Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Nothing But Time

Moments don't arrive.
For they've always been there,
inside the universe.
The tiniest percentage of them
are invisible arenas
available to our lives,
which pass in. And out.
All other moments lie beyond us.
There is nothing but time.


hans ostrom 2015

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Honors and Awards

He's been elected to the Lizard Rock
Academy of Arts & Shit Like That.
He was awarded the Piss-Ant Prize
in Poetry from the Gout Foundation.

At Fistula University, he holds
the Flecknut Chair in Mossy Texts,
although he's never taught one
goddamned thing to anyone there.

He was elected to the Chamber
of Literary Commerce not long
after he developed a sore
on his scalp, about which

he wrote the epic poem,
Ick,in syllabics.
He will be buried, after
dying, in the Poet's Corner

of Len's Barbershop and Bait Shop
in Lugville, Nevada. I mean, this
sonofabitch is a prized poet,
lethally anthologized.


hans ostrom 2015




Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Roof


Mist has found its night-air.
From the buzz of the plane,
we know the plane flies
circularly in clouds. Have one!
A neighbor cries, followed by
I need new strings. We are
on the roof but no closer to the sky,
buzzing toward a circular high.







Phrasing Today

How shall we phrase this day?
It has its own rhetoric.
Our arguments are largely choral
and decorative. Vowels

of sunlight stream between
consonantal trees and bathe
guttural buildings. Sky is a blue
theme; air, a forum.



hans ostrom 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Post and the Cinema

I grew up fond of the post,
its letters and envelopes,
typed script and cursive,
stamps and addresses.
Its pace of weeks and days,
years and months.
Its slow magic. Now
it labors, a harried
beast with no charm
and many enemies.
I'm used to its
alleged replacements,
but once I loved the post.

I used to fall into cinema
as if it were a liquid dream,
a pool of better reality.
Now I see through it to
the cynicism, the
racism and capital,
bad writing, bad acting,
no acting, no point.
Hollywood's a sewage-
processing plant by another
name. I like some films
all right. But I used
to love the cinema.

It's another thing
to watch, is all,
institutions altered,
dead, or dying,
drifting by like dirigibles.



hans ostrom 2015


"Early One Morning," by Edward Thomas

Friday, May 1, 2015

They Will

They will photograph themselves holding guns.
They will incorporate the national flag
into their wardrobe.
They will proclaim their faith aggressively.
They will act in contradiction to their faith.
They will not read history.
They will not read literature.
They will not consult data.
They will reject conclusions from science.
They will demand to be considered special
and may link themselves to God.

They will not understand.
They will not try to understand.
They will be tyrants in their families.
They will perceive no contradictions.
They will recoil from wit and irony.
They will mimic gestures of status.
They will threaten.
They will be particularly susceptible
to fascist appeals.
They will transmit ignorance gleefully.
They will not know how to ask good questions.
They will remain enraged by complexity
and change.
They will not change.


hans ostrom 2015





Hollywood's Not Doing it For Me



I was watching a digitalized video
of a film in which immensely wealthy
celebrities with slight builds
(made more slight by Hollywood's
emaciation-demands) were pretending
on a sound stage to be tough cowboys
or gangsters or spies or cops. It wasn't
working for me. Their acting

couldn't overcome the built-in
farce of the system that made
the product--the insincere,
serious, transparently cynical,
ghastly moving-picture factory.

I turned off the machine.

I imagined the two men
having to work a shift
building a house. That scene
worked for me. I imagined
them quitting after ten
minutes and hobbling
toward the limousine.

After that scene stopped
in my head, I went outside
and dug a hole to plant
a green-gauge plum tree in.
I was entertained.



hans ostrom 2015