42 | Poetry by Richard Stevenson, Winner of the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry
MIB Couple at the Bar
They came in close to closing —
Two maybe. I didn’t pay
much attention to ‘em at first.
Tall, anemic lookin’. Thin lips,
high cheekbones and domes:
guy in a fedora, woman in ill-fitting wig.
Dressed in all black clothes
as it turned out, but weren’t Goths:
more wrong era shabby chic geeks.
Natasha and Boris Baddanoff.
Each ordered a draft but
didn’t drink. Just stared at me.
Didn’t get up for a piss.
And when they did leave,
they left their untouched beer
glowing like lanterns on the table.
Next day I’ve got Strep,
feel half-past dead. Just know
I’ve got to get to a hospital!
Know this: we’re livestock, baby!
Alien property. They suck on us
Like all-day suckers, believe it!
They made us and occasionally
need to thin the herd with
bacteria and viruses. No, Cyrus,
I’m not joking! We got Neanderthal
and Cro-Magnon splices in our
Homo s. genes. We’re hybrids, honey!
Cruise around from mall to mall,
thinkin’ we’re all that and a
bag of chips. So hip, so cool.
But we’re just cattle chewin’ cud,
workin’ up a big bolus of words,
movin’ from stall to stall.
They’ve got us where they want us —
accessible, each family in its
little house and paddock.
Are busy grabbin’ sperm and ova,
monkey mixin’ alien and human DNA
to create Homo s. three. Yes sir!
Gaunt, grimacing grey/human aliens
got all the levers. High achiever types
with no fashion sense or need of us.
We’re property. Spare parts specimens.
Might as well be a rack of tires
with our expiry date stamped on our foreheads.
All-season radials: gotta plane that water
doin’ what we oughter do:
Consume! Consume! Consume!
Be fat enough come June.
Ready to de-bone or juice,
put up for winter in some saucer pantry or other,
I don’t wonder. They got
their own shrink wrap
and packing protocols.
Lotta folks plum disappear —
May be flash-frozen and stored
for later retrieval for all we know.
All I know is they made me sick.
I was just some eye candy lolly
they sucked on with their eyes.
They left their drinks, but, sho-nuff,
sucked the energy outta me! Probably
took all my antibodies to boot!
I ain’t half the guy I was
a year ago. Emaciated, weak . . .
Still in recovery, and they’ll be back!
In India and Sri Lanka
during the last rainy season
blood red rain fell night and day.
Scientists examined the water,
expecting to find dust particles,
but discovered live cells!
Reproducing live cells —
with no DNA/ RNA process.
Ergo, not from this planet, Janet!
It gets better. Radioactive!
Able to reproduce in extreme
climate conditions. Ice cap or not.
Thought to be particles of a meteor —
from an outside atmosphere explosion
— just before the arrival of the red rain.
But no. Maybe not hitch-hikers,
what with the incendiary heat
of a meteor burning up . . .
unless they came flash frozen
in an alien blister pack
of some shell we know diddly about.
just excreted via
alien technology — through
a worm hole a la carte.
Get ready, Freddie!
This is gonna get heady!
Alien spawn floating along
seas, rivers, and streams . . .
Not yer men’s adventure
exploration magazine story.
Maybe gather the eggs up —
Free caviar for all the world’s
People, bro. Mega-endorphin
biological injection, mate!
Maybe some alien data virus
is ridin’ shotgun. Caviar for breakfast!
I mean, if they’re gonna infect us anyway,
We’ll need psychonaut pioneers
like we did in the sixties, man!
Could be big! Installing alien
biological chips . . . The species
could use an upgrade for sure!
(for Rob Redgrave)
Time warps and wormholes
between ‘em. Asteroids to avoid . . .
Sounds like a video game
or pinball for the souls
of the elderly, maybe —
No coin slots but our eyes,
ears, and mouths, This amazed
gray’s ready to iron away
the wrinkles in time. Socks and slippers
standard uniform on the wards.
Windows still barred; glass, cold.
Like the concept. Got a ride?
This universe, this globe, this place
is getting’ stale. Which button do I push?
Can I choose
time and place of entry?
Departure a button away?
Is shank’s mare available
above the clouds and gone
from here? In any hemisphere?
I liked this universe fine
when I was nine. Can I go there?
In my jammies with my Granny?
Watching something on KOMO
Channel 4 (Seattle was it?)
Something my parents couldn’t get.
Only available by antennae!
Forget twiddling rabbit ears!
When donuts were sixty cents a dozen?
Can I walk up the hill
to the Rockhound Shop
and buy a piece of malachite?
Can I have it fashioned
into an amulet to ward off goofs?
Change gender for the halibut?
Might be fun! Heck,
I’m old; no point in growing mould!
Gender re-assignment isn’t included?
How about a vehicle change?
A younger one or someone new?
A sassy lassie, new chassis?
I’d jump the tube
for a new lube any day!
Where’s the chute? Do I look cute?
If I twiddle my gray curls?
Simonize my bald dome?
What’s it cost in soul transfer tokens?
I gotta shit load
from the sale of the house!
I’m ready, Freddie! Press Outta Here!
Remember the transporter beam
aboard the starship Enterprise
from the original Star Trek series?
Remember how the crew would
de-materialize as a shimmering,
glittery, tinselly transporter beam?
That’s the best way I can describe it.
He appeared just like that — materializing
in the hall next to the bathroom.
I remember my Mom was in the shower.
I was only six, but pissed this thing
could bust in on her. Imagine feeling
terror and dread. Setting that aside
to charge headlong at this thing,
fists swinging like a windmill!
I never connected with anything solid:
all six-foot and then some of this
hulking manlike shimmering shape
began to dissipate, disappear
into the ether from whence it came?
I dunno. I just remember thinking
Mom can’t know about this paranormal
portal breech or whatever it was —
she’d freak! So I’ve been silent
All these years. I’m sixty-six now
and keep hearing a high-pitched noise
just before these things decide to visit.
I don’t know what they want.
I only know they do not belong —
not in this reality, either hemisphere
of this squirming brain. Insane, I know.
Like tinsel hanging, a heat wave waggling,
eventually becoming a transparent 2D entity.
First time, it seemed surprised I could
see it. I mean, I couldn’t see any
facial features, only a 2D shape. I froze.
But his movements seemed furtive,
like I’d caught a cat burglar mid-stride.
He re-adjusted his co-ordinates I guess,
faded into a pinpoint of light, then
turned off — like the blue dot on
a black and white TV screen. Poof, gone!
What is this thing? An interdimensional
entity? More Outer Limits than Star Trek!
Even Spock might raise a quizzical brow.
How now brown un-cow? Where’s home?
What’s your agenda on terra firma here?
Can you tune in a third dimension and talk?
Or do you have to split this pop stand
before you split molecules of matter?
It would be nice to have a chat. Don’t scat!
The Anunakki, a tall,
sentient, savvy race of aliens
from the star system Sirius,
took the wormhole express
to ancient Sumer and found
a stout band of homo habilis
hunter/gathers traipsing about
the African veldt without a stitch
and only bow and arrows for protection.
Not good. They’d need a serious upgrade!
More ROM and RAM. Clothes at least!
So they taught them agriculture, math . . .
How to make their own batteries.
How to build better shelters than caves,
How to heat them, create art for the walls.
Not that the Anunakki didn’t have
their own agenda. Training slaves
to mine for gold. Pulverize it to dust
to seed their own planet’s atmosphere,
deflect and refract sunlight, cool
the ambient temperature. In the process
created the first civilized earth society —
But, woah! Wait a parsec! Maybe this
Wasn’t such a good idea. Maybe earthlings
didn’t need greater technology,
didn’t need greater killing machines,
didn’t need a forty-hour work week.
The Sumerians liked the extra leisure time,
but didn’t need money or guns.
Liked the camaraderie of neighbours.
But, alas, they were already moving
in the direction of greater environmental
destruction. Had houses, but fewer trees.
Could enjoy gentle breezes, the sounds
of rain on the rooves of their houses,
but didn’t need a stressful work week —
or all the toys they’d need for their kids —
never mind all the machines to carry them
hither and yon. They could paint cave walls
and rent was non-existent. They could climb
what trees were left and see for miles.
The stars littered the skies in every direction.
Who needs batteries, radio, T.V. or computers —
They were no sleek commuters. Liked rocks
and fresh air. Didn’t have to chase vegetables.
How about just slowing down the march
of time? Don’t need mortgages one point
above prime. Don’t need to spare a dime.
The Tunguska Incident
Was the Tunguska, Russia fireball
even a meteor? Where are the fragments
from said meteorite? Where’s the crater?
Sure, there was an explosion . . .
A pillar of fire seen for hundreds of miles.
Tremors rocked the trans-Siberia Express —
forced to stop for fear of railway buckling!
Musta amazed the citizens with days
of daylight brightness after one a.m.
No one could find a nugget of iron,
but the trees were definitely toast
and the skies were ablaze with colour.
Mid-air explosion of something
intelligently directed over a long, shallow trajectory,
then exploding above ground? Impossible?
A Russian Roswell without the craft
or bodies? Nothing the Russian media
will admit to either way. Not in 1908.
A lot of speculation since. An alien craft
the size of a football field exploding?!
Never mind a scout craft! Or a big rock!
Enter Soviet geochemist Krill Florensky.
Sifted soil for microscopic particles,
found thousands of bits of the same metal
in a strip of dust 150 miles long!
Further investigations cast doubt on
the presence of radiation. Go figure!
Trees have regrown at a remarkable rate!
Rings show an increase in radiocarbon
in yet another survey. Who knows?!
Pick a theory. No question: another rock
is definitely coming. Will we get a chance
to divert it before it hits earth this time?
Meteors blow up real good! So folks
like to say in the good ol’ U.S. of A.
The movies are full of such scenarios anyway.
Editor’s Note: The following SciFaiku first appeared in the debut issue of The Starlight SciFaiku Review, Summer 2021, and needed a reprint for your reading enjoyment.
No Intelligent Life & Other SciFaiku
No intelligent life
on this planet to report
Bigfoot boards his craft
The greys hard at work
at crispr cloning cryptids
shoulda stopped at reptiles