Thursday, January 31, 2019

In Starlight Today

Sunlight is starlight, and our sun
is part of a constellation as constructed
by entities in galactic elsewheres.

The starlight was out and all around
today. I walked in it. It was
very bright. I felt good,

strolling and standing there
near a star. It seemed like an
impossible sort of thing to occur.

hans ostrom 2019

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Yelling at the Opera

I think I know exactly
what happened to you.
Over many a conforming
year, you learned not to make
too much of your feelings.
CUT TO: an invitation to
the opera, where every syllable
was bellowed or shrieked,
the singers stuffed with
emotion like gowned
sausages. You felt

buffeted by melodrama,
and you thirsted for a wry
Delta blues song, oblique
and rude. Also brief. To be
trapped at the opera is no
hardship, so you would not
complain. Still it made you
want to yell. So you did,
alarming those assembled
around the intermission bar.
Someone sent for the car.

hans ostrom 2019


          (Chalmers Gage, 1918-2018)

He was a dairy farmer
in Elk Grove, California.
The Valley. The fingers
of his hands were as thick
as saplings, and when he
took a dip of Copenhagen
tobacco, he loaded a third
of a can between lip
and lower teeth. He never

raised his voice. Gave
the impression the world
at large permanently
perplexed him, as if he
were asking himself,
Why do people make
everything so hard when
work is hard enough?"

Of his wife, he sometimes
said, "I don't think I'll ever
figure that gal out." Not
complaining. Just saying.

In his sixties he sold the farm
and lived another 35 years.
Died at a hundred, quiet like,
the one last job to finish.

hans ostrom 2019

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Cat's Eyes Haiku

pupils of a cat's
eyes: flat black stones
under pale green waters

hans ostrom 2019

Time and Me

Time lies in bed beside me.
I put my arm around her. Time
takes walks with me. He is

an old man shuffling. Time
goes to the magic shows
in my mind, where illusions
of vast futures make

the audience feel immortal.
Time advises me. It is a
rationalist. It is a poet.
Time occurs in space,

which takes its time,
all time, with it.

Time is a goat
that will eat anything
and be sacrificed.

hans ostrom 2019

Saturday, January 5, 2019

At the End of an Old Year in Pacifica

    (New Year's Eve, 2018, Pacifica)

As the people
in the loud house
toast something
or other, a dog
stands among them,
eager to find
actionable meaning
in a human sound
or gesture. The
people know what
many words and gestures
mean, and this creates
a burden the dog
will never know.
All gathered are
mammals on the edge of
a coast. In its way
that is something to toast.

hans ostrom 2019


Pavement is silence.
Rain is noise. Air's
a mystery filled
with solutions.
Trees, an anguish;
factories, a
disappointment. I
have heard the music
that results from
your playing. It is
less interesting than
you are, but I don't
blame it.

hans ostrom 2019

Unhappy Meal

The soup is thin
and dejected. I console
it while ladling.
The bread is dry, as
rigid as a hateful pastor.
I introduce the bread
to the soup and it
softens. The wine's eyes
are bright with tears.
It misses vineyard
sunshine. I sip it gently.

This is sustenance. I am
grateful for it but
cannot deny it
is a meal in mourning.
Therefore I finish
and leap up, kind of.
I flee in search of
rich desserts or a
witty woman in a red
dress or both.

hans ostrom 2019