Friday, December 27, 2013

Footprints on the Moon

The scars of love 
upon a heart,

forever undisturbed 
like footprints
of journeys past 
on a cold and half-dark moon,

adrift in a galaxy of memories
that twinkle like stars 
out of reach,

in lonely orbit
and damned eternal 
with sight of a world 
once beautiful.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   December 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Christmas Wish

My two children are young adults now,
out on their own,
earning pay checks, making babies,
experiencing the joys and harsh realities 
of the real world,

we are far removed 
from their childhood celebrations of Christmas morning,
the late night assembling of complicated toy machinery,
concocted explanations of mysterious traveling via rooftops 
and what happens when apartments have no chimneys,

though now I must deal with others in the family
who whip themselves into a frenzy 
of self-induced panic each year
over what the perfect present would be 
for someone they spoke with 
exactly three times all year,
the same people 
who never believe great-grandpa 
when he says he just wants a card 
and a nice family gathering,
though I'm fairly certain he really means it.

When I give family members 
a personal note or poem
and place it in a Christmas card 
adorned with snowy scenes,
I doubt that most of them notice 
I've just showed them 
that giving from the heart 
can be simple and easy,
they just think I am putting in 
the least amount of effort I can
into a children’s holiday 
that no longer holds any interest for me,

and because of that,
nobody bothers to ask me
what I want for Christmas anymore,
but if they did, I’d tell them that
every year at Christmas time
I find myself dreaming 
of living in a trailer on a beach in Mexico,
just me and Jack the Dog
watching surfers and sunsets
with my guitar and just enough whiskey
to take the chill off the night air,
far removed from the worry 
of who's giving what to whom,
appreciating my extended family
from a safe distance,
missing my two grown children and their babies,
and looking forward to seeing them all
after The Super Bowl
when The Season of Mass Hysteria
has passed.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   December 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Requiem For One Shoe (The End of Sharing)

You see them on roads, paths,
even freeways,
staring blankly ahead
with a dazed sort of "what do I do now?" look,

and we try not to stare because if we do
we are instantly filled with their sadness and aching 
as we pity the lost sense of purpose
of a single shoe.

We wonder
what happened to its companion,
and what was the great disturbance 
that separated them here,
ending this perfect pair?

I always assume it must have been 
something pretty substantial,
because, after all,
they were made for each other,
their relationship
so much more than gloves
easily lost from lack of commitment.

When new, they were a couple,
common with purpose and characteristics 
and except for a slight leaning of perspective left or right
their direction united - forward or back,
they stood ready,
always together
for daily conquests
or grand evenings of celebration
or flip-flopping on the beach.

Now, in separation,
they think of each other and wonder,
are they living some grand new life
glad to be rid of their annoying partner
and that incessant squeak,

or have they also been retired
to their quiet final resting spot 
in eternal reflection of fading glories, 
mountain paths unconquered, 
unaware of the last dance,
realizing the end of sharing
and the lost hope of return.

I always wonder how long it took
before they knew the other was gone
to an unceremonious resting place,
unmarked by the side of the road.

Monday, December 16, 2013


You grew up
I grew old,
that's fine.

I've done two things
perfectly in my life,
I'm alright with that.

I wouldn't change
a single thing
about us.

You always make me smile,
I hope I always make you proud.

for Kelly and Kenny, Christmas 2013

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   December 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


I remember that night I saw you
sitting in a pew at church
playing your guitar and singing,
practicing your performance 
for that evening.

The youthful innocence 
of your beautiful music
seemed to drift and float
through the cavernous hall
directly to me.

Then you looked up
and gave me the smile of a friend
with a strange familiarity 
I just couldn't place.

I smiled and stared 
and tried to attach you 
to some fuzzy memory 
of a nameless person I once saw,
but even then
I wasn't sure I knew you,
but your smile said I should.

You played and smiled again.

I smiled again,
convinced now 
I must be listening to music 
from a friend I'd misplaced.

I began madly rummaging 
through closets of dusty memories,
certain that your name and place 
must be around there somewhere,
while my mind splashed and played in your song
and really didn't want to be bothered
in remembering.

You played and sang and smiled.

I smiled and listened and stared
until the moment finally arrived
when I realized...

...we had never met,

and I had been staring and smiling at you
for the last 5 minutes
like long lost friends reunited.

I felt my face flush red with embarrassment
as I winced slightly at the prospect
of concealing my false bravado
while you finished our private concert.

When we finally met
you were very sweet,
and when you gave 
your performance,
I had to keep reminding myself
that your memory 
had only just arrived.

It took a while,
but I realize now 
what that night was all about:
it was a lesson in trusting 
the power of a smile.

I haven’t seen you since,
but whenever I remember that night
I always smile.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Shift Change at The Skyline Lounge

If you look to the sky 
in the dawn of early morning,
you may notice The Moon 
hanging around The Skyline Lounge,
done with his shift and having a drink 
with the stars who have finished their shine.

Though everyone knows perfectly well
that he sleeps through most of the night
like some old celestial night watchman, 
he recites his grand adventures 
of slipping through shades undrawn
to glisten bodies exhausted from love making, 
and giving fathers light 
to look for monsters under the bed.

He boasts of the majestic splendor of his reflection 
in great waters and snow-capped peaks,
but, as always, 
is overcome with melancholy
at the vision of still bodies on lonely city streets
huddled in his shadow,
and all those beds 
still empty on one side.

The New Morning Sun 
nods in silent agreement
and tops off his drink,
the stars snicker quietly behind his back - “there he goes again”,
and the planets feign their royal indifference
from their card game in the corner - 
they've heard this all before.

And then,
with a quick look at the horizon
and a blink of his sleepy quarter-moon-eye-lid,
The Moon heads off for his next shift
bidding all a good day.