their names are aelita, m-lee, kwan, cayli, dekan, brielle. flitting about rebar, boned and fractured. dusty gigacrete, the curved glass. all about the frozen megalopolis. the six play jäger through stacked city housing. they each hover. their drones orbit. kids in a playground, searching.
they have 24 hours. play for a day. morning, afternoon, evening, sleep.
m-lee’s aux-comp has vastly superior dronesync. his five drones scout complex patterns: find the other hidden children. laughs in front of an abandoned market-city-tomb. he hovers out of sight and explores a dry cement river. gutter stained mud brown. mud used to be here. m-lee scratches an invisible itch, leans forward, flies straight.
precise rows of crumbling superstructures thrust out of the barren earth, rotting teeth waiting for phantom dinner. high above, thousands of constructed lightning orbs float in the stratosphere, perpetually, generating traces of ozone for this burnt earth. m-lee and the children see their flashes high above. it is yet daylight.
the population of the eastern sprawl is 40,000 citizens, give or take. the children will see none of them today. keep an eye out for hugger-muggers.
and then, the children will be gathered, collected, catalogued, stored. cryosauna therapy, and trasnspo to numbered pyxides, once their exercise is over. muscles need memory. and they are not useful yet. not needed yet.
for now, the children will change their game, play queen of mars.
Los Angeles, CA
Author’s Note: First published in *82 Review in August 2016. “Aelita: Queen of Mars” (1924) is the first Russian sci-fi film. Part of The Shredders’s Compendium of Poetry, a series of poems inspired by instrumental tracks from famous guitarists. The title is a song track by Michael Lee Firkins.
cue up the twinkling xylophonic soundtrack
chip in pulsing magneto-bass, as five p.m. hits wall street
the manhattan market closes systematically
pneumatic robots sputter and shimmy down
but see their human masters jazz about
racing debonair bachelors wearing the newest zoots
hit the ultra-lounges, fizzy with martinis
boozy swizzle sticks with designer drugs
electro-bongo pulses now tuned to
the gestures of wild theremin antennae
space age guitars in velvet swivel to and fro
the hip masters of their destiny dwelling on
tomorrow’s journeys to vegas, bali, acapulco
and further off-earth adventures to the
zero-grav singles-only oort resort
and coming soon, the lavish hilton luna
they dream of flesh fantasies in clockwork cities
a mech-island paradise for homo retro futurus
Los Angeles, CA
Author’s Notes: First published in Star*Line Magazine in July 2016. “Guitar in Velvet” is a George Baines space-age-jazz-pop album from 1957. Part of The Shredders’s Compendium of Poetry, a series of poems inspired by instrumental tracks from famous guitarists. The title is a song track by Vinnie Moore.