Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This Is Your Uncle Vinton

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This Is Your Uncle Vinton


This is your Uncle Vinton calling:
You say you don't have an Uncle
Vinton, and you close the call.

Actually you do have an Uncle
Vinton. He's a secret, me. I was
going to mention a few other things

you may not know. But that's all right.
You'll be fine not knowing them, me.
You may recall in quiet moments

the calm assurance of my voice when
I said, This is your Uncle Vinton calling.
Our disconnection will be our only connection.

--Unless of course you call me some night
and say This is your niece, Verona, calling,
and I say, "I don't have a niece named Verona."


Copyright 2011 Hans Ostrom

Gray Boulder

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I Say That Gray Boulder


I say that gray boulder will always be
there, knowing it will be gone--but long
after I am no longer. I say it because
I need at least a stone to stay where
it was, where it is in my mind,

which needs  rock to be more
than memory. Mind wearies of its
memories, its common stock. That
gray boulder's under cedars.

I sat on it, age six, and experienced
the expansive fluidity of sight, thought,
light, impulse, and sensation all children
know but don't know they will lose.
I say "that gray boulder," and I know.


Copyright 2011 Hans Ostrom

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing (1975) HD

Rush Hour Poem

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Rush, Our

Convenience, steel, and efficiency
in automobilian form get reduced
to viscous troughs of traffic, giving
us time to work on futility, self-loathing,
and heart-attacks. Someone named it

the Rush Hour. It's when rushing ceases,
and it lasts several hours; otherwise,
it's a great name. The oligarchs prefer
that we travel this way, stopped

in vehicles built to go, sitting in a
holding-cell atop rubber tires and
with payments due. It's a great system.
It really is. And so sometimes we

lean on the horn or shout at the
windshield, our impotent spit
flying, to express sad rage or
to misbehave farcically.


Copyright 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Marvin Gaye "What's Going On / What's Happening Brother"

Woody Guthrie- "Don't Kill My Baby & My Son"

The Alchemist

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The Alchemist


Umber smoke, flashed flame,
a bizarre stench: all this delights
the alchemist, whose brow
and cheeks are carbon-smudged.

The base metals stare up
at him like indifferent pets.
He stares back, smiling.
The alchemist knows gold

is far off, welded to quartz
inside mountains under snow.
Facts are tedious to know.
In the windowless room

allowed him, the alchemist
transforms fact into gilded
hope. His crucible holds
a desire: that wealth can

come from want, reverence
from boredom, love from
indifference. He breathes
the fumes of failure and smiles.

Golden bees of possibility hum
inside the realistic head of
the alchemist, who must go to
his job the next day: welding

gray cargo-ships beside the bay.

Mike Bloomfield " IT TAKES TIME " Live

"You Should At Times Go Out," by Elizabeth Daryush

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bread and Oranges

...Re-posting one from 2009....




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At Least I Left Bread and Oranges

At first I didn't think I'd be in
this poem, which set out to accumulate
words representing images neutrally--
blue conifer-hills, black flies pulsing
on a deer's bone, rocking red box
of a medics' truck, mineral-grin of
a Cadillac's fin. . . . The truth is

I didn't have another poem to go to,
so I visited this one. You came in
and discovered me sitting on the old
green couch. --And now there you go,
out the door, slam, and I can't
blame you, but I promise to be gone
by the time that you return, and
I did buy bread and oranges. They
are sitting on the counter.


Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom

Data Regarding Teacher-Pay

Particularly in relation to the events in Wisconsin, these data concerning teacher-pay in the U.S. vis a vis other industrialized nations are (or may be) of interest:

chart

"Richard Cory," by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Reno

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Reno


When a man holds a knife
in an alley and his aim
is to stick the knife in you,
your dispersed thoughts
reconvene for a quick
meeting. Adrenalin
floods so fast, it balloons
your heart and  almost
lifts you off the ground.
Keep that blade away
from your torso and
hurt the wielder: two tasks.
Survive somehow: one.


Copyright 2011 Hans Ostrom

Monday, March 7, 2011

When the White Man Told

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When The White Man Told


When the white man told
the Black woman, twice, that
she was naive about race in the U.S.,
his attitude was authoritative,
terse, and humorless. Thus,

we may deduce that he
did not know how risible
his statement was. Sure, it was
possibly frustrating, possibly
infuriating, but also just
goddamned ridiculously,
unwittingly ironic.

And when a report, gussied up
as a poem, observed that a white
man watching a tennis match
between a Black woman and a
white woman made a white man
connect with his white tribe,
a synonym for clan, the report

was many things, but what it
wasn't was complicated,
sophisticated, news, or
helpful.  But of course
the white man and the report
had on their side the privilege
of all that confident leverage
that comes from centuries
of heavy, dull, but powerful
weight--I mean, a weight
that hangs around the neck
of the U.S. like an anvil.
A white man myself,

I can easily imagine this white
man, having corrected
the Black woman twice
(or so he imagined),
smiling; and then reading
congratulatory emails
from other white
men and women.



Copyright 2011 Hans Ostrom

"Upon Kind and True Love," by Aurelian Townshend