13:4: “The Star Reader’s Almanac” by Alexandra Seidel...

The night is open like a book begging to be read
there is, in its starry letters, catabasis to be had
and the dream of falling up and under
the spell of sky

I bind my firmament to the night sky
and the night sky binds to all other things
above and beyond, links
fates together like soft wool to thread

Inscribed book of firmaments and fates,
rocks pages like cradles just beyond that strip
of horizon, trips black holes in words,
grudges in their own dark,
and longing in the distance between stars


Alexandra Seidel writes poems and stories of things born from imagination and dreams. Some of her work can be found in Goblin Fruit, Mythic Delirium, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. If you are so inclined you can follow Alexa on Twitter (@Alexa_Seidel) or read her blog: www.tigerinthematchstickbox.blogspot.com. She says:

This poem actually began with the first line, which just happened to plant itself in my brain during a bout of creativity. The rest just fell into place around it like any constellation would.


Photograph of hoarfrost in Niedersachsen, Germany, by Daniel Schwen, is provided under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

13:3: “The Glass Men”, by Alexandra Seidel...

These are the men of glass
their hearts the ambered smoke within
the brittle mist of ages, hungry for love
and poorer for it

These are the men of glass
who catch light like dreams of drowning swallows,
who breathe only shadow where others
swallow air

These are the men of glass
who carry inside them our past like shards of painted light
These are the men who will not go
and who will break only if
they can cut to quick and bone
where their deepest edges show


Alexandra Seidel writes poems and stories of things born from imagination and dreams. Some of her work can be found in Goblin Fruit, Mythic Delirium, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. If you are so inclined you can follow Alexa on Twitter (@Alexa_Seidel) or read her blog: www.tigerinthematchstickbox.blogspot.com. She says:

“The Glass Men” is quite simply a result of my infatuation with Eliot’s “The Hollow Men”, and everything else that’s in there traveled through my subconscious to finally germinate in my creative brain space.

 


Photograph of hoarfrost in Niedersachsen, Germany, by Daniel Schwen, is provided under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

12:1: “Uncertainty Principle”, by Alexandra Seidel...

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

                      She has never seen him, glimpsed him
                      only in the tales of others: in maelstrom ink,
                      time scabbed upon pages, her mind-verse.
                      His eyes change color when she doesn’t see
                      but sees, and she tries to fill the blank spaces of his face
                      with parts of other men: a mathematics
                      professor’s cave-deep eyes, a physicist’s crooked trickster smile.

I will be your snow bride.
Fill my mouth with bear blood and cold winter leaves
gift me a crown of stag skull to hold my veil of bones
and worship the silence inside of me.

                      He never speaks to her.
                      When other arms hold her, they are starlight warm
                      but feel cold as the silence of the starless black.
                      She does not know if his arms exist.
                      But she wishes for them, her wish
                      a stargazer’s shootingstarwish for alien life.

I will be your grass bride.
Wreathe my branch limbs into such shapes as please you,
call a veil of bees from within my bones
and I promise that the blossoms will burst, will bloom.

                      She fills the light years with milestones
                      of other men’s loving. She thinks there is an echo
                      of him in them, like a breath almost expelled
                      by an ancient statue of Pan.
                      The distance traveled alone, so harsh.

I will be your sunflower bride.
My bones are dry, sandalwood and copper scented
they have given in to heat. Beneath a veil of pollen find me
and feel my blood, hot beneath the skin.

                      Stars bleed their lives to her in dreams.
                      Ursa Major, the Bright Bear, speaks of hope and wishing,
                      but her wish–he–is not from here,
                      not from this world, not from any other.
                      A thought and ink-borne wish, he is
                      a starlight-shadow that eclipses her sunlight life.

I will be your hay bride.
Red apple peels give me for a veil, bones of my fingers white
as skinned apples. My eyes want to capture the color of a single leaf
and forget about the change, green gold scarlet.

                      Constellations change only at the passing of ages.
                      Her age is one of pain, of something lost
                      that she never knew how to own.
                      Star-crossed not by fate but by her ink-poisoned dreams,
                      she thinks of him as she wears the gray of winter.
                      And yet his gravity still pulls her, and she knows
                      that the truth of his mass and his shootingstarwarmth are uncertain
                      but real to her like white dots on a map


Alexandra Seidel probably caught the myth and fairy tale bug while she was out in the woods one midsummer day. Meanwhile, the disease has turned her into a Rhysling-nominated poet, a writer and editor. Her first collection of stories and poems, All Our Dark Lovers, is forthcoming from Morrigan Books on Valentine’s Day 2013. Other work may be found in Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit, Stone Telling, and elsewhere. You can follow her on Twitter (@Alexa_Seidel) or read her blog: www.tigerinthematchstickbox.blogspot.com.
She says:

I do not remember one clear drop of inspiration for this piece, there are many things coming together here. There is the longing to know (or map) all the universe, both the literal one of the physical world but also the metaphorical one inside ourselves. I was also working with the idea of change in order to find love or to be loved, which is not always the same thing, especially not in this poem. The left column represents order, be it the structure that life imposes on us or the way we try to make sense of our lives. On the right, there are the inner workings of my protagonist, if you will, with the chilling realization that wanting and having at the same time cannot be achieved.

Photograph of Ursa Major seen from Hawaii is in the public domain.

11:3: “A Metamorphosis of Dream”, by Alexandra Seidel...

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

He collects tigers in wells, panthers and snow leopards
at the bottom of dead lakes, in the hearts of glaciers;
insects and bugs, spiders with eight lives and even caterpillars
he hides in all and every kind of nut, hazelnut, walnut, macadamia and chestnut…
those things, shelled and frozen, he keeps safely hanging from his trees
grown from a forest floor of sand, wider than the eye can see.

He sometimes goes by Morpheus and when he does, the story goes
that he blends squashed snakeskin and bat’s cry into a canvas
and hands you a brush and lets you do your thing;
he offers you colors that he himself prepared. Something
garish then escapes, something Bosch might have painted,
wide awake, sand caked under his fingernails.

He sometimes calls himself Oneiros; Oneiros
keeps painted masks tucked in among the feathers of his wings,
masks with eyes and tongues, with red mouths and teeth, masks
with words and songs, masks with screams and confessions;
he might dare you to pick one and wear it or he might drop one before you
along with a scattering of feathers as he leaves you standing, feet buried in sand.

You might also call him Morphine, he who breaks the shells of nuts
and takes all the eight lives of spiders in his mouth, melts glaciers and drains lakes
and drinks dry all the deepest wells;
in a house of ivory built on a sandy shore you will find him waiting,
rearranging mirrors in honor of your coming and scattering his wings for you to walk on;
sharded masks cut your soles and the sand stings them deeply

as you walk, and with the certainty of butterflies, you do no longer want to remain
a caterpillar feasting on his un-real trees and so
you call him Dream and give him even stranger shapes
that are as real as bullets are, as real as words that have been spoken;
yes, he smiles. But do not forget that Dream has masks, slick as oil,
dark as blood, sharp as promises and manifold as deserts of sand in distant lands.

 
 
 


 
 
 
Alexandra Seidel is a writer, poet, and daydreamer. A variety of gods and goddesses have made a habit of showing up in her writing, but what can you do? Deities are just so volatile.

Alexa’s poems can be found at Mythic Delirium, Stone Telling, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. Her first collection, “All Our Dark Lovers,” will be released on Valentine’s Day 2013 from Morrigan Books. You can follow her on Twitter (@Alexa_Seidel) or read her blog: www.tigerinthematchstickbox.blogspot.com. She says:

“A Metamorphosis of Dream” began with the first stanza, the cats in bodies of water as a representation of the wild and primal forces our dreams can confront us with. The piece is inspired–at least in part–by Morpheus of course, the Greek god of dreams.
 

Illustration is from Morpheus by Jean-Bernard Restout, image in the public domain in the US and Canada.