“Before the Storm” by Robin Dunn

human in space



They said I was crazy; and I am. But not the way they think.
At 2 and a half AUs the sun is the size of a marble.
Why not send a robot? The joules expended in just keeping you watered alone hardly justify whatever intangible rewards …
Asteroid miner.
One day we’ll bring one back and drop one on the White House and one on the Kremlin. Bastille Day Deux, but not today …
Today it’s ferrous chromium poorboy docksleep under the gash of metal over my visor, half asleep and cutting in the zero gee, waiting for my wife to come up the gravity well …
I dream while awake.
Likely I will never be able to return to Earth; too little bone mass. Technically I am still a citizen of the North American union. Technically, I can still vote, by radio.
Technically, my species … oh, but my species.
What type am I.
What name shall you give, for my divide, on this crepuscular divide, between Mars and Jupiter …
My name is Roberto. I was born at 60,000 meters in a fast-orbiting geodesic; back when the UN still thought human astronauts would be good PR …
The question is never one of capability—it is never a technical question. If we can do it, we can and do—but why? And how?
If I could tell you, what I see, on an unencrypted channel …
But that’s what this is, isn’t it? I could tell you … well, you have to figure it out yourself.
I just want to describe it. How it feels. Why I came. Why I’m staying. And why I’ll be coming back with a big rock.
It’s not enough, being born. Not enough, dying. You come up, and you realize: I am this voice. The universe is listening, like a big arc-cutter, biolinked to your medulla, and every emotion you are capable of feeling is written across the stars …
That’s what they don’t want you to know. These days they don’t care how much of the reality of their centuries of lies make it out onto the street. They just don’t want you to know how it feels. This kind of freedom.
Before they cut off communications, the bureaucratic attrition was such that the only appropriate topics of discussion over the sanctioned radio link between us and the bosses were technical: this many cc’s of human shit, this many liters of oxygen, this many dekatons of raw gold, arsenic, hydrocarbons. But I could put jokes into the technical download, organize the metals by price and estimate the profit for the President, or arrange the number grid into a picture of me on the can, getting the waste sucked out.
Nerd jokes, but not idle ones. Idle hands do the devil’s work, was what my great grandmother said, and my hands are never idle. I build a star system of daylight, eternal, crepuscular, and without border, and it shall extend nearly 250,000 kilometers before I am finished, building faster all the time.
All you need is the vision. And the answer to the question: why?
Why do you get up in the morning?
Why do you put on your suit and lock your door and duck past your neighbors onto a sizzling street?
Why these obeisances to the king, and why these to the priest, and why these volumes from the community download, marked and rendered appropriate, sent holy…
Soon only those things written by the President himself will be holy, but before that day comes I will be following my yellow brick road back to you, my holy Earth, back to one AU, with a little present tucked inside my solar sails. . .
It’s like they say at the beginning of The Tempest:
A tempestuous noise.
I am the boatswain. A word that means “boat boy,” from the finest of Romantic traditions . . .
I bail and I sing, fleece over my balls. I trim and cut. I keep my eyes on the horizon, and my eyes on you, my love. Oh my love. How I have failed thee, not to come soon enough . .
I wield an asteroid. I breathe fire. My men are twenty, like ships strayed into the Atlantic sea. My mariners about me, fire.
Here master, what cheer?
Speak to the mariners. All about ye, apply the chemical shields, and bear full weight, I have activated the meteor gun and all nanological deliverance systems are being torn to fire five kilometers out.
Bestir yourselves.
No Prospero but the people.
You are the final wizard. Your magic, inside.
Heigh, my hearts! Take in the topsail! Tend to the master’s whistle!
I blow.
I blow for you.
– –
Yes, I do like to imagine. The truth is I have not given the order yet. To destroy the traditional capitols of the Trans-Pacific Northern Hemispheric Union would be a grave act, and the suffering untold. So I tell it now, in advance.
I am Lenin, playing Beethoven. For I can weep, and still push the button. Beethoven was a Romantic, he would understand. How you can weep, and still fight. The reptilian brain knows how to do it. You need not steel yourself against feeling.
It is all your have, in the revolution.
– –
Come into orbit with me, and I will show you something different from the carefully filtered daylight. I will show you eternity written on the maps I have seen in the hands of my daughter, planning out Saturn, and Europa, that old and terrible cow, and even Uranus …
Come into orbit with me. Blow, till thou burst thy wind, if room enough!
There is room enough, I promise. There is room enough for all. And we are coming.
Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Ferdinand, Gonzalo, and I.
My daughter Miranda.
And you, you twenty billion Prosperos.
Prospering despite the wind from the king. From the President and his many men.
Prospering despite everything they have told you.
Lean up, and catch the line.
We descend, to bring you up. Before the storm.

© 2015 Robin Dunn





Bio: Robin Wyatt Dunn writes and teaches in Los Angeles. He’s online at robindunn.com

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“Europa” by B. C. Petrakos




image credit Museum of Science and Industry Chicago


“Is this heaven?” asked Mona loudly. She sat up . It was so dark she didn’t want to imagine she was in the other place.

Mona knew she had died. A specific memory  flashed in her mind, it was yesterday or last night, her son was stroking  her hair, crying and telling her he had to unplug her. He asked if she was, “in there,” asked her to move her eyelash or a finger to let him know she was there. It was like she was half asleep and so, so tired, too tired; she couldn’t stay awake.

She remembered she tried to moved her hand, but her hand didn’t move and she remembered saying,”I am tired, son,” but nothing came out of her mouth, her mouth didn’t move at all. Then she remembered falling into a deep sleep. So now, waking so abruptly she thought she was either alive and much better, cured, which would be good, or she was in an afterlife place with no lights, which could be distressing if she thought it through. Although, she was not at all distressed and felt disoriented, fully awake, and really thirsty which may be a good sign.

She moved from the bed and felt her feet touch the cold ground. The cement was cold, and had a thick dusty feeling, which was odd. She reached out to turn on a light and there was no wall, so she fell, stumbling over a heap of something on the ground, and tripped  landing  on a pile of dirt and dust.

Her eyes  tried to adjust to the darkness ,and she could make out large rocks and shiny pieces of glass on the ground which strangely didn’t cut her feet or hands when she touched it, but felt like glass. There was no light the to reflect the pieces, yet they  seemed to sparkle in tiny bits all around her. Mona got up and kept walking. She bumped and stumbled into more heaps of stuff and more huge rocks. She had a good sense of smell and could smell something specific, but she couldn’t put a name to the smell; it was some kind of burning, chemical smell. She knew the name, but her mind could not grasp it and there was a constant mechanical hissing sound, and the sound of old machinery clanking and whirring and buzzing. She decided she must be alive because of the sensation of touch, sound, and smell. Yet, this did not matter for some reason, because she was sort of numb emotionally, as if being dead or alive didn’t matter, and though she really knew she should be afraid, fear was irrelevant. Mona felt oddly calm and focused on what she literally never felt before.
She did notice she was only dressed in her hospital dressing gown with the open back – and nothing else. She also realized she was in a different place; not her hospice room, but more like an outdoor area, or a huge factory. She could hear a sound of something living rush by her, like a huge cat or rat. It came very close – and she was suddenly cold – then it shrieked and rasped and ran away just as quickly. 

“Hello??Hello? Is anyone out there?”she shouted. Mona didn’t understand why she did that at that moment, but she stopped and shouted again, “Hello??” Instantly, a man replied in a language she did not understand, and a voice sounding as if it was spoken through a radio crackling with static. The man’s voice seemed far away, and said something. Mona stood still as the radio-sounding man’s voice came near. It was a hint of a man’s garbled voice in the midst of radio station static and off toned.
She wasn’t afraid, she just didn’t move because she felt like she was supposed to be still, as if she was told to stand still. Then something shoved her shoulder hard and she almost tripped again and the words “Hello,” came out of her mouth and she laughed because it was all so odd.
The metal radio garbled voice came closer, and she said “Hello,” again and laughed again, and something was thrown at her, something soft. It was like a folded blanket. It hit her face and fell, so she groped on the ground and picked it up.
“Oh, come on! Who’s there?” she said.
The metal man’s voice sounded buzzed and clearly came from the same direction as the blanket was originally.
Another packet whizzed by her from the same direction, and a light appeared. She could make out the man n the darkness, the man with the garbled radio voice had a torch and was getting closer. It appeared this man liked to throw things, because another thing – a stick – almost hit her and thunked to her side.
“Hey!” she said.
The light got closer. She could see the man was tiny and seated uncomfortable and twisted in a wheelchair. He was being pushed by a dark, unnaturally tall and thin hooded  figure, who was also dragging something on a rope behind them. The tall figure threw what looked like cardboard and duct-tape boots to her and pointed to her feet.
She slipped them on. He pointed to the blanket he first thrown at her. She opened it. It was a poncho.
He motioned for her to put it on, so she did.
In the light she could see she was in a bombed-out site of some kind,  and the some of the things she had walked over and on; piles of bones, rags, boxes and bottles. All around her were huge smoke stacks and what looked like broken machinery pieces.
“Am I dead?” she asked.
The tall figure pushing the man in wheelchair suddenly laughed. He took his long skinny finger and tapped it on the other man’s head in what looked like a morse code pattern, and then they both laughed.
Mona addressed the tall figure. “Do you understand me?” she asked.
The tall figure laughed again. The man in the chair pulled a rope with his one good hand. The end of the rope produced an over-sized skateboard which had a huge black bag on top. The tall man opened the bag, and it contained lots of papers which he sorted through while looking for something. He then pulled out what looked like a huge old-fashioned Rolodex with large thick cards. The tall figure spun the Rolodex cartridge, and then one thick white card flew up into the air and stayed there lighting a small area like a street lamp. The figure spun the cartridge again. A blue card flew out and circled the three of them and created a bubble around them as it landed. Mona bent to pick upon the blue card.

The man in the chair said, “No, please,” in a very clean announcer type voice. Mona stopped, and looked up. The tall figure spoke next, and had a very clear woman’s voice.
“Hello Mona Lieber,” the voice said. “You are currently on Europa.” The dark figure sarcastically moved with exaggerated gestures as she continued to speak, like a game show hostess displaying gifts.
“While you were alive on your planet, the government of said planet thought it a great idea to send all their lovely trash, toxic waste, and dead people and animals to our fair planet. Roughly 20 percent of the intact dead regenerate – believe it or not – and miraculously,” the hooded figure gestures toward heaven, hands in the air, “learn to breathe our atmosphere . On our planet, we’ve made the wise and generous gesture to make these ‘lucky miracle creatures’ to clean the waste their home planet sent to OUR home and deal with their reanimated creatures most of them are what you called rodents. SO… congratulations !”
“You are a miracle! The hooded figure proclaimed, “and now, our slave!”

The hooded figure hugged himself enthusiastically.

A detail you should know is you will need water. Honestly, you won’t die without it. In fact, you will never die or sleep again. However, without water you will experience extremely painful cramps randomly throughout your body. So, for every task you complete, you will receive an enormous,” the hooded figured gestured again dramatically, “One quarter cup of water!”
“Huzzah, indeed!” the man in the chair agreed.
“Okay” Mona said, without emotion.
“Okay???Okay?? Is this an earth trick???” man in the chair inquired.
“This is the point where you cry and fall to your knees and say ‘Nooo !’ That is what makes this job so enjoyable; the earth drama, the earth man regret, the weeping, and dare I say, gnashing of teeth! Well, go ahead gnash!?”
Mona bent down and began to pick up debris.
“Do you have a cart? A container maybe?” she asked.
Disappointed, the hooded man pulled a folded black packet from inside the large black bag and opened it; it was very small at first, but as he opened, it had a folded frame which popped open with casters on the bottom and become quite large.
Mona took the bag and dutifully began to work,
“What a disappointment,” the man in the chair said.
“No tears?No fury?” asked the hooded figure.
“Where do I put the stuff when its full?” Mona replied.
The hooded man pointed at a building with a smoke stack behind her.
“Don’t you think its unfair? Do you imagine eternity cleaning up waste would be… a bad thing?? Did we mention ETERNITY? ??”
Mona looked up.
“So, as far as you know all I truly KNOW is everything changes.”


© 2015 B. C. Petrakos





Bio: A Best of the Net/Pushcart Prize nominee, Brenda C. Petrakos is a widely published writer whose work can be found in literary magazines and anthologies including poeticdiversity, Falling Star, Voices Of New Women Writers (Duke University Press), Magnapoets, Houston Literary Review, Red Fez, Three Rooms Press, Oakland Review, and many more. She has three books published by Sybaritic Press: The Book of This, Country Fixins, and Stories from the Inside Edge, which has been adapted for both stage and screen. Stories from the Edge, an evening of Petrakos’ stories directed by E. Amato featured performances by Los Angeles poets and actors and the short film “Cop.” The film version of her story, “Cop,” also screened at Cinema Slam, Park City, Utah. Several stories from the collection are under option, including “Too Tall Diane,” “Violet’s Bed,” “Indiscretions,” and “The Curtain.” “STANLEY”, a feature screenplay she co-wrote with Joel Sachs is currently in development. As a touring storyteller/ performance artist she has performed In London, Scotland, Berlin, and Sweden. Her Play “Parosia : Won  First Place at the ACT New Playwrights Festival, Aravada “One Act Festival” and Rocky Mountain Dramatists Guild New Writers Series.


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Cryptikin: Chupacabra by Angel Uriel Perales


space chupacabra



My otherkin

Therian cryptid identity
when I was six while watching
an exposé on El Chupacrabra.
I remember this well.
I have an excellent memory.
I remember being born, for instance,
I was born breech
in a birthing pool, delivered
by midwife. My mother was close
to bleeding to death but
she resisted Caesarean, thank goddess.
Sperm donor patriarch mocked
that I glissaded out gnawing
on umbilical cord
and when liberated,
I scampered off swimming
like a tadpole kicking
in blood water.

Chupacabras make excellent swimmers.

Live with me,
we first land fell in Puerto Rico
anchored down from space vessels.
We are voidkin and spacekin and
disembarked more than landed
for we were unwanted
in Zeta Reticuli
and Coma Berenices, treated
like chattel, considered
rodentia in these star systems
and, like rats, absconded away
as spaceship stowaways. We are
originally self-stranded
hoping for a better life
in a brave new world.

Incipient and pure cryptkin
Chupas are Boricuan.

I don’t know from where
these other Chupakin
monsterkin hail,
the Mexican claimants.
I met one from Texas
at Mer-Con in 2011,
clearly of Mexican descent,
did not even speak Spanish
or Anunnaki. I really wish
they would stop appropriating
our cultural and gender struggles.
The two Chupas are not equivalent.
I believe their variant to be
a different species altogether,
more kin to a mangy mutt
with scabies. Perhaps we
share similar alienkin origins.
The comparisons stop there.

The Puerto Rican purebred
(and to a lesser extent, the rest
of the Caribbean island derivations)
do have one inherited dilution:
some successfully integrated
with Simiakin in the near past.
These hybrids are smaller, darker,
more ferocious, and sexually
uninhibited. They are the mongrels
who first exposed us to the world at-large
with their savage vampiric attacks
on goats and other livestock.
Some of the monkeys the Chupas
mated with were feral cast-offs
from the myriad Pharmaceutical companies
which dotted El Yunque rainforest.
They crossbred with the experimental
laboratory monkeys discarded
when the companies shuttered one-by-one
as their tax incentives ended.
This polyanthropy results
in a host of neurodivergent
and physiognomic problems.
Vocalizations are a main difference,
a lack of control in mental-shift,

I am a pedigreed cryptidkin Chupacabra,
taller, leaner, lighter grey,
androgynous Deva,
pansexual demigod animist,
with phantom wings which itch
infuriatingly at times, analgesics
do not work on phantom limbs,
and with a very real non-phantom
phallus appendage which is a wonder
to wield and to behold.
For years, perhaps millennia,
we existed in perfect symbiosis
with our adopted natural world,
this before Eurocentric colonialism
and the transatlantic slave trade Maafa
forced our adulterated Cladogenesis.
One bite directly into the bloodstream
of a Normal is cause for an instant orgasm
of the host, not necessarily the feeder,
although our kintype has been known
to lose ourselves in species dysphoria
during sex, a complete sexual disconnect
with our human body. Even Normals
can revert back to ancestral type
during our lovemaking. I once
had a lover convert into Kitsune
underneath me and walk around
in digitigrade
for 12 hours in my apartment.
Then consequently, this happened
every time I took this person
from behind.


© 2015 Angel Uriel Perales

angel uriel perales

Bio: Angel Uriel Perales is a writer whose biographical details are not important. Please enjoy his poetry.

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“Quintessentia” by Charles Claymore/Silverpowder Designs

© 2015 Charles Claymore/Silverpowder Designs
© 2015 Charles Claymore/Silverpowder Designs

Bio: Charles Claymore is the founder of, and primary contributor to the Los Angeles based musical outfit, American Fado. He plays guitar, baritone guitar, bass, sings, writes, and lives in Los Angeles. The first edition of his collection of poetry, Fall From Prescopia, is available online. Search for American Fado by name on BandCamp, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Facebook, SoundCloud, Google +, and Reverbnation, and Charles Claymore on Facebook and Google +.

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