Friday, August 30, 2013

Notes From A Sickbed

   --- ~ ---

I've been in bed for two days with excruciating and debilitating back pain. I can't tell if the pain pills are helping with the pain, but they are offering up words like debilitating and excruciating, so I suppose they are having some affect. I was hoping for exhilarating, but it seems there is no exhilarating in these pills, only fuzzy nap times with dreams of people you haven't seen in twenty years rushing through your room and yelling at you that you are late - though they never say for what - and I just look up at them with sleepy eyes and sigh "Yes, I'm late again, but I can't move so go on without me". I don't know where they are going or what I'm missing, but when you can't move from your bed you feel like the whole world is having a party to which you were not invited, a great and joyous celebration going on right outside your window and just over your back wall, but you can't get there from here, and you're late.

And you know that's not true, but still...

Jack The Dog knew I was in pain by the loud guttural yelps I made every time I moved the wrong way. I didn’t know I could make sounds like that. My muscles were howling, I was howling, and Jack The Dog was concerned. You could see it in his face. He knew the daily walk was a goner, and I felt bad about that. He came and lay down with me and put his head on my lap. I almost cried. I like to think he was concerned for me and not just mourning the loss of our morning walk, but that’s the great thing about dogs; you can project anything you want onto a dog, and it works.

Apparently there are large doses of boring in these pills as well, because you cant hurt yourself, in theory, when you are lying around bored. In all our daily hustle and bustle, we long for days in bed with no outside expectations, yet when it arrives it's just boring, no matter how many lists you make or books you stack on the night stand or old movies you plan to watch. Up at 4:00 a.m.? Sure, why not. Nap after breakfast? Not a problem, you've no where to go.

   --- ~ ---

There is nothing to see outside the bedroom window I have not all ready seen. Nothing new to inspire great stanzas of poetry or intellectual observations. All I have are talking heads on the television, and after listening to what they had to say, I found it much more entertaining to turn the sound off and try to imagine what they had to say or give them new lines.

We are getting sensitive as we get older. As a society, I mean. In old movies, cigarettes were everywhere; in church, at the dinner table, places we could not imagine now. I grew up around cigarettes. Both my parents smoked cigarettes. I became accustomed to the smell because it was everywhere. Now, people get very upset by the smell of cigarettes. We've talked ourselves into it, or out of it, depending on how you like to look at it. There may be something to this 'second hand smoke' business, but I have always been skeptical of it. Sure, cigarettes are not good for you, but you have to admit that the characters in an old detective movies looked just fine holding a cigarette. Of course, they are all dead of lung cancer by now, but hey, back then, they looked great. Andre Aggasi once said “Image is everything” in a commercial, but I bet he never smoked a cigarette in his life. Good for him.

Talking on the phone bothers me more than cigarettes. Sharing a bit of your second hand smoke does not cause me to have great fits of indignation at you stepping on my personal freedoms, but if given the choice, I'd rather not share your telephone conversation. How did your husband ever do any grocery shopping before he was able to call you from aisle 6A with a question of low sodium or gluten free? I am most certain that anyone living in a large city that has a phone conversation while walking in a cross walk is telling the world that they laugh at death.

Gluten. Don't get me started....

...and now there are words we can't say anymore. For some of those words it's probably a good thing. It bothered me at first because I don't like being told by society’s latest meme what I can not say or do, but I think I get it now. It's about respect, or more of it, to be exact. To call someone a name is to give up on the argument and reasoning and to dive straight into anger, and thats not the best way to get anywhere.

    --- ~ ---

With creditors buzzing all around him 
like flies on a summer day,
he spent the last of his money
on a book of poems
and that made him chuckle.
“No better way to escape,” he thought.

    --- ~ ---

They called him The Bond King. He did not appear regal to me in any sense. Perhaps for this interview he chose not to wear his Bond King crown. I could not tell if he was wearing a Bond King ring, and he seemed to carry no Bond King staff or shield. No outward trappings or markings of his royal rank, just a line across the bottom of the screen stating his title: The Bond King. He had a wisp of hair on his very polished dome, no royal wig under no royal mitre. Just a title. With the sound off on the television, I would not learn how he earned his title. I would not learn if he had, at one time, been a lowly Bond Duke, or perhaps he'd been born a Bond Prince from royal lineage and when the previous Bond King passed on to the Great Kingdom of Investment Products in the sky he was next in line to the throne. I would not learn if he was married to The Bond Queen, or if all the young girls of the kingdom were scurrying about to get invitations to the Bond King's Ball so that they may make a lasting impression on The Bond King. No matter. I've taken this as far as I should, I think, and will not make any reference to The Bond King and Queen producing little royal dividends. I thought of it, but I fear thats the pain medication making its way through my thought grinder.  I am sure it's still good to be the King of anything.

   --- ~ ---

According to the news report, you can now buy a car wrapped in bacon. They are decals, of course, but still...I assume they sell like crazy. After all, who wouldn't want a car with pictures of bacon on it? I can think of at least three people who would consider it. Yes, everything goes better with bacon. From here, I can not think of one thing that would not benefit from a side order of bacon. Not one.

    --- ~ ---

"Get the insurance you deserve!", was the exclamation from the man in the white lab coat whom, I assume, is an actor paid to look like a doctor but, when you stare at them long enough, they never look quite convincing. I’d be concerned if this actor came into the room and asked about my back problems.

"Call now!", it said.

Maybe later, it's nap time.

   --- ~ ---

We are on the brink of war...again....and theories are popping up like spring flowers shouting the answer as to why. One of them is right, but well never know which one, because soon, before anyone has a chance to sit down and rationally decide what we should do while not using names we shouldn't use in one of those large conference rooms with big round tables that used to have giant glass ash trays for people needing to smoke cigarettes in order to decide these great things, I’ll be watching video footage at 4:00a.m. live from our newest skirmish, and then I'll turn the sound back on the television, and thats when the party outside my window will be over.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   September 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013


Time is an ally,
time is an enemy.
It all depends
on what's inside
your heart and mind
at the time.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   August 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Ruby Juliet Leitner, born August 17, 2013

I will call you
my little Ruby
Popi's little jewel

and I will write you 
poems of magic lands
beyond the clouds and stars

and I will read you 
great stories of faraway places
to build your dreams

and I will show you 
the wonder of nature 
all around us

and I will teach you 
the good of the world
and everyone in it

and I will take you 
on great adventures 
to fill your soul with amazement

and I will protect you
while your spirit
learns to fly

and I will give to you 
the love you make
in me

and I will keep you 
in my heart forever
no matter where you are

and I will call you
my little Ruby
Popi's little jewel.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   August 2013

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I Let You Go


          drift away


I let you go.

your reflection
         shines eternal
         in word and thought
still here.

your sounds
        floating echoes          
        through mournful silence
in dark hallways.
your presence
        buzzing electric
        in restless energy 
at the top of the stairs.

your scent
        I drink it in        
        from books and clothes
all things you've touched.

your memories
        grand battles
        the single voice of many
united in freedom cry.

your body
        in final sleep
        from battle last
battle lost.

            drift away


I let you go.

for Marlene, inspired by her remembrances of Robert

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   August 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Two Birds

a crow flew over ancient ruins 
               at the edge
of the western world.

what was this place
    he asked the pigeon.

                she told him
there were joyous celebrations here
families and friends on days of rest
with picnics and swimming and laughter
in large houses of glass
built to capture the ocean 
and tame it for playing.

you can't tame the ocean for playing 
   said the crow.

              she liked that.

I think you’re right
   said the pigeon.

what happened to this place
    asked the crow.

   said the pigeon.

fire burned downed glass houses full of water
    asked the crow.

a great fire
   said the pigeon.

why would they build such a silly thing
in such a beautiful place
   asked the crow.

perhaps the reason you landed here
was to appreciate the beauty
that can inspire such a silly thing
   said the pigeon.

                 he liked that.

I think you’re right
   said the crow.

well then
let us have our own joyous celebration
of family and friends on a day of rest
   said the pigeon.

and afterwards
we can start a great journey
to look for beautiful places
where you can build silly things
   said the crow.

   said the pigeon.

and so

two birds
in joyous celebration
started their journey
as they flew over ancient ruins 
                at the edge
of the western world.

for andrea and jordan,   8/10/2013

Ken Owen,   Van Niddy Press,   August 2013