Friday, October 19, 2018

The Matter with Matter

It rolls on. It
rolls over itself as it
rolls through itself.

How could our relationship
to it--matter--be anything
but terrifying?

Terror may be
the original spark
of myth, ideology,

religion: To explain
elaborately so
as to defend ourselves.

Christ, you think
(if you think Christ),
I'm already dead. 

hans ostrom 2018

The Sea Has Its Say

Seas always have their say.
Winds and rivers, too.
They're preparing new things
to tell us, even as
we think we've heard it all.

hans ostrom 2018

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

October Figs

Finally they've changed
from hard green knobs to small
soft purple pouches, veined.
Inside they're vegetative
geodes. As filtered through
O'Keefe and Lawrence, they
may amuse you with vaginal
likeness. That's fun, but anyway:
harvest. Their deep brown stems
are so soft now, the figs
fall into your palm almost
before the pick. The taste
is outside sweet or savory.
It's creamy, calmly robust.
If you must, think of lust.

hans ostrom 2018

Monday, October 8, 2018

Wittgenstein's Progress

After trying to reduce
philosophy to mathematics,
Wittgenstein went on
to explore a forest
of rhetoric and psychology,
of banter and brain.

hans ostrom 2018

Transformation: Chess

The pawn's a piece of candy.
The bishop is a blade.
The knight, a hook, The rook's
as smooth as jade.

Queen's a budding branch.
King is an hour glass.
Foreheads of the players
shine like brass.

hans ostrom 2018

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Earth, the biggest mouth,
moistens as water squats above
in heavy clouds. Before
the burst, you stand and smell
the rain to come, your brain
enthralled by a wet-soil freshness,
a perfume. Petrichor, they
call it, that smell. How long

have hominids savored it?
When the rain arrives, slapping
and drenching, it drives away
the ancient earthy fragance,
replaces it with something
which can't hold you outside.

Inside you're not quite wistful
at a window. You wish you could
have put that odor in a vase.

hans ostrom 2018

Can't Help It

The last red rose of the year
from the Mister Lincoln tree 
lives in this here sentences,
kind of. It exists when I sniff
its luxuriant perfume and when
I tell myself the black nick
on one petal is to be preferred. 
and the petals are fluid sculptures.
Yes, I know, poets and roses,
roses and poets. Can't help it.

hans ostrom 2018

Frail Wishes

Everything seems more fragile now:
my hip, democracy, seas, trees, trust,
wisdom, wolves. I wish dictators
and white supremacy were more
fragile, to the point of collapse.
Such wishes seem especially frail.

hans ostrom 2018

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Nuts and Washers

I would tell you what
I'm thinking about but I can't.
Except perhaps in pieces--
debris arriving on shore,
nothing about how the flow
brought it. Here's a piece:
"You can use a nut as a
washer but not a washer as a nut."
I thought something similar
to this (the shape of language
is not the exact shape of thought)
while the thought factory roared
in the background.

It seems much easier to invent
what I'm thinking or give
approximations, tailor them
to conventions of discourse,
and keep moving through life,
remaining aloof from quests,
prophecy, and other forms of
certainty. What do you think?

hans ostrom 2018

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Off Your Coast

It looks like I'm just off your coast,
cold in a boat. A night sea's no fun.
A buoy bobs like a clown's head.
Let me into your harbor, please,

not because I imagine I love you
but because I'm cold and you
are warm. Simple as that.
Your lighthouse seems delighted

to see me. I'm turning my back
on it now and rowing. I don't
know if you'll be on the beach.
I know how I'll fee if you are.

hans ostrom 2018

Remember: It's About Adaptability

A gull with a fish in its mouth
flies low. A steller's jay cackles
maniacally as it dives toward a
task. Comes a couple of woos
like wind through a hole in a wall:
a dove. Crows shift their feet
on a street corner as if considering
a labor strike, a starling
gossips at the top of a pole,
and a hummingbird, tough
as a boot, not cute, pierces
awareness. All of this within
an hour's time. Birds seem
to own this place, mortgage
free, indefinitely. They're better
at Earth-living than we.

hans ostrom 2018

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Train Station, Milano

Because you're exhausted,
not to mention privileged,
you rest in Milano's main station
and let it be a buffering space
between you and America's
grotesqueries. You wonder if
anyone uses the word grotesqueries
anymore. Prob'ly not. You can't deny
the passport in your pocket.

You prefer the station cafe,
which pigeons frequent. They
thrust their monocled eyes
into the mix, use crumbs
as dice, and gamble away
their past with glee. Their
conversations distill many
throated percolations. Same
goes for the people.

Words from many human
languages try the air. Your
wish not to hear American
English is granted. People
in the station are happy
to see each other, their
laughter isn't cruel, and
no one's belligerent. It
seems miraculous.

hans ostrom 2018

Saxophone Sunset

(Ben Webster, "That's All")

Plump notes, tenor sax. Ripe
peaches, warm fuzz exteriorily
wry. Now

things must move uptown.
Phrases must front style.

Though even among neon
and hard traffic & hard lives
they do not lose
their memory of sunset.

Sweet, tart, sad, not bitter,
that's all.

hans ostrom 2018