Live Launch – India is Going to the Moon

I blamed the moon

I blamed the moon
when the wildness struck;
spinning away on my own axis
to the far side of the moon.
The gravitational pull was too strong,
tides pushed and pulled me,
surged blood along my veins.
I circled the earth in waves of light,
my dark side hidden from view.
Later, I waned, when the neap tide came
and the sun died for the day.
I shouted and screamed and danced at the moon
but there was no reply.

I told everyone the moon made me do it.
Said it was just a phase I was going through.

Carol Sheppard February 2019

Full Moon

I awoke with a start, unsure what it was that had broken into my sleep. For a minute I was confused, the room was bright with a pale lemony light but it was clearly not time to get up. It was I realised moonlight. Perhaps the light had woken me? I listened and could hear nothing other than the occasional creaks of the old Elm floorboards in my bedroom. My breath was smoke in the cold sharp air of this winter night. I slipped out of bed, not bothering with my slippers, and clambered up onto the window seat. The glass was thick with frost and the moonlight flooded through it; showcasing the strange geometric crystalline patterns the icy film had formed. I placed my hand on the pane, the cold jolted me but almost immediately the glass beneath cleared. Taking it away I was left with a hand shaped porthole. First I squinted through my middle finger and then shifted my gaze to the palm.

The sight was hypnotic; the garden bathed in moonlight seemed as though I was looking through a pale amber spyglass. There was no colour, but this was no black and white movie rather a symphony of subtle shades. The Cotswold stone walls stood patiently warding the garden from whatever was creeping in the night. The grass was white and sparkled with the ice jewels that had been sprinkled over it. The phlegmatic fir tree stood massive watching on, as the frost glazed the world. It was as if something was calling me. I quickly dressed and made my way downstairs making sure I avoided the steps that squeaked, the ones that every boy knows about. Into the kitchen where the dying embers of last night’s fire was still reddening the mantel piece. The only sound was the ticking of the clock and the faint sounds of my parent’s snores. I quietly slipped the bolts on the stable door to the scullery. As I silently slipped through I was greeted by the joyful wagging of a tail, my dog was always passionate in her love. I fussed her silently, shushed her and bid her lie back in her basket then after slipping on my shoes I slipped the latch on the back door and stepped out.

It was almost painfully cold. I looked around nothing to see but was startled by the sound of a vixen barking nearby. The grass crackled and snapped under my feet. I felt drawn to the fir tree and as I came closer I could see there was a shape on the ground under it. An alien thing not something we had left there the day before. Two mores steps and I too became frost. The shape was human. My skin crawled and the hair on the back of my neck rioted as the shape moved so I could make visual sense of what I was seeing: an old man with ragged clothes and a scabrous face. I was frozen to the spot. And then he spoke.

“So boy, you heard me then?” he smiled showing a perfect set of ivory teeth.

“Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you.”

I was a statue

“Mind that wasn’t always the case. You’re lucky. I used to be a werewolf once but not anyMOOOOOREEEEE.”

Charlie Markwick Poet, Storyteller, Writer, Performer @crescentmen |

Moon Kid Ring

Moon Kid Rings

Moon kid rings a cloud
Deftly lassoed by space thread
Pulled to hard crater
Candy soft bed for the night
But it faded to vapour!

The Ink Warrior

Potentially Me

Potentially Me, potentially
Patterns growing
Swerling round and curling down
But down is up and up is down

Potentially Me, potentially
Patterns in the sky
In the ground
In the stars
Waiting to be found
Curling inwards as concepts virally abound

Potentially Me, potentially
Patterns seething
Order from chaos
And the chaos is breathing
Life is needing what chaos is feeding

Potentially Potentially


The struggle of slumbered light
Jealously crushed by Moons raging spite
Foreboding white spectral eye
Governed by the heavens cyclic tie
Cold ground awash with darkened blanket
The sins of the sun allowed to forget
Cosmic force stirs onyx earth
Brings witness to nocturnal birth
Creatures stirred by Pans hypnotic lyre
Danced merry with mischiefs contagious fire
Realm of the sleeper in dreamy state
Moonshine claws at Hades gate
Welcoming those embracing death
Guided swiftly by ancient spirits breath
Clutched hopes of rebirth by Gaia neath
To remain eternal in mother’s peace.

Jason Conway

The Alpha and the Omega

If you poke God in the eye he’s bound to get pissed. At least that’s what the Luddites back on Earth are saying. We spent ten years building the Massive Lunar Interferometer, then another six months calibrating the damned thing. At last, we got some clear signals – our first sampling of very low-frequency radio waves from the beginnings of time. After two more months of number crunching by the eggheads back on Earth, we were rewarded with mankind’s first glorious glimpse at the big bang itself. The celebration did not last long.

While most of the world’s astronomers were focused on the view from the dark side of the moon damned if Hell didn’t open up this side of Mars in the form of an uncharted comet now dubbed Hades.

I always figured we’d destroy ourselves via one of the usual suspects – war, overpopulation, genetically modified biotics. The Near Earth Object Defense System had rendered threats from asteroids and comets a thing of the past, or so we thought. The odds of an object too large for the system to handle were astronomical – no pun intended. Well, Hades is just such an object – a mostly water/ice comet larger than Deimos that no one saw coming in anywhere near enough time.

If the calculations are right it impacted just east of the Azores about two minutes ago. So here we are on the far side of the moon gathered ’round the base of Array #7 watching for the plume of ejecta to rise over the horizon. Marv says it should be beautiful.

by J.M. Strother ~ © 2011 by J. M. Strother, all rights reserved.

The Secret Got Out

By Charlie Chitty

As the interview wound down, Neil Armstrong made the joke that he knew the viewers would enjoy. In fact, they always did.

“And whilst it’s likely that we’ll be back at some point.” said Neil. “I can confirm that the moon is, contrary to popular belief, not made of cheese.”

The audience members laughed and Chris Tassler smiled. He imaged all the audiences across America laughing at this grizzled old explorer, some older audience members remembering the Apollo 11 landing with Buzz Aldrin and telling their children and grandchildren about it. Even better, sometimes they’d record it for when they had a moment in their damn lives that wasn’t taken up with those bleepy mobiles or stupid video games. It wasn’t ratings, but it was almost as good.

Chris suddenly remembered he had to talk.

“I’m sure glad of that, Neil! Thanks for coming in today!”


As the camera lights faded and Chris had to go to his next segment about a skateboarding puppy, he saw Neil muttering something out of the corner of his eye. It sounded like “Quick”.

After Alfie the pup had done a few skateboarding tricks, Brian had noted that the weather was “Cloudy with a high chance of rain despite the fact we’re in July, making it the perfect day to snuggle up in a corner of your house and sip a hot chocolate whilst listening to the rainfall.” and that was the news for the day.

Chris saw Neil after the show on his way back to his guest dressing room and he gave him a sly wink. Chris smiled back, before heading back to his own. And he sat, and he waited five minutes, and when he had an idea that perhaps Neil was decent, he went to go and knock on his door.

“Is it the sound guy? I took my mic off and put it in the purple box just like-

“No, it’s Chris.”

“Oh? Come on in!”

He entered Neil’s dressing room and was immediately taken by just how different Neil looked. Make-up off, suit replaced with stonewashed jeans and a t-shirt, Neil could easily be mistaken for just some old guy instead of the first man on the moon.

“I’m a big fan.” Chris started. And it was true, he’d always loved astronauts. “And I was just wondering if I could trouble you for a quick signature?”

He held out a white pad and a biro. Neil dutifully scribbled on it and handed it back.

“If you think it’ll be worth something in the next few years, I’ll have you know that I’m still doing my morning jogs and feel fit as a fiddle.”

Chris laughed at the joke, somewhat dutifully.

“I was also wondering- “Yes?”

“I was wondering what you muttered under your breath at the end of the interview? When the cameras were going to the next segment?”

Neil stared at Chris. His eyes shone.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

And with that, he got up and left the room.

Half of his belongings were still on the dresser.

A week later, Chris Tassler got a telephone call. He never answered it, for he was in the garden under the summer sun, watering his freesias. But he did get the voicemail.

“Chris, I need to talk to you. I can’t hold this secret in anymore. You have to know. The whole damn world has to know, before this whole damn house of cards comes crashing down. Meet me at the little pub at the end of your drive. And watch out for people in dark sunglasses.”

And so Chris found himself walking down to The Abbott Inn, in the pouring rain, that very next day.

He found Neil Armstrong in the back of the pub, looking out slightly wistfully at the pub garden as the rain lashed down. There was something about him that looked slightly defeated, and even his bright yellow macintosh looked oddly weary.

“I suppose you already have some idea of what I said.” began Neil.

“Quick?” he replied. “There’s something bad coming, that we need to prepare for?”

Immediately, Chris’s heart rate tripled. Something was coming. His brain ran off thoughts about asteroid belts, exploding stars, even-

“Have they found us?”

Neil blinked.


“The, uh, you know.”

“The what?”


Neil, laughed. A full bodied laugh that somehow made Chris’s heart rate slow.

“Oh, you thought I said ‘quick’! No, no, no, my dear boy!”

“Well, that’s a relief.”

“I said Quark.” Chris’s heart rate quadrupled. The quarks are expanding. Protons are dying. Reality itself is folding and we’ll all-

“The structure of a proton?” he asked, hoping that Neil wouldn’t notice his concern. “Up Quarks and Down Quarks like we learned in Science?”

Now Neil looked impatient.

“No. I mean Quark.”

And with that, Neil reached down into his backpack and pulled out a plastic pot. Chris realised some time later, that it was a variant of a popular yoghurt snack.

And Chris sat there, with the first man on the moon, as he tucked into a Sainsbury’s version of a Muller Corner.

In between swallows, he spoke.

“You’ve probably been wondering why cafes are starting to sell Almond, Soya, Coconut or other kinds of useless milks that taste awful, right? And you’ve probably wondered why the weather has been so erratic lately, yes?”

Chris nodded, looking at the rain outside as it splashed onto the patio. The decorative candles in their glass Coke bottles hissed and one went out in a thin puff of smoke.

“It has been odd.” he replied.

“Yeah, well, NASA are preparing the population for it.”

“You’ve lost me.”

Neil considered, chewing his words as he chewed a dried apricot from the corner pocket of his yoghurt.

“Of course, the moon was never made out of cheese. Space has no oxygen, and so the resultant ball you see in the sky is more the texture of soured yoghurt. Quark. The quark, as few people know, came from the bolide that hit earth and-

“Eliminated the dinosaurs?”

“Dinosaurs don’t exist,” said Neil Armstrong. “Please keep up, Mr Tassler.”

Chris opened his mouth, but the words just failed. Neil Armstrong continued.

“The Gigacows, bovine monstrosities with nine hundred udders, were killed by the impact of the bolide and the seas, kilometres upon kilometres of milky marshes, were thrust by the trajectory of our planet into space.”

Neil smiled at me, waiting for the response.

“You’re telling me,” Chris began. “That the Earth isn’t made of cheese?”

“Correct.” said Neil Armstrong.

“Because it’s actually made out of yoghurt?”

“Correct.” said Neil Armstrong.

Chris laughed.

Neil smiled.

“It’s fine that you don’t believe me, because you’ll all be faced with the truth in just a matter of weeks. The chief scientists of the world have tried to stop it, but nothing will stop the impact.”

Chris felt the colour draining from his face.

Neil pulled out a picture from his backpack. The rain continued to patter outside and Chris stared mournfully at the pint of Monk’s Beard that he no longer wanted to drink.

“You see this?” said Neil, pointing at the picture and grinning. “Ever wonder about the shadow?”

Chris stared at the picture, one he was familiar with but was always so grainy on television or in books.

The shadow of the flag wasn’t a shadow.

“It’s a patch of blackcurrant jam!” Neil laughed. “Buzz took some preserves that his wife made us on the Apollo mission and-

“This is an awful joke, and however much they’re paying you, you’ve sold out your integrity and any respect that I had for you.”

Chris could feel himself shaking slightly and began to realise how angry he was, his hands gripping the wooden table so hard that they turned white.

Neil looked taken aback.

“I’m not lying, Chris. Haven’t you ever wondered why our footprints went so deep into the bedrock? Haven’t you considered-


Chris was suddenly aware that two men at the bar had stopped talking and were staring at them.

And that he was standing up.

And that he’d sloshed his pint down his front.

Chris left, and never heard from Neil Armstrong again.

Two weeks later, The Splattering happened. The moon simply fell out of the sky and hit Earth.

“Nobody.” Chris said. “Could have seen it coming.”

The teleprompter continued as Chris felt his voice rise and swell whilst he read the casualties as they ran down the screen in bright neon lettering that he’d never forget until the day he died.

“Four hundred people with severe lactose intolerance were immediately hospitalised and three thousand towns and cities have been buried until the liquid debris from the moon.”

He swallowed.

“Seventy five percent of the dairy firms worldwide have had to make staff cutbacks due to the sudden accessibility of milk. We go live now to a milk farmer from Aberdeen. Angus, how are you?”

The studio camera cut to an angry man surrounded by curds. “Well to tell you honest, Chris, I’m bloomin’ irked! That was my livelihood that’s gone up in roons! Roons, I tell ye!”

“And is there anything positive that’s come out of this?” Chris said, from the London studio, his voice breaking ever so slightly.

“Well,” sighed the farmer. “There is one thing.”

He gestured to his puppy. “I’m sure you remember Alfie.”

Alfie the skateboarding puppy stood on his skateboard, panting happily as he crested wave after wave of quark.

“He’s taken quite a liking to surfing.”

The camera cut back to the London studio, and when it did so, millions of viewers saw a man in a suit with his head in his hands. His cue cards lay next to him, forgotten, as he sobbed.


She whips her silver bulls
that heave her chariot
riding rough on navy-black
silk sea turning under hooves

Animals under flotsam light
freeze as hedgehogs
with pinpricked eyes
on snow trod motorways

The ocean of air sinks below
to ice mist/ raining diamonds
so even the softest paw
crunches compact grass

But above in slow swirl/ stars
blink/ Selene coruscates/ casting
black over sleepless fish

Bats and owls dart through grass
ripping through cloudless sky
shrieking howl hymns to death

by Z D Dicks


Once I thought it was easy
Once I thought it all defined
Then came along another truth
I had to stop and find
My brain stretched
My mind popped
And in a chair I did flop
At thoughts of a void
Filled with billion of glowing plasma balls
I investigated using mathematical tools
Showing systems of rocks
And gaseous spheres
Ballet dancing with icy shards
Circling these pin point stars
And the stars bunched in fried egg shapes
With globules and dumbbells at any rate
Pulsing with annihilation
Galactic clutter that clusters
I felt I needed a vacation
So I moved onto super clusters
And voids billions of light years wide
Killing of my planetary pride
With invisible planets and stars burning cold
All many of phenominian yet to unfold
And just as this was all sinking in
The synapses began to sizzel and sing
With giant balloons inflating
Membranes and hand claps of gods for the rating
Thoughts spiralling around the concepts
Big Bang
Big Crunch
I scrabbled for some chocs to munch
And then with suns ringing like bells
With solar quakes
I stood back and with a shake
Saw it was all minute
Something small, insiginificant and really rather cute
Like the realisation of the child that was me
There was a whole world out there to see
The world kept expanding
And then the Universe rushed in to fill the gaps
Expanding my mind to the max
Now there is a multiverse
Which makes me smile and… curse
I ponder what on this adventure to take
And hope, just hope I have enough Kendal mint cake