Monday, January 22, 2018

Terms and Conditions

"not because blue pill"

      --fragment from the old online deluge


Not because blue pill
have I seen shards of epic
gibberish & websites blocked
error 404 forbidden you do not
have access, note that you

is neither formal nor familiar
in algorithmese. Search,
surf, just-type-in, click
to download, take a trip
on a keyboarding ship,
reach your destination in
the slink, on the sly.

Ultimately every download
loaded down must become
a disappointment & you feel
as if you're clerking on a volunteer
basis for authoritarian bots. All

manner of things shall be well
when you use two-step verifcation
and, well, have your credit
card info including security
ready. You must fill in required
fields, approve terms and conditions.


hans ostrom 2018

Dream Snow Leopard

I haven't seen
the snow leopard
in dreams. I know
it's there behind
mind's mist or
inside subconscious
caves. The psychic

snow leopard
is meant to be
absently present.
It represents something,
I can't know what,
perhaps just itself.

It is a messenger
sent from forever
and never quite
arrives. Its eyes
follow me now,
is my surmise.


hans ostrom 2018

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Dutiful Blues

He saw that she,
like him, was locked
into an acceptable life
that held no interest
anymore. They

exchanged polite
comments, maybe
at a cafe or on the job.
The glances they
shared never found

words because words
can involve truth
and risk. Each had
decided to plod
along their separate,

acceptable paths.
Both were made sluggish
by the weight of
boredom and
frustration. Their

existential crisis remained
bland--never boiled over.
Poignant that both
saw in the other a case
of the dutiful blues.


hans ostrom 2018

Sunday, January 14, 2018

No Crisis, No Cresendo

On a night-train to Athens,
I met a woman from Gunnison,
Colorado.  She had blond hair
and seemed self-contained.
I could tell she traveled well.

Together we counted the stops
until the stop we wanted.
There'd been an earthquake.
Greeks out late at night had
much to say, much to smoke.

We walked to her hotel. She
kissed me thanks on my cheek.
Here perspiration smelled
sweetly metallic. I walked to my hotel,
knew no one in the city. An exhausted
desk-clerk looked like she hoped
I wasn't an overbearing American.

I complied. In the cheap room I
wanted to see the woman
from Colorado again and knew
I wouldn't. On with the flow.
These stories that aren't stories
are more important to me than
one with crises or crescendi.
They are the life.


hans ostrom 2018

He Finds It Very Unsatisfying

He tells me the same fantasy
visits him often, coming around
like a city bus. A woman takes
him in: the main plot. She sorts out
his confusions. Comprehends.

She is bemused. Of course
there is sex. The genre's fantasy,
after all. It's the understanding
occurring before sated lust
that appeals, he claims.

He doesn't need to figure out
what the woman wants. She
tells him what. He's enough
and amuses her.  Triangulations
of pretense and wasted effort

disappear. Her perfume smells
great. So does she. Her sense
of irony, her management
of him and desire, create a
palace of satiety.  She's not

put off by words like satiety.
But it's just a fantasy, he says.
A real bus never comes round.
Where is she? Is she? She reclines
in an oasis. He thirsts.


hans ostrom 2018

So It Goes

The scene's a blue barge
on a green river. Twilight.
Many lights on land: a
society, a world. The illusion

of a fixed place moves
away from me like a barge.
I am a point of view, a wry
observer on a river dock.

Then I am of the darkness
falling. Then I'm the
darkness itself, then
nothing, & I am not.


hans ostrom 2018

Hawks Don't Often Perch That Low

A hawk, bedecked in variegated
brown feathers, had parked on a low,
thick fence post. I walked by on
a muddy road. The hawk ignored

two horses grazing in rain and me.
What did domestication and the
privileges of an American horse
farm have to do with his formidable

beak and mythic talons? Just before
the bird leaned forward, pre-flight,
I squinted to see through rain
and wondered what a hawk's

thought looks like. The gone
hawk left that topic open,
and I went on plodding
down the sodden road.


hans ostrom 2018

At a Reservoir of Inquiry

Warm winter day at
a California university:
this one's origins lie
in agriculture. Between
academic terms, the campus
is deserted. Squirrels

maintain their studious
consumption of acorns
raining from valley oaks
that have mused over
millions of scholars
down the decades.

One squirrel runs
up the steps of the Success
Center, which is closed.
The current campus
populace will flood in
soon, filling the reservoir
of inquiry as feudal
stupidity reigns on the
other side of the continent.



hans ostrom 2018

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Dante Alighieri Finds Out Valentina Lodovini Lives on Earth

Dante went to the movies. In the film
he saw,  Valentina Lodovini played
a main role. Even if she had appeared
in just one scene,  Aleghieri
still would have phoned Beatrice
from the lobby afterward to say
he was finally moving on from her.

Dante hadn't met Signora Lodovini
yet, but watching her likeness in motion
for two hours destroyed all his adjectives
concerning beauty and allure.

He wanted to listen to Valentina talk
for a long time, hear her laugh. His
desires didn't stop there, but he reigned
them in out of respect. After all, he
was a Catholic, and as inventor of
Hell Circles, he had a reputation
to uphold. He put it all in God's hands,
as most medieval Italian poets would.

The image of the Lodovinian bright
brown eyes, full of mischief and wisdom,
and of the dark brown hair and rapturous
proportions, all these became Dante's
new mental companions.

It was all too much to bear.  Not really.
He recalled the noble shape of her nose
and her poise as an actor. He wondered
what might make her laugh: perhaps
the sight of an ancient poet in a tunic
going to a 21st century movie? Droll.

There was nothing for it. Dante looked
at his phone.  Beatrice had texted him.
He ignored her. He decided to go home
and to try to find a Valentina Lodovini
film or series on Netflix. He felt sure
that God would understand. God never
ran out of adjectives for beauty and allure.



hans ostrom 2018

Friday, December 29, 2017

Remember, You Know?

To know, remember.
Remember to know.
December and snow:
Remember? September,

remember, is a different
month, and November's
hardly a June. So
long ago. So long, Ago!

Words are diplomats
They mean to know.
All are members
of the Memory Chateau.



hans ostrom 2017

Absent Sister

Sister I never had, I miss you--
rather formally. I know
you would have taught me
important things and listened.

Maybe right over there
in Anti-Matter, you live
and I live; or you live and
I am the brother you never had.



hans ostrom 2017

Thursday, December 14, 2017

She Looks Good

She looks good
in a mirror.
She looks good
in a bed.
Looks fine in
a forest,
and alluring
in my head.

She looks splendid
in the Spring,
intriguing in
the rain.
She looks smart
in a debate
and languid
in a lane.

There's an essence
in her presence,
which distracts
and then attracts.
To be drawn
to her is
to be invited
past mere facts.


hans ostrom 2017

Of Time and the Prairie

There's a lot of prairie
under all those cities.
It isn't waiting--that's
a sad human thing. It
is, however, prepared--
ready for any histories
that come along to replace
the previous ones.



hans ostrom 2017