Bruce Boston (Western Voices 2020)

Exclusive: Western Voices, 2020: Edited by Scott Thomas Outlar
Bio: Bruce Boston is the author of sixty books and chapbooks, including the novels The Guardener’s Tale and Stained Glass Rain. His poetry has received the Bram Stoker Award, the Asimov’s Readers Award, and the Rhysling and Grand Master Awards of the SFPA. His fiction has received a Pushcart Prize, and twice been a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award (novel, short story). His poetry and fiction have appeared most visibly in Asimov’s SF, Analog, Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, Daily Science Fiction, Pedestal, Strange Horizons, Nebula Awards Showcase (St. Martin’s), Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror (St. Martin’s), and Year’s Best Horror (Daw).

The Alchemist Takes a Lover
in the Infinite Variety of Fire

In the arcane wilderness
far from the commerce and rage
the artifex and his soror mystica
watch the precious distillates
stream against the glass.

Male soul and female spirit
they seek not only the alcahest,
the aurum vulgi of the day,
but night’s subterranean coin,
an aurum philosophicum

of sure golden illumination
cracked from the celestial egg.
Sulfur and quicksilver fuse
in the depths of their study,
a sleeping deity stirs

in the bellows of their breath:
the sick metals are cured,
a glowing stone revealed.
Far from cities and nations
in the untamed birdsong wood,

the alchemist and his lover
join bodies and minds
in rites of transmutation
to feel their warmth ascend.
From calcination to sublimation

in the vas hermitca of self,
mercurial essence is renewed
by flight dazzling and precise.
Fire, as it leaps against the grate,
never dances the same dance twice.

A Life in the Day Of

The majestic blooming
of the century plant
reveals petals of pure yellow
and stained cream,
distinct pistils and stamens.

I will love you, she said,
as Freud loved the id
in its trammeled fury.

The jaws of my brain,
adrift in opaque bestiality,
question the integrity
of a Pythagorean
reclining nude.

The heel stamp of my pen
assassinates the art
of nuclear mystics.

I will love you, she said,
as Darwin loved evolution.
Things change.

In an algid moment
the final consequences
of the abominable resonance
of a soft and hairy
architecture are revealed.

Diacritical exclamations!

The ravishing comprehension
of cannibal imperialism
by a paranoid critic.

I will eat you like the peach,
she said, I eat every Sunday
in the sky black morn.

Having teased
the sensitive mimosa
in the circular greenhouse
late that afternoon,
he would drink peppermint tea
with the ghost of morning.

The Poetry of Science Fiction*

Against the fall of night,
across the wounded galaxies,
envoy to new worlds,
behold the man –he, she, and it!–
born into light, dying of the light,
becoming alien between worlds,
a new species more than human
always coming home
alone against tomorrow.

Time and again, those who can,
change the sky and all between.
We cast down the stars,
four hundred billion stars
on wings of song.
Brightness falls from the air,
downward to the Earth,
down the bright way
burning with a vision.
Earth abides, a swiftly tilting
planet in the ocean of night.

Explorers of the infinite,
exiled from Earth,
dancing at the edge of the world,
we call back yesterday
in memory yet green.
We return to Earth
but we are not of the Earth.
The future took us out there
across the sea of suns
in search of forever,
beyond the blue event horizon
where time winds blow.

Lest darkness fall
you shall know them.
Strange relations. Strange
ports of call. Strange horizons
from utopia to nightmare.
Star-line velocities ten thousand
light years from home.
Men like gods. Women of wonder
holding your eight hands.
The shape of things to come.

The stars are ours -- take back plenty!
Dream the creation of tomorrow!
Dream the last dangerous visions!

*Except for changes in punctuation and capitalization, this poem is composed entirely and verbatim from the titles of science fiction books and periodicals. List available on request from the author

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