Size / / /

at last I see this conspiracy
for what it is: a temporal embezzlement

siphoning away my time for (life) (love) (you)
into phantom accounts opened
outside the borders of event and effect

murdering thieves         piss away my
precious moments to make their own hours pass
in blueblood gourmet leisure         depriving
my days of sleep, of spark, crammed full

of phone calls and supershriek demands and meals
crammed down on the fly         while I starve
for a second of rest they lounge in their
celestial sofas with all the time in the world
to indulge their whims and fleshy one night stands
(one endless night, stolen contraband)

no         cops to take the report
no         courts to condemn the crime
no         headsman to hew off their hands
I         must scheme and plot and turn vigilant

make my own time, counterfeit the minutes,
stuff them in the cracks, pad here, pad here,
breaths of fresh air injected in the frantic

then once I've made enough room to move
grasp a length of time with my fingers         tie a knot

darling, I've reserved a loop         let's slip into and
spend a forgotten while         emerge
the same moment we left, sweaty and spent
and badly in need of a shower

could I make a double knot, could our circle eat its
own tail,
divide into a new stream with each choice
we make inside         the infinities together we so
richly deserve
all played out even before they begin?

but where, when have you gone         (the more
time I make, the less you have, slipping away
carried off in the stream)

whose time must we steal to have a future together?


Copyright © 2003 Mike Allen

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Mike Allen lives in Roanoke with his wife Anita, two rambunctious puppies, and a cranky old cat. By day, he's a newspaper reporter. In his off-hours, he edits Mythic Delirium, DNA Publications' poetry journal. His poetry and fiction have appeared in Absolute Magnitude, Altair, Weird Tales, and Strange Horizons. He is the author of two poetry collections, Defacing the Moon and the newly-released Petting the Time Shark. His previous publications in Strange Horizons can be found in our Archive. To contact Mike, email

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.
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