Size / / /

Color provokes a psychic vibration.

Color hides a power still unknown

but real, which acts on every part

of the human body.

The spiral circumscribes a center, but no limits.

Nothing held there and

nothing there that desired to be held.

The populace falls up,

shedding confinements of skin and shadow,

riding the inverse surge of gravity

as light and line.

To yearn for flight

is to fall into forever,

every landing a new abyss.

Before his century arrived

he abandoned numbers for art,

abandoned a wife for a mistress,

abandoned a mistress for a wife,

till he at last found a companion

who could withstand deepest space.

The more frightening the world becomes

the more art becomes abstract.

He refused the most sure sanctuary,

hands extended, again and again,

promising escape to America.

He brushed them all away,

not trusting the beautiful void

to seek him out once more if he fled.

A human telescope aimed

at an angle no other could perceive,

focus adjusting over decades,

foregrounded first in the fey realms,

noting the tiny stars that crawled

through river flows

and couples in love.

Yet these lights shone from nowhere close.

The vast distance apparent

as he bent his lens.

His gaze rose through the shapes

behind the world,

the aggressive disputes

between entities without boundaries,

fields of mud and blood and blue

warring on the skins

of creatures without faces

seen in perilous closeup.

For so many years

those hostile clouds blocked his view.

Yet he had to strain further,

never dared stray too far

from his vantage—even

when the Bolsheviks took his home,

when the Nazis shut his school,

he only ran as far as Paris

and stayed put when the Nazis joined him.

The calming void

came to him each time he closed his eyes.

Those stars were letters swimming at creation's edge,

glyphs larger than galaxies,

moving over and under and around one another,

an endless ever-changing text,

new epics written with each shift in space.

He strove to read them,

captured in frustration on his canvas

mere words, snatches of calligraphy,

fragments of a cosmic alphabet.

When his own colors began to fade,

huddled by the wood stove,

hands afire with a vision of two great towers,

posts for a gateway to emptiness policed by ghosts,

he recognized he might, before his soul

broadcast out into the dark,

transcribe a single sentence.

It would have to be enough.

Perhaps the letters aren't in proper order.

Perhaps no one born since

could piece the map together,

place galaxies true in their quadrants,

connect the constellations.

But walk the ascending spiral.

Storms of shape and hue rain tremors

somewhere parsecs deep behind your eyes,

yet still electric, urgent,

spurring you to climb,

to slice through the harness of gravity

and fall into the codex written

at the boundary of time.

Color is the key. The eye is the hammer.

The soul is the piano with its many chords.

The artist is the hand that sets

the soul to vibrating.




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
27 Jul 2020

Stefan škrtl další sirkou a zapálil jednu ze svíček, které s sebou přinesl, pak další a další, dokud je neobklopoval celý kruh. Hanna nakrčila nos. Svíčky vydávaly zvláštní zápach, ale ne nepříjemný. Připomínal čerstvě posečenou trávu. I jejich tmavě olivová barva byla nezvyklá.
半透明の大江さんが洗面所から出てきて、いつもと同じようにテーブルに向かう。見えない食パンにバターを塗り、見えない新聞を片手に頰張る。まるでパントマイムだ。私はフローリングの床に座り込み、一連の動作を眺めた。
By: Amel Moussa
Translated by: Hager Ben Driss
Many things in my kitchen resemble me; I relate to them; we entertain one another. Water, fire, and electricity vegetables, water rich fruits, and dry fruits
أشياء ٌكثيرةٌ في مطبخي تُشبهني أتماهى مع هذه الأشياء ونُؤنسُ بعضنا.
He ignored her remark, ignited another match and lit a small candle. Then another one. He continued until a circle of candles surrounded them on the stage. Hanna scrunched her nose. The candles exuded a strange smell, but not an unpleasant one. It resembled freshly mown grass. The color was unusual too, a deep olive-green.
By: Eisuke Aikawa
Translated by: Toshiya Kamei
The translucent Ōe-san steps out of the bathroom and sits at the table as usual. He spreads butter on an invisible slice of bread, takes a bite, and chews it, holding the morning paper in his other hand. Just like a mime. I sit on the floor and observe his movements.
Issue 20 Jul 2020
By: Ranylt Richildis
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: JD Fox
By: JD Fox
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: JD Fox
17 Jul 2020
Strange Horizons is now accepting fiction submissions for our Mexico Special issue, which will be published at the end of November 2020!
17 Jul 2020
Strange Horizons lanza su convocatoria en busca textos narrativos para su Especial de México, que se publicará a finales de noviembre de 2020!
Issue 13 Jul 2020
By: Alex Jennings
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Kimberly Kaufman
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 6 Jul 2020
By: Stephen O'Donnell
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Thomas White
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 30 Jun 2020
By: Carlie St. George
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Janelle C. Shane
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 22 Jun 2020
By: Neha Maqsood
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Neha Maqsood
Issue 15 Jun 2020
By: Remy Reed Pincumbe
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Preston Grassmann
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 8 Jun 2020
By: Kathleen Jennings
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Keaton Bennett
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 2 Jun 2020
By: Sheree Renée Thomas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Maggie Damken
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
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