Monday, January 30, 2017

Nude Not Descending a Staircase

The nude descending a staircase
never moves--forget reaching the landing.
She stays trapped in that manic
wheatsheaf of lines and angles,
poor thing. I guess Duschamp
felt freer painting it up that way.

True, Mona Lisa is locked in, too,
except she gets to relax,
and her smile's in charge,
whereas the nude not descending
a staircase is always on call
and off balance. She has to be ready
to move, yet isn't allowed
even to get dressed.

hans ostrom 2017

White Idols

Go to Church,
vote for a White Supremacist.
Go to Church,
vote for a rapist.
Go to Church,
vote for a nihilist.
Go to Church,
vote for a polyurethane
caesar. Render
your religious values
unto him. Go ahead
and get down with
your pious bad self
and pray to a White Idol.

hans ostrom 2017

Introductory Doom

It may come rather soon,
our introductory doom,
now that the White folks,
South and Midwest,
made a sociopath a President.

He, his fatuous goons, his
enablers, apologists, and
tolerators, aren't satisfied
with their perch high up
in capitalism. Nope.

They must destroy. They
must inflict, control,
degrade. They must
torture, ruin, exclude.
They must champion

stupidity. Their politics,
religion, economics, and
culture are all hollowed out,
vibrant fiber replaced
by one form of depravity

or another. They symbolize
America. The run the nihilistic
show. They oversee crimes,
neglect, and ignorance. They
craft our introductory doom.

hans ostrom 2017

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

How Are You Enjoying the Dictatorship?

Oh, look, America,
at what White Supremacy made you do.
Fear of change, fear of knowledge, too.
Oh, look, White men, at what
never growing up has set loose
like a plague.
Oh, look, White women
at what the White men mean
to do with your body,
citing their whacked-out version
of Scripture. Still flying
the Confederate flag, still
proud of slavery and Jim Crow?
It's a nice way to show
you don't know right from wrong.
Oh, look, America,
at what snorting celebrity
will get you. That bloated
"billionaire" racist on top
means you've hit bottom,
where the dictator's people
will stomp you,--just their
way of thanking you for
your support.

hans ostrom 2017

Another Good Surreal Night in Paris

That one night in Paris, we searched
for a Mexican restaurant and found it.
Waitresses wore tight bluejeans and
cowboy boots. Nashville music
thumped and twanged.

It was a sincerely inauthentic place.
That made us happy. It brought to mind
California, where only geology
is originally from there.

We ate les tacos and drank Dutch beer.
Looked across a dark courtyard
and spied, two floors up in a kind
of warehouse, ballet dancers,
dozens of them. They faced
the instructor, stretched and jumped
to music we could not hear.

A fire-eater appeared in the courtyard.
He licked a long match and guzzled
fuel. Tipped his head back, roared
flame into night. We saw his small
audience gasp. Full,

we sipped our beers. Saw that the dancers
were drenched in sweat. When the man
with the oboe walked in, we knew
we weren't supposed to be surprised.

hans ostrom 1981/2017

Plain States

We drive a tan Ford in Kansas.
We're the heart of the Census.

We vote the person, also the Party.
We wash our clothes when they're dirty.

We like to shop at Walmart or Penney.
We save our money.

We like TV and ice cream.
We don't dream.

Our daughter's Mary; the boy, John.
When we fought wars, we won.

Why did you stop here, stranger?
Now you'll have to stay.  Forever.

hans ostrom 2017

They Have Their There, We Have Our Here

Back there they speak of out here.
Out here we speak of going
back there. That doesn't mean we
go. Being from out here, we will
never be from back there or welcome.
Even if we go back there, here
will hold us still.  They will always
see the out in us and the here
in how we do things.  And they will
always want everyone everywhere,
including us out here, to agree
that back there is the best. Out here
we don't see things that way.

hans ostrom 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017

Partial Report from Childhood

Heights: obviously perilous.
Snow: tedious, never
as pleasurable as they would
persuade you it is. Adults:
loud and/or tired. Family:

a pecking order and a proliferation
of comparisons. School:
40% cruelty, 50% boredom,
10% pleasure. Men: in charge,
even if no one knows why.

Women: perfumed, patient,
smarter than they act.
Girls: fascinating, mercurial.
Did I mention fascinating?

Books: reliable. The future:
an absentee landlord.

hans ostrom 2017

Eve and Adam Evicted by Landlord

So after Eve and Adam got their Know on,
God evicted them, but notice please
that Eden stayed right there, the primest
piece of real estate there ever was,
and was not, for sale. It is a glorious
space, ipso and facto. It's round and flat
and low and high and wet and dry,
packed with flora, also fauna, and
maybe, yes, a sauna, oh why not?
Can I tell you where it is and why?
Oh, I wish. Or do I? Better not to know,
perhaps, Wasn't that the lesson of
eviction? Let's  ask dove and crow.

hans ostrom 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Ghost Pavilion

I have been admitted to
the Ghost Pavilion,
which rises from a
plateau beyond fatalism.

There one is invited
to view reproductions
of the groups and squads
and masses of faces

one has passed by,
through, or among
in life. Students at
the Ghost Pavilion

accept that reality
exists but also learn
that anybody's perceptions
of it are little more than

a cache of roughly
recorded glimpses.

hans ostrom 2017

What a Lovely Afternoon

(acknowledging Calvin and Hobbs, and Henry C.)

What a lovely afternoon,
in spite of the fascist President
of Amerixon and his cabinet
full of rapacious rats. What
a lovely afternoon, shining
down on poverty and pain
and insufficient rain. What

are we going to do about this
fix in which science is treated
as a cartoon and hateful lore
displaces logic?  Not sure

we can do anything much
(but what a lovely afternoon)
except watch a culture try
to commit suicide and take
so many innocent people with it.

hans ostrom 2017

In Old Palm Springs

In old Palm Springs, north, just beyond
the charming attempts at glamour,
trunks of big palm trees look like
elephants' legs: parched, dermatologically
checked, and weary.  The Earth
is each palm's shoe, and all the trees
are taking a walk through space.

hans ostrom 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Old Fables

I prefer the older animal books for children--
the ones in which creatures act, dress,
and talk like humans but aren't cute.

In the illustrations, they still look
like creatures, seem embarrassed
by the costumes given them--

a frog in coat and vest, a fox
wearing a scarf.  But in those books
they throw themselves into the difficult

roles. I saw that in the stories, and
that's what interested me--the animals'
existential struggle with entertainment.

hans ostrom 2017

Cross-Examination Song

I have no further questions
for this witness.

He really doesn't seem
to know his business.

He said he saw the man
but changed his tale again.

Prevarication displays
symptoms like a sickness.

hans ostrom 2017

Fixated, Exasperated

I've been trying to write
about other things,
but I'm fixated on
White Supremacy, what
a deadly, depraved sink-hole
it is, how it elected a racist
rapist President, and how
White folks let it persist,
nourish it, become
zombies in its death-cult army.

hans ostrom 2017

Be Careful What

"Be careful what you wish for; you may get it."

--Old Saying, variously attributed

Be careful what you fish for. It
may catch you. Be careful who
you swish for (for whom), for
you may get swashed or even
buckled. Be careful what you
kiss for, for kissing is a kind of wish.

Be careful what you dish, no not
because you later may have to take
it, but because dishing carefully
is as we know the right thing to do.

"Be careful what you hiss for":
a feline admonition.

hans ostrom 2017