Friday, March 6, 2015

"Strawberry Thoughts"

Apple trees have strawberry thoughts.

Thunder is dissatisfied.

When he opened the closet, the clothes
got quiet all of a sudden. They had
been making jokes about him.

Seeing lightning made her think
of maps and arthritis.

Hope covers dread like a watery,
weak lotion.

Street surfaces are a genre of art.

Fog, in some instances . . .

When the water-line broke,
the fountain in the public square
went dry, and we were sad to see
how plain the fountain looked
when it wasn't wearing water.

"This poet was an undrafted free
agent coming out of college, Al."
"That's right, Bob, and look at her now."

hans ostrom 2015

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

"Fyris River"

The Fyris River
is a fine small river--
energetic and direct.
It runs through
Uppsala there
in Sweden, I want
to say but should
instead say energetic
and direct humans
built Uppsala up
around the river,
which they named
Fyris. The stones
and bricks and
water and light and
birds and darkness
all seem familiar
with each other
there in Sweden,
Uppsala, as if
they have worked
things out pretty
well. I did not
however speak to
any fish. I tried
to do so once
when I paused on
a bridge over
the Fyris on
my way to the bookstore
during Book Month or
Reading Month or
whatever it was.
The fish were
indisposed, reading

2015 hans ostrom

"This Man Has a Good Job"

Bar codes, mumbling toads, and driving and
driving and trying to beat last quarter's
sales-numbers, trying to pound those numbers
into the ground of the territory: this man

sweats, and thinks, and drinks brown
sugar-water infused with caffeine and
feels the adrenaline rush of listening
to Rush's voice and feeling Rush is right
on everything, he agrees with me, I agree
with him, totally! In his car, this man
is truly alone, like Rush in his
broadcast-bunker. He doesn't care,

this man, because his way of thinking
is we're alone even when we're with
clients, family, and other kinds
of seemingly people. "I like
what I do for a living," he tells people.
"What I hate is paying taxes, of any
kind, and I want the Government
to take its finger out of my ass."

On the interstate highway, however,
his mind is taxed, and it tells him,
"Bullshit. Say to yourself the truth,
at least. You find something that
pays, you do it, you keep doing it,
you like being away from her and them,
and one day the pump goes,
and you go, she and they get
the insurance, and someone else
takes the territory." Meantime,

he switches the noise from Rush
to sports talk radio.

hans ostrom 2015

Monday, March 2, 2015


The man deduced he was dead
and, uninspired, named the entity
he saw "angel." Entity asked him,
"Tell me how you spent all
that energy and time given to you
during your life, please."

The man began to answer,
then stopped and collapsed
into a wee pile of spiritual
wretchedness. Quite
the metaphysical mess.
Entity, or "angel,"
observed this for a while
and then spoke:

"Yes, it can be difficult,
this part. After you die,
you must be broken down further
before you go on to more
pleasant tasks."

hans ostrom 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


A blue owl, red sunflowers, and yellow horses:
such a scene may lift the spirit,
whatever the spirit is, whatever color.

A green road, a purple copse, and a black
bell tower: in such a context,
the spirit may become somber--

as brown becomes serious in a field of gray.

hans ostrom 2015

note: one of Christina Rossetti's children's verses refers to a blue owl and red sunflowers.

Friday, February 20, 2015

"Lawn Walker"

Yeah, I'm a lawn walker. That's right.
I walk on lawns across this land. I see
a lawn, I walk on it. Hell, yes,
people yell at me. Hey, what do you think
you're doing?
I don't say nothing.
Sometimes they move
toward me. I walk away. Sometimes I
run. 'Specially if they have a gun.
Although I mutter to myself,
you're defending this weedy square
of grass with a gun? You crazy?

Some of the lawns have done gone
brown. Like Colorado, California.
Drought City, here we come.

Some of them smell like poison.
Oklahoma. Texas. Fracked up lawns.
("Nobody said we weren't going to
get our hair mussed a little bit.")
Petro-Patriots ain't afraid to
give their lawns for their country.

What do you call freedom? Mowing
a lawn? Putting down the weed-kill,
moss-kill, bug-kill? Listening
for the hiss of your automatic
sprinkler-system? Well, I call
freedom walking on lawns.

Sometimes there's dog-shit there.
And I get blamed. Goes with
the territory. I lit out
for the lawns, baby, and here
I am. Could be Boston. Could
be Maui. Could be Sweden
or Chile. I'm global,
a card-carrying member
of the International Lawn
Walkers of the World (IL-WOW).

I'm a man who walks on lawns.
Go ahead and judge me. Call the cops.
Call the guy at the gate in
your gated "community." Call
down the helicopters, the
Landscape SWAT Team. Send in
the squad of riding lawn-mowers.
I ain't afraid of no John Deere.
I walk on lawns. I got no fear.

hans ostrom 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"Somber Hombre"

A somber hombre, Arturo
liked to listen to jazz
and drink lemonade after
a shift of welding ships,
his head behind the mask
all day, heat coming off
of steel. He liked the way

that jazz opened his mind
to night an let the starlight
fall down or seem to like fiery
bits of metal left over
from when the sky got welded.

Arturo found the music flexible
even when it was heavy,
and jazz wasn't made to be
anything more than what
it was, so it was free to be
a lot. Sometimes Arturo

listened so late to the vinyl,
he fell asleep on the Navy cot
he'd gotten from who knows where.

hans ostrom 2015