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In Darkness, Memory

The air was dark orchid,

I saw, peeking through x-ray contacts, fixed fast over dilated pupil,

Standing still in that stagnant sarcophagus, usual.

And all around, a vague, inky haze.

In the rocker she rhythm-creaked to a well lodged lyric,

Trapped for the twenty-year absence of kisses to a spent spirit.

Through transparent skull I marked notes, brain-embedded, so deep they were automatic,

Pitch-perfect, but enigmatic.


I saw static withdraw to the roots of parched hair,

With ashen streaks slipping through splintered beams, drifting dawn everywhere.

All the while her cruel throat demon surfaced to lips,

Ever promptly suppressed with dainty diet-acid sips.

And he was a paragon, numb in the legs,

Lungs lying through ivories, the measure of nest eggs.

Hands, draped over plaid-swathed wood,

Admitting defeat, waning dreamless and weak.


Sunlight ripened and bloomed into pitch black repose,

So my toes gripped the boards tightly where I stood frozen.

And well without warning I glanced through debris,

Their ghastly pale, heartbroken eyes flick to me.

Some startling, pure panic was trickling freely,

Like tears from my irises over my body,

Wrapping me wildly in dim waves of horror, so vast I could no longer see.


Then veins constrained.

Bones caving, feet feeble, sunken sockets cradling tears.

I felt tempered rainwater welling; smelling warm and sweet;

Saw the slow stir of a storm - electricity illuminating those lungs.

Her tined teeth were now clenched like his fists should have been.

And my hand in the bag at my side,

Brushed over a little surprise -

A case which I opened in search of Goodbye;

A place to escape to where I could clear cries.

But within, x-ray contacts held hard to my eyes, still floating in saline…

Still unapplied.


I walk through the dark orchid fields. Sickly sweet and careless, they bloom all around, those dingy memories of my past being fostered by them. She sloshes around, sugar-syrup, and already dead, choking out the weeds in her way, of which the heartiest were He and I. Now we’ve been starved, shriveled up, and the memories aren’t fading… they’re staying; making clear why we’re hollow, hollow, hollow.

- Amy Strom (2014)


Out the windows it’s been hazy gray all day but the rain doesn’t come
And I’ve been planning the next several things to read
But I still can’t write a single sentence of my own
[but there is time]
Sometimes I join programs or rewards clubs even though
I’m only going to buy one, ever
Just because…

I love you Raychel. You are a creative, poetic, lyrical genius. And you deserve so much more recognition and fame and wealth than you currently have. But don’t give up, because it will happen if you keep trying and make yourself known! Good things do come to those who wait and those who want and those who try.

The Cadaverous Prowler of Her Reveries

He is the one who wanders the night and prowls the deep and keeps her from sleep.

That place where she found him,

   Awake in his ashes,

And if this is madness…then I am Alice.

And that chill down her backbone,

It must be her sadness.

That place where she found him,

                …Beginning of Nothing,

Goes all the way down to the very last something.

That perfect scar beneath his lips.

She could ask how it happened…

                Discover its reality by sweeping her fingertips

   Across, and listen…

As his compelling voice explains about that for a while,

    And she’d admire how they still share contoured lines of asymmetry.

            But she is scared to death.

        And she is scared of death.

And anyway, she wouldn’t want to solve all the mysteries of him.

- Amy Strom


I only smoke at night.
I like to hide it from myself in the darkness,
when the rebirth of day is over and it’s time to die again.
I resign myself to a hazy fate and breathe in poison.
       So much for fresh starts.
I breathe in the muted morning, the withered afternoon, the weeping evening…
   then slowly blow it away.
I watch it fade into the deep darkness, until it never happened at all.
Sometimes I pretend so well, the vague lines of my reality disappear completely.

- Amy Strom

The Tree

For years I stood there waiting
In my predetermined place
For what I’ve no idea
Evidence left not a trace
The forest floor grew moldy
The seasons went and came
And life grew stale and boring
In that predetermined game
The butterflies were morphing
The moon eclipsed the sun
And pathways spread before me
But still I couldn’t run
I closed my eyes to exits
‘Til they closed themselves to me
Remaining closed my windpipe off
Until I couldn’t breathe
And yet so long I lingered
For the stifling fear of change
Beginnings of their own took shape
Of manner awfully strange
I stood still for so long a time
My feet were rooted there
And branches sprouted from my arms
And leaves burst from my hair
My body turned into a trunk
Sap where blood used to be
Only my rings could tell you now
How long I’ve been a tree
Perhaps the day will come along
When they will level me
The girl who didn’t want to stay
But couldn’t bear to leave

- Amy Strom, (2012).

Of Internal Ache, Eternal

I speak droplets of confusion’s bane;
Bottled and shaken. 
Ataxia turning in churned carbonation,
All the while humming a worn fabrication: 

I’m handle and spout to my twin’s acrid tears — 
Her sane on the wane in the high ward. 
Seared, overgrown gardens of cerebral fears; 
Ignoring the internal soothsayer’s sneer…

…A lie, notwithstanding 

Let me cry; wring my hands, ‘til their bones turn to dust,
Now I catch long-craved boons in quelling what I must.
Until this uncertainty breaks from its cage, 
We shall sip of my seething mistrust.

- Amy Strom

Soul of Spine

Fear blooms from her betrodden lungs
In poisonous waves, like Houndstongue
Barbs biting deeply into whomever brushes past
Grave words are etched into her eyes:
Do not attempt to quench my cries!
The closer they get, the deeper the sickness seeps in.

And it’s a lonesome life she lives
Revoking all she ever gives
To save them from that burn of her spewing affliction
Lovers flee fast from her embrace
Though she’d dismiss them with raw haste
Before all else: Safety, in shadow. Her prison.

- Amy Strom, 2013.

A Breath of Fresh Art

To carve from yourself a masterpiece, 
Requires the most hurting need. 

And for once you’ll become who you’ve wanted to be, 
Just as big as the sky; as the sea. 

Outlines leak from that spot in your inspired thoughts, 
And become a bright reality. 

Though, one thing’s to imagine, and one to compose. 
Days of slow lamentation to bleed graceful prose. 

Now you’ll wait to compare with the way that you rose, 
In the hour of your greatest boast.

- Amy Strom, 2012.

One One One One

If I awaken one more night from a rainy fantasy
Listening to his indigo laughter
Living in his poetic allegory
Story beads sliding down his hair
To find he isn’t really there…

One more alarm wrenching me from his arms
Away from his soft words
Spoken through used coffee filters
His muted decaf kiss that stings my lips
To find only cracked mirrors and mist…

Each eleven eleven I catch hears me beg
To keep asleep inside those dreams
Nested in a teal-tinted world
Where his feet dance circles
On the teary side of my weary lids
And run wild down that paint chipped path of his
The one that crossed mine for a time
In moon-soaked eighty-seven, spring
When we shared the waking world, unknowing
I was coming… He was going…

If I awaken again with those tattered loose ends
Strewn among my wet, twisted sheets
Where that woozy dream of him repeats
Without a fighting chance to speak…

Of how I love his star-drenched smile
The way he makes my pain worthwhile
Of how I wish he’d paint me
In his pieces, abstract style
And how his coffee kisses taste
With fingertips placed on my waist

Now upon every eleven eleven
I’ll wish for that dead spring,
Nineteen eighty-seven

- Amy Strom, 2013.


I’ll cast my soul out of my chest into the frozen ground.
With what remains I’ll wish that by your spirit it is found.
In longing that you linger there I’ll gamble on a flight;
In death you live, in hope I’ll die to learn from your insight.

- Amy Strom, 2012.


Below, a floor of shifting, crumbling plates,
held together by hope —
The memory of something that never was
Seeking escape;
Awaiting freedom.
Once planted there to grow,
it rots instead; the soil over-wet with sorrow.

Above, a sky of shifting, drifting clouds, 
masking what’s beyond.
The animals that float there drift in peace,
laughing at gravity,
Awaiting the ache that will bring them back to Earth;
Seeking shelter.
Relief from pounding wings;
From tiny heartbeats.

- Amy Strom, 2013.

Buried Girl

‘Neath wet soil and gravel she sleeps in a dream, with ghosts to keep her company.

Oblivion’s slumber was sunk like the sea; just deep enough to breach.

Submerged underwater blue afterlife sways, while currents pull laboriously.

Her imprisoned mind clutches familiar needs, and rots her chance to flee.

Between dawn and nightfall her fingertips bleed, and dye the oceans burgundy,

While breakable algae grows thick on her sleeves, she shivers in the deep.

She can’t scream or fight where she’s anchored below, as coldness numbs her hopelessly.

The war between floating and just letting go, leaves her unfit to breathe.

But silence is soothing and rest a relief; could nothing cause her soul to leave?!

The ghosts in the shipyard beginning to scream: it’s here she needs to be.

- Amy Strom, (2012).

Élan Vital

So then I let go and I fell far and fast,
Into overcast dreams of a shade from the past.

Each thought seemed to settle on visions of him,
The way bees pinpoint traces of sage on a wind.

Sad weather may drift o’re my transposing mind.
Yet I have the desire; moreover, design.

Preserving his breath in the heart of my chest,
Where he’s never forgotten, withal, laid to rest.

Now somewhere within this affection starved soul,
Stirs a hunger to make the unreal tangible.

And he can’t be revived, so I’ll travel to him.
From the outermost world, to the timeless within.

And I’ll gladly embrace the sting of my demise,
If it means being able to live in his eyes.

- Amy Strom, (2012).

Sere Nocturne

Lost amidst the smoke trees in the deep, unending wild,

Walks the wayward spirit of an outcast river child.
Drifting where the grim gloom guides her feet,
She finds her spectral semblance weary, hollow, incomplete.
Wandering eternally beneath the tide of night,
Hunting for the faintest trace of veiled ancestral light,
Harbinger of supernal retreat.

Her shadow-box heart contains eventide codes.
Cimmerian secrets of nature unknown,
Of radiant splendor she’s never been shown;
Of gems from the gloaming’s wide reach.

By the weeping river she lies, blanketed in stars,
And floats atop the cloudy waters, honoring the dark.
Dusk-like gaze turned up toward the moon;
She chases flashbacks waiting for a moment opportune.
Taking all the beasts crepuscular beneath her wing,
Waiting in the shadows; dreaming, longing, lingering
To make her last escape woefully soon.

- Amy Strom, (2013).

H 2 Aeronautics

Under thin moonlight currents I become a bird,
And sail from stream to stream.
Sea foam stars light my way to the tree in the clouds,
Where my thoughts are ever free.
They fly up to the planets that rotate above,
On wings of afterglow.
Frail spider web filters choose which will fall back,
To Earth who hangs below.
I search for the portal carved into the trunk,
Wings pounding as my heart.
But just like before, there isn’t a door,
And my theory falls apart.
So I ride waves of birch bark and try just to smile;
One can’t smile with a beak.
Perch next to an owl on stardust covered branch,
And find out I can’t speak.
While I wait there I try, and I let out a sigh,
Which howls forth as a wail.
It startles me so I fall to Earth below,
Forgetting how to sail.

- Amy Strom, (2013).