Friday, February 28, 2014

This Years Model

Things are falling apart
bit by bit
on this life driving machine 
called ‘me',

so in the name of full disclosure 
to anyone that may consider 
taking it for a spin around the block,
there are a few things that require mention:

the headlights don't work well on anything far away or too close
which means everything must land 
in some great middle-ground of focus
that begins about a foot past your outstretched arm,

the top still provides cover
but is a thin shadow of its former self,
there have been reoccurring problems 
with the belt just below the ever-expanding spare tire,

and there seems to be concern in some circles
about the fuel we've been using
every day at 5:00p.m.
that may have invalidated the warranty,


we can still cruise for fairly long distances at night
without too many pit stops,
there have been relatively few complaints
from any of the joy riding passengers,

the on-board sound system
warbles a good tune when needed,
the horn still produces loud blasts of nonsense 
that smart folks seem to ignore completely,

and most importantly
the engine seems to be beating so smoothly 
the mechanic sees no reason why we should not expect 
plenty more years of good driving.

When I think back 
on some of the roads and grand adventures 
we've be been on, it's really a wonder 
this thing is still running at all,

yet even as the mileage continues to roll over,
a bit of nip and tuck of the sagging upholstery
or a monthly smidgen of touch-up paint to take out the fade
seems out of the question.

We've recently added this years model 
with all new shiny parts and that wonderfully distinctive new model smell
to our family stable of life vehicles 
and that baby is a real beauty,

and it made me realize just how far I've driven 
this old jalopy of me and how I need to keep it in better condition 
so I can be around to teach our new little one how to avoid 
those nasty pot holes and roadblocks that can throw you out of alignment,

and when I’ve been retired to my spot in the garage
I hope she’ll consider trotting me out 
for an occasional Sunday ride 
so I can tell her of the glory days
when I was this year’s model.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   February 2014

Sunday, February 9, 2014

When Stars Go Out

When stars go out
that long burned bright
we celebrate
their passing light
as memory fades
in black and white
remembrance of their shine
frozen in time,

we read their story
in passages bound
with sentiment
as elegies sound
in silent mourn
when hearts bow down
for the star that fell to earth
now home again,

the battle done
lost demon fight
delivers oblivion 
of eternal night
with final release
from the grip of life,
forever in hearts and minds
love left behind.

in appreciation of Phillip Seymour Hoffman 

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   February 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Crows and the Blue Star Cowboys

My direction,
concrete north towards Capital City
then due west
on the old Kings Highway,

my wheels joining a rhythmic symphony
on the long causeway
that stretches for miles
over once fertile wetlands,

then down road 32
past billboards for Jesus
and the old roadside fruit stand
empty for years,

where crows and the blue star cowboys
left orchards of nut trees and black oak
picked clean, bare trees now in winter
evergreen no more,

towards golden hills
that watch grand white clouds
with grey bellies swollen with rain
on their way to somewhere else,

to the end of West Texas street near Cherry Glen road
and an adobe brown house with a broken screen door
in a place they used to call

Every truck stop
from Dixon to Travis,
every road
from Davis to Woodland,

I'm committing it all
to memory
on the road
between me and you.

Ken Owen  Van Niddy Press   February 2014