Judges’ dilemma: good Space Western Senryū—don’t require a bribe. — ed, N.E. Lilly
Red sands of Mars
My footprints alone
Stretching back to the horizon.
Mark L. Van Name: Good space western tie and human feeling.
Cowboys on a ship
have no cattle to lasso
so they rope tribbles
only in its echoes:
who can resist shouting?
” Mark’s Pick: Lovely mix of images and human emotions. Barely a space western, but close enough in tone that I counted it.
flashing lights of stars
dance never-ending cancan
squinting eyes shrivel
Mark L. Van Name: Very good images and human counterpoint. Barely a space western, but close enough in tone that I counted it. A very close second to being my judge’s pick.
alive three months
Sterling-Suit lashed to hull
Jake burned on re-entry
Mark L. Van Name: Nice irony and ties to space westerns.
on the range
space cowboys apply
SPF 5000 sunscreen
Alana Joli Abbott: Because getting a sunburn out in the black is mighty painful.
Standoff under two suns. Fire!
Still Standing. No blood. Oil drips.
We hesitate to welcome
tomorrow we won’t.
Mark L. Van Name: Not at all a space western, but I liked the simplicity of it enough that I gave it a high score.
stagecoach floats empty,
bushwhacked at asteroid gulch,
seals broken, skull-like
throughout robot ghost
town, metal cows quietly rust,
lowing like chimes
Seamus Kevin Fahey: evocative… dig it.
Ships blast off for space
for the asteroid roundup;
rocks for lunch again
Alana Joli Abbott: The last line of this one made me laugh out loud. There’s such disappointment implied that this must be a regular occurence. Rustling those wily asteroids and only getting rocks for lunch? It’s a rough life!
for sale: plexiglass
stetson — oxygen filter
noisy, but still works
” Alana’s Pick: I love the construction of this poem: the advertisement placed in the paper on a frontier planet for a used stetson surely has a story behind it. I can almost hear the sound the old, used filter makes, and imagine the dings in the old hat.
coughing up red dust
a dental practise, absurd
he plays out his hand.
Seamus Kevin Fahey: random… in a good way
shot of whiskey
the whore reaches for my gun
with her tentacle
Seamus Kevin Fahey: I get the western, I get the sci fi, I get a moment… what’s not to like?
sagebrush moons, red-tailed comet —
ranch’s back forty
he was fast and slick
eight pistols simultaneous
from slimy holsters.
Alana Joli Abbott: This is why the best gunslingers have multiple arms—or tentacles as the case may be. I wouldn’t want to play poker with this fellow either. Brilliantly done!
in the circus-ship’s wake
and its sad-eyed, mouthless clowns
Mark L. Van Name: My nominee as weirdest, which I consider a good thing.
Seamus Kevin Fahey: I like the description… and I know a girl named Meg…
echoes of mirth
metal grips the hard man
where lust had hoped for flesh
Mark L. Van Name: Good images.
Breaking human hearts
With bullets or cold silence
Is the outlaw way
but the horse can’t speak and the
sheriff don’t speak horse
bullets fly spaceward,
nicking moonlets — gunfight at
Lone Ranger’s lovelife
he was a half-breed
which side would he choose
the reds or the blues?
” Seamus’ Pick: Clever way of taking on the challenge.
Other works by N.E. Lilly
- Is Firefly “Out of Gas”? (Dec 12, 2022)
- The Emancipation of Bat Durston, or, “I’m from Iowa, I only work in Outer-space” (Dec 5, 2022)
- Interview with Phil Foglio (Nov 8, 2009)
- 10 Most Influential Space Westerns (Oct 25, 2009)
- Space Western Most Wanted (Jan 25, 2009)
- more by N.E. Lilly
- Interview with Seamus Kevin Fahey by N.E. Lilly (May 18, 2008)
- Interview with the Cowboys and Aliens II Creative Team by N.E. Lilly (Nov 11, 2007)
- Interview with Mark L. Van Name by N.E. Lilly (Jul 8, 2007)