Tuesday Poem: Contact, by Tracie McBride

the idea of sex with aliens
might have appealed.

having encountered
your loathsome race,
I am cured
of my deviancy.

with your putrid salty stench,
your pore-pitted skin
oozing at the mere
mention of heat.

with appendages
upon appendages
dangling from your
spongy carapace.

with your tiny globular eyes,
your chaotic, misfiring brain,
and that blind pink parasite
squirming inside your mouth.

It’s enough to turn
all three
of my stomachs.

Credit note: “Contact” was first published in Kaleidotrope, April 2007. It was republished in Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry From New Zealand, edited by Mark Pirie and Tim Jones (2009), and is included in Tracie’s new collection Ghosts Can Bleed.

Tim says: I will be posting my interview with Tracie McBride, a New Zealand poet and short story writer who’s now living in Australia, later this week. I asked her to send me a selection of her poems from which I could choose one as a Tuesday Poem, and although I liked all the poems she sent, I couldn’t go past this one, which is a particular favourite of mine from the Voyagers anthology. Science fiction poetry doesn’t have to be serious!

Tracie has a lot of interesting things to say in our interview: about being a ‘Kozzie’ – a Kiwi-Aussie; about her writing; and about the changing face of publishing – she’s also the vice-president of Dark Continents Publishing. Look out for our interview later this week.

You can read all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog – the featured poem is on the centre of the page, and the week’s other poems are linked from the right-hand column.

11 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem: Contact, by Tracie McBride

  1. There's a lot of mental giggling which goes with this poem. If you want to read deeply into it (not that I do – it's hilarious as it is) – you could see it as a commentary on the shallowness of how some people pick partners. I'm ready to bet two of my antennae that this is a teenage alien speaking.

  2. Thanks, Renee and AJ!Renee, I might see if I can prevail on the poet to answer your query – but perhaps I should check first that you are capable of regenerating those tentacles, just in case she says the alien isn't a teenager…

  3. great fun Tim!(ooh look I can comment! thank you kind blogger-gods)the word below seems something that should be used by you speculative writers: swordide

  4. Nice to hear from you, Isabel – and it reminds me that it has been far too long since I visited your blogs…My captcha below this comment is \”wartro\”, which sounds like something that, having been raised up on its hind legs and equipped with an iron helmet by the sorceries (and, indeed, the foundries) of an evil but industrious wizard, would wield a swordide with indiscriminate brutality. It wouldn't happen in a well-regulated society.

  5. I think this is my fav poem in Voyagers. I recall reading it out at one of the Voyagers readings we did somewhere or other. It gets a good laugh of recognition at the end. Thanks for sharing it again!

  6. To answer Piokiwi (or perhaps, to dodge answering Piokiwi)… it could be. One of the inspirations for this poem was all those old B grade sci fi movies where the human heroine is the object of lust for some disgusting tentacled alien creature. I always thought it unlikely that the alien would be sexually interested in humans. It would probably find us just as repulsive as we would find it. The other inspiration was the people who have a fetish for sex with aliens. I reckon that if they ever encountered a real extraterrestrial, they might just change their minds.

  7. Thanks, Tracie and Helen! Tracie, following up your comment on what people might actually think about sex with aliens, have you ever read \”And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side\” by James Tiptree Jnr, which anatomises exactly that topic? It's a wonderful story – but not a pleasant one.

  8. LOVE this poem! Thanks for sharing it Tim.I love sci fi and I love poetry but find it difficult to merge the two – this is a great example of how well it can work!

  9. Thanks, Claire! I'm editing an speculative poetry antho at the moment (SF, fantasy, horror etc poetry), but it's only open to to Australians and New Zealanders – if I ever get to edit an open one, I would love the chance to see a submission from you, because I'm sure it would be good!

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