Thursday, October 31, 2019

Poets, Keep Going

Poets, whatever else you do--
fitting pipes, washing clothes,
fighting fevers--keep going.

Language invented itself
so creatures like you could
squawk complaints, snap
rage, run a rhythm or two,
mumble melodies, blather,
and boom. Doom is a constant,
a function of matter. No matter,

keep going: the saying and
scribbling, the text-tiling
and questidigitation are
frivolous and crucial, vile
and vain, and a rare form of sane.

hans ostrom 2019

Bourbon Street Blues

Bourbon Street's a nightmare
the subconscious mind refused
to publish: too obvious. Frat boys,
sorority royalty, and benumbed
conventioneers move through
the neon chute like cattle. Some
of them yell as if yelling had
just been invented.

To thrive, the clubs must be
as loud as train wrecks. Batter
their ears, three-personed band.
At 4:00 a..m. there's a funeral
for moonlight smothered by clouds.

Sex workers and pickpockets
count their wages. Obligato
snarls from a fat motorcycle
finish off kitschy rituals.
Solo buskers and Black kids
who beat on plastic buckets
make the only tunes worth
listening to. People make
a living here. That's the point,
really the only point.

hans ostrom 2019


How do you shape your silences?
What do they serve? Some
silences seem to preside
over thoughts that keep going,
keep searching for nothing
except the next object of thought.

There's the quiet in the mind
following failure, the sound
of shame and acquiescence.

Yesterday you heard a noise
that came you thought from
inside a wall. You found a silence
and leaned into it, hoping/not hoping
to hear the sound a second time.
The next day you remembered
it a silence to savor, not as
an absence of something you sought.

hans ostrom 2019

Their Dominion Today

Always the birds, to haul you back
from history, splendor's clutter,
and your grasping mind. On a steel
bench outside Catherine's Summer
Palace, near a lakely pond,
I get an ear buzzed by a sparrow
on its way to pick over grain
tourists tossed to ducks.

A black and grey raven lands
close on a bench-back, cocks
its head to cast a cold eye
of inquiry. Sun warmth,
oaks, willows, and breeze suggest
Central California to me.
Our landscapes are so much
more similar than our politics
force us not to be. Here

is here. Birds live in their
own geography and polity.
They know they can't eat
history or nest in ideology.
Today is their dominion
outside St. Petersburg.

hans ostrom 2019

Monday, October 21, 2019

New to Blue

Different hues of blue
assert different moods to you.
It's true: when you forget
to mind your mind,
it will try to run every
sensed impression through
its symbolizing factory,
which manufactures far
too many products.

You reach a point
where you refuse delivery,
wanting to be able to experience
meaninglessly, or try to,
as if you were for instance
new to blue.

hans ostrom 2019

Ginko Divestiture

That old ginko tree flung
its cache of currency at the wind
as if it had taken a vow
of ginko poverty. Here,
it said to Fall, have it all,
and tell Winter to choke
on it, like gall.

hans ostrom 2019

Thursday, October 10, 2019

They Need Easy

Up and down the stairs
of scales the bossa nova moves,
garbed in 1960s threads. A
crowd shuffles and sways
to these terraced tunes.
These folks have fled the future,
which is fond of atrocity. Sort
of dancing, they need easy.
They want to rest in it
and love and laugh in it,
knowing something simple
like the bossa nova.

hans ostrom 2019