Monday, October 21, 2019

New to Blue

Different hues of blue
assert different moods to you.
It's true: when you forget
to mind your mind,
it will try to run every
sensed impression through
its symbolizing factory,
which manufactures far
too many products.

You reach a point
where you refuse delivery,
wanting to be able to experience
meaninglessly, or try to,
as if you were for instance
new to blue.

hans ostrom 2019

Ginko Divestiture

That old ginko tree flung
its cache of currency at the wind
as if it had taken a vow
of ginko poverty. Here,
it said to Fall, have it all,
and tell Winter to choke
on it, like gall.

hans ostrom 2019

Thursday, October 10, 2019

They Need Easy

Up and down the stairs
of scales the bossa nova moves,
garbed in 1960s threads. A
crowd shuffles and sways
to these terraced tunes.
These folks have fled the future,
which is fond of atrocity. Sort
of dancing, they need easy.
They want to rest in it
and love and laugh in it,
knowing something simple
like the bossa nova.

hans ostrom 2019

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


Mutant geometries. Labor
mills. Silos of capital.
Rivers of sewage. Noise
wars. Reservoirs of suckers.
Culture forts. Illusions
of Always. Power bunkers.
Hives for the homeless. Rodent
carnivals. Poverty gardens.
Ministries of fashion. Megaliths
of indifference. Injection sites.
Status farms. Cargo inhalers.
Leverage cathedrals. Temples
of excess. Catacombs of loneliness.

hans ostrom 2019

Monday, September 16, 2019

His Final Thought

Just before he died
he realized nothing
was heavy or dark
and everything was
light. And light.

hans ostrom 2019

Outside the Norseman Pub with Time

Outside the Norseman Pub in Dublin,
Time heard me thinking of  dates
& events in one of its pasts. "What are you
thinking about those for?" asked Time.

Three Irish women walked by.
Their lilting, lovely conversation
played in the air like aural butterflies.
(I don't think Yeats would have liked

that comparison.) "See," I said
to Time, "I can do the present,
too, so leave me alone." Highlights
in the women's hair shone. 

hans ostrom 2019

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Legend of the River Liffey Pike

And here we will pass on
the tale of the River Lifffey
Pike. This pike was so big
(so big!) that in order to
change its direction in the
Liffey, it had to perform
a three-point turn like
a black limousine. And this
is as true as it possibly can be.

Over many years, all the
anglers around Leixlip
and Straffan tried to catch
the pike but the giant just
slammed into their legs,
ate lines and leaders,
snapped fishing poles
like twigs, and threatened
children and nuns.

Finally one day the
notorious poacher Bon
hooked the massive mean
pike with sturdiest leader,
line, and pole. A dry
fly he was using. Bon
fought the fish, fought
it but couldn't reel it
in. So he went to the bank
with his pole and circled
a large tree many times,
docking the River Liffey
Leviathan. Then Bon

clambered up the bank
and lumbered is way
to the Salmon Leap Tavern
in Leixlip. He recruited
a band of Guinness-lit
lads to help him haul the
big pike in. Bon led

the laughing band down
to the bank, only to find
that the leader, the line,
the pole, the tree, and the fish
had all disappeared.

So big, so large, so grand
was the River Liffey Pike
that it had hooked the famous
poacher Bon, played him
for an optimist (all anglers
are optimists, they must be),
reeled him in, and dropped
him in the creel of local legend.

On your travels you may find
yourself in Leixlip on Cooldrinagh
Road, Lucan Demesne, County
Kildare, Ireland. Stop by the Salmon
Leap Tavern, it's there, and after
you've settled in with a pint
and made the acquaintance
of those in attendance, ask them if
they've heard of the River Liffey
Pike that gathered in the leader,
the line, the pole, and the tree
and set itself free from the infamous
poacher, Old Bon, who upon returning
from his loss, stood all the lads
to a pint and started to tell
them a story they already knew
and added some details, a few,
just a few.

hans ostrom 2019

On the Leg to Dublin

Something is rotten in Amsterdam.
Probably my clothes during a day
and its night of air(less) travel.

The Amsterdam airport is almost
as empty as the American
president's head. One more leg

to go, I go through a gate only
to get on a bus, which takes me and
the rest of a considerable herd

past an epic line of florescent
hyphens in the dark. They suggest
an endless industrial pause

for no effect. From the bus I
see that over the airplane
hangs a moon that looks like

an egg with problems. Clouds
soil it. Out of the bus I go up
some iron steps to my seat,

which is 2-B, or not 2-B: much
is contingent upon the mood
of an Irish attendant on unpaid

overtime. She makes the woman
seated in front of me stow
a stuffed toy dolphin overhead.

Her co-attendant Conor re-counts
the passengers as a Dutch man
in a yellow vest tells the aircraft's

captain he's going to write a report.
He says several more times, "I'm
going to write a report." The aircraft

seems to fall asleep. I think Hamlet
should have traveled more, gotten
out of the castle into the world,

away from swords and ghosts
and other castle creeps. "Tighten
your seat belt," the Irish attendant

tells me. Her last name's McCarthy.
If she knows about Hamlet, she
probably thinks he's a bit of a wanker,

an English-speaking Dane too old
to live at home who talks to skulls.
The Dutch man in the yellow vest

leaves. Let the report-writing begin.
Let Conor and McCarthy prepare for
takeoff. Let the leg to Dublin commence.

hans ostrom 2019

My Location Can't Be Found

I asked my phone where I was.
I mean, I knew where I was
according to old customs
but I wanted to know my location
according to rules set out
by our minders, the satellites.

The phone said "your location
can't be found." I didn't care
where I was anymore. I cared
that things seemed to be going
all right, what with my still
breathing and all. My phone

was not connected to the line
on which I thought I was. The
Great Online. What's more
chaotic than connectivity?
Ask your phone. Its answer
will be evasive.

hans ostrom 2019

Birds Near a Russian Palace

Always birds, to haul a person
back from history and splendor's
clutter. On a steel bench outside
Catherine's summer palace
near a lakely pond beyond
St. Petersburg, I get an ear
buzzed by a sparrow on its way
to pick over grain tourists
tossed to ducks.

                            A black and gray
raven lands close on a bench-back
to cast a cold eye of inquiry. These
birds are here and not a part
of overwrought history. Sun
warmth, oaks, willows, and breeze
suggest central California to me,
but here is here in Russia, where

birds live in their own geography
and polity. They can't eat history
or nest in empire. Today is their
dominion. I sit for a moment in it.

hans ostrom 2019

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Regarding Boxes of Boxes

There's something wrong
about a box of boxes.

It's as if Box World
has suddenly acquired
a food chain and boxes
have started eating boxes.

Open a box of boxes,
and you'll almost hear
the inner boxes moaning,
sobbing cardboard sobs.

Each of them wants
to contain something
independently. They're
fine with intervals

of emptiness, which
are better than the horror
of recycling or
the atrocity of magic.

I'm a zealot on the subject:
a box is mean to be
autonomous, enclosing
material matched to form.

I'm not afraid to declare
I belong to Box Liberators.
Stand--or sit, on a box, your
heft matched to form--with us!

hans ostrom 2019

Over: A Song

Over the bones,
monuments stand.
Over the stones,
dirt, grit, and sand.

Over the stream,
one heron flies.
Over our heads:
banal gray skies.

Now lightning,
now thunder,
now rain.

will bloom
in the lane.

Over the years
the town's grown sad.
Over the good
runs all the bad.

Over my soul,
crows and owls fly.
Over my days
looms the great Why.

Now silence,
Now whispers,
Now crying,

As always
we're selling,
we're buying.

hans ostrom 2019

Self Government

A federation of doubts governs
my days. Fear, the old dictator,
has risen again. It's enough
that you're breathing, proclaims
this moment's fretting mayor.
The mind continues as a manic,
busy legislature.

hans ostrom 2019