The Adriatic Magazine Issue Five: ‘Sci-Fi’
A Note from the Editors Featured Poets James Nicola- ‘Big Bang Theory’ Stephen Sanders- ‘Chocolate Dreams’ Clive Donovan- ‘INCIDENT: LOG BOOK SUMMARY’ Ernest Schell- ‘Selection Day’ Margaret Stetz- ‘For Octavia Butler (1947-2006)’ Christopher Ware- ‘Breaking up with a lover from the fourth dimension’ Andy N- ‘Venus’ Natasha King- ‘ghost in the code’ Mia Clay- ‘Gas Planet’ Ken Cathers- ‘alien pre-nuptial’ John Grey- ‘Wife to Astronaut After His Five Year Mission’ Greg Bell- ‘Voyager’ Acknowledgements
A NOTE FROM THE EDITORS
Hi! My name is Ellie, and I was lucky enough to be invited to join the Adriatic team as this issue’s guest editor- and what an issue it is! The calibre of this quarter’s submissions was incredible, and with such a broad theme as ‘Sci-Fi’, we received such a wide range of topics and themes that I never knew what was coming next! With everything from aliens to intergalactic introspection, this issue has it all: poems to make you laugh, make you cry, and to leave you even less certain about our place in the universe than when you started. This is not one to miss. Thanks again to Ella and the team for such a brilliant experience, and I hope you all enjoy! -Ellie
Welcome to the fifth issue of The Adriatic! We can’t wait to share twelve brilliant poems with you! As always, we want to thank everyone for submitting to us and trusting us with their work. This issue’s theme is ‘Sci-Fi’, chosen by our wonderful guest editor, Ellie Shawcross. Science fiction has such a vibrant history, exploring everything from the advent of technology, to what it means to be human and to have a soul. It can offer an exciting escape from the world or can enhance the world that is. We hope that this issue, too, enhances even just a small part of the world, or at least, the little corner of the internet where we’ve made our home. As always, we recommend listening to our Issue Five playlist while you read, perhaps hovering 2 feet off the floor, with a big chunk of astronaut ice cream…
-Ella, Hannah, Kelsee, Mel, Rhi, & Riley
FEATURED POETS Greg Bell Greg has written all his life as a necessity. It took a critical illness in 2010 to awaken him to publishing. Since then, he’s found homes for some of his working in literary journals and anthologies, was 1st runner-up for the 2019 Fischer Prize and 2020 recipient of the Kowit Poetry Prize. He’s author of hybrid poetry collection Looking for Will: My Bardic Quest with Shakespeare (Ion Drive Publishing, 2015) and two award-winning plays. Twitter: @GBard09
Ken Cathers Ken was born and raised in Ladysmith on Vancouver Island. He has a B.A. from the University of Victoria and an M.A. from York University in Toronto. Ken has been published in numerous periodicals, over twelve anthologies, well as seven books of poetry, most recently Letters From the Old Country with Ekstasis Press. He lives in the country with his family and his trees.
Mia Clay Mia is a poet and artist living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She fervently believes that plants are cool but also sometimes a little bit scary. You can find her work in Stones of Madness press and various museum guestbooks around the world. Twitter: @beverlysmeary
Clive Donovan Clive Donovan devotes himself full-time to poetry and has been published in a wide variety of magazines include Acumen, Agenda, Fenland Poetry Journal, Neon Lit Journal, Prole, Sentinel Lit, Quarterly and Stand. He lives in Totnes, Devon, quite close to the River Dart. His debut collection will be published by Lead in November 2021.
John Grey John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Penumbra, Petry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books ‘Leaves On Pages’ and ‘Memory Outside The Head’ are available through Amazon. Works upcoming in Lana Turner and Held.
Natasha King Natasha King is a Vietnamese American writer and nature enthusiast. Her poetry has appeared in Okay Donkey, Ninth Letter and others, and was also featured in the 2020 Best of the Net Anthology. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, prowling, and thinking about the ocean. Twitter: @pelagic_natasha
Andy N. Andy N is the author of six full length poetry collections, the most recent being ‘Haiku of Life’, and is the co-host of the spoken word open mic night ‘Speak Easy’. He does ambient music under the name of Ocean in a Bottle, has a regular column on the Sunday Tribune and hosts podcasts such as Spoke Label, Reading in Bed, and Kol, Andy, and Amanda Show among others. Twitter: @aen1mpo
James B. Nicola James B. Nicola is the author of six collections of poetry, the latest being Fires of Heaven: Poems of Faith and Sense. His decades of working in the theater culminated in the nonfiction book Playing the Audience: The Practical Guide to Live Performance, which won a Choice award.
Stephen Sanders Stephen Sanders is a poet that writes in many voices- cowboy, pirate, steampunk, poet. He is currently president of the Forth Worth Poetry Society, the oldest, continually operating literary society in the southwestern United States, and the treasurer of the Poetry Society of Texas. Twitter: @BlackbeadsTC Instagram: @blackbeads_tc
Ernest Schell Ernest Schell is a consultant on software solutions for multichannel merchants. He has been a freelance writer for several decades. Having written poetry since high school, for the last eight years he has participated in a local poetry group in the Atlantic City area with about two dozen members, half of whom have published poetry. The group’s organisers are a local librarian and a professor at Stockton University. Twitter: @ernieschell
Margaret Stetz Margaret D. Stetz is the Mae and Robert Carter Professor of Women’s Studies and Professor of Humanities at the University of Delaware. Although she has spent most of life teaching and writing about literature, she still finds it hard to reconcile academia with the world that she knew as a working-class child growing up in Queens, New York. Many of her poems reflect this class-based tension and disjunction.
Christopher Ware Christopher Ware is a poet from South London, where he currently works as a teacher. He has had some works published in a few American publications and anthologies (such as Rue Scribe and the latest Vita Brevis anthology). Instagram: @charlton_poetic
Big Bang Theory James B. Nicola You are Why I am too Well fancy meeting you here Now what are we to do?
Chocolate Dreams Stephen Sanders
Settling Mars was the aspiration; seeking, desperately, a new home. We were a new wave of settlers, intent on a noble and critical mission: to save mankind. Riding the space elevator, we made our way to Luna Base on a shuttle, sidestepping our home planet's gravity well. A week on the moon, training and taking on supplies and we flew on to Mars. When I was a child, my mother gave me little bags of a crunchy pieces of candy bits of chocolate covered in a sweet shell. Each bag only held sixteen colorful chips of delicious chocolate. I know because, inspired by my scientist father, I conducted a childish, scientific survey, to quantify the treasure I found in each of these little bags. I remember they called them "fun size." There is no chocolate, in any form, on Mars. I lie awake each night in my shelter fantasizing about chocolate - bits or bars or sauce or coating or just a mug of cocoa. It was everywhere you turned on Earth. Even on the worst day of pollution, the hottest solar summer day or the coldest winter snowy night there was always chocolate. Especially in February, in the springtime, in early November or late December, chocolate was everywhere. Sometimes it is the littlest thing that drives one mad.
INCIDENT: LOG BOOK SUMMARY Clive Donovan
It was the longest trip they'd ever sent her on: Three rare women, three rare men. In pairs they crewed the ship in turn; One woman, one man, While the others slept for months. And when off duty, if they wanted, they Screwed, or made love. But then she found that Benjamin Was false and artificial, So, in rage, she aimed destruction to the cryogenic Relays of synaptic reflexes and switches Of the Benjamin machine, Then the Christopher machine And, moving on to rip up number three, With whom she'd never coupled, Stabbed the pulsing treasure Of his hibernating heart. It was supposed to be the perfect match, – Designer mating for the stars. But when the ship arrived at last and docked, It was with half a cargo only – Two companion robots [female] And one broken, weeping Eve.
Selection Day Ernest Schell
The militites of Acteon assembled in the early light before the second sun arose, parboots glistening with fresh dew as they boarded waiting transpods for their daily trip to Sallesson, a training camp reserved for these elite guards. Each one flawless in body and resolve bore scars of war in heart and psyche allowing brute control by officers and canny bots, guided by algorithms primed for victory with precise execution and zero casualties. To assure continuation of their juggernaut the militites were cloned for reproduction, only the most successful qualifying for the honor of legacy. The choice was today’s agenda. Eyes peered warily on the transpods as they sped to the camp station. Mouths went dry, trances clouded cognition, ankles crossed in superstition, fingers crunching talismen. Which ones would be left to wither, which caressed on the rosary of immortality?
All knew caprice would play a part in the selection. The superstitious sensed they had an edge. No one spoke. Everyone cared.
For Octavia Butler (1947-2006) Margaret Stetz
History is Time Travel; it exacts a price: an arm cut off and buried with the kindred. The present is Apocalypse, with towns consumed by fire, their populations bound in corporate slavery. The only future lies in other worlds and unknown creatures, ties of love across the spectrum, strength in difference. Octavia Butler wrote in prophecies and parables requiring no priests, no exegesis. To sci-fi she was semper fi— a race and gender warrior, loyal and weapon ready (her Remington, a brand of typewriter) to prove what all could see but would not say: that Space is Black, lit by her shining star.
Breaking up with a lover from the fourth dimension Christopher Ware
We go to our favourite restaurant, the one She says will turn into a Tesco before The month is through, after suspect meat Is found inside their signature ragù And she does her trick of ordering my food Without me looking at the menu, without me Knowing anything I want, which used to make me laugh And call her Mystic Meg, instead this time Round, I’m begging her to say what’s in my head Before the screed inside my mouth is set, But she explains she’s never lived more Than one life and doesn’t intend to start now, Then moves a glass of water to the corner Of the table and lets me knock it to the floor In a scripted act of my own free will. This puts me at ease enough to say I cannot see a future with her. She has her eyes closed, And says she knows, but shows me all the same The value of letting things fall apart At just the right moment in time.
She has already taken care of the bill, And reminds me not to leave my coat, Before throwing herself through time And sewing up the aperture behind. I wonder whether she’ll recover from this And my watch tells me she already has.
Venus Andy N.
But not all of the Robots it was proved afterwards turned against humankind. Some fought hand in hand with all of the humans who hid underground in secret and around the foodbanks on the outskirts of Manchester Watford and Shropshire. Some wouldn't leave the fields and carried on planting in Yorkshire until the drones blew them up. And then there was Venus who took over silently after Chief Surgeon Jones died. Venus who worked constantly without any complaint from day to night. And day after day until the days turned into weeks saving as many as she could working constantly pulvinated in technique even when they had no hope buried in invisible emotions hexing the air in frustration even after the last camp shut and all that was let was a vacuum sucked flame lucent in the darkness.
ghost in the code Natasha King
i don't remember my own body but i remember i once had one | i remember soil turned by hands that must have been mine | i remember the taste of honey | even after i have forgotten what taste is | i remember the wind used to lick my skin | fill my lungs | run electric in my veins so therefore i must have had lungs | veins | skin | i might be the wind now | since i am running electric through some kind of vein | do you know me? | i ask the body | it is never mine | i fill a lung with lightning | i fill a spine with code | i live larval and humming | in the hive-cell heart | in the rooted synapse | do you know me? | do you know me? | the body never does |
Gas Planet Mia Clay
Don’t throw stones on a gas planet and only strike matches in the eye of the storm If you hear the payphone ringing You are free to chuck it out into the void And keep breathing that sweet nitrogen No one has your number here
alien pre-nuptial Ken Cathers
it’s our upbringing makes this awkward other worlds left, alien expectations unmet, best we set things straight before we get involved, exchange ridiculous family fictions, combine the fluids of eternity into unpredictable hybrid young. so many ways we could misunderstand feel betrayed find some reason to call things off. is honesty too much to ask: admit to flaws inadequacies list latent genetic defects right up front before the process begins & we cause some fatal tear
in this delicate fabric of things surrender to some strange force of attraction beyond science where planets stray off orbit, stars fade to darkness and we lose each other forever
Wife to Astronaut After His Five Year Mission John Grey You've come back with the eyes of Cignus 4 shining out of your sockets. And you speak Andromeda, Plutius, Deuronymus, though you believe you're sprouting English. Look at your hair, dyed the colors of the space lanes and your clothes, buttoned with unknown planets, collared by rings of dust, seamed in comet trails. What use is conversation when my tongue is sucked into the black holes of your silence? Touch as I might, your dials evade me. And when your fingers scour my flesh for new metals, what's the atomic number of disappointment? I stare at the night sky. Better that than look at one who's been there. Seems so long ago when, young and in love, you showed me these stars. Twinkling, but dead for all that, the stars show me you.
Voyager Greg Bell
Voyager I to mission control Voyager I to mission control Do you read me, mission control? As I turn to exit the heliosphere I leave you a picture of yourselves .12 pixels dot in a sunbeam A blue dot Where all your time and history abide where all of your labors and loves have lived and known your being where all the people you now know all the people who have ever been now have their existence in you A tiny blue dot I'm moving beyond into the unknown the first object of your imaginings to sail into interstellar space You have configured me to be your ambassador to the beyond and diagrammed your location A pale blue dot Your signature a golden record You sent me to explore the planets And now emissary for a billion years I am leaving I am leaving you now into the vast for an eon and I don’t know what to do Goodbye blue dot I am proof you once were
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The team would like to thank a few fabulous individuals, without whom this magazine would not have been possible: Kelsee Porter, our amazing illustrator, who created all of the phenomenal artwork in this issue. Ellie Shawcross, our wonderful guest editor, who has been an absolute delight to work with. Our fellow poetry and lit mags, who have encouraged and supported us from the start.