Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Monday, September 30, 2013

Into

Into.
In two.
In, too.
Intuitive.

Inn, too.
Inn. Two.
Into Inn.

I, too, in.
I to in.
Into me.
Into mate.
Intimate.



hans ostrom 2013

"Moonlight Night: Carmel," by Langston Hughes

Minor Intimidations

A tag on a blanket
tells me in writing
not to remove the tag.
Removal, it notes,
is a criminal act.
Another entry, I think,
for The Encyclopedia
of Minor Intimidations.



hans ostrom 2013

The Plot of the Universe

Plot, a human invention, a narrowing
we need, is something
the universe doesn't require.

For the universe
is thermodynamic
and never exactly
itself any time.

It
is infinitely, multi-
dimensionally episodic,
in all and no directions.

This is a little
story about the universe.
You tell one. It's
what we do.


hans ostrom 2013

"Fall Wind," by William Stafford

Friday, September 27, 2013

People Are Disappointed

When I say "October" I feel
compelled to say "again."
People are disappointed.

A military aircraft flies overhead
and makes great noise as I try to teach.
People are disappointed.

Today somebody said, "I saw a scorpion in
my house,": and her friend said, "That's impossible."
People are disappointed.

In Syria alone there are two million
refugees. And elsewhere refugees. Refugees.
People are disappointed.

Over the years, several times, I've said,
"I can't influence anything political."
People are disappointed.

Into the o's of October, I stuff
my acrid outrages, what a joke.
People are disappointed.

I tried to tell someone about jazz,and the
person said, "You mean like Light Jazz on FM?"
People are disappointed.

I think I've died a hundred times, and yet
I still look forward to death.
People are disappointed.


hans ostrom 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Organoids

I enjoy how science hunts down philosophy
like a big cat on a plain:

the clever bastards now make
organoids--
yes, that's right, brains
in vats, the old
thought-experiment.

Yes, of course, maybe
it's a case of brains in vats
imagining
they're making brains in vats;
and of

other brains in vats imagining
they're reading and writing
about same. Alas, not likely.
Occam's Razor slices a leak
in vats of that sort.

I do hope there is a neo-funk-
rock-digital-punk-post-sexual
band out there now named
"The Organoids." That,

by the way, is something my
brain thought, some meager
morsel a big cat might snack on.


hans ostrom 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

In the Chambers of the Sounds

Hearing the off-off-beat rhythms,
sonic schisms. Hear-
ing the syncopations out of
diasporic nations: ah, the
daughters sweat when they dance
and they laugh into lances of light. Ah,

the world, too much, in its trembling
under the weight and the hate
of its machineries: beat-
en down. One mind's

a mental gleanery, a picking up
of bits from a mowed-down
psychic scenery. Hear-

ing sounds made of sounds recorded
sounds effected now, an overlooping
digi-lapping mix-re-mixification,
queen and princess and
good king syntheslaus
at the feast of even beatsintune.

Hearing
the on beat, off-again
ch- ch- ch-echoing
in the chambered
arterials,
air-displaced materials,
endless musi-chilled imp-
rovisations,
hearing.



hans ostrom 2013

"The Name of It is 'Autumn,'" by Emily Dickinson

"Blue Monday," by Langston Hughes

Friday, September 20, 2013

Animal Authors

Ernest Hummingbird
Emily Cricketson
J.D. Salamander
Charles Chickens
Jane Mothsten
Leo Toadstoy
Herman Moleville
William Bobcat Williams
Otter Conan Doyle
Flea S. Eliot
Percy Fish Shelley
William Rattler Yeats
William Snakespeare
Margaret Catwood
Allen Ginsbug
Albert Camoose
Franz Calfka
Charles Bucrowski

hans ostrom 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Sheriff Has Absconded

You touch the moon on water,
a century collapses into a train
& the engine's light shines
on tracks, which ladder up
from night into a blue dawn
buttered. And now unfixed

factories march across
a plain to kidnap fugitive
workers. You're at red
rim-rock's edge, watching
all of this--you,
the emperor of images,
brewer of creosote beer,
melter of topaz, escaped
sheriff.



hans ostrom 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

All Are All Alone

All are all alone
in the cave of the cranium.

Data and, via language, guests
may enter. Only the one

lives there though, bent over
a fire, cool-napping or

listening to underground streams
and echoes of screams.




hans ostrom 2013

"The Fall," by Russell Edson

Friday, September 13, 2013

Self-Contradiction Blues

Self-Contradiction Blues

"I am an atheist who says his prayers"

--Karl Shapiro, The Bourgeois Poet

He's a hick who got
cosmopolized, a fierce
coward and a timid stalwart.
He's a shrewd fool, a
half-assed genius, and
a morbidly morose optimist.

He adores libraries
and hates the intelligentsia.
He considers himself
a feminist but would stare
at women's naked breasts
until the end of Time,
transfixed, forever adolescent.

He's a lost soul but a found
failure, lazy and obsessive,
driven and languorous.

An over-achiever who
never measured up. A
glad-handing recluse,
quick and dull, exuberant
and plodding, fanciful,
serious, frivolous. He's
nothing but exists.



hans ostrom 2013

Education

She says,
I took the post because
I wanted to teach students
English. Well, all right,
I also needed to earn
a living. In the classroom,
there was boredom. And noise,
endless noise. Most of the students
were distracted by their poverty,
hunger, hormones, phones, talk,
music, and self-loathing.

Outside the classroom,
the corridor was always
crowded, with parents,
administrators, politicians,
consultants, pastors, priests,
rabbis, police, coaches,
pimps, pundits, and God.
The crowd pressed
against the door every day.

In other words, I never
had a chance; worse,
they never had a chance--
the students: you remember
them. She says,

Now I'm a clerk at a
building-supply company.
It's easier, and it pays
the bills, I admit. It
doesn't feel crucial to me,
though, like education
used to feel.


hans ostrom 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

America's Bible Challenge

I shit you not, Brethren,
a cable-network in the U.S.A.
has added a game-show
called "America's Bible Challenge"
to
its
lineup.

The "host" (hear me, people)
is a smart man who became a
stand-up (hear me, people)
comedian with a hick-schtick.

Just before the break,
he says, "Our two teams
are backstage studying
for the Revelation Challenge!
There is twenty thousand dollars
on
the
line!"

You cannot make this shit up,
sisters and brothers. What
the fuck did Jesus Christ
and Moses, for example and
e.g., do to America that
America would make such
an unholy motherfucking
carnival (and I do apologize
for my language) out of
the
Bible?



hans ostrom 2013


Jesus Reminder

And the Man said,
the name is Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.

Not Jesus Price
or Jesus Pri$e,
not Jesus Whites
or Jesus Right or
Jesus Lite.

Certainly not
Jesus Might or Jesus
Might-is-Right, and
no not Jesus Kike.

Nor Jesus Flight,
as in your wealth-gospel's
corporate jet. Nor
Jesus Blights. Okay?

Not Jesus Sites,
as in a real estate de-
velopment, or Jesus Sights,
as in the things you
aim your guns with.

And the people, they
got a little quiet.
And then they started
talking, too much, again.




hans ostrom

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Topic of Your Thighs

Your thighs are and are not
like warm, supple glass. They
make me think of seven golden
horses galloping across a field
of black grass; thus, I must

disrupt the senator's speech--
and instantly find myself
stopped, frisked, tazed,
Mirandized, Godoted, Kafkaed,
NSAed, SWATted, and entered

into the system.
Why, why
did I stray
from
the topic of your thighs?




hans ostrom 2013

Are Reviews Necessary?

I don't know: are reviews necessary?
I mean, of books and movies, and so on? I've written some.
Quite a few. I don't the genre. I was almost
always kind, beyond fair. But the
question is more general (who
cares about me?) Many

reviewers seem like little brave,
yapping dogs. They bark
at the stone-mason walking by
as they imagine they're guarding
the huge stone mansion behind
them (Art). They imagine the mansion.

Others are like dogs
that indiscriminately sniff
the boots of anybody
walking by. Everything
excites them. That's not so bad.

A lot of reviews and reviewers
are pleasant to read. Some
reviews save time--you get
the idea of a history book,
or one on science. That's
a service. Otherwise, I'm

just not sure: are
reviews necessary?



hans ostrom 2013

Monday, September 9, 2013

Those Weren't The Days

I found your aluminum parachute.
You weren't nearby, thank goodness.

I still have your wood carving
of a chainsaw. Cute.

(Using a tractor),I ran across
 a photo of you and me.

I don't miss you but I still talk
about you to people, mentioning

your hammer-toe and other
minor flaws. Ah, you and I,

back then. In fact, those
weren't the days, my friend.



hans ostrom 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

What Should I Watch?

Wow, I can order, like a general,
movies on my TV! On Demand, with a
price. So: On Pay. That's
kind of cute. I see what
you did there. What should I watch?

How about the tenth sequel based
on a fucking comic book, with a short
actor dressed in latex
and a plot
as predictable
as a
bowel
movement
and credits
as long as
the Bataan
Death March?

How about the 15th gangster movie
from the noted director who makes
gangster movies with short actors
who have New York accents and
play at being tough, with make-up
and all? Bada-Boom, Bada-Wadda-
Dada could you please just
stop talking, stop
talking
in
that
accent?

How about a film in which Black
women actors play maids or whores?

Or another film with the wrinkled,
70-year-old actor whose eyes look
like charcoal piss-holes in the snow?
He will be paired with a woman
who has had her faced carved
by switch-blade Frankenstein
cosmetic surgeons in Beverly Hills.

Or another political thriller
in which a short man with a broad
female ass plays a rogue agent
who is American
who is American
who is American
who blows up shit
who glows up shit
and flows up shit and
who never grows up? Shit!

How about a goddamned puppet-movie?
Or a virtual puppet-movie, with
that digital puppet-crap they
invented? Yeah, a talking fucking
car, a virtual teddy bear, all of it
"voiced" by members of this
bizarre celebrity oligarchy
that invites world leaders
to parties in Malibu, pays
people to carry dogs no bigger
than postage stamp, and gets
high-colonic enemas in Costa Rica?

Oh, I know. A romantic comedy,
in which the actress, who is 45,
plays a flirty nerd who is,
I shit you not, supposed to be
less than 30. You know, one
of those romantic comedies
that isn't romantic or funny
but basically a set of still photos
paired with frozen jokes
and inept physical stunts?

Jesus Moses Sebastian Mohammed
Buddha Bogart, what ever
happened to timing?

Oh, wait. There's another movie
by that guy who is 108 years old
and jacks off to kiddy-porn
and lives in New York
and is important
and gets the financing
and gets the financing
and has a broker
and is afraid of anybody
not White
and is
a
genius
and is
a genius
and is
and is
and is
and is
a genius? Have
you seen his
latest movie?
Oh, it's wonderful.
It's set in a famous city
that middle-class
Americans
visit
by
the
millions. He
is a
genius. Have
you seen it? Oh,
he is wonderful. Oh,
I love
his
movies.

Yes, please, a movie
by the hick-genius
who made one good movie
and who is short
and talks tough
and now says "we"
when he means "I"
and is no doubt
and is no doubt
thought to be smart
in Hollywood.

Better yet, a movie
with one of the three
older Black male actors
who get work in Hollywood.
One has a voice but doesn't act.
One acts but doesn't have a voice.
The third acts and has a voice
but is just a bit too
talented to be safe.
"A Black man in Hollywood ..."
say those in the know. Inside
joke.

Imagine if people, seriously,
Occupied Hollywood. Imagine
progressive, suave poseurs
having to call the police
to have the police
beat up the people. Imagine,
that is, Hollywood
without the makeup,
no longer the last
institution that is
beyond
scrutiny,
beyond
contempt.

Imagine Hollywood
on
the
run,
shitting
its
pants,
stuck
in its BMW,
stuck
in a mob. Cut!

Wow. I think I'll
watch
that.




hans ostrom 2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I Like Missing

I like missing California. Do
you? I like California twilights,
blue. And perfume of the women,
swoosh, going by. And the going by,
the gone. I miss the gone,
the streetlights popping on,
Chevy Impalas as low-to-asphalt
as lizards. And I like

missing bitter smoke of burnt
alfalfa fields & also
valley oaks never seeming
to move, great clouds
of black-green. And I like
missing everything that's
wrong-careening and wrong,
excessive and wrong, about it,
about it all, the bursting
all of California, God
help us.



hans ostrom 2013

"The Name of It is 'Autumn,'" by Emily Dickinson