The Hollow Sphere
by Mike Allen



Beneath my crown lounges

a pantheon of small and desperate gods,

their smooth flesh grown cracked and seamed

for want of each others' attentions;


My jackal-headed wit flashing her fangful grin

at no one and nothing; her silent yellow-eyed

sidekick nervously peeling his silky pelt raw;

the swollen one that fills an alcove

curls his elephant trunk, giggles softly

and tsks his shame. Spray of water

on his knee from the huge fish gasping

on the floor, jaw crippled from its own weight, the hour hand

in its eye twisting backward painfully.

A sad moon like a discarded toadstool

strains to lift a face scarred by boots.


And these skeletal people crawling among them

who are these grovelers in stained robes?

Any demon worth its salt would call them provender.


I will my starving avatars

to eat these pathetic cavern children

who stopped feeding us with love,

whose stale blood shall be poor substitute

no better than unleavened bread,

their flesh dry as paper spewed

from ash-clogged machines,

but enough to keep us alive till Oasis arrives.


Her voice tells me I speak in symbols

only my own small gods can read.

I tell this sorry Oracle my hosts are blind.


Only one power shines beneath this cemented dome,

burns Lucifer bright, pure hatred pulsing.

See how these godlings give their lives,

steam of spirit rising from beast-headed bodies,

whorling into One,

weaving the gravity of rage.


This shall grind

the bones of the followers with the pestle of its will.

This will split

the Oracle's face, spit sand in the screaming wound.

This will sculpt a new, drooling face

from the moon's erupting peaks,

this will goad the elephant god to fly,

this will give the shark's clockwork jaws

the strength to ratchet closed.



About the Author:

The Philadelphia Inquirer has called Mike Allen's newest collection, Strange Wisdoms of the Dead, "poetry for goths of all ages" that does "a fine job of making the human scary and the scary human." His other books include the poetry collections Defacing the Moon, Petting the Time Shark and Disturbing Muses and the anthologies Mythic and Mythic 2. For nine years he's been editor of the poetry journal Mythic Delirium. His fiction has sold to H.P. Lovecraft's Magazine of Horror, Helix SF, Interzone, and Weird Tales. He's a two-time winner of the Rhysling Award for speculative poetry.


Poem 2007 Mike Allen.