For the record (Mythic Delirium 24 update)

/ April 27th, 2011 / No Comments »

The final bit of interior art for the upcoming issue is in. Paula Friedlander and Tim Mullins came up with one illustration each for Elissa Malcohn’s “The Last Dragon Slayer,” creating an interesting (and deliberate) contrast….

Paula's dragon

Tim's Dragon

A note about “No One”

/ April 27th, 2011 / 1 Comment »

Another domestic poem, born out of nothing more than strange noises regularly heard at night outside my window in the very office where I now sit.  The poem’s approach owes a great debt to the wonderful ending of Thomas Ligotti’s horror story “Nethescurial,” which is why I eventually dedicated the poem to him. As luck would have it, I actually got to show the poem to Ligotti himself, and he dug it and told me he felt honored. So I suppose I can die gruesomely happy.

(Read and hear the poem here.)

The chest is filled to the brim with buttons, of just about every kind you think could exist

/ April 27th, 2011 / No Comments »

My short story “The Button Bin” is now available online in its entirety at Apex Magazine.

Poems from The Journey to Kailash X

/ April 27th, 2011 / 1 Comment »

No One

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I do not hear a tapping
beside me at the window.
I will not raise the shade.
I will not see eyes there,
silver with reflected moonlight,
the same eyes that flashed

outside the attic window
as I peered up the dark stairwell
three long nights ago.
What face could have those eyes?
It doesn’t matter, I tell myself.
I did not see them.

The scratching on the pane
I hear is just a branch
striking the glass.
There is no tree
next to my window,
but listen how the wind breathes —

it must have blown a branch down
from elsewhere in the yard.
The noise is relentless,
but tonight I’ll leave it be,
stay here in my pool of light,
with my bookshelves and papers

and the comforting sounds
of my fingers on the keys.
There is no need
to indulge this growing impulse
to reach out, tug the shade,
unlatch the sash.

There is no pale face
waiting in the dark.
No one is screaming.

            for Thomas Ligotti

“No One” first appeared in Dreams & Nightmares #62, 2002. Copyright © 2002 by Mike Allen. Reading by the author, © 2008. Art: Detail from “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters” by Francisco de Goya, 1799.

A note about “Disaster at the BrainBank™ ATM”

/ April 26th, 2011 / No Comments »

A real-life version of this poem actually happened to us, years ago. A teller at our bank mistyped our account number, causing a deposit to vanish into non-existent account limbo. And of course when we wrote checks based on the not-unreasonable assumption that our money had not just spontaneously disappeared into an alternate dimension, we were penalized with steep overdraft fees. As I recall, the bank branch manager argued that it was our responsibility to catch the screw-up … It probably won’t surprise you that we cancelled our accounts with said bank soon after. This poem basically riffs on that incident, with the details given a what-if spin and seasoned with a dash of (dark) humor.

(Read and hear the poem here.)

Poems from The Journey to Kailash IX

/ April 26th, 2011 / 1 Comment »

Disaster at the BrainBank™ ATM

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We’re sorry, we’ve misfiled your personality,
and deposited your childhood memories
in someone else’s account. We warned you:
we’ve just upgraded, you must protect
your own persona till the bugs smooth out.
It seems you’ve far surpassed your limit
In altruistic reverie, we’ve deducted two
life-changing epiphanies for each infraction
(our standard fee) and provided you with
four new subconscious anxieties as insurance
against our own liability. Now here’s your requested
pleasure center stimulation. Have a Nice Daydream™.

“Disaster at the Brainbank™ ATM” first appeared in Talebones, Oct. 1998. Copyright © 1998 by Mike Allen. Reading by the author, © 2008. Art: Images courtesy of Wikipedia.

A note about “Giving Back to the Muse”

/ April 25th, 2011 / No Comments »

This poem means to be a reversal of the typical poet-muse relationship; I once called it an “anti-muse” poem and was corrected — by a YouTube commenter! — that it’s still a tribute, in its own way.

And for some reason, I slipped in a Marshall McLuhan reference. That’s what an advanced degree does for one.

(Read and hear the poem here.)

A Mythic Delirium announcement and reminder

/ April 25th, 2011 / No Comments »

Hey, folks, two things.

First, as you might have guessed by now, Mythic Delirium 24 isn’t going to make its target release date of April. These things happen in the realm of DIY small press projects … I’m waiting on cover artist Tim Mullins to finish his newest cover and also to complete an interior illustration. Once those things are done, we launch. (Everything else is ready.)

Second, this is the final week to submit poems to be considered for publication in Issue 25. The reading window will shut down at the end of May 1. (Guidelines are here if you need a refresher.)

Poems from The Journey to Kailash VIII

/ April 25th, 2011 / 1 Comment »

Giving Back to the Muse

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She wears a necklace of knives and eyes,
a sash sewn from flags and faces,
boots welded from bomb fragments,
a belt of hangman’s rope.
You fear she’ll see you watching
but you can’t look away,
not even once she notices your stare.
She is medium cool; she requires
all your senses to impart the vision,
stab your eyes, shred your feet,
strangle you in half and burn your face away.
Your sinuses crack like eggshells.
Your loins avalanche blood.
You put your tongue in her mouth,
let her chew and swallow. What use
were your words ever anyway?

“Giving Back to the Muse” and accompanying reading first appeared online in Goblin Fruit, Issue 7, Autumn 2007. Copyright © 2007 by Mike Allen. Art: Detail from “Orpheus” by Gustave Moreau, 1865.

A note about “Petals”

/ April 24th, 2011 / No Comments »

A small voice in the back of my brain tells me this poem was inspired by a dream, though if that’s true I have no memory of the dream itself — scattered by the winds, no doubt. What I can tell you for certain is that, surprise, surprise, there’s really nothing speculative going on here, despite the trappings. This piece is very autobiographical, a look back at the stages of my own life through the bleakest possible lens … though it’s not necessarily a truthful representation of how I view my own history. Tricksy, tricksy poetry.

On that note: Happy Easter, everyone!

(Read and hear the poem here.)

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