Monday, February 19, 2024

Collecting Thoughts

In their abode, "I'm going
to go collect my thoughts"
became a code 
for "I'm going to take a nap."

The euphemism's like a cat's
toy or anything a feline feels
like batting around, slobbering on,
and then--before a nap--ignoring. 

Well, there those thoughts are,
spread out on a cloth in the mind.
Not very many, not of the highest
quality. Mostly worries, minor obsessions, 
images of flowers or birds--something
pleasant, maybe, to look at 

as one rolls over and feels
grogginess close the eyes
and fog the conscious mind. 

Hans Ostrom 2024

Saturday, February 17, 2024

He's No Emperor

Well, we have to eat,
even as genocide, rapes,
atomic arsenals, and pious
bigotry persist, destroy, so

I roast beets. With a paring 
knife, I peel off dull hides,
reveal purple fiber of the roots.
Purple ink stains my fingers.

Has anyone painted with beet
juice? Chopped into small
pieces, the beets go in a
hot oven. When they're roasted

soft, I take them out, dribble
honey and shake salt on them,
serve with pasta and a simple
marinara sauce & a green salad,

plus a shared slice of a quick
raisin oat-bread I baked. I like
cooking for me and my wife.
It's a good thing, basic,

necessary. And about all
the influence I have
on the world, for as things
stand, I'm no emperor. 

hans ostrom 2024

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Rondeau for a Father's Hat

And what am I to do with my Dad's hat?
Always a hat--he never wore a cap.
After he died, I've kept it all these years--
A little token of him, it appears--
A cloth thing under which he sat.

His body was cremated, so that's that.
To me his soul's a mystery, not a fact.
While I get old and face some stern cold fears,
What is it I'm to do with my Pa's hat?

I have been charged with being a pack-rat.
I'm sentimental, unlike our deadpan cat.
For me, things link to people, it appears,
And maybe soothe a bit some grieving tears.
"Just let it go": advice that sounds so flat
Regarding what to do with Father's hat.

Hans Ostrom 2024

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Bloomsbury Park

 (September 2022)

Bloomsbury Park
isn't melting yet
in the plump heat
of London, late summer.

A locust tree
shows tendons
and bends like an
arm at the elbow.

The only birds
are pigions. Brown
plates of stone make
a center square

and we strangers
sit on black benches.
We're mostly mute.
Cornflowers persist--

the rest of the beds
are parched like a
hangover. On my way
out, one pigeon escorts

me to the gate. We say our
forms of goodbye. I wonder
if one of his ancestors
spoke to Virginia Woolf.

Lewis Black Recalls Seeing The Grateful Dead At Folsom Field

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Beware: The Billionaire is Angry

The billionaire's enraged. Angry
with women, with labor unions, with
"woke" people (but not mad enough
to say what he means by that word).

Lava-livid with academics,
except the ones whose research
undergirds his products. He's ticked
off with a former wife and a "disloyal"
child. He's not, though, especially upset
with neo-Nazis. Meanwhile,

the fellow who bags the groceries
people buy and retrieves carts
from the parking lot in cold rain,
cheerfully greets me. We exchange
polite words and laugh. He reminds
me not to forget that he's placed

items at the bottom of the cart.
"Yesterday, two people forgot theirs,"
he cautions. He seems to like
his minimum-wage job and life
well enough not to project rage.

The angry billionaire will "earn"
14 million dollars today. My mind,
as it doesn't forget to load the under-cart
items in the back of my car, goes
to Steve, the man who bagged
the tomatoes and rice and
so on. . . .  His red-bearded
face, full of good will. 

Hans Ostrom 2024