Size / / /

Under the crust of the next planet
we found an entire civilization:
subterranean, stygian, utterly retro,
utterly unaware of the outer world.
The Dashing Captain struck a pose,
and romanced a Virgin Queen with his
hard, tanned, body.
He pressed his raygun to her chest,
threatened incineration unless her guards
released the Young Ensign.
She gave a subtle sign and the adamantine pikes
ground their butts into the same floor
that received hers later that night.
The Young Ensign went exploring,
beating off albino cave girls with a
stick, found the secret laboratory in which The Evil Dr.
was vivisecting the First Mate.
Alarm! Alarm! Intergalactic horror!
We put a stop to this, by damn,
muttered the Crotchety Engineer, and he
and the ensign wrecked havoc in the Doomed Citadel,
exterminating a race that was composing rhymed
and metered poetry when our ancestors
were eating their own feces and
each other in dank, lightless caves.
They rescued the Dashing Captain from the alarmingly
penetrating clutches of the Virgin Queen
and beat a hasty retreat,
while the Second Engineer was firing up
the fusion thrusters.
As soon as they were aboard she
flung the ship into the sky.
The Wounded Captain was indisposed,
and the voluptuous Second Mate took the conn.
It was her chance to shine, and she
did some pretty fine navigating out of the
Hymenopterous Cluster and right in back
of the Gymnospermatous Nebula on her very first try.
We were all so proud,
and even the Wilted Captain felt better.
Alas, when the eggs hatched,
the Dashing Captain was irretrievably spoiled,
and the Second Mate
had to carry on without him.
Fortunately, this was not difficult.

 

Copyright © 2004 David C. Kopaska-Merkel

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david kopaska-merkel was born on a photon ranch out beyond the orbit of Mars. he subsisted on a diet of space slugs and diorite. his poetry is shamelessly stolen from the plunder of the argelian library in 2099. his books are available from shocklines.com. his previous publications in strange horizons can be found in our archive. to contact him, email dragontea@earthlink.net.



David C. Kopaska-Merkel won the 2006 Rhysling Award for a collaboration with Kendall Evans, edits Dreams & Nightmares magazine, and has edited Star*Line and several Rhysling anthologies. His poems have appeared in Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. A collection, Some Disassembly Required, winner of the 2023 Elgin Award, is available from him at jopnquog@gmail.com.
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I can’t say any of this to the man next to me because he is wearing a tie
Language blasts through the malicious intentions and blows them to ash. Language rises triumphant over fangs and claws. Language, in other words, is presented as something more than a medium for communication. Language, regardless of how it is purposed, must be recognized as a weapon.
verb 4 [C] to constantly be at war, spill your blood and drink. to faint and revive yourself. to brag of your scars.
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