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Issue 19 • January 2016
edited by Curtis Scott Shumaker

Table of Contents

Editor’s Intro • Words that Let the Light inCurtis Scott Shumaker

There’s a Howling Among the Stars • John C. Mannone
Mis-Destined • Tia Paul-Louis
The Reckoning • Alex Harper
Fernando Pessoa and Aleister Crowley On A Beach At Cascais • Amelia Gorman
Scylla of the Mississippi • Amelia Gorman
Guardian of the Lighthouse • Jessica Santos
Goetia • Ashley Dioses
Noragami • Akua Lezli Hope
Recurring Night • Phylinda Moore
Fascicle • F.J. Bergmann
Earth Woman Song • Marchell Dyon
Quest for the Golden Ape • James Valvis
Purgatory • Heather Moser
Beneath an Alien Sky • Bruce Boston
Chaos Effect • Shannon Connor Winward
Metamorphosis • Lana Bella
Quicksilver Voices (Modern-Day Daedalus) • Evelyn Deshane
Love Particles • Salik Shah
Exchanging Words in the Dark Forest with a Wild Vicious Animal • J. J. Steinfeld
Landscapes • Geoffrey A. Landis

There’s a Howling Among the Stars

From the ancient past, even before
the Milky Way, a howl echoed into vacuum
of space that shook all the stars. Hot jewels
quivered as feral eyes burned the night.
The lion prowls, seeks whom he may devour.
Hide. Or know his wily ways. His savage
intentions will rip your throat, eat your soul.
Let not your heart be troubled, said the king,
He has dispatched his warrior son, Orion,
who has trampled the scorpion with a bare heel
and crushed the serpent with the other, its rattle
silenced in the desert blackness of space.
Orion still wields the club that trammeled
and trounced the lion, which is no more.
Yet, watch his pride; the young lions
are still anxious to prove themselves.

—John C. Mannone


Light spun me
from The Kingdom
to a Milky way
                        to Eden
to womb
            to Earth
to you.
I said no, God. Not him. Not man.
Leave me grained.

But you kissed like feathers stroked
on silk. I dozed. I sunk
too deep. Still you vow to remain
captain of a wrecked ship.

—Tia Paul-Louis

The Reckoning

They’re coming, bulked out with strips of rag and ribbons,
tricked with bells. The shoppers part. Children, unsure
if they should scream or clap, fall silent. Teenagers turn
their uninterested backs. The middle-aged, if brave,
congratulate them on their dress and ask them where they’re from.
But the old do not stop. They’ve dreamed these creatures,
there’ll be another day to meet them. And the ambulance, muted,
crawls too late to where the crowd has gathered,
saying prayers to the wrong god.

—Alex Harper

Fernando Pessoa and Aleister Crowley On A Beach At Cascais

Here where the aloe wilts we’ll meet
at the hole in the wall of the world
where steam hisses out the basalt flaws
If you see a man in a rowboat gripping a translucent hand
slowly slipping below the waves, two lyres instead of oars
if you hear three loud bays roll across the ocean …
I will come here from one side with my cups and my coins
and you with your pen and your rhymes from the other

—Amelia Gorman

Scylla of the Mississippi

Baked cornbread contests
and creamed-corn wrestling
Toombs County state fair
and you stare when they
wash themselves off in the river
and you glare at the way their
limbs come together and make
a six-legged thing
like the midway carousel
like a nautilus shell
like a spiraling hole to a watery hell
struck by all the hometown places
awed by all the corn-fed spaces
where the world gives birth to monsters

—Amelia Gorman

Guardian of the Lighthouse

Beyond her eyes
A storm rages on
Though they are brown
And gentle like a newborn pup
They quickly shift
Becoming cold as the night
Words slither out from those treacherous lips
Coursing with thick venom
Unafraid to strike its victim
Do not be fooled by their soft precious temptation
She only lures you in
To destroy you in your own undoing
So be cautious when you approach
Oh wait
Too late
You’ve already been caught

—Jessica Santos


Sigils, black signs, and carved archaic symbols
With offerings of blood pricked from cold wimbles,
May grant you audience with a dark knight.
Or maybe you’ll call forth an earl tonight.
A scent of myrrh and Saturn rule above
Your knights, and maybe you will earn their love
With gifts of air, their seals inscribed in black.
Beware, for if you leave your circle-track
Your magick shield deserts you; and without
Their own triangle, you’ll be theirs to flout.
If you should dare to aim a little higher,
The blood of dragons must perfume the fire.
Expelling spicy, copper-tainted fumes,
The dragon’s breath pervades, convolves, consumes
The air, preparing for its honored earl,
Who soon appears in fumes, a smoky swirl.
Daemons will grant you kindness in return;
For just the same, without it, you shall burn.
Crude lead and copper only go so far,
For only gold and silver raise the bar.
Open your Goetia and all you seek
Will be inside to help you reach your peak.
No need to wait to meet that squamose prince;
Summon him by yourself—try not to wince.
Or is it a marquis that you require?
Perhaps it is a king you so desire?
Such worm-appendaged presidents will show
Unfathomable wonders, all they know,
If you are worth their wisdom and their time.
Insult or disrespect them—it’s a crime
In their all-seeing eyes—and grim damnation
Or death await you, barring all salvation.
They all await your call, but for a price—
Without the proper gifts, they won’t play nice.

—Ashley Dioses


Stray god peddles his favors
5-yen coins are all he charges
in an effort to make a memory
that will not be dislodged
A living from the living made
by hitching to your errant heart
some healing or relieving
pleasure connections to remain
fish hook in supplicant’s brain
Born as all those lower case
gods from the polyphony
of needs, choirs of desires
each chord-struck manifestation
a synthesis of longing’s energy
sprouts rogue and regal avatars
Girl doesn’t know the danger
of this unnamed love—hobo
may abscond with a peck of joy
run away, jump the rails, fly
to a halfway heaven, cross to Far Shore
He’s a wayward Peter Pan, a warped
teen dream, this minor god of war
and calamity, an irritating reminder
of past times, lost worlds, ever heedless
of the yearning he stirs, the risks that flow
in the wake of his worship, friendship
He’ll never meet the daily diligence
of mortal adolescent life, nor make
a good buddy despite his transcendent
good looks, his dark joie de vivre
magic flights of fancy, his ability
to get wet,   stay dry,    breathe under water
and never die unless polluted by unchecked
passions of his ensouled regalia, shape-shifting
weaponry of our deceased with dues to pay
malingering blues, yoked wanderers tripping
boy god boys sipping from her full moon bowl

*Noragami means stray god

—Akua Lezli Hope

Recurring Night

tiredness came, running black boots
down my spine. fear
in a dark parking lot
tight noose around my neck,
choking choking
in a knife pulled clean from
the spleen knowledge is
a white light. pure cut
I am not a Samurai
or a warrior with
any weapon. morning came,
blowing its May breeze
I woke to sleep to dream again

—Phylinda Moore


The poet experiences a grief 
which surprises him by being
less blue than green.

It corresponds roughly to
a mountain range, complete 
with a monastery.

The monks are under a vow
of silence, but friendly. They offer

covered chalets and cylindrical 
white cheeses to unwary 
but delighted pilgrims.

The milk comes from animals 
that are not well-defined. Sort
of blurry.

The monks who do the milking
and  carve the gingerbread 
wear robes that are more orange
than yellow.

The monks who do the cheese-
making wear loincloths of an
uncompromising red. 

They believe that grief is 
an illusion, but nevertheless 
visualize it as being colored 
faintly pink.

—F. J. Bergmann

Earth Woman Song

Again have all of me make the world anew my Great Chief
Take my skin blanket this polluted earth
Cover this earth again with an array of flowers
Again have all of me make the world anew
Take my blood fertilizes these stones
Churn them into red clay create for me my people
Again have all of me make the world anew
Take my head make the heavens blue
Let me have communion with the moon and the sun
Again have all of me make the world anew
Take my smile turn it into puffy whirl of air
Clouds grinning back mirrored shapes and daydreams
Again have all of me make the world anew
Take my legs arch them into hills
Take my eyes and make the stars
Again have all of me make the world anew
Take my green heart layer the ground with grasslands
May the earth again carpet the footsteps of my children
Again have all of me make the world anew
Take my hair make the waves for every ocean
Take my tears and salt the seas
Again have all of me make the world anew
Take my soul let it become the wind
Let it sweep across the plains till it tilts the corn
Take all the myths and all the prayers
Bundle them into your coat of rainbows
Again have all of me make the world anew my Great Chief

—Marchell Dyon

Quest for the Golden Ape

Amazing Stories: January, 1957

Mother, it turns out the Golden Ape
and the curse associated with it
are no more real than the golden apple
that started The Iliad, but just as likely
to start a war. We did discover
a friendly four-armed alien, and luckily
we were the only ones with guns
while the natives had only spears.
Do you know how many men Pizarro
needed to take the Inca civilization?
168. Get your head around that.
Like your high school’s senior class
conquering Mexico. The friendly alien
told us the Golden Ape is a myth,
a kind of tale they tell children
and it must have come to us that way,
the first accidental explorers of this world
buying the tale and passing it along.
Columbus thought he’d found India
and refused to admit his mistake.
No way could he go back to the Spain,
look royalty in the eye, say, “Whoops.”
We are in a similar situation here.
So now the only way we can salvage
our expedition for the university
who fronted this whole thing
is to take over this meager world.
We have fourteen men and women
and those aliens we can win over.
On second thought, perhaps it’s real.
Maybe we’re the golden apes.
And if so, I fear the curse is true
for these people who have found us.

—James Valvis


I often wonder what they are doing
Out in that field all day
A quaint and vibrant little town
They don’t look at me as I walk through their streets
Living as if I didn’t exist
But I do
I can’t hear what they say
Only read their lips
As they converse with each other
I have been studying them
They seem quite normal
Despite it all
No one else sees them
I have asked friends and family
They think I just play pretend
But I know my mother’s sister believes me now
The man in black brought her there last night
Currently she is the newest spirit in town

—Heather Moser

Beneath an Alien Sky

43 light years from Earth
the native constellations
of another world
pass across the sky.

When the moon rises
from the Western Sea,
Shavrr, The Thief, flees
to the darker East.

The Exalted Mage Sste-Lan,
his long hair riding
a trail of stars,
follows close behind.

Jav, the six-legged beast,
takes the pole position,
his leathery trunk arching
in a parabola of light.

In the relativity
of space and time,
Earth remains invisible
as the farthest stars.

Yet still the sidereal
shapes of night remain,
commanding and bright
as any work of art.

—Bruce Boston

Chaos Effect

Old lady fiddles with the butterfly pin
come loose from her lapel
the elevator dings welcome to a level
it’s welcomed a million times before
she steps into the lobby and, distracted, leaves
her coffee on the floor.
But Pele doesn’t know this.
She only sees the cup
another piece of litter left to clutter
the vista of her eyes, and
As the elevator rises, Pele conjures
volcanoes in her mind.
What lazy, slovenly infidel
would so dare?
She explodes, later, on her keyboard.
In what universe
is cold, abandoned coffee
It is not really about the coffee
but I don’t know this.
I nurse my cup
and soak up her words
my computer screen
begins to simmer
my imagination
to rise
my mind opens on a level
it’s opened to a million times before, but
in this vista
every time is different.
Maybe this morning
a butterfly fiddles
with the old lady pinned on her lapel
before she flies away
she remembers
to pick up her coffee
from the floor.

—Shannon Connor Winward


beneath the mute white fog 
of your cigarette smoke,
the length and gap of your body 
are the breaths leaving my lips, 
darling, you say, 
these frantic pulses right here 
at the back of your neck kick start 
where my human heart constricts, 
so too, as it beats again,
in the breadth of your hand, 
I place mine there, 
old scars feel biting under my inarticulate warmth.
I see how you peel my skin open, 
and dilute my blood with your ends and means, 
whose metamorphosis
we notice only for its soft arcs and waves,
one look and a gasp away,
I will have spent inside a thousand cicatrices
and think:
this is how it’s like to know someone from 
the underbellies of things,
with the keenness of some long-forgotten song

—Lana Bella

Quicksilver Voices (Modern-Day Daedalus)

He poured silver down your throat
quickly & without thinking, hoping to
produce a voice that could sing him
to sleep. He had nightmares where
his machines came to life to attack;
where his son left his garage, finally
realizing that his dad was a hack.
So Daedalus found objects along the side
of the road, took them home, &
pieced together creatures so he wouldn’t be lonely.
He made a man, a woman, and a child
then he found a white fence, but painted it
silver. He boiled us all down to our
parts, liquid & molten. Then added more.
Our voices formed in his synergy. We learned
to speak and to sing him to sleep.
But now you’re parched & burned
while I’m incensed. Some inventors
like some men,
never learn.

—Evelyn Deshane

Love Particles

Seven planets are falling as she smiles—
her body is solar, unyielding charge.

Her silence is clean, organic shock—
her voice a quiet ripple, a balmy universe.

Love particles worm holes between our worlds.
Our bodies blossom to wishes and concerns.

We cry like earth.
We laugh like sun.

We rise.
We fall.

—Salik Shah

Exchanging Words in the Dark Forest with a Wild Vicious Animal

A wild vicious animal
formerly wordless
learning to become
wordful as a bard
issues a warning
as we pass in the dark forest
my flashlight gurgling
into ineffectualness
in a mixed metaphor
of despair, fright, and
wandering through
someone else’s
mainstage nightmare
of screaming and applause.

The animal now garrulous
still wild and vicious
snarls and enunciates:
I’m new to your language
and issuing warnings
but I need the practice
and you with your silly
human flashlight
are my practice session:
Get out of my forest
stay in your own realm.…

For a novice speaker
you are awfully verbose

I respond dismissively
and the wild vicious animal
growls out the word verbose
comes up to attack me
but stops and says,
A metaphor is in order:
I will devour you with words

then cracks a lame joke
but I refuse to laugh
and it does indeed lunge
wordless and ferocious
ending my dark forest walk.

—J. J. Steinfeld


There are other dimensions; places
we cannot go, directions we cannot
There are places where our bodies
would be paradoxical, impossible;
where we can go only in our math,
or in our dreams—and are not
these the same thing?
Mathematics a land of pure
Places further away than infinity,
and closer than the width of an
atom, where light is a gel, like
pudding, or more solid than
granite; or places where neither
light nor heat nor sound exists, but
other forces inconceivable to us; or
places where gravity is so strong
that nothing exists except black
holes, dancing their slow whirling
spiraling circling dance of gravity
in a place that has never known
light. Universes upon universes
closer to us than our skin,
separated from us only by that
direction we cannot see, yet so
different from us that the birth and
explosion and cooling and death of
a universe, everything that is or can
be, happens in just a fraction of a
fraction of a nanosecond, and yet
that fractional fragment of an
instant is still happening, still now,
and still now, in a timelike
dimension we know nothing of.
And even there, in that un-
imaginable universe (or,
imaginable only in our
mathematics, which is to say, our
dreams), in that fragment of a
nanosecond, an unimaginable
being (or, a being imaginable only
to our mathematics, which is to
say …) of that eternal frozen now,
writes or speaks or vibrates in some
unimaginable way of other
universes, of us
who are so improbable that we can
only be imagined in mathematics,
or in dreams

—Geoffrey A. Landis