Currently Browsing: Vol. 7

Editor’s Note: Vol. 7, Issue 4...

We’re back with an issue dedicated to escape and utopias.

Our first tale, from Rachel Swirsky, tells of secret help hens receive as they flee the coop. It’s entitled “Exodus.” George Walker’s story, “Zorroid,” follows a woman’s perilous journey as she crosses a border, while A.C. Wise’s “Cloth from Flesh, Flesh from Bone” relates the results of searches by two very different women.

Our poets this month are G.O. Clark, Marsheila Rockwell, David Kopaska-Merkel, and J.C. Runolfson, with their respective poems, “Incandescent Lady,” “The Diamond Throne,” “Designation and Succession Among the Gods,” and “What You Never Knew About the Princess.” Enjoy!

This is my last issue as publisher of Ideomancer, as I return to my own writing. But I leave the magazine in the very capable hands of Leah Bobet, who’s been my second for the last year and longer. We hope you’ll continue to follow Ideomancer as it grows and changes, and I won’t disappear completely—I enjoy being a part of Ideomancer far too much.

Marsha Sisolak

7:4: “What You Never Knew About the Princess”, by J.C. Runolfson...

What you never knew about the princess
is that she likes to go down to the shore at midnight
kick off her shoes
dig her toes in the sand
as she dances with the selkies.

What you never knew about the princess
is that she likes singing with the wolves
as much as the nightingales
opening her throat and howling
the daughter of the man who won his crown on the battlefield.

What you never knew about the princess
is that she knows the genus and species
of every frog in the palace ponds
and the golden ball was very pretty
but a magnifying glass would be a better gift.

What you never knew about the princess
is that she bred those roses, bled on them
she doesn’t need you to protect her from thorns
to compare her to the fairest blooms
her heart beats in both.

What you never knew about the princess
is that she likes standing in the tower window
spreading her arms wide
scaring her ladies-in-waiting
learning to fly.

What you never knew about the princess
is she has a habit of getting lost in her own castle
exploring unused rooms for hours
emerging dusty and sweaty and beaming with discovery
old treasures and junk alike precious in her eyes.

What you never knew about the princess
is that she has sisters just as lovely, just as kind
just as clever as you never knew she was, is
a bowery of witty women trading rings and hair and needlework
for wings, tales, secrets freedom.

What you never knew about the princess
is that, while you hacked through thorns
climbed the tower stair
gazed on her fair face like something out of a dream
she was awake the whole time.

J. C. Runolfson lives in San Diego, where she looks for selkies in the waves and spots dryads in Balboa Park. Her work has appeared in Lone Star Stories, The Sword Review, Goblin Fruit, and Sybil’s Garage, among other publications.

This poem was inspired by the Elise Matthesen necklace of the same name, and by the author’s conviction that, in most fairy tales, princess is just another word for hero.

7:4: “Designation and Succession Among the Gods”, by David Kopaska-Merkel...

She Who Must Not Be Named met
He Who Must Not Be Named after school,
behind the bleachers.

He Who Must Not Be Named gave
She Who Must Not Be Named
that which must not be named
and it was good.

The next morning, He Who Must Not Be Named
challenged He Who Rules
and there was a terrible battle.

He Who Must Not Be Named was defeated,
and He was cast out. He Who Rules took
possession of She Who Must Not Be Named
and it was good.

In the fullness of time She Who Must Not Be Named
returned to school with the Son of God in tow
and great was the rejoicing.

The next morning, the Son of God challenged
He Who Rules. There was a terrible battle,
and He Who Rules was defeated.

Much was the lamentation of those who follow
and the Son of God placed He Who Ruled in the sky
where every day he shades the yard during recess
and it is good.

David Kopaska-Merkel has had poetry and fiction published in Asimov’s, Night Cry, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, Star*Line, and dozens of other venues on paper and on the web. He has work forthcoming in Asimov’s, the Daily Cabal, scifaikuest, chapbooks from speculative house of poetry and naked snake press, and a myriad other places. He lives in a centuried farmhouse in what was once rural Alabama, and is surrounded by artists.

I donated to the Strange Horizons fundraising auction the right to choose the topic of my next poem. I really hoped that whoever bought it would choose a subject I could work with and Lisa Mantchev chose secret names. I was grateful! It was a short step to the concept of the nameless God. Yahweh (not his real name) is perhaps the most famous example, but there is He Who Must Not Be Named from the Cthulhu mythos and that’s what I was thinking of. I don’t really know what made me translate this idea to the schoolyard, but the rest was almost inevitable.

7:4: “The Diamond Throne”, by Marsheila Rockwell...

We met before the Diamond Throne
Privileged children of the Gem Court
Fosterlings pledging our parents’ fealty
Our freedom the price of their luxuries

Perfumed courtyards and music-filled halls were
No mask for the truth of our new setting
Star-on-Earth, jewel of all the bards’ tales
A prison fit for noble chattel

Our fates needle-writ upon our arms
Shackles forged of iridescent ink
Markings the same as those borne by
Both the king’s horses and his whores

We loved despite the Diamond Throne
Displaced children of the Gem Court
Our lives no longer our own, perhaps
But not so our hearts-not so our hearts

Their machinations brought us together
Closer than they could have known, or wanted
They had not counted on our dark desire
Like calls to like, trapped behind velvet bars

Shadowed gardens or garderobes
Our trysting the only brightness
In lives of pampered slavery
We should have seen how it must end

We wept before the Diamond Throne
Disgraced children of the Gem Court
New sentences inscribed on our flesh
With scourges this time instead of quills

But not to welcome death, not that release
Our lines the mortar of alliances
We could not be killed, but separated
Bound now to others for the good of all

You, fiercest son of the House of Ruby
I, a Sapphire-gentler, but no less hard
Yet in the end, corundum only
And diamond, my darling, cuts us both

Marsheila (Marcy) Rockwell is a Rhysling-nominated poet and author who resides in the Valley of the Sun with her husband and children. From her desert castle, she wages an epic war against spiders, crabgrass and construction dust. In between skirmishes, she writes. You can find out what she’s written lately (and who is winning the war) here.

For a writer or a poet, no experience is ever wasted-it all becomes fodder for the next story or poem. In this case, I finally got to put my geology minor to good use. Who knew rocks could be so tragically romantic?

7:4: “Incandescent Lady”, by G.O. Clark...

Ms. Monowatt
has a skirt made of
soft-white sixty watt bulbs,
pierced ears adorned with
seven watt stars, and
fluorescent locks of
dark, neon hair.

She holds two
3-way bulbs in her
outstretched hands, each
brightness setting a beacon
signaling one of her ever
changing moods.

Like a shapely,
sensual light house,
she projects her desire—
quiet intimacy, routine sex,
hot unfettered passion—
which one can interpret
as an open invitation,
or a warning.

She always stands
out in a crowd, sheds
light upon one’s darkest
thoughts, and warms the
coldest corners of a
monastic cell.

One need not
plug her in, for her
power generates from
within, from the very heart
of her being—the distant
opposite of tunnel’s-end
white light.

G. O. Clark has been publishing his poetry, short stories, and book reviews since 1979. His writing of late has appeared in Talebones, Asimov’s, Tales of the Talisman, Star*Line, and many others. He’s the author of seven chapbooks of poetry, the two most recent, 25 Cent Rocket to the Stars and Mortician’s Tea, due out soon. Working 8 to 5 in a library keeps him in relative comfort, and even leaves enough left over each month to feed his cat.

The inspiration for Incandescent Lady came from staring at an old advertising poster. It’s not a totally literal interpretation, but it is true to the aging eye of this beholder. Here’s a link to the actual picture.

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