Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

White Silence

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White Silence

Emily, I love you, but some
truths can't be told slant.
This country's never made
right what it did and does
to Black folks. On that score,
its soul is rotten and always
will be until it makes things
right. Its edifices will forever
be without foundation until
it makes things right.

Emily, more White folks
need to break this White silence,
which covers the U.S. like
Antarctic ice. It is White folks
who must insist at last
that this nation face itself
at what it did, and what it does.

Copyright 2012

"Rattlesnake," by Brewster Ghiselin

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fat Man on the Radio

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Fat Man on the Radio

There's a fat man on the radio
who thinks he knows it all.
My truck is stuck out on I-5.
I'd settle for a crawl.

I have to get this load to Texas
or else I won't get paid.
The blowhard on the radio--
he won't come to my aid.

Fat man on the radio,
jerking people's chains.
The fat man: hell, he just
pretends to know our pains.

Copyright 2012 Hans Ostrom

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Sleep," by Langston Hughes

see so many just

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see so many just

i see so many just
hanging on, or not,
staggering in wind
without a coat (as
TV heads mock
people-just-getting-
by); keeping upright
in a job while worrying,
weary, ill, afraid to miss
a shift, target, quota, goal.
see so many

ground down--
and the grinders:
well ensconced with
cosmetic surgery,
lawyers, gates, and
lies. see so many:

cubes and cubes of
housing, broken street
after broken street, &
slashed by alleys. something's
coming. don't know what.
maybe just more of
same. maybe reckoning--
a gray wind chasing
indifference and evil
across a plain full
of smoldering phones
and melted ear-buds.

see something staggering
in the cold, walking past
an empty police cruiser,
strolling toward a swarming
crowd, sound of cockroach-
scuttle coming out of
speakers. and a wailing.


Copyright 2012 Hans Ostrom

Friday, February 10, 2012

"Youth and Beauty," by Al Akhtal

New Novel About a Bizarre Plague

So I finally published my most recent novel via Kindle. It is called WITHOUT ONE, and it concerns a bizarre epidemic that strikes in the near future and that hits men where they live--but otherwise let's them live.  One tag-line, so to speak, is "Something is happening to men; their penises are falling off."

Mostly droll satire, I'd say, with some pathos and comedy.  The ensemble-cast includes first sufferers, researchers, doctors, media-folk, conspiracy-theorists, and of course politicians, including the POTUS.

The disease is soon known as RAPIDS--Rapid Penile Degeneration Syndrome.

My favorite anecdote from my adventures in trying to find an agent for the book: A male agent responded almost immediately to the email query and wrote, "I couldn't possibly represent this book because I have a fear of castration."  Which was funny.  And which, to me, suggested the book might have some appeal.  Technically, the disease doesn't castrate, but I got his drift.  I think I apologized for scaring him, too.

Anyway, if you're not scared, and in the unlikely event you have time to read, sigh, another novel, and you like somewhat bizarre fiction, here is a link:


Without One

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Anti-Epic

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Anti-Epic


Here's a thought: stay home.
Quell grandiose ideas.
Let understanding invade you.

Consider all those people
and animals you won't kill.
Admit that whatever you

would seek doesn't exist--
revenge; a cup; glory.
Construct manageable

fantasies. You're an organism
that eats and sleeps. A deeper epic
lies in being nothing special.


Copyright 2012 Hans Ostrom

Dog Outside a Bar

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Dog Outside a Bar


Memory is loyalty
to something not there.
I sit outside the past
like a dog outside

a bar, and what
I'm waiting for went
out the back door
hours ago. I furrow

my brow and alert
my ears and eyes.
And I remember.
The future wants

to take me for a
walk. It hooks
a leash to my collar.
And here we go.


Copyright 2012 Hans Ostrom