November 3rd is International Speculative Poetry Day

SPECPO

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association has designated November 3rd as International Speculative Poetry Day to bring attention to the genre of poetry influenced by science fiction, fantasy, horror and other imaginative genres.

International Speculative Poetry Day seeks to highlight the vibrant legacy and extraordinary achievement of speculative poets. It seeks to introduce communities to the delights and benefits of reading and writing speculative poetry as well as make speculative poetry an important and innovative part of our cultural life.  Speculative poetry has produced some of the nation’s leading creative artists and influential books, performances, and exhibitions, inspiring other artists, educators, and community builders around the world.

Over the centuries, writers of speculative poetry have included prominent figures such as Edgar Allan Poe, Lewis Carroll, Bruce Boston, Robert Frazier, Jane Yolen, Ray Bradbury, Steve Sneyd, Marge Simon, David C. Kopaska Merkel, US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, and Suzette…

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No poetry, just painting…

So, I haven’t written any poetry lately, but I have been busy creating a few things here and there. I’ve even been painting. At first it felt a little strange, especially because I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, but I think I’m getting the hang of it.

This painting is of a damaged cam shaft that I found while inspecting parts on my old job. The original image follows.

20151117_095955

Damaged cam shaft, tagged suspect in tray

Horrorku #5

"Wiertz burial" by Antoine Wiertz - [1]. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Wiertz burial” by Antoine Wiertz[1]. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

dressed up
for a bon voyage party
wooden overcoat

Random Rumination #2

It’s amazing what happens when you’re out living life. More to come real soon…

Random Rumination #1

While working on my latest assignment (freelance, not college), I began to wonder. Do facts matter any more? Or should we just go with what we feel?

Is That an Ice Cap? New Horizons Detects First Details on Pluto

Lights in the Dark

A full rotation of Pluto and Charon, captured by New Horizons from April 12-18, 2015A full rotation of Pluto and Charon, captured by New Horizons from April 12-18, 2015

Taken from a distance of about 69 to 64 million miles – just about the distance between the Sun and Venus – the images that make up this animation were captured by the LORRI imaging instrument aboard the New Horizons spacecraft and show its first detection of surface features on Pluto, including what may be the bright reflection of a polar ice cap!

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The 50th Anniversary of Frank Herbert’s Dune

A great review of one of my favorite novels from one of my favorite series (funny how it works out like that).

Alastair Savage

Where the dunes began, perhaps fifty meters away at the foot of a rock beach, a silver-gray curve broached from the desert, sending rivers of sand and dust cascading all around. It lifted higher, resolved into a giant, questing mouth. It was a round, black hole with edges glistening in the moonlight.

The mouth snaked toward the yellow crack where Paul and Jessica huddled. Cinnamon yelled in their nostrils. Moonlight flashed from crystal teeth.

Back and forth the great mouth wove.

Paul stilled his breathing.

Like one of the massive sandworms that stretch across the desert planet of Arrakis, Dune is a vast creature. It looms over the bookcase, dark and forbidding, its very girth putting off the casual reader who dares to dabble with its 200,000 odd words. Finally, after forty years, I have dared to pick up this huge volume, only to find the novel to be a surprisingly…

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Do Fences Make Good Neighbors?

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but for those who don’t know, I work third shift. Working in the wee hours of the morning has its advantages, but they rarely outweigh the disadvantages.

One of the disadvantages is sleeping until 4 pm. When I get up, most of the day has already passed by, and by the time I’ve had a cup of coffee, my daughter is ready for dinner (she’s two, so she’s hard to argue with). Also, not only has my wife decided what needs to be done around our house, she’s already well into the project. This afternoon, I woke up to this…

Fence_4

Here’s the story. We bought our house 2 ½ years ago, and since then we have made several discoveries that proved that few upgrades had been made to the house since it was built in 1972. We’ve replaced windows, rewired the kitchen, installed lighting in nearly every room, and a host of other things. We have a list of improvements so long that Bob Vila and Tim “The Tool Man” Tailor (with help from Al) couldn’t complete in six months.

One of the things we’d been putting off has been replacing the privacy fence. This past weekend, however, I discovered that our privacy fence had begun to collapse. The fence has been patched, propped, and supported many times, which is what you’d expect from a fence erected over thirty years ago. (I spent one late December weekend digging holes and pouring concrete because the gate and the section that abuts the house fell over during a storm.) I’d planned to pull the fence down over the coming week, but my wife decided that she wasn’t going to wait on a graveyard shift zombie to crawl from his grave.

I have no problem with my wife taking the initiative. She was a sergeant in the Army, and I only made it as far as Third Class Petty Officer in the Navy, therefore, she outranks me. I follow her lead. My problem is the neighbors. Those to our left have a pool, so we left that side of the fence up until they can put one up of their own. We don’t know our other neighbors (perhaps because of the fence) and I don’t think we’ll be fast friends just because we can now see each other better.

While I was stacking up sections of the fence—neatly, as to not offend my neighbors—I couldn’t help but think about Robert Frost’s Mending Wall, and the old adage about good fences making good neighbors. I guess my wife and I will find out this summer, because we have no plans to put up another one.

MENDING WALL
by Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

Aqua Vitae: A Practical Recipe

AQUA VITAE: A PRACTICAL RECIPE
by Kurt MacPhearson

Ponce de Leon sought the Fountain of Youth
upon the Isle of Bimini, but instead
he ran aground in Florida
and founded St. Augustine. Ever since then,
people have flocked south,
as if those waters bubble up from the Everglades,
or, perhaps, the dank recesses
of a central Floridian swamp—where cypress stand
a stoic watch, arms outstretched
and roots exposed like legs poised to dance
with demons driving men to drink
without fathoming their thirst for an impossible elixir,
or chemicals churning in an I.V. drip.
Such youth is stale. Like a cracker left out of the box.
Yet south they still go, as if word of this fountain
were only now trickling out
to hospitals,
to clinics,
and gated retirement blocks:
promises clutched in gnarled fists,
orthopedic shoes shuffling to a doctor’s didactic chant.
But the aqua vitae they seek
could never be extracted from a marshy bed,
or by metaphorically delving
the depths of an ailing heart.
Instead, distill legend from bitter truth:
And to this essence apply alchemical flame;
close eyes, conjure Caribbean thoughts,
then sprinkle these ashes
upon a moistened tongue.