Friday, August 31, 2012

Should Be Forbidden

It is customary
but not mandatory
for the old to say
of the young, "We
know more than they."
It is customary 
but not mandatory
for the young to say
of the old, "Who
cares what they know?"
It should be forbidden
of the old to say or
to think of the young,
"Who cares what

they know?"

Hans Ostrom copyright 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I Placed a Blue Man in Tennessee

The wind scars
the surface of the lake.
He's standing there
not quite awake.

The fool stands
in mud--yes that is he,
the saddest man
in Tennessee.

--Hans Ostrom, copyright 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tavern Haiku

"I put the sip in
dissipation," said the old
guy, tasting the rye.

Hans Ostrom, copyright 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Presidential Election and Rhythm n Blues

Rhythm & Blues, that American
genre, holds a tale of USA.

Inside R&B a White
presidential candidate
and a Black presidential
candidate stare
at each other. Listening
to the music, you may
have to move down
many corridors, streets,
and roads before you see
them standing, staring there.

But if you have known R&B
in your life, you know
you'll see them. It is night.

Although they are only
staring, the scene feels
dangerous.  The USA
feels dangerous. If you

have known R&B in your
life, you know you can
hear danger even in a
song that is all about
sweet love. Round and round
you go, USA, round & round.

--Hans Ostrom, 2012

And So It Begins--the Semester, That Is

I'm re-posting a short poem to mark the beginning of the semester or quarter at many colleges.

"Dialogue on a College Campus"

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Found Poem: Saloon Note

Hey Philip--about the Felix
NO DRINKS until he pays
Miranda 17 dollars--
you dig?

--Hans Ostrom, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"Beggar Woman," by Charles Reznikoff

["Well, Spring overflows the land"], by Lorine Niedecker]

Bats Right, Throws Left

I came down from the mountains
a devout S.F. Giants fan, thanks
to radio and the Sacramento Bee.

I came down from the mountains
never having played pee-wee,
Little League, Legion, or Babe Ruth ball.
I was a baseball immigrant.

I batted left because my brother
Sven, a leftie, taught me to hit. I'd
become what I'd learn was a
dead-pull-hitter.  And
I had a glove from the Montgomery
Ward catalog.  So in high school,

I could hit the cut-off man, catch
a fly, charge a base-hit, and bunt.
At bat I was afraid of the ball:
No, not quite right. Conceptually,
I hadn't found evidence that one
shouldn't be afraid of the ball,
especially after team-mate Eddie,
nicest guy but wild, drilled me twice
in the back.  Still, I went three-
for-three one bright Spring day,
with a base-on-balls, runs scored.

But out in right field, a pasture
made for me, I often drifted
mentally, considered slipping
away ("Slip away, slip away ...").

Someone would hit a liner out
there. Manager, teammates,
and the sprinkling of fans would
say, Hey, where's the right-fielder?

And I'd be lying down with a brown
woman in a blonde meadow, or
taking a midnight train to Rome,
or writing this poem.

--Hans Ostrom 2012

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Spam Found-Poem: "Hot Workplace Free"

Hot workplace free!
Workplace condition: your house
Years old: older
Pay schedule: pays for each hours
We are waiting for your reply.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

HOW NOVELS BEGIN: Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen

But It Does

I don't know
why the yellow-jacket
stands motionless
on a pale green
wrinkled new leaf
of lettuce in sunlight.
But it does.
I don't know
why the universe
keeps occurring.
But it does.

--Hans Ostrom, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Not Afraid of Zombies

I'm not afraid
of no zombies.
They walk too slow.
I'm not afraid
of no werewolves.
They're dogs, you know.

The monsters
to keep an eye on
are the people
who seem okay.
They'll mess you up
every which damn way.

--Hans Ostrom, 2012

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Every Revery

Every revery swells
the sails of one's invisible ship.
Thinking is traveling,
and the brain is wet and salty.
The mind it harbors
is bigger than the grandest
ocean we have ever mapped
and bigger than the biggest sea
we've ever dreamed.

--Hans Ostrom, 2012

Of Poverty

What is harder for the nonpoor to see is poverty as acute distress: The lunch that consists of Doritos or hot dog rolls, leading to faintness before the end of the shift. The “home” that is also a car or a van. The illness or injury that must be “worked through,” with gritted teeth, because there’s no sick pay or health insurance and the loss of one day’s pay will mean no groceries for the next. These experiences are not part of a sustainable lifestyle, even a lifestyle of chronic deprivation and relentless low-level punishment. They are, by almost any standard of subsistence, emergency situations. And that is how we should see the poverty of so many millions of low-wage Americans—as a state of emergency.
Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Checklist

reasonably healthy today? check
not in poverty? check
enough to eat? check
not in jail? check
got a job? check
have someone to love? check
memory intact? check
not in imminent danger of getting killed or raped or both? check
getting laid? check, check
benefiting from helping someone? check
access to clean water? check
indoor plumbing that works? check
lights and heat? check
roof over your head, and a bed? check
something to read? check
then count your fucking blessings and/or stop whining

--Hans Ostrom, 2012