FIVE POEMS BY SAMUEL STRATHMAN

EXCOMMUNICATOR

Flames enshroud firewood,
create a phantasm
of a flag
hanging starboard.

*

During a mission
in the river canyons,
treasure is excavated
and then squandered
by cannibals too hungry
to separate their sickness
from reality.

The gold remains there
under lock and key.

Only dead soldiers
mention its existence
like nimbuses rumbling
above their unmarked graves.

After seeing
the devil’s machinations,
instinct propels me
to a different town
under a new name.

I pacify my torment
by clawing at the mines
like a demented dog,
but instead of finding
diamonds and coal,
there are crystals
that make everything brighter.

*

Enough stories for tonight!

We are better off
drinking whiskey
in silence.

Far from any canyons.


ELECTRIC DOLL MOLLY

Molly is on
the fritz, skitters
across black ice
like Mario Kart.

At the end
of the street,
she double axel’s
into a station wagon.

WHAM!

Slits all four wheels
with her teeth
and then absconds,
puts herself back
in her box.

The original buyers
return the doll,
accept a grounding
from their child.


IMITATIONS IN THE WINDOW

Several childlike artworks
line the windows
of a bungalow.

The drawing that
stands out the most
is the one
of a dog eyed
octopus in a state
of repose.

Swimming in the deep
dark ocean must be
onerous for the little chum.

It’s a wonder
you don’t see more
of those tired heaps
tamped together.

*

My favourite shop
removes all the fish
from its counters, relocates
them to the frozen isle.

Display counters

make the transition
to imitation seafood.

There is a sudden
itch for me
to paint these replicants
right here, right now
before my hands
turn to hooks.

Perhaps these models
inspire some artists
more than others.


UNQUARANTINED

Man checks his phone
near the fire escape.

No WIFI.
Use data.

Chatrooms and online forums
are empty.

No eyes in the sky.

“Where is everyone?!”

Meeting.


MIST & MOTHS

After the film “Color Out of Space (2019) which is
based on the short story “The Colour Out of Space”
by H.P. Lovecraft.

1.

Mist running through
the forest.


Learn to decode
the roving patterns
purple moths make
in the afterglow
of a sunset.

2.

Back inside the house,
clocks slow
as the vermin
become accustomed
to a lighter shade
of dark.

3.

Eclipse of a bodiless
bloodbath leaving the sink.


The fertilizer
outside is tainted.

How else could
the grass come alive?

4.

911 Operator: What’s your emergency? Police,
ambulance, or fire? Medics?

Man: Hello? Operator? The plumbing is missing.
I think the grass stole it while I was sleeping.


Samuel Strathman is a poet and educator.  You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @_strathman_.

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