Issue 27: Adam Strauss

Plath Flashes

They got her—they got

Her and blew her

Up and up. The ashes

Made her an ash-blue cotter.

She rubbed her drudge

Across gold plate

Till the glow grew too and she too late

Than a hard fall of hair like straw on sludge.

The kitchen


Her fire but not her height,

Height her mind perfectly matches.

She didn’t dream of a

Diamond; but one dumb

Rock blistered her thumb

Like a finger interred in lime.

The moon shone like a freshly married daughter.

Its light fell like someone who

Decides there’s no reason for getting up:

what for—for what can Jupiter do.

Because of the moon

A gay man can see the

Unevenness of the stones—

See outside what their hatred hones.

Women don’t like him either.

Everyone hates so coolly

It gives him blue-green fever,

And his hand flaps passage but unduly.

I am not that man; but I am

About to cry, and cry

My way to a sluice

Might salvage something dry.

Crumb Excess

Bead after bead, a bird’s toxic eye.

Honey in the eye—

A knife like a beak in the honey.

A knife like it’s

Cut through something sweet.

A knife like the blood

As blood-bath bathes his wits.

Instead of a cry,

Willowy twill.

Instead of a wild cry,

The most mundane kill.

The licorice melts on the window-sill.

The licorice melts in French,

Frenches the bones of regicide.

The reglisse makes a bride—

The stitches make lace

Not a bride’s face.

A stanch studded with glitch.

Tonsure like blue like a blue-whale’s pitch.

Operatic operatives burn and as they burn moth flits.

A knife for your turn,

A tornado furzes honey.

Beef, wrecking reef.

Rude explodes its grief.

Corals like ash in the airless.

Lungs take it in, their insides

Totally Interred in totally.

Bare with me till we look through bone.

Coral he called fingers while fingers of surf

Sanded a vision’s skin.

As annihilation “piles

Whole chaoses” on him—it leaves sand as its print:

Your sun,

Your blown to pieces lion

And the pieces assemble extinction.

Extent relic of emendation smiles.

Light like a claw the light’s law files.

Exhumation, Like Smoke

A strand of teeth, and each

With a bloody cavity—

Each an upside down cave

Demands bites take a stand,

Standing room only for each grave.

The blue wax imbues

This burn with a cold abrasive blush.

This short-term internment

Demands that he choose

The worm that he may squirm an exit.

So much death—

And none of it dies.

So much and so

It will never paralyze—

Whatever comes,

Gold hammered green

Like his Byzantium’s

Gangrened machine

Like a sail cut by a knife’s;

Like a snail rebuffed by snafu’s glide

I gilded spleen, grilled halcyon lea.

Adam Strauss lives in Louisville, KY. He adores poems by George Herbert, Melvin Tolson, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Cole Swensen; and he is forever in love with Marc Chagall's ‘I and the Village’. Poems of his appear in The Brooklyn Rail, Fence, Prelude, and Sporklet.

Copyright © 2022 by Adam Strauss, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.