Monday, October 30, 2017

Ubiquitous Opacity

In digitized society, we know
people we don't know, and we
don't know people we do know.

Things are made to seem
as if they're happening.

We're distracted from perceiving
much of what is happening.

In high definition we encounter
ubiquitous opacity.

hans ostrom 2017

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Borges Before Sleep

A problem or not with reading
Borges in bed before sleep
is that Before Sleep can
go on for decades. If you read
"The Immortal," for instance, you'll
be driven by coach across centuries
into a countryside, where  you'll
enter a baroque mansion that becomes a
labyrinthine museum of statues,
and you'll settle finally in a library
designed by Escher. You will ascend,
descend, and circulate. Plots
will spill out of your mind like tiny
spiders just hatched. The plots
grow and make webs, and you
have to go to work tomorrow,
whenever that might be.

hans ostrom 2017

Monday, October 23, 2017

You Whispered

You whispered my name.
My name enjoyed it.

You turned breath
into syllables,

and they rented my ear.
I wouldn't say I'm a fool,

per se (others may). I
would say I'm a specialized

fool working exclusively
for you, and that whisper

of yours has a certain
command of the situation.

hans ostrom 2017


Spare furnishings. Bare
beams. Spare

has an extra meaning
meaning extra.

How can a spare rib
be a spare

rib when it isn't extra
on any single envoi

of a ribbed species?
Oh, spare me. Spare

me the lecture. Spare
me please, please I

beg you. 8+ billion
of us & no spare Earth.

hans ostrom 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Rational Dreamer

"By one estimate, . . . people dream through half their waking hours."
--The Atlantic, October 2017

The mind is smarter than us. It knows
living's a strain, at best. So it wants
to dream, flushing the toxins of perception
from receptors of reality.  It orders
body to sleep.  Even when

body's awake, half the time mind
goes down an alley or into a clearing,
gossips with the past, or drifts
to the edge of the crowd.

Mind is a professional and will
concentrate if necessary. But
the world is dangerous, and many
people in power are insane
and depraved, so mind likes
to keep its distance. It is perhaps
most rational when it's dreaming.

hans ostrom 2017

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"Cover Me Over," by Richard Eberhart

Awful Bog

That the U.S. president's speech
has declined into bits of blather,
a handful of flaccid bigoted prods,
and droplets of rancid smarm
sharply summarizes the state
of the nation's health. He is where
he should not be because our sense
and sensibilities continue sunk
in an awful bog.

hans ostrom 2017

Monday, October 9, 2017

Italian Coffee Pot

Caffeine priest in a silver
cassock. Octagonal alchemist.
Silver bird gargling dark steam.

It is in the pantheon of small,
essential pots that lead us
kindly into our daily labors.

It is the beloved mayor of the
stove. It is a three-part harmony
of form and function.

hans ostrom 2017

About Last Week

The old days--last week: hard not
to yearn for them, their billions
of images and messages from robots
that made them so special.

And that's not to mention
all the official depravities
pursued worldwide. And it's a
piquant era in America.

The noxious gas that fills
the nation's balloon president
leaked out and anointed the hate-
filled land. The White people

in power who can stand
between his madness and
catastrophic destruction did
not, do not.  What a time it was!

hans ostrom 2017

"August 1968," by W.H. Auden

Friday, October 6, 2017


Mind's centrifuge spins in self-defense.
Attempts to spare the core from engulfment
by noise   shocks   sales   extortions  hate;
and drowning by social media. Centrifuge

plays a centrifugue, its own idio-
synchronized music, which insulates,
and which also helps mind evade ego,
culture's target.  A not-you seems

to glide in the fugue. Glowing
multi-colored rain falls. "Starwater,"
it's called by locals, although
there is no locality.  The fogged

not-you folds itself into an unbounded
flow of other disengaged personas.
Soon sadly your non-self hears a noise,
recognizes it as name, and everything's

recalled, ego re-established.  The
spinning and its spun music cease.
Your tense sense of the world resumes.
Out of digital Hades comes the flood again.

hans ostrom 2017

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

"The Winter Pear," by William Allingham

Creature Brains

Creature brains feature
lanes nature grooved
as species moved into
spaces over time with
their accidental

Hans Ostrom 2017

Phantom Blues

I have the phantom blues.
I'm too tired to be blue.
This is what phantoms do.
They only almost have the blues.

Maybe I'll get some rest
so I can get  depressed.
Yes, that's it. I need to
feel better to feel worse.

Maybe I am a phantom.
I hadn't thought of that.
Just an old weary ghost
with an invisible hat.

Hans Ostrom 2017

Let the Maul Fall

In Fall always
use a splitting maul or an ax,
never a hatchet,
to split cut wood into kindling.

As you split and sweat, don't forget
to find the smell of sap in air.
Find a rhythm to body plus wood
plus chop; and air.
Let the maul fall,
no need to swing it. It's splitting
not chopping, after all.

Would anybody find you
if you walked back into
woods to apologize to trees?
Thoughts like this come from air
as your mind moves away
from the fall of the maul's
heavy head and blade.
Hitting a knot calls your mind back.

Find yourself done with splitting
wood, two boxes of kindling,
let's say. Wood stoves are disappearing,
they must. Culture always
chops away old days, splits
custom, finds other ways to warm itself,
finds other work to get that done.

Hans Ostrom 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

"Att Älska" by Gunnar Ekelöf

"On Inhabiting and Orange," by Josephine Miles

Jambing Jam Jive

Jam of the berries, plums,
and sums of water, sweetness,
concoction. Jamb of a door,

a line, or a vine propelling
itself gradually toward
a window sill: vegetative

will. Jamb of the saying
when English meets French,
leaving you singing

the time-and-place blues
on a bench. Jam of aggression,
reckless and crude, forcing

parts to fit into
what's falsely trued.

hans ostrom 2017

The Vast Hall

Another group has rented
the vast hall here. We must leave.

We didn't know this day would come.
We knew a day would.

Yes, of course I'm confused
and afraid, as if I'd been hollowed

out and panic had been poured in.
I'm also greedy for more time

in this grand space. That's so small
of me.  A door will open,

and a door will close. The simplicity
of it is appalling.

hans ostrom2017

"Everything Passes and Vanishes," by William Allingham