Size / / /

Seek the pusher in the bands

of shadow cordoning the trees.

Silver glitters in his cratered eyes,

pockets pregnant

with moondust in dimebags.

He dangles one,

flicks it so the residue settles,

holy manna from an astronaut's boot.

Once was, for the thrill he sells,

you signed away a soul.

Now it's cheap as a little blood

left dripping on the holly, a grope

swiftly ended beneath hawthorn spines,

or the bark peeled from a memory

that matters to no one but you:

see it come to life and wriggle

in his stunted hands.

His rat teeth flash, reflections

of the glow from your bag.

Draw your hood tight, and don't let his fingers

press against yours too long.

Soon barricaded in the closet

of your room, alone

with the famished dark; pull the spoon

from your mouth, let something sour

drip into your dreams and burn

a page to set the mixture boiling.

Savor this dollop of alchemy,

this dribble of ectoplasm, your voyage

beyond the coral shelf

of the bloodstream. The boosters

have survived the launch,

no need for a new needle.

But the expedition always ends too soon.




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
26 Sep 2022

Would a Teixcalaanli aristocrat look up at the sky, think of Lsel Station, and wonder—with Auden—"what doubtful act allows/ Our freedom in this English house/ our picnics in the sun"?
I propose that The Expanse and its ilk present us with a similar sentiment, in reverse—a warning that for all the promise of futurism and technological advancement, plenty of new, and perhaps much worse futures are right before us. In the course of outrunning la vieux monde, we may find that we are awaited not simply by new worlds to win, but also many more which may yet be lost.
where oil slurped up out of the dirt, they drink the coffee
Science fiction is a genre that continues to struggle with its own colonialist history, of which many of its portrayals of extractivism are a part. Science fiction is also a genre that has a history of being socially progressive and conscious – these are both truths.
Bring my stones, my bones, back to me
If we are to accept that the extractive unconscious is latent, is everywhere, part of everything, but unseen and unspoken, and killing us in our waking lives, then science fiction constitutes its dreams.
they are quoting Darwish at the picket & i am finally breathing again
Waste is profoundly shaping and changing our society and our way of living. Our daily mundane world always treats waste as a hidden structure, together with its whole ecosystem, and places it beyond our sight, to maintain the glories of contemporary life. But unfortunately, some are advantaged by this, while others suffer.
Like this woman, I am carrying the world on my back.
So we’re talking about a violence that supplants the histories of people and things, scrubbing them clean so that they can fuel the oppressive and unequal status quo it sustains.
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