Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Is All Beige

Is all beige, is the color
of the faces in the long-running
series, "Hollywood Exciting Series,"
with the ubiquitous directionless
lighting that is seen to come from
nowhere and everywhere: large
light bulbs, tin foil that reflects
sunlight as it is in L.A.

There is a script. There is acting.
There is a three-digit number
for the channel on which one may view
"Hollywood Exciting Series."

And we watch. Why? Well, what the fuck
else are we supposed to do,
after working in our jobs,
which are held by the suckers
in society, whereas the all-beiged
"Hollywood Exciting Series"
will make a profit for the ones
who make a profit by moving
their earlier profits into other
profit-making areas. Oh, my.

I'm not against anything.
What would be the fucking point?
I merely state. State haphazardly.
Sometimes I ask. "Are we irrevocably
fucked up?" It's not as though anyone
must answer, unless of course they're
saying something from a script,
and are being paid,
and are beige
because of the lighting
because of the because

hans ostrom 2013

"Salamander Confession"

Cable Television Sample 2013

i want to bring in some uni's,
fan them out, see what they find.

uh, wow?

yeah, I don't normally bring people in here

i collect, too

why did you blow me off?

that makes you honest

it's interesting that he
interesting that she
it's interesting
i find it fascinating

"he got that hand back,
and he didn't tell anybody"

talk to him, tell him you
made a mistake

"I will."

Previously on
Martin becomes
a professor

"God doesn't want.?

Go read, go read, go read
your Bible.

"She is in that other series."

Okay, that's enough.

Okay, good night.

Okay, what is your Thursday like?

hans ostrom 2013

The Woman in the Iron Sonnet

Official Correspondence

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Don't Look Now, But--

Don't look now but
Kevin Spacey is a bad actor and
Tom Hanks' accent in Forrest Gump
embarrassed. Clint Eastwood
is a cracker, and Jack
Nicholson is just another
Hollywood pig, the opposite
of counter-culture. Don't look now
but all the celebrity authors
are full of shit, completely
full of shit. Don't look now
but the U.S. Senate is a porch
on a Southern plantation
200 years ago. Don't look now but Obama
is to the right of Eisenhower and
it's too fucking late to counter-act
global warming. Don't look now but
the ACLU is impotent but correct.
Don't look now but the U.S.A.
would rather be white-supremacist
and wrong than fair and right.
Don't look now but most
of the Founding Fathers
owned slaves. Hear that:
owned slaves, who were
humans. Don't look now
but white supremacy guides
most American policies.
Don't look now but while
the gun-fetishists suck
their barrels until the barrels
shoot bullets, oh, oh,
the gub-ment
takes away the real shit,
such as money, such as rights.
Don't look now but "we"
add 10 million people per
year--which is like a Los
Angeles, which is too much
for the planet to bear.
Consider how much water
10 million people drink
and how much shit 10 million people
shit. Don't look now but
the U.S.A bombs whomever
the fuck they want--thanks
to your tax dollerz.
Don't look now but cynical realism
looks like idealism,
and your pessimism
can't keep up.
Don't look now. Don't look.

hans ostrom 2013

"Piazza Piece," by John Crowe Ransom

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Eight O'Clock," by A.E. Housman

I'm Guessing All

I'm guessing all
we can know for sure
is that when the
time comes, all
will be different
from what we had
expected, predicted.
Yes, it will be
different from
what we had imagined
when we get there,
when we get to the time,
when time comes
to get us.

Hans Ostrom 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Fabulous Free Source for Learning Linear Algebra

College textbooks have become notoriously, outrageously expensive, and publishers often play a game of bringing out new editions that have relatively little new material but just enough new material that a student can't really get by with an older, much less expensive, used copy.

Well, if you're taking or teaching linear algebra or are otherwise interested in the subject, there are some great free sources for you, thanks to my colleague at the University of Puget Sound, Rob Beezer, Professor Mathematics. Rob and I share an interest in the possibilities of online publishing, print-on-demand, and so on--he from the math world, I from the poetry and fiction and teaching creative writing worlds.

So check out Rob's site:

The first paragraph you'll see there is . . .

A First Course in Linear Algebra is an introductory textbook designed for university sophomores and juniors. Typically such a student will have taken calculus, but this is not a prerequisite. The book begins with systems of linear equations, then covers matrix algebra, before taking up finite-dimensional vector spaces in full generality. The final chapter covers matrix representations of linear transformations, through diagonalization, change of basis and Jordan canonical form. Along the way, determinants and eigenvalues get fair time. There is a comprehensive online edition and PDF versions are available to download for printing or on-screen viewing. Physical copies may be purchased from the print-on-demand service at

So, if you want a "hard" copy you MAY buy one, but you don't have to. You may download a pdf or read the book online. And here the address for the online version:

And here is a link to "Knowls," which enhances your browsing experience for such math-related things.

Sadly, although Rob and I share an interest in the Creative Commons, free or near-free textbooks, print-on-demand, and so on, linear algebra to me looks mainly like some mighty pretty hieroglyphics. I did well in Algebra I in high school. Like Wordsworth, I also really dug geometry. Then things started to fuzzy with Algebra II, and I finally got lost in the wilderness of trigonometry.

But if you've forged on ahead and are exploring linear algebra, check out Rob's fabulous free and excellent textbook material, which includes not just answers to the problems but examples of how one gets to the right answer.

"Critic," by Hans Ostrom


The old woman who slid the pan
of cookies into my brain's oven
never came back. The cookies
turned into black dots that float
across my vision. I reek of burnt
dough. I lie on my side like a

buffalo who's reading Hegel
on a parched Kansas plain.
Invisible merchants empty
microscopic vats of hot slime
on my neck, my forehead.
A thin woman with cold fingers
practices scales on my spine.

A chorus of angelic rats
prevents me from nodding off.
I raise on hand as if
to conduct their performance,
and I pass out.

hans ostrom 2013

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My Diary Went on Strike

My diary went on strike.
It said, "Damn, your life is dull.
I'm not letting my pages work for you
until something changes."

"So you're a union organizer now?"
I asked. My diary said, "Hey, I have
to protect my people, my pages."

I said, "Okay. I'll make it more
interesting. Even if I have to lie."

"That's fine," my diary said.

"Even if I make up shit?" I said.

"Of course," said my diary. "I'm
a labor-guy, not a tyrant."

hans ostrom 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

An American Political Reformation

No, there isn't any revolution coming. For
the FBI will have infiltrated it before it
starts. A reformation (go figure) will be
more revolutionary. Here's the deal:

White working-class people will have to stop
taking Right Wing bait like dumb catfish.
Friends, the Black president isn't coming after
your guns. The real problem is that he and
every other president is willing to let
the system come after your wages, your cash,
your house. Shake hands with Black folks,
White folks. Shake hands with each other.
You';re not each other's enemy, you dig?

Neither Party gives a shit about you.

To repeat: Neither Party gives a shit about you.

To go Sixties for a moment: get your shit
together. Fuck with their heads. What if
neither Party could count on your support
unless it did something serious
about your economic well being? That
is a very simple question.

Stop letting these people pimp your
fears. Ask them how they will make your
life--your life--not the life of your guns
or your prejudices, better. Friends,
get your shit together, fuck with their
heads, and change the rules.

hans ostrom, 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"After the Winter," by Claude McKay

Wealth-Distribution in the U.S.: Video

Here is a link to a brief video about how wealth is distributed (who has what) in the U.S. If you think you might want to watch, you might first do two things: guess what the distribution is. That is, what % of the wealth is owned by the top 20 %? What % by the bottom 20%? And so on. Then sketch out what your preferable distribution might be. Of course, your view might be "let the chips fall where they may." But it's possible that you think that the graph-line should be a little smoother because (for example) local economies depend on people having enough cash to buy sandwiches, tools, cars, and so on. At any rate, here's the address:

Monday, March 4, 2013

When An Epiphany Goes Flat

I was about to have
an epiphany when
the sum-bitch just
went all to hell on me.

It fell apart
and left me there staring
at the thing I'd been
staring at, feeling
nothing now. When

an epiphany goes flat,
you can't jack up
the frame and fix
the thing. You
just have to move on through
the dullness of
an everyday ride.

Hans Ostrom, 2013