Saturday, December 21, 2019

How To Be


I was having a dream 
that I could not sleep
quite strange I’m sure you’d agree, 
‘cause I couldn’t tell 
who was more confused
the me in the dream or me.

So when I woke up 
I decided
not to question the things that I see,
but enjoy the millions 
of miracle ways
that things know just how to be.

There’s no sense in telling
a river how to run
or a mirror how to look,
and I’ll never tell
a map where it is
or how you should end your book.

I’ll never direct 
the wind to sing
or teach birds how to fly,
there seems no point
to tell rain when to fall
or ask clouds to leave the sky.

As I walk amongst 
my brothers and sisters
I won't tell them how to feel,
but remind myself to question not
the source of love's appeal.

When flowers bloom 
and die too soon
I’ll smile as seasons change,
and let my dreams
say what they will
and not think their message strange.


Ken Owen   
Van Niddy Press   December 2019

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Thing I Have Said (Late for Dinner)


“I need to see you.”

“It’s late, you should stay.”

“How do you like your eggs?”

“So, dinner tomorrow?”

               ***

“What, what’d I say?!”

“No no, that’s not what I meant!”

“I’m sorry, really.”

“So…ideas for dinner?”

               ***

“Geez, what crawled up your ass and died?”

“I was just kidding, seriously.”

“I don’t think I’m the one being unreasonable here.”

“oh fuck.”

“FUCK!”

“I’m not hungry.”

               ***

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

“Oh…really.”

“It’s not me, it’s you!”

“Yeah? Well, maybe you won’t miss me, but your family will.”

“By the way, your [mother, father, sister, brother] is crazy.”

“I’m taking the stainless steel frying pan.”

               ***

“Well, what a nice surprise. How long has it been?

"I was sorry to hear about your [mother, father, sister, brother]."

“Ah jeez, that’s messed up.”

“Did you get a second opinion?”

“Doctors, what do they know; they’re all just guessing!”

“Fine, fine; well, I could complain, but we’d be here all night.”

“If there is anything I can do, anything at all...”

“Tell your family I said “Hello”; I always liked them.”

“Well, gotta go; I’m late for dinner.”



Ken Owen 
Van Niddy Press,  December 2019

Monday, December 2, 2019

Snoring in Japanese


As I lie in bed 
between dreams in 
today’s early morning hours
I could have sworn 
you were snoring in Japanese 

I found this to be a
particularly amazing feat
since I am fairly certain you
do not speak Japanese

Then I realized I had 
no way of knowing 
if it was Japanese or Mandarin 
or Cantonese for that matter

However
your sounds had 
what seemed to me
all the proper inflections of 
an Asian language with its rising and falling
like small gentle waves where 
everything seemed to end 
like a question that I could not answer 
since I did not know the language 

Now wide awake and
listening to the indecipherable 
while studying the lunar landscape of
the bedroom ceiling
I got up to have a glass of water

and upon my return I noticed 
your language of sleep had changed
from a personal dialect to
the sounds of a small purring kitten

and just when I had done 
some preliminary analysis of this new development 
my stomach began to answer you with 
its own language comprised of 
a series of internal sounds generated
most likely
from warm pipes complaining
of cold water

So 
there I was
4:00a.m.
listening to our conversation 
with it’s rhythmic call-and-response 
that neither of us had any control over
and I was disappointed that you were
sleeping through the whole conversation.


Anyway
I just thought you 
should know.


Ken Owen   
Van Niddy Press,  November 2019

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Go To The Window


Go to the window

Part the curtains

Take a deep breath

Adjust your gaze

To the absence of

Blue Light

And you will experience

Something amazing.


        Life

 is right outside

  your window.



Go to the window
     part the curtains, breathe deeply
behold what matters.


Ken Owen
Van Niddy Press, November 2019

Tell It What to Say


Late at night when sleep won’t come
and my mind insists on chattering, 
I’ve begun to tell it what to say
so why not make it flattering?

On the big black screen behind my eyes
a parade of words goes by,
like Confidence for my ideas
and Courage so my heart will try,

Gratitude for all I’ve received,
Acceptance for what may leave,
Forgiveness for those who lash out in pain,
and Empathy for those who grieve.

All the feelings I may need 
as night turns into day,
I feed my mind so if it must talk
I’ll tell it what to say.


Ken Owen
Van Niddy Press,  November 2019

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Priceless


An old black and white 
picture of my girlfriend as 
a young girl 
hangs on our refrigerator

It is one of those pictures 
of a child smiling so intently 
that it makes you happy 
every time you see it

She is in a small row boat 
docked on the shore 
and it clearly did not matter to her
that the boat was only just near the water

It reminds me of when my son was that age
and my daughter and I would take him 
to a local pizza parlor and he would yell
“Pinbaw, pinbaw, I want to play pinbaw!”

and we would prop him up 
in front of the modern pinball machine 
with its phantasm of blinking-lights and 
thunderous clanking noises

and all the while 
the great machine was in ‘demo mode’ 
calling people to come play and 
give up their quarters

yet we never had to give him 
a single quarter to enjoy himself 
as he pushed the flipper buttons
and yelled “Come on, Come on!…Oh!!!”

It never cost me 
a dime
and it was 
priceless

So use your 
imagination 
and your heart 
just right

and you won't need to sail your boat
to love the dream of adventure
or play the game 
to appreciate the challenge


Ken Owen   
Van Niddy Press, October 2019

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The First Sky Quilt


Today was the day
we woke up under
the first sky quilt
calling earliest as
big days do
just like you wanted.

People are possessions;
require care and feeding
from a capacious heart and
all the time—guessing.

Classes improve classes
that are games that are
games—yet 
we are born 
knowing.

It is quiet in here
just like I wanted.

Astronomer, astronomer
I'll tell you what I see
when I look to the stars
Me.


-words and inspiration taken from the poem “Astronomer, Astronomer, Astronomer” 
by Valerie DeChadenedes, age 17, created with her communication device


Ken Owen
Van Niddy Press,  October 2019