Size / / /

For Tom Disch

The escalator, rolling ever down,

has reached an end at last and here you lie

as lonely as a sailor left to drown—

like your trapped hero, we cannot know why.

The roaches march in lockstep to commands

like convicts programmed for unwelcome war,

a war that's lost though no one understands

but you, who tried to warn us once before

what lies in wait for red-faced arrogance.

"We are all cripples"—you, alone, divine,

a smirking Momus whose knife-twirling prance

drew blood to fill our cups of dream-dark wine.

Your Resurrection surely won't take long:

your demon words borne high on wings of song.


For a blog post explaining the references in this poem, please see here.

Mike Allen lives in Roanoke, Va. with his wife Anita, a demonic cat, and a comical dog. Mike's fiction can be found in Weird Tales, his poetry in Nebula Awards Showcase 2008 and Nebula Awards Showcase 2009. Norilana Books has brought out a new poetry collection, The Journey to Kailash, and a new anthology of short stories, Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness, which Publishers Weekly praises for its "strong and delicious taste of weird." He's currently at work assembling the sequel, of course named Clockwork Phoenix 2. Last month he gave a presentation about "The Poetry of Science Fiction" at the Library of Congress. More of Mike's work is available in the Strange Horizons archive. You can view Mike's website at www.descentintolight.com, and he can be reached by email at mythicdelirium@gmail.com.



Mike Allen is president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association and editor of the speculative poetry journal Mythic Delirium. With Roger Dutcher, Mike is also editor of The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, which for the first time collects the Rhysling Award-winning poems from 1978 to 2004 in one volume. His newest poetry collection, Disturbing Muses, is out from Prime Books, with a second collection, Strange Wisdoms of the Dead, soon to follow. Mike's poems can also be found in Nebula Awards Showcase 2005, both editions of The 2005 Rhysling Anthology, and the Strange Horizons archives.
Current Issue
29 Nov 2021

It is perhaps fitting, therefore, that our donor's choice special issue for 2021 is titled—simply—Friendship.
The year before this, the girls at school had called her Little Lila .
Pictures of me that day are kept in the ship’s files, sent back to Earth to be used in my captors’ eventual war crimes tribunals.
Perhaps a new urban system of star navigation is needed
This world, covered in spectral ebullience, was tied together by bows of light
Are you a good witch / or a bad witch? / as if there’s an answer earned, inscribed in bubbles reflecting an inverse crown.
When does the pursuit of pure thought, pure idealism, pure escapism become detrimental?
Wednesday: The Best of World SF, Volume 1, edited by Lavie Tidhar 
Friday: Anti-Life by Vee Tat Lam 
Issue 22 Nov 2021
Issue 15 Nov 2021
By: Madeline Grigg
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 8 Nov 2021
By: Allison Parrish
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 1 Nov 2021
By: Liam Corley
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Liam Corley
Issue 25 Oct 2021
Strange Horizons
Issue 18 Oct 2021
By: K. Ceres Wright
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 11 Oct 2021
By: Lisabelle Tay
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
Issue 4 Oct 2021
By: Anthony Okpunor
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 2 Oct 2021
Podcast: Fund Drive 2021 Poetry 
By: Michael Meyerhofer
By: Wale Ayinla
Podcast read by: Michael Meyerhofer
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
29 Sep 2021
Opening to fiction submissions for the month of November!
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