Sunday, August 30, 2015

Happy Birthday to Carter Monroe

A post by Ms. Fouquet elsewhere on the inter-webnets alerted me that it's the birthday of North Carolina poet, publisher, and sage Carter Monroe.

Here is a reading of his poem, "the two hanks":

Friday, August 28, 2015

Attention, Please

The more people there are
(more all the time)
and the more media there are
the less attention there is to go
around. Celebrity
diverts rivers of it
like golf courses in a desert.

Whole groups, cities, nations, cultures
crave attention (more than ever),
partly because of the illusion
that they may receive it. An
epidemic of narcissism expands.

We manage ourselves as commodities,
with packaging, labeling, advertising.

It is the other attention-deficit
disorder, the more harmful one.
An insatiable mass-appetite. Add
Americanness to it, and
it becomes exponentially worse.

hans ostrom 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Söderfors, Sweden

Söderfors, Sweden

Brown mortar, black bricks, buildings
from industry’s youth.

Two girls walk along a narrow
sandy path over the dam. Violent brown-black
water rushes through
the spillway. A sign cautions.

A gull nests in a granite slab.
(Incubation is a branch of geology.)

Reach for the black bricks—
to know them. Their texture is glass.
They were cooked to the point
at which manufacturing gives way

to beautiful compounds. Söderfors
is a silent town. Its cast-iron clock
is ornate and wrong. Bright green,

nearly lime: that used to be the color
of a rusting Saab parked all by itself.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Singing the Marine's Hymn When I Was Nine

Grades 3,4, and 5 occupied
the same room, and the teacher combined
us to have us sing "The Marines Hymn." Later,
Andre Breton's "Surrealist Manifesto"
provided a context for the experience.

The teacher didn't explain why
the Marines had occupied the Halls
of Montezuma (were they working
for Cortez?) or where the shores
of Tripoli were. Lots of Italians

had settled in Gold Rush country,
so I guessed Italy. Hey, teachers
do things to survive the teaching
because every day they have to
establish a new beach-head.

The tune seemed terribly tedious,
and it knew so: the key-change
if often a tell. Hell, yes, we
wanted to be sent on a mission:

hans ostrom 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Boarding Process Is About to Begin

At this time, we would like to begin
pre-boarding, which may be be thought of
as paradoxical boarding because it is part
of the boarding process it precedes.

We would like to invite anyone
who is in deep despair to board
at this time, as well as any children
traveling with overbearing parents,
invertebrates flying alone, and good
people (there's usually at least one!).

If your carry-on item is larger
than King Henry VIII's coffin,
please let us know.

Now we incite those with no
particular status to revolt
against categories.

Thank you.

We now invite White people
who believe they are
inherently superior to lift
their arms and pretend to fly
around in front of the gate here.
Okay, that's enough.

Finally, we invite those
who are acutely or chronically
tardy to board the goddamned plane.

It is truly our pleasure to serve you:
how could that possibly be true?

hans ostrom 2015

About the Roll-Call Up Yonder

When the roll is called up younger,
they'll mispronounce my name, or
it won't be on the list, or I
I won't hear them, or I'll be 17
again and talking to a pretty
girl, or someone will tell me
I'm in the wrong hall, or I'll
be dressed inappropriately
and sweating, or any combination
of these and other abrasions

on what ought to be the smoothest
scene in all creation. Yea,
awkwardness shall follow me
all the days of my life
and into and elsewhere, where

some angel will break decorum
and mutter to another one,
"Would you look at that one?"

hans ostrom 2015

Friday, August 7, 2015


Yes, I agree: toes
are risibly absurd.

They are pudgy, failed claws.
We encase them like jewelry,
divas, or prisoners, and let them out
for fresh air occasionally.

Their curling's an atavistic
practice that migrated
from branched communities.

When people say, "Kick up
your heels," they seem
to mean nothing.

Heel/toes, heel toes:
onward the masses walk hard
on hard urban surfaces.
It's the economy, stupid.

Our dogs is tired.
Our gods are remote.
This is the greatest age
of toenail polish.

hans ostrom 2015

Fashion District, Los Angeles

Hope Street:
End of Road Work,
One Way.
No parking--
Tow Away Zone.

hans ostrom 2015

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Frank Herbert, Gore Vidal, and Richard Brautigan Walk Into a Bar . . .

In Tacoma, at the apocryphal corner
of Brautigan and Herbert Streets,
you may hear worms singing plaintive blues.

Turn on, tune in, drop out:
what bullshit. Nothing's that
sequential in T-Town, and Dr. Leary
was Ownership, not Labor or

It's a long way from San Francisco,
especially by dune buggy on back roads,
through the mind-fields.

Call yourself a duchess, call yourself
a duke. Nobody really gives a shit
unless you buy a round of beers
and feed the pool table. Seven-ball
in the Montana pocket off
the Portrero Hill rail. You
have to call it first.

Gore Vidal was stationed near Tacoma,
but wrote over the episode
while serving his celebrity in Italy.

Shit can get complicated real fast
is the theme of every novel,
every life.

hans ostrom 2015

Monday, August 3, 2015

Lima Beans

Please don't tell the Moche,
please don't tell the Spanish Viceroy,
but I've been estranged from lima beans
for quite some time. I recoiled,
regretfully, from their taste
and texture. It's hardly worth

mentioning, of course. --Except
maybe as a segue to sanguine
acceptance of other's satisfaction
with lima beans. There is

accounting for taste. It just
never adds up, is all.

hans ostrom 2015