Friday, May 13, 2016

Faith Is Bulbs

Faith? Don't speak to me of Allah, Yahweh,
Jahova, Christ, Moses, da Buddha-man, Zeus,
Sky Papa, Earth Mama--or any of it.

I'm no atheist. I'm a modest gardener,
vegetables and flowers, who in Spring
is online-ordering tulip bulbs to plant

in October and to witness the following
Spring. That is faith.

hans ostrom 2016

Mutant Country-Song

When it all falls apart
and I'm lying on my deathbed,
I hope the Lord'll forgive me for
what flashes through my head.

"I hope someone's getting laid,"
for example. Or "I hate Nashville
worse than bosses." Or "I don't
think God gives two shits about
your politics--or your religion."
And, of course, "Ouch, that hurts
like a motherfu--."

[Docking complete: begin transfer
of pickup truck (old), farm, train,
mama, daddy, pretty girl, "darlin'", 
we, they, goodbye, dancin', 
hungover, fishin', gospel.]

I hope the Lord'll forgive me
for what may flash through my head
when everything falls apart and
I'm lying on my deathbed--or

on a couch, a highway, grass,
the crapper (Elvis!), a stretcher,
or a woman (darlin').

hans ostrom 2016

The Director of the Center

He's the Director of the Center for Let's
Wait and See. He's been worn down by
urgency. His social network includes a few
remaining pragmatic empiricists, resigned
skeptics, and anti-dualists. the CLWS
believes culture's terribly noisy, even
for the deaf, and maliciously distracting.
CLWS does all it can, which isn't a lot,

to promote counter-measures.
For there's so much drama
and so little repair,
not to mention
thoughtful original design. The
Director chooses not to whine.

hans ostrom 2016

Curve of Life

Hello, curve of life.
Darling, you bend me.
You give me the blues.
So generous.

From all directions,
he whined and over-stated,
comes the onslaught of aging.
I'm too tired to list them.

Mitosis and meiosis. Oh,
how fresh my cells were
when I first studied cells.
La-dee-dah. Curuve of life,

where will you take me? Over
a dark ridge--and then soaring
over vast landscapes under stars?
Perhaps something a bit less fancy.

hans ostrom 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

Our Days to Get Through

Everybody has a day to get through.
It may look like other people's days
to other people, but no: each person's
particulars make the day unique. Many
days I don't feel like I've known anyone,
and each time I feel that differently.

hans ostrom 2016

Song: Another Kind of Eden

It's another kind of Eden, I supposed.
What do you think: Should we remove our clothes?
We're on a rugged beach.
The seagulls strut and screech.
And in the sun your lovely person glows.

hans ostrom 2016

I Had My Eyes On You

I had my eyes on you. They were
those plastic ones from the novelty store.
I had them on your bare abdomen.
You were lying down (as

opposed to lying up) absorbing
sunheat. "I can't seem to take
my eyes off of you," I said.
Eyes closed, you said something

like "Huhnhmnm!" Which jolted
your stomach-muscles. My eyes
tumbled off onto what covers
Earth's crust. You put your eyes

on me--a warning glare. That's when
the devil showed up in the form
of the neighborhood's vicious
cat. I cast an eye at him--missed.

But he scampered. "Get you out
of here!" "Same goes for you,"
you said to me. I gathered my eyes
and kept spinning in space on

this thing we call a planet.

hans ostrom 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Less Than Petty

On Twitter literary opiners complained
about poems concerning petty crises.
More attention to broad social emergencies
is wanted. Makes sense. You know how
it goes sometimes, though. The admonishment
has an unintended effect sometimes, even
on poets who sympathize.  I blew my nose
into a red handkerchief, which I opened.
I looked at the snot.  Tapioca. The shape
looked like an obese number 1, with sarif.
The topic of this poem is less than petty.

hans ostrom 2016

Humans Can Kill Easily

Once they breach the membrane
of empathy and kill with calm technique,
an order of evil descends. Those well
removed who have deployed and justified
the killing puff up and stink like toads.
They speechify, murmur, count, and preen.
Dead bodies rot in sun and shade
as the day moves on. Killers rest,
their eyes dulled, their nerves in service
now to evil. They care for their weapons.
Humans can kill easily, Lord knows.

hans ostrom 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016

Feline Disappointment

I aspire
to earn one day
the scorn expressed
by certain cats I know.

hans ostrom 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Are We We? Oui

How are you enjoying the Pre-Apocalypse?
Other species through no fault of their
own get clocked by asteroids or Ice Ages.

We're just self-destructive. And we
think we have the right--don't we?--
to blow up everything. Wreck it.

Including the future. Who are we?
Are we we? Is there time. Is there time?

hans ostrom 2016

Caught Playing With Words

Are you playing with your words again?
Stop playing with your words! Put them down.
Oh, my God, they're all over your face, in
your hair,on the floor, the walls.

And stop laughing! It isn't funny.
You're much too old to be playing
with your words. You're never going
to amount to anything. What do you

mean what do I mean by "anything"?
People can amount to things!
But only if they stop playing
with their words at an early age.

hans ostrom 2016

Friday, March 18, 2016


One orders French wine and quizzes me about
who (what poets) I know and what I've read.
He's not quite insufferable.  He seems to think
he's hot shit. I start to get bored.

Another one sings a verse of a bluegrass song
on voice-mail--in tune, on pitch, with a
Carolina accent.  And another

edits a prestigious anthology which a
prestigious scholar skewers in a review,
and I don't care because their prestige
seems like a well preserved automobile
from 1936. Plus with the Internet,

anthologies don't matter, and
prestige is a penny stock.

Millions of others are just starting,
farting around with words.  It's a fine
thing to try to imagine: millions of poets
writing, clotting in cafes, tapping
on screens, falling asleep after
a swing-shift, wondering why White
people are so crazy, trying to get
another poet in bed.

Me: never prestigious, my obscurity
well seasoned, robust, full bodied.
The fascination with poetry stays
fresh.  The uncertainty about poetry's
place in society enlarges.

Anyway, it's one word. After another.

hans ostrom 2016

Language Charged With Meaning

Ezra Pound wanted to charge language
with meaning.  A misdemeanor, surely.

Who could testify against language?
They'd have to use language to try

and thereby make themselves
accessories after the testimony.

I say exonerate language from meaning.
Or convict but pardon it.  Commute

a few of its sentences. I mean, really.

hans ostrom 2016

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Novel and Poem

(ars poetica)

A novel is a thousand lovely cacti.
A poem is a shot of tequila.
Novel is the breathing of a marathon-runner.
Poem is the intake of breath felt when a woman
invites you to be nude with her.
Novel is a wheat field. Poem
is a vegetable patch.

A novel is a city.
A poem is hearing music or seeing
art or going broke or having sex or
falling in love or hating work or fearing
or being all alone or getting acclaim or
arrested in that city.

Novel is a search for spices.
Poem is cardamom.

A novel is a battle.
A poem is dog-tags hanging
on a war memorial.

Novel is someone you know well.
Poem is a strange stranger.

hans ostrom 2016