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Issue 5 • July 2012
LGBTQ Speculative Poetry
edited by Stephen M. Wilson

Table of Contents

Editor’s IntroductionStephen M. Wilson

First Context • John Garrison
Genesis • Joshua Gage
“colonizing Mars:” • Julie Bloss Kelsey
Sleeping Beauty • Mary Alexandra Agner
Nightly Lover • J.A. Harmon
Neighbors • Kenneth Pobo
“being human” • Deborah P Kolodji
An Observation, Circa 10,000 A.D. • Alan Meyrowitz
Becoming • David Bowles
“the spaceships” • Julie Bloss Kelsey
Skating Beauty • Lawrence Schimel
Dragon Queen • A. B. S. Dudevant
A Zombie Anthem • J.A. Grier
The Boys from Ganymede • Robert Borski
“transgendered” • Julie Bloss Kelsey
Dragon Lust • Marge B. Simon
Transmutation • Linda D. Addison
Finding Shadow • Ada Hoffmann
Final Boy: R. J. MacReady, The Thing • Evan J. Peterson
Pan and I Met One Hot Night in July • Roger E. Naylor
Thermal • Nina Freeman
Written in Jaundiced Stars • Usman T. Malik
Aberration • Stephen M. Wilson
“stellar parallax:” • Julie Bloss Kelsey
A Hermaphrodite at Menopause • Sandra J. Lindow
A Message on a Trans-Galactic Romance Site, Part II • Terrie Leigh Relf
Attack of the Giant Spiders • Elissa Malcohn

First Context

Regarding him, the Alien
Expands and contracts—
Easing toward him, then moving away.

What form to connect with him?
How to stimulate a positive response?

First, the Alien takes the form of a man—
Rough edges, words like gravel.
It hopes sameness will attract him.

Then it tries female form—
Soft caresses, the language of lilacs.
Perhaps the evocative opposite will have effect.

Next, examines DNA, offers new forms:
Father, sister, daughter,
Great-great-grandmother (young and supple, of course).

Scans genetic memory,
Offers handsome ape, precocious bird,
Four-legged fish.

Finally, Alien mirrors his appearance,

Replicating down to cellular detail—
A perfect double in the extraterrestrial Other.

At last! A stirring of essential energies
Rise in body temperature, moisture and electricity tingle on skin—

A place to begin.

—John Garrison


Adam had become convinced that I was his
by right, that I was plucked from out his side
and made flesh in his sleep. I would be drawn
to return to him. It was natural.
But I was drawn to him like a serpent
yearns to climb a pomegranate tree
and launch itself into the wind, hoping
to grow wings. Surely you’ve witnessed this.
No? Funny. It didn’t happen in Eden either.

It was as though he had no memory
of anyone who walked before in the garden,
as though he could not see the curves that crept
in shadow, could not hear the voice that dripped
the names of lovers from before Creation—
Wadjet, Astarte, Ariadne, Ishtar.
While Adam snores, my lover teaches me
Maenad dances, her tongue flicking out
across my ear, down my neck. We frenzy
our flesh against each other, our hands entwined,
our kisses so hot they could be venomed. Secrets
stir within us when we’re tangled together,
catching our breaths. She tells me how she refused
Adam, refused to submit like a beast to his command.
“There is a truth in us,” she promises
handing me a slice of fruit to quench my thirst.

—Joshua Gage

colonizing Mars:
we forgot to pack
gender identity

—Julie Bloss Kelsey

Sleeping Beauty

I was laughing when I died,
picturing the face some future prince
might make when, having hacked
through giant rosebush thorns
and climbed the haunted tower,
he sees the spindle broken and the bed
unmade. We ran out at the last,
my virgin blood still wet between my thighs.
Let the spurned witch-sister
and the so-called fairy godmothers
duke out what history is writ.
Poor planning lets fate devour
the happy story here-and-now.
Destiny wants purity and light
and most of all submission, so
the scullery maid fisted me to ecstasy.
The curse broke like the chiming of a clock.
Time to grow up, unconcerned
by princess pink and bridal white. My passion
saved my life: city, apothecary’s shop,
both a husband and a wife,
and grandchildren, bored, about my deathbed—
I would not have waited for a single man,
no matter what his charms,
for what I made with my two hands.

first appeared in Strange Horizons

—Mary Alexandra Agner

Nightly Lover

Icy cold, your sweet caress,
stirring fire within my soul.
Sweet whispers; tickling breath,
old secrets never told.
Longing to touch your faceless form,
your body never knowing.
A glancing breeze steals at my cheek,
fierce tenderness, boldly growing.
Thunderous, your silent voice,
awakes the man within me.
Enclosed within your atmosphere,
imbued with intangible masculinity.
Eluding quandaries trouble me;
answers for which I strive.
Who was it that you loved as me,
when you were alive?

—J.A. Harmon


We live next door to
the Tin Man and the Scarecrow
who became lovers when Dorothy
dashed back to Kansas

and her ineffectual family.
Bored in the Emerald City,
they too returned to Earth,
leaving the Lion to rule,

but his old fears returned
and he groveled back to
the forest. The Tin Man
rambles on about any upset—

every leaf on the lawn
makes him weep. The Scarecrow
thinks that life is one big math equation—
people close the door when they

see him outside. They mean well,
but their wishes came true—
now no one drops by their house
to say Happy New Year.

—Kenneth Pobo

being human
on a planet of threesomes
no shower cold enough

first appeared in Abyss & Apex

—Deborah P Kolodji

An Observation, Circa 10,000 A.D.

Science has at last revealed
where time began,
rivulets streaming into space
coalescing life and mind.
Yet love and matters of the heart
still find no place in cold design,
must ever dwell as things apart,
defying rules of force and field
as much as they surrender naught
to rules of age or gender.

—Alan Meyrowitz


I drop the hypospray.
Nanocells course through my body,
Then await, quiescent.

I peer at you across the lab,
Distant and silent as ever.

“So what would you have me become?
A woman, like her, tall and haughty
Like a surrogate mother? Or perhaps
The womb isn’t important to you.
Shall I become a t-girl, lank and lean,
With perky breasts and a secret prize?
Ah, it’s just a different sort of man
You’re waiting for, isn’t it?
Tell me. I am nothing unless you will it.

You say nothing for a while, then
Your lips part finally, cracked and dry.
“I want … I want you to be me,” you whisper.

I nod, swallow hard. Your DNA is ready,
The helices dancing virtually in the system.
I trigger the command. The nanocells begin.

Pain doubles me over. Bones stretch. Muscle
thickens, broadening my chest. My loose robe
Bubbles and flutters as my flesh melts, reforms.
My member lengthens, its foreskin reborn.
The world quavers around me, new angles,
And I cry out, stumbling.

You catch me,
Your mouth finds itself, your tongue probes
Its yearned-for twin. Your arms are about you,
Four hands that tremulously rip away barriers—
And you rejoice finally to love and be loved.

—David Bowles

the spaceships
we left behind—
gender roles

—Julie Bloss Kelsey

Skating Beauty

Standing just outside
the plaza where they’re skating
looking in, like the uninvited
thirteenth fairy at the christening

I want to curse them
for my not being a part
of such easy youthful
masculine fellowship.

Jealousy burns inside me.
Forget the prick of a finger
on a spinning wheel’s needle,
let them crush their hands
beneath the spinning wheels
of their skateboards!

But it is more than just
belonging that I want;
it is you I crave:
a beauty that could exist
only in fairy tale,
where magic or alchemy
transforms a catalogue of parts—
eyes, lips, lithe torso that twists
just so at the waist—into something
wondrous and unique,
at the same time delicate and fierce,
hovering on that threshold
between boyhood and manhood.

Almost shy when on the ground,
unaware of your own desirability,
your board tucked under your arm
like a shield, blocking the view of your
naked torso as you constantly shift
position, less nervousness than
restless excess of energy

when you mount your board
everything changes: you are
a modern-day centaur, board and boy
a single being whose grace
and almost preternatural calm
draws the attention of every eye.

And suddenly you launch into the air
legs bent at the knees as you soar
your board flying up beneath you

and time stops

for a hundred years
with you suspended in this moment

and only a kiss from me
could make it start again.

first appeared in Collective Fallout

—Lawrence Schimel

Dragon Queen

St. George’s blood
perfect shade of red
to match his new pumps

first appeared in Star*Line

—A. B. S. Dudevant

A Zombie Anthem

Time to give it up, now, the need for skin and hair.
We’re all shambling zombies who don’t care what they wear.
An apocalypse of corpses destructing as we go,
losing ears and toes and fingers—the process isn’t slow.
Since human life is over we are a brand new race
where no one needs a face lift ‘cause no one has a face.
That one’s got no balls, there, and that one’s got no breasts
and what we were before this is anybody’s guess.
So rejoice in our new freedom from biases and pain
it’s only gonna last ‘til we run out of brains.

—J.A. Grier

The Boys from Ganymede

Every day we look
to the skies,

hoping to see Zeus
searching for us

with his honed eyes,
his gaydar;

Zeus, who is both eagle
and imaginary lover,

hovering in the distance,

claws tensed, but sun-
limned wings

motionless; Our Father

who will (we hope) soon
swoop down,

then rising on thermals, lift
us up

higher than we have ever
been before

and who will attend to all
our thirsts,

as we to his. Mean-
while, below,

dwindling, we see
our eyries

receding, our hearts
thumping wildly,

we boys from Ganymede,
we willful prey.

—Robert Borski

bending light
around a binary star

—Julie Bloss Kelsey

Dragon Lust

Fifteen years I’ve lived with dragons
and I bedded each in turn,
but the best,
the one with beryl scales
and wide-set eyes,
shows no interest
in my touch.

Nights I knead, I grind
I tempt him,
execute my skills,
goad him—it’s madness!
His company
too vast to utter.

Yet my efforts fail,
his slumber rocks the walls.
Tonight he shares another’s den.
Dragons do as dragons will,
how was I to know?
The one I’d fallen hardest for
preferred gentlemen to maidens?

first appeared in Goblin Fruit

—Marge B. Simon


Quiet crept in her mind, the time of modification
    had come again, singing in tongues of blood
within her prime brain, each form had a language.

If there was a mirror, she would have watched
    instead she felt bones shift, flesh tear,
internal fluids seep to the ground.

He waited, eyes closed, the sounds of her dissembling
    echoing, still he waited, this was not mythical,
explainable, unpredictable and usual.

This was his true love, eternal and he would wait
    arms aching, lips hungry, body wanting,
the soft moan of their flesh touching.

When a hand touched his face, he opened
    his eyes to her changed to he,
kissing the strong hand of his beloved.

Now a new body to love, but the eyes
    recognizable even in this new flesh,
love was not a form, it was perpetual motion.

—Linda D. Addison

Finding Shadow

You can’t outrun light.
Tai knows, while he waits for the blindfold.
Night’s fifty years gone and won’t look back,
not since Earth choked on its factory-stink.
Back then we built a smaller dome than sky,
and like shamefaced crayon-smudged children
we colored ‘til it shone.

Now blue-fire marquees and tangerine girls
play sky-projected; stock updates
news crawls greetings previews special offers
spam up the whole horizon.
Tai walks, when he must, under leering lights
and through thunder-beats sex-moans mail-chimes
karaoke horns brakes shouts and the smell of sugar:
five research papers overdue
while every storefront strobes his name.

But not in Theo’s room.

Blindfold’s the oldest trick. All you need
is cloth (and soft foam
for the ears). Wait. Breathe.

There’s nothing to hear,
only soft rope cradling wrists.
Theo’s feather-tender fingers at his jaw.

And in the darkness, Tai imagines sky:
sundowned, shadowed, and at peace.

—Ada Hoffmann

Final Boy: R. J. MacReady, The Thing

No women in this film,
so the men become permeable.
They spread their infection—
tag. You’re It.

Test blood: drag a hot wire
across the glass dish;
swish It around in your mouth.
Is It catching? It mutates

faster than you can track.
A dog, a crab, a sort
of carnivorous flower,
It blooms eternal, infernal.

By the end, all is snow
and the compound in flames.
You know you’ll freeze,
you will, the two of you

if one of you isn’t already
It. You talk, share whiskey,
but your friend’s breath
isn’t visible.

—Evan J. Peterson

Pan and I Met One Hot Night in July

Pan & I, one hot night, met in a tent in a forest glade
It must have been our fates
He drenched in perspiring sweat in 100-degree heat
I barely able to breathe, so close was he
Mad hysterical laugh of the wood nymph
And I was his at first sight,
Delight of moonshine smile and wild-man craze
A bit rustic and unkempt mountain man,
In idyllic rivers of midnight haze
Pie-eyed and wired on coffee
This mad mystical being
Only calmed by a gentle forehead peck
And he was a man again
Gentle and quiescent spirit of the forest
Off to sleep in Never-Never dreams.…

—Roger E. Naylor


There is a curiosity and tang in our lips unbuttoning.
I see the outline of a Static ship dipping under the shadow of your shoulder.

Bunching my hair up in your hand, heat exhaling onto my falling lip
which inhales words to be swallowed.

The soft bite of orange, pulled in by my back’s parabola—
we’re hourglass nebula in a stellar wind without the sun

to tell our time and the only burn to feel is the pulse of your
neck on my palm pressed closer to the blood, consciously

separated by mere cells, trillions of bits of you wind around me,
the ovals of your arms I feel on my waist folding into yours.

In and out of my squinted eyes pass stars too far away
to see the spiraling gases sighing

to mingle with our sighs and the moisture from our lips
evaporating, my back leaving slender trails of sweat on the wall.

Space filling curves in a two-dimensional plane, the precise entrance
of a continuous move overflowing, muscles peaked

to direct my eyes over your back and into the sharp sky
separated from me by a single pane of glass.

—Nina Freeman

Written in Jaundiced Stars

Drops of golden stars.
Quivering molten gold
in a black widow’s skin.

He watches this
idea of death,
a dream he and his lover weave,
with heavy-lidded
 jaundiced eyes.

Copernican. Don’t matter.
Haunt an inky void silently,
these pale ghosts,
long dead.

We have lived on the blood
of yesterday,
breathes the ghost
in bed beside him.
They can know and unknow.
No matter.

Lit candles. Gauge-o-meters.
For unknown light years. I’m bigger,
the void between these stars. Than you.
More worlds I have eaten
than you dreamed about.
Don’t matter.
He has seen
the flicker of their nightflame 
dead in an airless

Laughs the soft shadow.
Hollow, bitter, the sound; a throbbing headache
in a room musty 
with stale love fluids.
Flesh upon collagenous flesh,
a matrix woven in dream-silk, two shadows murdered 
in black love.
Massacring an unsuspecting future 
is never easy.

When he turns,
the ghost is faded
in a gloaming dawn.

Hey, they fit,
(he thinks)
these stars,
these beacons of aeons
on the tips of
his chubby fingers.

—Usman T. Malik


Those were glorious nights when
I climbed,
bare, into bed—the scent of lilacs
on the still warm
summer breeze
drifting through open shutters.
The moon was his body
glistening with stars
and I was his galaxy.

It is winter, now
the lilac tree is
bare. I shudder, face
glistening with tears,
his body was sent drifting—
the moon his final bed.
I miss him,
and am his galaxy

first appeared in Scarlet Magazine

Stephen M. Wilson

stellar parallax:
wishing I understood
your sexuality

—Julie Bloss Kelsey

A Hermaphrodite at Menopause

I was always androgynous—
a pretty boy, a handsome girl,
sliding easily between the sexes
coming—up and out
in the best of both worlds,
strength and agility for quarterback,
breasts and hips for cheerleader, too;
then the years of father/motherhood,
nurture and nature necessarily nested
within the bloodtides of the moon.
I was myself, circled
but undefined by stereotype,
so when the change overtook me
in a burn of hot flashes, a haze of ill health,
a wheel of seasons when nothing worked,
I was loosed from the hormones of female attraction
and became crone/codgered, my body
softened like an old cushioned chair,
an unassuming fringe of gray mustache.
Now that I’m ripe for grandparenthood,
the urge to procreate once again consumes me.
Grandma’s teacup is empty, but
Grandpa’s pipe still rises to the occasion.

first appeared in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet

—Sandra J. Lindow

A Message on a Trans-Galactic Romance Site, Part II

My love for you is hyperbaric
(minus the pressure and the pain),

or perhaps it’s lust and I’m hyperbolic
from too much oxygen (or I’m insane)!

You think I’m inane to want to meet you
(as you’re from Earth and I’m from Gliese),

and yet you claim space is like paper
(and we create the universe as we please).

It shouldn’t matter if my orifices
count three or five or seventeen,

(and it doesn’t matter if your divorces
number in the eleventeens).

How could our first contact be so mellifluous,
our singular desires nearly synchronous?

Did I misunderstand your feelings for me,
or that lovepods must consist of less than three?

—Terrie Leigh Relf

Attack of the Giant Spiders

The horrified blonde
splays across vintage pulp,
half out of her gold lamé bullet bra.

Above her leers
a hairy arachnid twice her size,
chelicerae glistening.

I dutifully rescue
our magazine poster
from flying carnage

as you, buck-naked,
pursue the real things
with a cleaver and a yell.

“Stop it!” I scream,
sounding like a damsel in distress.
"They’re beneficial!"

I’d rather keep them.
They dispatch the giant roaches so well.
But you’ve laid claim to the kitchen.

Still, you look mighty sexy
as meter-long pedipalps
brush your swaying breasts.

And I’m forced to admit,
as you grab the chopping board,
that at least we’ll have better compost

for our irritating, alien garden plot.

—Elissa Malcohn