Scifaiku #6

Titan's seas

Image via

amino acids
in a hydrocarbon stew
Titan’s methane seas


Scifaiku #5


spiny lizard
creeps across the rocks
spacers crunch like flies

A Memory Deferred

I added a page for the short story, “A Memory Deferred,” which I wrote under my pseudonym Kurt MacPhearson. It was published in the June, 2013 issue of Interstellar Fiction. I decided to post the story because of a recent interview with speculative poet Marge Simon on Darkscrybe (which I re-blogged). I collaborated on a poem with Marge called “Reunion Ltd,” in which a man is given a chance for a reunion with his dead wife. The poem appeared in the Spring/Summer 2011 issue of Paper Crow.

“A Memory Deferred” is derived from our poem. I may have written it alone; however, she provided some valuable input in the revision process. So, if you’d like to read the story, you can click the menu tab, or click here.

For the Record



Please, Honey, don’t run away.
I swear I can explain.

Tentacles are more useful than thumbs.
Really, they’re not so strange.
Think of pachyderms;
their trunks are misnamed.

And with these extra limbs
with which to cuddle you…

Such disgust is what’s kept me
hidden in this flesh-toned suit.

Do I complain about the
shortness of your tongue?

No, wait! Don’t go!
My anger’s sheathed,
just like the cilia that pass for my teeth.

Perhaps one day you’ll realize
we’re all the same inside.

Meanwhile, you need not fret.
The suction-cup hickies will fade.

Where Astronomy and Mythology Meet, Part 2

Jupiter and Europa

Jupiter and Europa

Yesterday I posted a scifaiku that reflects upon the relationship between planet Jupiter and Galilean moon, Europa. The following poem explores that relationship much further. It’s a combination of astronomy and mythology, an interplay about which I wrote in an earlier post. For this poem, I drew from “The Rape of Europa.”

Two paintings follow the poem, by Rembrandt and Titian respectively. I think that these paintings show that no matter how far from Earth the human race travels, our myths and legends will always be with us.

by Kurt MacPhearson

Vulcan forged your golden basket,
chased with figures depicting Io’s fate,
yet you still chose to befriend that bull
merely because its low contained more melody
than a lyre ever produced.
Oh, Europa, such creatures are never docile.
It’s contrary to their nature.
Then again, we weren’t there to stop you
when that bull bent its back.
You aren’t the first to be deceived
by Jupiter’s bright and swirling charms.
The honeymoon was awesome; the starry tour quite fun;
though isn’t it strange how quickly
the euphoria of new love can fade?
He promised children. He promised Crete.
But all he gave were icy rings to seal your fate.
Hadn’t made a single revolution before learning
you shared a resonant relationship
with Ganymede, and poor Io, who Jupiter
hides like a mistress opposite you.
And now, it seems there’s no escape,
especially since Jupiter rarely turns asideStarLine 34_4
his bloody eye.
It’s not fair, what he puts you through.
But you hide it so well.
Those tears, beneath an icy veneer,
when he rages with his belts.
Which is why we forgive your cryovolcanic tantrums
when the stress of his pull becomes too much.
Such a stance defines a true hero’s composition,
for even though he won’t relinquish
his jealous grip upon your heavenly body
we know he can never break
your iron core.

Originally appeared in Star*Line 34.4

The Abduction of Europa by Rembrandt

The Abduction of Europa by Rembrandt

The Rape of Europa by Titian

The Rape of Europa by Titian

Scifaiku #3


Mars canals
the overturned sign reads:
under construction

2014 Rhysling Award Winners

Rhysling2014CoverLast week, the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA) announced the winners of the 2014 Rhysling Awards. The SFPA awards the Rhysling in two length categories for the best science fiction, fantasy, or horror poem published during the previous year.

Short Poem Category (less than 50 lines):

First Place: “Turning the Leaves” by Amal El-Motar, Apex Magazine 55

Second Place: “Rivers” by Geoffrey A. Landis, Asimov’s Science Fiction, June 2013

Third Place: “Music of the Stars” by Bruce Boston, 2013 Balticon Program Book

Long Poem Category (50 or more lines)

First Place: “Interregnum” by Mary Soon Lee, Star*Line 36.4

Second Place: “Hungry Constellations” by Mike Allen, Goblin Fruit, Fall 2013

Third Place: “I will show you a single treasure from the treasures of Shah Niyaz” by Rose Lemberg, Goblin Fruit, Summer 2013

Congratulations to the winners, runner-ups, and all the nominees. Looking forward to another year of great speculative poetry.

Jack and the Jovian Giant



by Kurt MacPhearson

you intergalactic farmer
with three-bean
capitalist dreams
shooting stars
to the tune
of celestial harp strings
that Jovian Giant
swinging satellite clubs
in your afterburner trails–
fee and fie
a deep core of molten fum
with an icy belt
and swirling liver spots
of caustic misanthropy–
leave him
to his cloud-shrouded castle
desperate corporate climber
let go your dream
of that elusive goose
there is
no gold here

Getting Bloggy with It

cropped-nebula_image1.jpgI’m new to this blogging thing. In fact, up until I started my own blog I could count on one hand the minutes I’d spent reading other blogs. Didn’t much care. Thought that I could get more of writing speculative poetry by spending time actually writing it than writing about writing it. Besides, I’ve never been at a loss for reading material.

Thing is, I’m pursuing (among other things) a Technical Writing Advanced Certificate from Delta College. One of my courses is New Media Writing, which requires that I maintain a blog. The subject was a no-brainer for me: write what you know. As for the ins and outs of the blogosphere, however, I had no choice but to dive in and try not to make a fool of myself.

Skip ahead two months…

Turns out that this blogging gig is much better than I expected. I do get something out of writing posts about speculative poetry, as reading posts by other bloggers on a variety of topics, such as:

  • A better understanding of my writing process
  • A more intimate knowledge of why I’ve written some of my poems
  • A better understanding of my own writing process through the thoughts of other bloggers
  • A more enjoyable experience than I could have imagined

This post may be the last one required for my class, but I will continue to post for as long as I am able. I love blogging, and I love reading posts by other bloggers, no matter how opinionated.

A few weeks ago, I shared some links to publishers of speculative poetry. My efforts didn’t go to waste because each link has been clicked at least once. One of these days I’ll get my blog sorted out and post a proper list in the sidebar. And since I’m going to do that, I’ll have to post a proper blogroll too. But until then, here are some links to blogs that post or discuss speculative poetry of one flavor or another.

AstroPoetAmee Astropoetry with images and plenty of astronomy links

Tychogirl Astropoetry with a graphical bent.

Bizarre Lag Phenomena Science Poetry often accompanied by images

The Diva’s Divine Days The blog of Diane Severson Mori.  Reviews and links to speculative poetry of all types.

The Finch and the Pea Occasionally highlights poems with a science theme

SCy-Fy: the blog of S. C. Flynn Great speculative poems mixed in with plenty of other science fiction stuff.

static continuity Science fiction and horror poetry

Lastly, here’s a link to DigiCommons, my Professor’s blog. Plenty of info on improving your New Media Writing skills.

Unfolding the Triptych

Last week I discussed the Collapsar, a poetry form that I’ve claimed as my own. This week, I’d like to introduce another poetry form that fits my own style: the Triptych.

Originally, a Triptych was a three-sectioned painting, the center panel usually being larger than the other two. Each panel had its own image, though the three fit together thematically.

There are two types of Triptych poetry forms:

  • A poem of three stanzas. The first stanza comments on the past, the second comments on the present, and the third comments on the future. The second stanza is twice as long as the first and third.
  • A poem consisting of three poems of equal length displayed side-by-side, like the panels of a triptych painting. Not only do the poems work together thematically, like the painting, they actually form a fourth poem. The fourth poem is read horizontally across the three poems. This fourth poem completes the theme of the Triptych.

I prefer the second version because, even though nailing that fourth poem requires some mental gymnastics, I believe it remains true to the original definition of a Triptych by tying all three together to the central theme.

2013 Dwarf StarsI agonized over the following Triptych for weeks before I made all the parts agree grammatically. Most difficult poem I’ve ever written (form-wise, that is). My efforts, however, paid off: I earned publication and nominations for the 2013 Rhysling Award and the Dwarf Stars Award. Now, if I only had the stamina to write more than a few Triptychs a year.


by Kurt MacPhearson

strange how       the aliens           open up
their                     third eye            like a window
perceiving          views                  with shades
can invoke         emotions            showing
revulsion            as                         proof
inside                  a spectrum        of lying

originally appeared in Star*Line, 35.4