Whole cows in between slices
Of bread baked from bones
Herds of sheep as appetizers
Fluffy and soft, a change
From knights roasted in their shells
Washed down by lakes of wine
Until finally, sated, they slumber
Thunderous snores of contentment
Serenaded by the sound
Of a magic harp and the squawks
Of the goose that laid the golden egg


Just twenty feet tall
Giant by human standards
No more than a dwarf
Stood beside other giants
Never really belonging

By DS Davidson

The Egyptian Giant
By Mark Hudson

There was a pharaoh, supposedly,
living around 2700 B.C.
Recent studies have concluded
he was a giant, forehead protruded.
Sa-Nakt was the giant’s name,
a pharaoh suddenly getting fame.
Scientists studied the giant’s bones,
explaining he had growth hormones,
possibly because he had a pituitary tumour,
at this point it’s only just a rumor.
In those days he was six-foot two,
people marveled at how he grew.
The rest of the men were five-foot six,
at least that is what the story depicts.
No other Egyptian rulers were giants,
at least according to studies by science.
In Egypt, you weren’t looked at great if tall,
but in a way you were better off small.
Egyptian dwarves were looked at as grand,
aiding the pharaohs all across the land.
Tall or short, the bones were all found,
as scientists discover them underground.

Editor’s Note: Although not that tall in modern terms, at 6’2” tall, the body believed to be that of the Pharaoh is 8” taller than the then-average height of Egyptians and is the earliest example of gigantism known.

Issue 34 – Dream Worlds

My eyes slowly shut.
Tumble down a flight of stairs –
Revealing dream world.

By Aeronwy Dafies


By Harris Coverley

Lift me high above my bed
Let my toes drag across the under-sheet
Off and down along the floor
And out the window into the unpitying night air

I’ll dance with ghosts and drunks and dog-walkers
Stumbling in a trance as you try to lift me higher
Underneath my armpits, my pants, you hoist further
And drowsy in stance I fly through the pale hum of the mist

You kiss me firmly with blue lips
And I giggle boyishly, sluggish, violated, chilled
But now I have to go home and sleep for real
For you must know the day is darker than the night

Originally published in The Sirens Call, issue 45


Dream Cat
By DJ Tyrer

Down the Seven-Hundred Steps of Deeper Slumber
Each one effecting a subtle change
Ears reshape, twitch, nails grow to claws
Whiskers sprout, eyes transform
Cumulative transformation
So that, by the final step, a majestic cat
Steps forth into the Enchanted Wood and Lands of Dream
Prowling between ancient gnarled boles
In search of sleepy town of Ulthar
Where felines rule, luxuriate
The perfect form for a perfect dream

By Bruce-Grove

..and dream of hollow earth,
night upon night – wordless and empty.
..and dream of hollow earth,
the faces all the same – looped endlessly.
..and dream of hollow earth,
same place same story – forever repeated.
..and dream of hollow earth,
no hope as such – just illusory experience.
..and dream of hollow earth,
always the rebel struggle – bloodless and slow.
..and dream of hollow earth,
memories again, somnambulist thought.
..and dream of hollow earth,
peace – shambolic and indolent.
..and dream of hollow earth,
salvation/damnation – indifference.
..and dream of hollow earth,
expedient and raw – a real wild ride.

Dream of hollow earth again,
endless and sacred beyond measure.
Blue skies and birds in flight –
they keep me sane.


Within a Dream
By Harris Coverley

I lay myself down in the Vale of Sleep, under a quiet purple moon minding its own business, amongst hills carved from clouds of jade, and with a gentle wind of sweet smoke whispering across the sacred land. But with the land so light, my eyelids will not yield to any sense of gravity, so, as I lounge like a snake, I spy over the hump of the hills the quick coming of a woman in a ragged blue dress with snow white skin and twisted locks of maroon. She stops and leans over me with a bizarre malice, her curled, angry lips held together with toothpicks. I stretch up my right hand and pull them out, one by one, to let her throat bellow forth, from some distant continent, the sound of an alarm clock.


Endless Visions
By Mark Hudson

I look out my window and I can see,
a whole wide world of fantasy.
Below is a world of make believe,
coming to me on All-Hallows Eve.

It’s like something out of a book,
I think I’ll go and take a look.
On with my coat, and down below,
I enter the purgatory that I bestow.

Here is a unicorn that is on fire,
it’s getting hot. I begin to perspire.
Is the land, the lake of brimstone?
I turn around, and start to groan.

Here I look at a carnival clown,
he is not happy, he wears a frown.
Smoke is coming out of his costume,
I want to go back and return to my room.

Then I’m in a waiting room in a hospital,
no! This couldn’t be possible.
A doctor appeared with a big grin,
Welcome! We’ve also got your kin!”

I enter and there is a surgery table,
this is starting to become a deadly fable.
They cut from me the umbilical cord,
and they cut it off with a giant sword.

Next thing you know I’m fighting Isis,
I got a sword, and I got arthritis.
Suddenly, a sword plunges me in the chest,
I’m at my funeral, laid to rest.

I wake up in my arm chair, wide awake,
I didn’t die, for heaven’s sake!
I will never take my life for granted again,
and no, this wasn’t written in an opium den.

It was written with a little brain power,
I wrote it in probably less than an hour.
The pen is mightier than the sword,
I didn’t just write it because I was bored

No More Adventures
By Bruce-Grove

Sangre and atropine
course through the rhythms
of my dreams
No more adventures.

Enlightened and passionate
I cross the Styx nightly
and fall, limp and prostrate,
at her feet –
No more adventures.

Saline on my tongue
and cold breeze in my hair
a storm approaches –
No more adventures.

Issue 31 – Goblin Market

Disorderly piles
Filth, refuse, treasures galore
Goblin marketplace

By DS Davidson


Gobble it up!
By Mark Hudson

Look at this hobgoblin market,
everything looking like a bargain.
Goblins hocking wares, Bark it!
Selling just like textbook jargon.

Want an E.T movie poster?
Want a Goonies Lunch Box?
Want a Gremlins drink coaster?
Want a goblin grandfather clock?

It’s all here at this strange bazaar,
buy a monstrous rock guitar.
You’ll never figure out the chords,
or take a look at the sharp swords.

Got pests in your house? Is it your spouse?
Get this fool-proof vampire mouse!
She will be climbing on top of a stool,
or do you wish to be more cruel?

Goblins offering goblin food,
be forewarned; it’s a bit crude!
Taste the goblin fish and chips,
get a massage with chains and whips.

You can go to the dungeon below,
the stakes are high; but the prices are low!
Buy some illegal goblin beer,
wear an eye-patch and belch with a sneer!

If you want to drag the kids along,
be careful to watch who they’re among!
And if they got lost at the bazaar,
that’s less passengers in your car!

Remember to find what suits you the most,
you might even be followed home by a ghost!
Returning home, might bring you despair,
your wallet is empty, the true thing that scares!

Goblins For Sale
By K. A. Williams

“So you want to buy a goblin, eh?”
“Yes, unless you’re giving them away.”

The seller made them stand in line for me.
Ugliest creatures I ever did see.

Short with green skin, long noses, and big ears.
Lots of jagged teeth that grow sharper with years.

I studied each creature, both young and old,
picked out the right one, and paid with some gold.

“I’ll take him off the group chain. Are you sure?
He’s mean, and their bites are hard to cure.”

“Don’t worry, I’m a wizard, I’ll be okay.”
“What do you want with a goblin, by the way?”

“I’m also an artist, I’m painting him.”
The goblin growled and I thought he was dim.

“I’m going to paint your picture, not you.”
“Then you don’t need to fear me, if that’s true.
But a model should be paid. Set me free.”
“When I’m done with my painting. Certainly.”

The goblin and I left the market right then,
and he gave his seller an evil grin.


Hobnobblin’ with the Goblin
By Harris Coverley

I saw the goblin at the end of the bar in my local, refusing the stool and instead the blue-green claws of his legs grasping the handle running along the outside—he looked like a novelty light fixture. I sidled up him and asked, “So, is the goblin market back in town already?” And he replied, “You know you’re the third arsehole who’s asked me that.” I pacified him with a fresh drink, and he got to talking about his everlasting hunt for gold, his kidnapping and ransoming of maiden’s children, and his campaign of spoiling villager’s crops. And I talked about my graft in the insurance game—it wasn’t too dissimilar. The trouble came when he began to scrape through the flat white hairs on his scalp and pick out blood red fleas to snack on. The barmaid came up to us and barked, “No outside food!” And this caused a row so nasty it ended with him throwing his pint glass to the floor and slouching off out. I followed after him, but there was nothing in the street, not even a shadow of the sprite, except for something in the gutter that snatched my eye—a small flyposter, pink set, water-faded, emblazoned with its subject in tall and slim gothic lettering: GOBLIN MARKET 2021—1st to 15th August—Rossetti Square—ONLY SERIOUS TRADERS AND BUYERS ADMITTED—

at the bar’s far end
hobnobblin’ with the goblin
Jägerbombs on him

Midnight Market
By Cardinal Cox

Hacked CCTV to repeat images from a previous night
Hulking steroid-ripe ogres standing as
Bouncers – taking bribes from traders for pitches
A wall of cardboard scraps requesting crash space
For displaced folks from flooded fens
And family feuds; or information;
Or small-ads; or offering services
Flyers for gigs in front rooms
To raise the week’s rent
Zine peddler swap meet on blankets
Open bags – curling corners – crinkled covers
Book dealers on trestle tables – actual books!
Richard Allen – William Burroughs
Sven Hassel – Lydia Lunch
Each of the market’s four corners has
Music stalls with crackly CD players
Blaring vintage skipping disks
Cassette tapes for amulets hung round neck
Fragrant clouds from vegan fajitas & root stew
Laddeled into mugs, bowls or old containers
Punters pull from prepared packs
Techttoos of smart ink sigils
Sewn into proffered nervous skin
Engineers armed with soldering irons
And volt metres upgrading old
Handsets and headsets and holosets
Neural inputs flushed – cleaned – re-bored
Widened for greater bandwidth
Pharmacologist/shaman with herbs
And fungi switching on illumination
For the confused – the cursed – the possessed
Fibre optic torques for those with aspirations
Pick-pockets and secret police
Retired ravers and righteous Rastafarians
Tourists and ’tween fare taxi drivers
Sipping bitter black acorn coffee
Badges of forgotten bands – Destructors
Black Marias – Evil Macaroni – The Now
Medals from the Relief of Euston
The siege of Sizewell – Battle of Stonehenge
Some veterans legacy pawned for food
Sounds of seventy languages
Slang – cant – machine code
Two urban foxes with their limited
Vocabulary – cognitive enhancing
Chemical having entered the food chain
Wise salmon in distant rivers
Rat towns aggressively occupying London
Underground – and the foxes – mangey
Begging scraps from drunkards
Cobblers repairing boots beside the bar
While customers wince a home-brew beer
Graffiti artists co-operating on a mural
Of the market’s legendary founder – Buddha-fat
Sadhu-hirsute – third-eye blazing
Wide upon his forehead – collage crew
Ready to add Dadaist headlines
Seamsters repurposing scavenged clothes
With needle and filament wire
Mats for break-dancers spinning for coins
Street poets and rappers battling
With insults and invective – dumping
Fly-tipped verbal garbage on each
Others boasts worthy of flyting skalds
Everywhere the range of humans
Overseen by Neander-DNA expressing
Goblinz – there’s a satyr with horns
Amongst their hair – djinn gang boss
With rakshasa bodyguard gifted
Personal space – people augmented with
Hardware – software – greyware – pinkware
Smart drugs – gene spliced
And everywhere the call
Come buy! Come buy! Come Buy!


Goblin Hoard
By DJ Tyrer

Treasures piled high
Sold low
Coins scattered beneath
Goblin feet of
Scurrying salesmen
Seeking a quick profit
Eye for a sale
Keen to be gone
Before owner returns
Blazing dragon flame

Dragon Egg
By K. A. Williams

Dragon egg for sale
Price is negotiated
Excited buyer waits
Baby ostrich hatches

Issue 30 – Hic sunt dracones… part two


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


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
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


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


Two Opinions
By David Edwards


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.


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


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…


By K. A. Williams

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


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


Here Be Dragons
By DS Davidson

Hidden from the world
More cunning than men
Dragons hide
In secret corners
And on unknown isles
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


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


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


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.



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


By Harris Coverley

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



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


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!


Across universe
Distant vacation planet
Hungry bugs visit

By DS Davidson


Another planet
Strange form oddly arousing
Holiday romance

By DJ Tyrer


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


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


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

no tears, please
for my evolution.

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


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.

By DJ Tyrer

Recognise nothing
Peculiarly confused
Led by the pixies