Monday, March 19, 2018

Our Magic Shows

I am a salamander.
Your are a butterfly.
You are an eel,
and I am a walrus.

I am a sand flea,
and you are an eagle.
You are an armadillo.
I am an owl.

As you well know,
you and I change forms
quite often, at least in
the magic shows

we improvise so as
to keep each other entertained.

hans ostrom 2018

On Being a Professor

Being a professor
is like being a lounge singer.
It's hard work.

Small crowds
with big expectations.

You develop your act.
Then you memorize it.
Finally it memorizes you.

hans ostrom 2018

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Hello, Gray Salamander

Among the events occurring
in the universe today, one featured
a convergence of the life patterns
belonging to a salamander and me.

Ambystoma gracile is the alleged
name of this plump salamander's kind,
habitat--Pacific Northwest. Size of
a small lizard, gray on top, orange

like a fiery sunset underneath.
The head-lamp eyes were firmly
closed, he circular toes
mythically delicate. A chill

had wedged A. gracile between
nap and coma on concrete.
I picked it up by the tail
and moved it near a pink azalea

so crows wouldn't spot it.
It arced its body in slumber
and opened its mouth to mime
complaint before I set it down.

Our meeting has made me
committed to becoming
an affiliate member of the Pacific
Northwest Salamander Society.

hans ostrom 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

Chewing Moon

As I reached for the moon,
it shrank to the size of my hand.
Then it turned into a disc
no thicker than a sandwich.

Coincidentally, I took two
bites out of it. The texture:
that of sugar granules.
Taste: smoky lemon.

The moon in my hand bled
dark green where my teeth
had seized lunar flesh. Stung
by self-rebuke, I put the moon

back where I had found it, or
almost. It healed in its orbit.

hans ostrom 2018

Bar Codes

Draperies, and some of the folds
bunch together. The merchant
has pulled them across the whole
window in order to hide from customers.

Rain came straight down that day.
At the same time, wind plowed
it into mountains like harp strings.
We were desperate for beauty.

Was the wall in that baked town
painted white at first, with black
stripes added later? Or black
first, white lines later?

From my roasting room across
the street, I kept asking such
questions in my stupor,
in my visitor's defeat.

hans ostrom 2018

It Will Be Our Secret

Tell me a secret. One
that belongs to someone else.
Change the name to prevent
feelings of betrayal--or glee.

Indeed, alter the secret.
Create, embellish. Make
it as rare as you want.
Too weird: What does that

that even mean? Go ahead,
tell me the awful inside
knowledge you've invented.
It will be our little secret.

hans ostrom 2018

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Second Syllable is "Vice," After All

I have some advice for you.
Actually--no, no I don't.
I suppressed it. What a relief
for both of us I think you will
agree. Advice is well intented

only 6% of the time, well
received 3%. As to its
efficacy, that would be
lower than 3%. It's mostly
old news, bad memory, a

control-tactic, a hunk of blather,
or just plain wrong.  I just advised
myself not to give advice unless asked,
and even then . . . .I'm taking
my advice. Someone has to.

hans ostrom 2018

Notebook Problems

He flipped through his notebook
til he found a blank page.
Before he could write on it,
words materialized by themselves:

Your are very far away
from where you ought to be.
The truth of this statement
deflated him. He waited

for more words to appear. Some
did: Turn the page now, and write. 

hans ostrom 2018

Blood Estuaries

Blood estuaries, the slaughter arts,
and radioactive crania of psychotic
power-addicts all have me a bit on
ledge. Industrial Whiteness

sells bigot spigots, 90 days
same as cash. Keep the hatred
flowing is their slogan. A
certain segment of the public

weaponizes Jesus and beats up
people who know facts.
Dictators proliferate worldwide
like syphilis chancres.

Ignorance is tidal.
Civilization's suicidal.

hans ostrom 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

A Visit to the Sun Building

Why are you here? asked
the moon people in the sun building.
By mistake, I replied, adding,
Anyway, hello. They said

if I were to stay,
I would have to conform.
A tempting offer. But no,
for I saw there already

things that rankled. After
my departure, I walked
under invisible stars
and put money in the cardboard
coffer of a street musician
who sang of asteroids.

hans ostrom 2018

Monday, February 19, 2018

Miffle's Expanding Tardiness

Miffle asked Lubi what time it was.
Lubi said, "It's the eternal present
of an expanding universe." Krokson

interrupted the two. He said,
"Actually, it's about five minutes
after the eternal present of an

expanding universe." "Oh,
Hell," said Miffle, "in that
case, I'm late!" "For what?"

asked Lubi. "I don't know,"
replied Miffle. Krokson said,
"That's unfortunate--for now

your tardiness may expand not
unlike the universe.

hans ostrom 2018

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

At Motel Depression

At Motel Depression, you're just not interested.
You recall what being interested is like,
but it's a proper tall hotel in another part of town.

Best not to strain against the circumstances.
See the salt-and-pepper screen of the broken
TV. Guess the age of the smelly drapes.

Toss your clothes on the embattled chair.
The painting is a kind of punishment.
No moaning, no wailing, please:

the walls are thin. Keep the sheets
between you and the blankets. There's
a good chance you'll check out tomorrow.

hans ostrom 2018

Monday, February 12, 2018

Facts and Oxygen

We need a system.
We need a Boris or a Jean.
We don't need a judge,
but we do need a day with a
stream in it.
We need facts like we need
oxygen: no substitutes.

hans ostrom 2018