Free sample from novel

Friday, August 26, 2016

Always One More

There's always one more, you know. One
more problem, pain, opportunity, pleasure.
Another nail, bolt, squirt of toothpaste, surprise.
And another acceptance required.

One more blackberry or tomato to pick,
one more spud in the dirt. Another task,
chore, duty. Oh, yes, one more good
idea, atavistic evil notion, phase

of healthy cultural growth. Another
star, pickle, song. One more
word, glance of understanding, heart break.
Until there isn't. But then there is.

hans ostrom 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016

Better and Best

Better to be lucky than good. Better
to be good than middling, middling
than bad. Better to be pragmatic than
pure, sensible than righteous. Better
to have good shoes than bad, bad shoes
than none. Better to be housed than
homeless. Better to consider people
without than people with and than
only you and your own if you have.
Better to do it than to write of it,
best to do both.

hans ostrom 2016

The Question and Answer Portion of the Evening

I could go for you in a really big way,
he said to he. It wasn't subtle, and
it was not hip. Thank you for sharing
your perspective, she said to him.
It wasn't rude, and it was droll.

Shall I leave you alone, then? he
said to her. It was polite. It was not
clever. Yes, you shall, but not right
now, unless of course you want to go.
It was permission. It was restrained.

What shall we do, then, what shall
we say? he said to her. Excellent
questions, she said to him.
He was confused.  She
was bemused.

hans ostrom 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Little Molecular Traveling Music

A handful of molecules moved around
the universe this one time. Long story
shrunk, they became "me."  (In
photographs the quotation marks
are invisible.) Lots of them get

replaced in the usual organismic
way, plus haircuts, etc. Soon and
very soon, all molecules that account
for "me" will be released back to
the universe at large, and what

a large it is. They'll keep on
moving, as if they'd merely
paused at a roadside diner.
A little molecular traveling
music, if you please, maestro.

hans ostrom 2016

Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?

Are you thinking what I'm
thinking? I hope not. It makes
more sense to divide the thinking
labor. I'll think about clean water
while you think about recordings
by Gil Scott Heron. You'll
think about the struggle against
racism in your community,
and I'll think about a feather.
You: rotten fruit. Me: nuclear
holocaust.  (These are just
examples, not directives.)
Of course, we're both free
(we hope) to attend think-the-
same-thoughts-party later,
although it seems those can
get a little cultish. Whatever
you do, don't think about
a red onion. Oops, oh no!

hans ostrom 2016

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

"In a Lobby of a Cinema Complex"

This complex isn't simple. Figures
strolling across a neon-glossy floor
toward theater-caves, bathrooms, or
sugar and salt: they and I
are already dead--like people
photographed by cinema in 1939.
And we've been replaced by others
who move about here just as we do,
we did. Maybe one of them

is morbid, or at least fatalistic,
and feels for a moment as if time
has already departed, leaving
behind only light on a screen
flickering imperceptibly
and kernels of corn exploded
into tiny thunderheads. Before
going into the movie, I think
this scene may be the better movie.

hans ostrom 2016

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Elegy for Richard Hugo

Elegy for Richard Hugo


You said to wait ten years before
trying to write an elegy about someone
who just died. I waited more than three times
that. No doubt it's not enough.

So, something here about a lake's face
changing--ripple, riffle, wrinkle; you
said never use semicolons. (I’m kidding
a kidder.) "Be glad to fish
with you sometime," you wrote in

in the one letter to me, "but I warn you,
I'm strictly a bait fisherman.” If that
were on Twitter now, I'd favorite (a verb, sir)
it and tweet back, No worries. You
haven't missed much. Let's say

a man sits on a rock. He's connected
to a lake, call it Saw Lake, by a fishing
line. He's not really waiting for anything.
He’s drinking beer. A hit, a strike, would be fine,
a rousing thing. Just over the ridge
doesn't lie a town. That's why

nobody's heard of it. I will say
women and men who work at the factory
there return from a women's softball
game, someone won, who cares. Now
everybody will wash their hair, their bodies,
put on clean jeans, heave on the nice
boots, and go out and dance and drink
and kiss and hug and fight. The

man on the rock has seen the rusted
iron roofs of just that town. He
wonders if he should call them rooves.
The lake tugs him away from words

but not for long. "There you go," he says.

Hans Ostrom copyright 2016

Thursday, July 14, 2016


Commercials: adjectives packaged
as nouns, petty crimes committed
against ears and eyes, sometimes
full-on felony assaults paid for
by deepest vaults.

The White Supremacist cable
not-news shows raise volume
high, highest for commercials,
concussing brains to soften them up
for propaganda. Don't buy. Don't buy.

hans ostrom 2016

You Haven't Earned a Prize

When you're White, and you learn
things and as they say get your
consciousness raised enough
by the jack called the-way-things-are-
and-have-always-been, you end up
losing friends and not really wanting
to hang around many White folks
much because disgust and rage
are exhausting.

If your view gets raised a little more,
you won't feel sorry for yourself,
you'll understand, why Black folks
really don't want to hang around you,
whether it's personal or not.

It's not like you're awareness
is anything more than the minimal
thing to achieve, and it's not like
you've somehow earned the prize
of their company.  Solitude

and isolation, boo-hoo, tough shit.
Your modest discomfort doesn't
even register on the scale of pain
to which the colonies and the United States
dedicated and still dedicate themselves.
You've probably heard the saying:
Many White people fear a race war;
most Black people, like their forebears,
continue to try to survive in one.

hans ostrom 2016

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Adam's Song

I'm eating dried figs,
am very depressed.
I'm totally naked but
feel like I'm dressed.

There's no one to compare
Eve to. She's nice.
Today I named some little
creatures "mice."

Sometimes my body changes
when I see Eve.
When she touches the change
I never want to leave.

I have this feeling something
bad will happen soon.
I don't know why.
I asked the moon.

The moon talks to me in ways
the sun will not.
The moon is very cool and
the color of my snot.

The moon said, "Things happen,
things change.
And God may disarrange what
God arranged."

I am Adam. This is
my own weird song.
If you're passing through
Eden, sing along.

hans ostrom 2016

I Was Asked to Pass This Along

Poetry's using language
in unofficial ways, including
re-purposing official language.

Sometimes poetry bosses
and poetics conglomerates
make their poetry way official.

They try, anyway. When this
happens, it should signal to poets
to write otherwise. Poetry

is otherwise. It's an attitude
toward language and authority
as much as anything else.

Anyway, someone asked me
to pass these notes along. To
whom? Not sure. Goodbye.

hans ostrom 2016

New Day 3.0

Reset the day. Use the control panel
Or download a new day. Run as
administrator. Scan for viruses--
narcissism, bigotry, willful ignorance.
You can probably get a free night
with any day you download.
Check your memory. Can it handle
a new day? Having problems with
the day software? Eh, we don't
handle that. Try contacting other users.

hans ostrom 2016