Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Friday, July 31, 2015

Haypress Creek Was Other

One reason you liked hiking up
around Haypress Creek was that
the woods were of full of naturally
selected life that went about
its business independent of you.
Sure, you and the woods &
the creatures there shared
oxygen and C oh two,
and bear or deer or snake
or squirrel might get in
your sight-line and you
in theirs. The pleasure

though came from disconnection,
guarded fascination. Curiosity.
The woods were other, light, and
deeply intricate. Some shitheads

built a dam on Haypress Creek
and added miles of pipe.
Hydraulic electricity. All
things were now connected.
The shitheads had seen
to that. You never hiked up there again.
Other had been disrupted.
Absurdly, you felt ashamed
and couldn't face the woods there.
A stupid Wordsworthian emotion,
useless.


hans ostrom 2015






We've Always Had Good Answers


We've always had good answers. We know
what's best to do. We've been at war
always so have forgotten many answers.
Permanent war permanently distracts.
Plus when we use religion only
as a V.I.P. badge
and a fulcrum to extert force,
we get godlike, and you know
how that goes. Buying, also

the buying, shopping, shopping.
Quite a thing-culture, they were
may be said of us in retrospect or
now. Good answers are just lying
around all over the place like
jewels no one thinks are valuable
anymore. We just have to forget
what we know and start picking them up.
That's all? Pretty much.

hans ostrom 2015


Friday, July 24, 2015

Our Legends


Tell me your favorite legend,
and I'll tell you who you aren't.
I, too, sit outside
my legend, staring at it,
the thing I'm not.

Why do we do this
to ourselves and each other--
this creation of Impossibles
to which we then aspire
like minnows who dream
of becoming eagles
and vice versa?


hans ostrom 2015




People from the Sky


So many people
fall out of the sky.
They congeal and
become moving crowds
in cities,
thick and sticky
populations.

Thank you, sky,
for all the people!

yells a forlorn
figure, homeless
and friendless
in the mass.


hans ostrom 2015





Apples of the Ear

The apple doesn't fall far
from the tree except in quantum summer
when Newton's head doesn't/does
exist and Atom & Eve

know what they don't know,
a good first step
into the wormhole of Paul
Gonsalvez's "Diminuendo/

Crescendo" solo at Newport,
1956, in that momentary era
wherein all the tightly knit
notes of Ellington's orchestra

became/become perfectly tart-sweet
apples in a God's-ear of time.


hans ostrom 2015



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Where Did Everybody Go, Anyway?

This place got quiet all of a sudden.
People I guess are off taking photos
of their meals and posting them
on Boastface.com. Probably lots

are gathering to tweet
about comic-book heroes played
in movies by weird little
celebrities. I think

all of this is fine, just
fine. Or I don't think
it's fine. Mere opinions are
exalted on the human stage.


hans ostrom 2015


Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Richard Brautigan Beauty Pageant and Fishing Derby

At the Zero Annual Richard Brautigan Beauty Pageant
and Fishing Derby, held at a mezzanine level
of consciousness, some of the contestants
are wearing hip waders and nothing else.

Their fly-casts catch the ears of lascivious
men and pull them off. There is no pain.
They do grow back. What is it with (some)
men and women's breasts? The pageant's
judges, who include Baudelaire,
discuss this question at some length.
Baudelaire reads his "Giantess" poem.

The carpenter Jesus comes on stage
and sings Leadbelly's droll Titanic
song. Now "the girls," garbed efficiently
in paisley items, launch the big
production-number. They sing and they
step-dance down a terraced pyramid made
out of 1945 nickels (S.F. Mint).
The trout in the audience go wild.


hans ostrom 2015







Aspects of the Main Stream

In the pavilions of forbidden solitude,
citizens could not escape their screens.
And tiny hovering machines
recorded what little reflection people
could manage to generate,
for thoughtfulness was deemed
counter-productive to all aspects
of the status quo. There had been no need

to prohibit poetry, improvised musics,
philosophy, and playful disquisitions
in public squares, for all of these,
including public squares, had simply
fallen out of style, and style was all.

Self-regimentation and enervated irony
(pallid sarcasms) prevailed in those days.
The cinema and its derivatives featured
chiefly "super heroes" and sequels,
categories that rose like massive
computer-generated plinths
over the tomb of imagination.


hans ostrom 2015



Friday, July 3, 2015

Emergency Music Medicine


Inspired by desperation
and a certain nausea brought on
by spectacles of hate encased
in blistered, feverish stupidity,

they started injecting
Duke Ellington's chords
directly into people's brains.
It couldn't hurt, they figured.

They brought on board
booster-shots of Bill Monroe,
Aretha, Coltrane, Rubenstein's
Chopin, and vials of other juice.

Hi-dee-high-dee hoping these
inoculations and antidotes
might re-humanize folks,
the worried inculcators

waited, seeking early signs
of logic, empathy, and wit.
I? I await reports. A bottle
of bourbon, which I haven't

touched in centuries, sits
on the battered piano,
which I have touched, pawing
ballads and blues like a badger.


hans ostrom 2015



Secret Music


The antennae of the snail receive
music as slowly as glaciers form thoughts.
Note by note, the music seeps in from
a station under the ocean.

--Whereas bumble bees jam. They
syncopate the wing-buzz rhythms
and growl lyrics into stamens.
O, sexy women, O, befuddled men,

there's music out there
few have never heard.



hans ostrom 2015