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).

“Pumpkin Farm” by Amy Strom.

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* This piece is my own original work. Amy Strom, 2014 (Aestrom Artwork).

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).

I’m sad. I’m just so thoroughly and entirely sad. And I’m tired. I’m exhausted from trying to hide it and pretend like I’m not. And I can’t even hide it anymore because the ever-expanding bags beneath my eyes are giving me all away. If the facade crumbles, then that’s it. It’s all I have. I depend on my ability to fake it to perform like a semi-functional human being. The humiliation and embarrassment from not being able to appear normal will be the end for me. I’ll have to completely shut down, and then I’ll lose everything and everyone for real. I want to survive, but I really just want to be all alone, all the time. But then what about the people I care about? And I need to know that people care about me. I like knowing that people want to be with me, but then I rarely want to go through with the actual ‘being with’ part. I’ve been told that you can’t have cake and eat it too. That doesn’t make sense. I don’t like cake anyway. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to laugh. It physically hurts when I do and I do it so much and that’s why the bags keep growing. But how else do you achieve the security that comes from knowing that people like you without laughing with them and making them laugh? No one likes the sullen, bitter version of me that lives inside of me. So I’ve learned to suppress it. I’m too old for this, aren’t I? This self-actualization-realization bullshit. This phase should have washed over me years ago and I should have accepted my natural inclination for loner-ness and moved on with my pretend life… But here I am at 25 making teenage discoveries. I’m so disappointed… in the world and in myself. I had hoped for so much more from both. I feel like there is so much potential, but none of it is ever realized because there is this goddamned screen in the way. And it’s maddening to me that I can’t figure out what that screen is; what it’s made of and how to reach it. If only I could, then I would be able to punch holes in it. Maybe then I could feel full. I could share my discovery of meaningfulness and the way to achieve it with all the sad, empty people. But I can’t stand them. They are already full, but it’s with hate. They make my stomach ache… not because they are awful, but because they’ve given up on trying not to be awful. I think they want to be awful. If they were all awful, but fighting against it, it would be awfully great. I could relate then. Is this even making any sense? I guess it doesn’t matter anyway because nothing ever does. I am always confused. I don’t know if I’m really intelligent or really stupid, but I do know that I’m not anywhere in-between. I feel this ache inside my chest, like I’m being pressed between the steel arms of a giant vice all the time. Sometimes I just burst into tears for no reason at all. No, there is a reason. I just can’t put it into words, because those words don’t exist. The truest thing I’ve ever discovered in life, is life is a spirit-crushing let down. I grew up in this wonderful, loving, fairy tale, Disney World, cake and ice cream, bedtime stories, wonderland. I didn’t ask for it, but that’s what I got. It was all that I knew, and I blindly thought that it was the same for everyone and it would last forever. I was disgustingly over-privileged. Then one day, suddenly that all just ended and the nurture switch was abruptly flipped to off. My life since being cut off has consisted mainly of struggling to make ends meet in-between used cars and tiny apartments; full time jobs that suck up all my time, but barely pay a thing. Even now that I’m married it’s the same story, and I stand for eight hours a night at hotel desk staring at the sickening yellow walls that are supposed to remind people of the cheerful sunshine. They remind me of something stale. I’m stuck. I can’t complete college because of a severe psychological anxiety disorder I like to call my personality. What a let down this world is. What a let down I am. What a let down everyone is. Everybody irritates me. All I want is to be left alone with my thoughts. And the more I want it the more they seem to want to intrude. It’s like they can sense my fears and they know exactly when they’re at their worst is when they’ll get the best reaction out of me. No, I’m not even slightly so important. It’s all in my head. No one cares enough to bother me on purpose, and even that pisses me off. I crave more than what I’m getting, but I know that anything more would be overwhelming. Then why can’t I understand why so many people seem to be perfectly content with just going through the motions each day? I’m surprised there aren’t more wanderers. I understand why Will Sampson was constantly driving from place to place in his pick up truck, never staying in one spot too long. He was trying to escape. He was trying to find some higher zone where the meaning of it all lives. I wonder if he ever did. I envy the bravery he must have had just to keep picking up and searching after being let down so many times. Even I feel worn down like a once big, clean eraser, now small and gray from the years of fixing so many of my own mistakes. It’s been said before with less foundation; I can’t relate to the whole. The one person I’ve ever felt a convincing connection to died while I was being born. What does that say about my sanity? I made a list once of the things I need to survive: change, stability, people, loneliness, thoughts, peace, art, logic. I’m realizing that one of these can’t survive without its counterpart, and together at once, none of them can.