Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Don't Know, Do Know

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Don't Know, Do Know

i don't know why. i
do know why. i do,
i don't, know why.

why, no, i don't
know why. i know
why i don't know

why and don't
know why
i know. i don't,

i do, and i
don't know how
it is for you.


Copyright 2011 Hans Ostrom

Lemon Harangue

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Lemon Harangue

hey, it's hard to do
anything. yeah, but
you have to try. hell,
we all start out as

squirming blobs of
flesh and then
get push-pushed
to join reality.

later we get
volunteered to
join this mess,
society. with

a system like
this, who needs
chaos? for
today, stop

haranguing
yourself, although
it's a good word,
harangue.

do what you can,
if you can, and
know that doing
anything is hard.


Copyright 2011 Hans Ostrom

Dramatic Noise

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Dramatic Noise

in the next motel
room, someone's
talking, with volume,
on a telephone.

words get stripped
of their wordness
as they pass through
stuccoed sheet rock.

so what i
hear sounds like
the intense language
of a huge insect

that is related
to a small
electric drill.
it's fascinating.

there's drama
in this noise.
hearing the words
would diminish

that. the noise can
be an argument
about anything.
i'm sad when

the sound stops
and the walls
of the room
i am in begin

to advance on
me, flashing their badges
of splendid, cheap
mass-produced art.


Copyright 2011 Hans Ostrom

Sydney Greenstreet's Younger Days

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Sydney Greenstreet's Younger Days


today i heard
a woman say
of sydney greenstreet:

"in his younger days,
he was probably
light on his feet."

Link: "The Sydney Greenstreet Blues," by Richard Brautigan


poem copyright Hans Ostrom 2011

Wood on Water

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Wood on Water

i now set this out
on waters of
Electronic Ocean

like a small
piece of wood--
white pine

i don't know
where it will go
except anywhere

it's particular
now--of particles
diffused

it could end up
being scanned by
an entity in

another galaxy,
a disappointed
decoder


Copyright 2011 Hans Ostrom

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Far Away and Above

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Far Away and Above

If you don't have any
expectations, everything's
a surprise, and the crowd
of disappointments gets
thinned considerably.

So I'm using a day
off as a day off
from expectation.

Just breathing
is an accomplishment--
vital, in fact.

Far away and above,
a light airplane
buzzes in the
ear of the sky.
I hadn't
expected that.


Copyright 2011 Hans Ostrom

"Intellect," by Ralph Waldo Emerson