“The Ripper’s Vacation on Magellan VII” by John Grey

If two suns in the sky wasn’t strange enough,
there was a crimson sea
for my Earth head to wrap around.
But, back to the suns:
at dusk, they followed one another
down below the horizon
like giant drops of blood.

Once I got over the color of the waters,
there was sailing to enjoy
and black-winged jumping fish to astonish.
Did I say sailing?
There wasn’t a jib, a spinnaker, in sight.
Solar powered our sloop.
We literally hummed across that open vein…
I mean chartreuse surface.

But I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
Nor in fog-bound Victorian London.
So if two jaloppers wanted to
go through their crazy mating ritual before my eyes
then good luck to them.
I snapped plenty of photos.
This time it was the male
who ripped out the other’s innards after procreation.
I promised myself that, when I die,
I’ll come back as a jalopper.

At least, I departed that planet
before the volcano exploded
and took out on their twenty-seven moons.
From the reports I read,
a sky a-flame was a spectacular sight
but the fallout took its toll.
Many of the hotels, the holiday homes,
will need to be rebuilt.
And the red lake is streaked green
with the blood of the locals.

But I have fond memories of three-headed bartenders,
six-legged dancers
and a fling with a scarlet-skinned female.
At least, I thought she was scarlet-skinned.
She was green when I left.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Tau, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Examined Life Journal and Midwest Quarterly.
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