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  April 2008
volume 6 number 1
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Gene van Troyer April 2008



art by dee rimbaud

    Gene van Troyer is a past editor of Portland Review and Star*Line. His poetry and fiction has appeared in Poly: New Speculative Writing, Velocities, Last Wave, Amazing Stories, Asimov's SF Magazine, The Umbral Anthology of Science Fiction Poetry, The Rhysling Anthology, Snow Monkey, Strange Horizons, and other books and journals. He also edited with Grania Davis a collection of Japanese science fiction and fantasy stories in translation, Speculative Japan: Outstanding Tales of Japanese SF/F from Kurodahan Press, and Collaborations: A Collection of Collaborative Poetry from Ravenna Press. He is a native Oregonian transplanted to semi-tropical Okinawa, Japan.



(You Are Here) Square One

In this hologram that is your head
each part reflects the whole, which is to say,
there's nowhere in your head that you can go
to get awayŚthe photos in those empty
furnished rooms will dog you night and dayŚ
your ersatz afterlife will be a loom

on which they'll weave the shroud-like mantle
of your guilt. They cannot tolerate this careless
disrespect you show, this listless disregard for all
that you and they together built now falling into ruin.
You are here. Not there in the backlit glow

of a megamultiuser simulation. The shades
don't really care for life within a made-up life.
It really doesn't go to anywhere except square one
past the last level. You know in the deepest lair
of your back brain that they're right.
Life in its cruelties just isn't fair.

They yank you back into their clamoring memories,
the only link that counts. You are here, they say,
no matter what you think.

copyright 2007 Gene van Troyer



(You Are Here) Whose Who's There

There is no single you and all of them are one. You only need
to chooseŚnot one, not two, not any given few or countless manyŚ
but just to be. It comes whirling to your thoughts like thistleseed
riding on the wind. It spreads its roots and shoots along the veiny

network of your nerves. The storming pages in the snowglobe
of your humid dream sift down around the floating base of the figurine
that's you. The boat drifts on your river red and the Boatman in his robe
looks back at you. The serous current of the river flows between

the here and now and all that's unforetold and waiting for your telling.
You've slipped the abysmal maze of Morpheus and burst the bubble
of distortion. Feeling like a genie just decanted from an ancient bottle,
you hear the old guy chuckle in the prism of your forebrain, quelling

any thought of closure. You are here, but your tapestry is mended
for the meantime only. The weave and its embroidery open-ended.

copyright 2007 Gene van Troyer



(You Are Here) Holo Tree

Your head feels like a crystal hologram that represents the rose tree
planted near the sidewalk in your front yard. Its buds are blooming
red and white. You can almost smell the fragrance from this merry
sight, a hint of sweetness wafting on the predawn air that is assuming

hues of morning light. The shades won't let you rest until you've seen
the slow unfurling of each blossom like an open-ended spiral winding out
into the world. And then the the petals scatter and like butterflies careen
away upon a subtle breeze. Treat them as our memories. Can you doubt

that we live on as long as you are here to nurture them? We aren't the ones
who hold you here. You feel the truth in what the rose tree says. Your
missing loved ones couldn't block your path, it's only you who chastens
your desire to to stay as sole survivor. Perhaps you're lost no more.

The rose tree petals rise, a swirl of red and white that melts and flows
into your river. The Boatman calmly steers the course you chose.

copyright 2007 Gene van Troyer