Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Affirmation: My New Day

In solemn reflection
Of expanding time
Between past suffering
And today's promise

I am grateful
For the easing
That allows me
My new day

My new day
Steeped in grace
Here all along
Obscured by clouds

Clouds from storms
That roll through
Watch them pass
In distant light

Ken Owen  Van Niddy Press  April 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

Comedy and Tragedy (are just a heartbeat apart)

On our morning walk
Jack The Dog stuck his long snout 
inside a gopher hole
as he has done many times before,

but lo and behold on this day 
it was delivered unto him
a gopher,
who promptly bit him 
in an attempt to save his life.

Jack got him in his mouth with a fast snap
and then with a lightning quick flick of his head
sent the gopher flying through the air
landing 10 feet from his hole.

Jack seemed stunned.

The gopher lay dying,
his dark glassy eye 
gazing towards the heavens - 
the light he’d been told not to go in to,

his chest heaving 
until we watched him 
take one last large breath 
and lay still forever.

And there we were, staring, quietly,
and I noticed I was looking into his eye,
watching death come and life leave
this tiny creature who never saw it coming 
until it was too late.

Jack The Dog: 
Taker of Life, 
Darwinian Pack Thinner, 
The Grim Reaper of Gophers.

As Jack and I
stood over the little gone gopher
Jack looked at me as if to say, “Can I have it?”
I said, “Don’t even think about it, murderer.”

Just then 
coming up behind us on the park path, 
I heard two women 
on their morning walk:

“Spling Bake! Spling Bake! 
No sku today!”
said the elderly Japanese woman
shuffling along in a brilliant pair of pink Nikes.

“Ahhhh, no sku,” said the elderly Indian woman
in a fashionable sari 
of beautiful colors 
and snappy blue walking shoes.

Two women with no common language
practicing their English on each other
had just missed a lesson
on the Great Circle of Life.

They looked at us to see what we were doing.
I wanted to tell them 
they were interrupting a funeral,
but I didn’t think they’d get it.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   April 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

Supply and Demand

I am not lazy,
I am uninspired;
it feels like
all tanks are on empty.

The Mind,
once a grand and bustling 
warehouse of activity -
crafting poems and love songs
at fevered pace
and rushed in special delivery
while trying to keep up
with the demand -
is quiet now
as The Heart lays still
waiting for the next customer.

it seems
are not afraid
to bleed in public,
but I fear the market for it
may have dried up.

The End.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   April 2014

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Day...Off

4/20/2014, Easter Sunday, Fremont, CA

Jack and I had the day off. No gigs, no driving, no expectations. We were giddy with excitement. Here's how our day unfolded:

8:00am. Coffee. Jack abstains and just gives me dirty looks until he can guilt me into a morning walk.

8:30a.m.  The Sunday Slam front office decides to close for Easter Sunday. Some on the Board of Directors suggest this is like a band taking off New Years Eve, while others argue an Atheist posting today would come across as favorably as something from the Westboro Baptist Church. Note: the best topical analogy always wins.

9:00am.  Morning walk to the park. There is no baseball today - my guess is that all the good Catholic Little League Coaches are home helping their kids find Easter eggs in the backyard before the dog does - but there are plenty of cricket games being played by Indian software programmers with not one wife/significant other/female fan in attendance (there never is). This morning I think I notice that one cricket team has pulled their left fielder; a late inning strategic move, I wonder....until I realize I don't really know if there is a left fielder in a cricket game. What the hell...

10:00a.m.  A home made breakfast of all things bad: bacon, eggs, and my new home style potatoes that have been so successful they have replaced my "Daddy's World Famous Tater Tots" on the menu, though my tots shouldn't be discouraged; they enjoyed a ‘Cal Ripken/Lou Gehrig/Dark Side of The Moon’-like run on the all-time favorites list. You can't stay on top forever....

11:00a.m.  A drive to the pet store for dog food. I can't take Jack with me, he thinks it's a buffet.

11:30a.m. Multiple Facebook posts remind me of Easter bunny chocolate, which makes me think I may need to take a 1/4 of a Father Charlie’s Magic Chocolate Holy Wafer from The Church of San Gregorio, uh, to help me concentrate on my chores for the day. Yeah...

12:00-12:30. Session in the backyard soaking up some fresh vitamin D before it rains tomorrow. Welcome to California, the land of 3 different seasons per week.

12:30-4:30. I remember lots of guitar playing and naps during the Giants game, and an attempt at a Bloody Mary and giggling at my choice of drinks on an Easter Sunday….

4:30. Shower and a clean shirt for dinner.

5:01. Duh...?

6:30. Dinner. Dreams on the couch of steak and a caesar salad became spaghetti and frozen turkey meatballs when push came to shove, though really, there wasn't much pushing or shoving at all.

7:30. The thought that everyone needs to know this on Facebook.

7:45. The realization that know one cares...but do it anyway because that's what you do.

All in all, a good day.

On the list for tomorrow: look up the rules for cricket and see if they use a left fielder.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   April 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hard Work

A married couple 
came to the house 
for dinner one night
for wine and pleasant conversation

When we were done
they thought it the perfect time
for me to settle their argument
on which was the better way 

to place silverware 
in the dishwasher 
- up or down -
and that's when it hit me:

this marriage business 
is hard work
and might be 
damn near impossible

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press     April 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Next Big Move

Sometimes I worry
those bubbles that rise up from deep oceans
are from ancient voices in serious deliberation
at the bottom of the sea

Neptune and Poseidon
might be extremely pissed and cranky
down there in heated discussions
over their next big move

and I'm concerned they may just decide 
to raise up the world's great waters 
and bathe the land in one last cleansing
so we can start all over again

but then again
that's just me.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   April 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Midnight In The House Of Love

He awoke
from a dream to a dream
and saw himself
alone amongst the ruins

as shafts of blue-gray midnight
pierced the darkness
through faded stained glass scenes
of love's once glorious ascension

and shone their celestial stage light
upon a battered altar
where worship and communion
once held in gratitude of blessings

now stood deserted
littered with artifacts 
of another lifetime's remembrance.

In solemn processional 
his every footstep screamed through the empty hall
and ordered sleeping memories of laughter 
and solemn promises of forever
to begin their nightly haunting

and suddenly he knew 
this place
this was where 
he lived
this was where 
he worshiped all he was given
this was where 
all was lost

and suddenly he knew
there would be no more hymns of love
confessions heard or contrition offerings
or sermons on forgiveness

and suddenly he knew
how no good could come 
from the wreckage of this place
and what he must do

gather it all
pile it high with memories
promises and shattered bits 
of heart and soul

burn it down
till the rising mourning flames 
are glory bound
dance the healing dance
watch the funeral pyre burn
while ghosts rise and wail
each one in turn

burn it down
all of it
walk away
and don't look back

so he did
and as he left
he sang to himself

"The way you made it, 
that's the way it will be."

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   April 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014


In sorrow chains that bind
with suffering that blinds
the closed heart and the mind
denied of healing time,
let go, they cried,
there is no other way,

let go, let go

the anchor of the past
the weight that sinks you fast
the storm that will not pass
your soul tied to the mast,
release the pain inside
and sail away,

release, release

to see the signs around you
shine light on truth within you
The Universe to guide you
the path to better serve you,
lift up your heart and see
be shown the way,

lift up, lift up

things happen when they do
design unknown to you
in time The Answer true
revealed into view,
teach lessons from the past
so pain may pass,

teach, teach

from endings we begin
redemption for our sins
choose to live The Now
the signs will show you how,
begin the journey
to a stronger, better you,

begin, begin.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   April 2014

Monday, April 7, 2014

Jesus and The Chickens (I Saw Jesus, Part 2)

I Saw Jesus, Part Two
(The View From Angela's Deck)

I saw Jesus with a big dumb smile on his face
- I think he was high again -
looking over the backyard fence
at the chickens running around in our yard,
so I asked him, "What's up, dude?"

"I really don't know what I was thinking
when I made chickens. I can not,
for the life of me,
remember what that was all about."

"Now worries, dude," I said,
"the eggs are good and they don't
take much care and feeding."

"Cool," he said, still grinning.

"Hey man," he said,
"nice job on the raised vegetable beds!"

"Thanks. We needed those
to keep the gophers
from eating what we plant."

and then I stared at him,
and he knew I was waiting
for an explanation on gophers.

"Dude," he chuckled, "I, uh, really, uh,
I mean, what can I say? There was this whole
rats, mice, squirrels thing happening one afternoon,
and I think left the room for a minute
and when I came back..."
...he shrugged his shoulders for emphasis

"It's cool, man," I said,
"not everything can work out
the way you plan it."

"Exactly what I was saying, man, exactly!"
and he smiled and walked away
mumbling something about grand design
and man-nipples and Paris Hilton
and looking for his lighter,

and the chickens went on about their business
as the clouds rolled by in their puffy white perfection
that Jesus never made mention of
but he should have
because they were beautiful.

Ken Owen. Van Niddy Press.  April 2014

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Why I Don't Mind Cigarette Smoke

my sister and I
in the back seat of my parents
powder blue Chevy Impala
on the way home from a Sunday trip
to Grandpa's house in The City
where I stared for hours
out his back window
at the neon Hamm's beer glass
filling up over and over,

I felt safe and warm 
in the back seat
no seat belts
the car full of cigarette smoke
from Mom and Dad
as we headed down the freeway
they used to call Bayshore
back to our windswept home in the fog
while begging our Dad to turn on
KYA or KFRC on the radio.

Those simple days are over,

Tell It Good-bye.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   April 2014

Back Seat Drivers

The Heart and The Mind
were in violent debate
on which ancient dogma
or modern new-age philosophy
or combination thereof
was the right map to use
to get out of this broken down
City of Suffering
when The Driver said

"enough is enough,
let's just go.
I'm driving
so shut the fuck up!"

So off they went
for the moment, at least
on the road chosen

as they looked out the window in silence
at the scattered bits of wreckage
along darkened streets of memory
and tried to focus on the horizon
and what lay ahead

while no one dared look
in the rear view mirror.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   April 2014


Look up.

And I notice
In this moment
For this moment
I have everything I need

A warm bed
A book of poems
To be read
A book of poems
Unfinished in my head

Still warm
The dog in morning meditation
at my feet - his Zen is perfect

I'm trying to learn
How to arrive
At the place where
I can appreciate these things
Without trying

To wake
In first lights reflection
And behold
Life's unfolding perfection
And let gratitude
guide my direction

With each new day
As the gift
That it is.

Ken Owen  Van Niddy Press  April 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Things That You Do

With minor deliberation
beyond the Self view,
your results might be different
with the things that you do,

someday you will learn
what The Universe holds true,
you get what you've given
from the things that you do,

with no solace in offer
nor province to rue,
I wait not for contrition
for the things that you do,

the well traveled road
shows me what I must do,
in silent reflection
of the things that you do:

         I forgive you
      because I should

                           because I can

love true in deliverance
from a heart you once knew,
now lost from the cost
of the things that you do,

the walls of pride's fortress
hide from life's view,
the damage you've done
from the things that you do,

cry for redemption
and I'll cry with you,
as you seek to find answers
for the things that you do,

after much to consider
I bid you adieu,
and wish you good luck
with these things that you do.

Ken Owen  Van Niddy Press   April 2014