Friday, June 27, 2014

A Kiss at the Bottom of the Sea

He had seen visions
from the waters edge
of a beautiful siren
on distant rocks

He knew of the legend
how mermaids would swim up
to grab hold of your heart
and render you powerless

and bring you down
to the bottom of the sea
and once they kissed you
your air became water

under the blue sky ocean
where fish swim like stars
and you could never go back
to the life you knew.

To this he said simply
"then remember me fondly"
as he turned to listen
at the waters edge

to the song of love
from the beautiful mermaid
and when she reached for his heart
he gave it freely

and they drifted together
on waves of loves embrace
then with the kiss
of new beginnings

he looked up from the bottom of the sea
as ocean became his sky
and fish swam by like stars
and he knew he was where he should be.

for Danielle and Eric
June 14, 2014

Ken Owen    Van Niddy Press      June 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Drought in the Heartland

I hope this letter
finds you.

Since you left
long days have become
mostly quiet 
and very still.

Though I still tend barren fields 
that lie parched and waiting,
I expect no harvest
anytime soon.

On days when
great rolling storms
appear without warning
and block out the sun,

I draw the shades
and hide inside
from the howling wind
that rattles the windows.

Hope sees no reason
to visit here anymore,
but I continue to work the soil
and check the sky for clues.

It is hard to imagine you 
experiencing a drought of smiles
in these days of love's thirst,
but they say times are tough all over.

I hope things are better
where you are.

Write when you can.

Inspired by the Ken Burns film "The Dust Bowl"

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   June 2014

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Modern Poetry is Bullshit

I have been reading
poetry of the modern masters
and have come to realize
that most of it is complete bullshit.

For example,
to make up for
their indecipherable passages
they do things with form like

                                                hang sentences out in the middle of nowhere

to make you feel stupid
if you were to admit
you didn't understand why they did that
while everyone else shouts "Brilliant!"


And it seems
that if you are in a drunken stupor
and write a famous poem
that makes no sense to you or anyone else

when you sober up
they will still publish
anything you do in perpetuity
while shouting "Brilliant!"

Also bullshit,

because sometimes
if we are lucky we make art
but most times we are just
drunkards at life's banquet with our heads
                                              in the soup.

(See what I mean?)

written in a drunken stupor @ 12:30a.m.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   June 2014

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Our Quiet Hearts

I have never understood why we cut down 
beautiful groves of living flowers and trees
to make fields where we plant dead souls
that don't seem the least bit interested 
in sprouting into anything.

I am certain when they plant our quiet hearts
you'll come up as a poppy of gentle beauty 
so I'll make every effort to come up as a mighty pine 
to watch over you at the edge of your field until 
they cut me down to make room for someone else.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   June 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

Rememberance of a Lifetime (in 30 seconds or less)

He killed himself
of that they were sure
but no one could remember
exactly how

there was quick consensus
the method used was irrelevant
one way or the other
the result was the same

they applied all the usual
post-death platitudes -
too bad, too young, what a loss, etc.., etc...
while speaking of the brilliant mind and his work

in conclusion they performed
the ceremonial reverent pause
demanded by stories ending with death
before easily moving to another topic.

in rememberance of Richard Brautigan

Ken Owen  Van Niddy Press  June 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Angels Ride Bicycles in Berkeley

Beautiful angels
ride bicycles in the wrong direction
up one-way streets in Berkeley
with complete impunity
as the crowd on the sidewalk
goes silent.

written on break at The Marsh, Berkeley, Ca

Ken Owen Van Niddy Press  June 2014

Silent Suffering

Lately when I see you
it feels like 
there is something wrong
that you aren’t telling anyone

like you are trying
to do the noble thing
by not letting me worry
alongside you

Whatever it is
we could fight it together
even if we both know
there’s not much I can offer

perhaps a hug
a prayer
a massage
a cup of tea

while we laugh 
and tell the old stories
of where we’ve been
and what we’ve seen

Now that I think of it
we should do more of that
whether or not
you’re in silent suffering

so call me

I’ll bring Chinese food 
some jazz records
some wine
and we’ll be OK for a while.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   June 2014

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

When God Dreams

God was talking 
in his sleep again,
I think that explains 
why I heard your name in the wind,

he was dreaming
and that must explain
why I saw your face 
in every cloud and flower,

and when he woke up crying
that must explain
the painful longing I felt
in every teardrop of his rain.

I'm sure he doesn't mean to
but it seems
when God dreams of you
it breaks everybody's heart.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   
June 2014

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Oh Great Conductor

Oh Great Conductor
you have played me
the song I must hear

with your majestic symphony
of heart-string instruments 
breaking all at once

crying out in great discord
to awaken me
from my endless night.

No song of the wind for dancing clouds
nor song of the sweet bird
singing his love for the day

for these would not lift 
my veil of mourning
for a love I held above all others

but a song of great sadness
that would break my heart wide open
and set fire to painful longing.

Oh Great Conductor
you have played me
the song I must hear

complete in your wisdom
of how one song must end
before another can begin

so that we may go forward in gratitude
to compose our life songs
and sing of the love that surrounds us.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   June 2014

Lift Up Your Gaze

Weary traveler 
tired and bent 
from the weight of your sorrow,

look up slowly
and raise your head
to the beauty of all creation,

from the smallest stones
that lie down quietly
to serve your path

to the small ant
dutifull in labor 
and unquestioned purpose,

from the beautiful flower
in humble offering
expecting nothing in return

to the bee 
who dances between petals
serving nature's endless duty,

from tall grass dancing
in sweeping valleys
of rolling golden hills

to your brothers 
who toil along side you 
to help with your burden,

from majestic trees 
that reach to the sky
and petition the clouds for rain

to the sun 
that patiently gives way
to the watchful moon,

and as you raise your head
to the stars
of endless galaxies

you will have raised your heart
to the beauty of all things
as you gaze into the Infinite.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   June 2014

Thursday, June 5, 2014

When We Sing of Love

When we sing of love
do we not disturb the bitter sleep
of those that live without its grace?

Let them sing with us,
dance along side us
in our colorful parade
shouting, "Here's comes love!"
as they lift us upon their shoulders
in celebration of a joy 
that touches all hearts.

So deliver your song boldly,
rattle the windows with your proclamations
so that all my share in the gift of love!

inspired by and dedicated to paul and loralee

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   June 2014

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Directly To Your Heart

Let me speak
directly to your heart
so I may hear
it deeply sigh
when it receives
my professions of love,

let me speak 
directly to your heart
so I may trouble not
the restless mind
that only serves
the frightened child,

let me speak
directly to your heart
so I may offer 
my prayers of gratitude 
with love everlasting
for the gift of you,

let me speak
directly to your heart
so I may hear
it whisper softly
of life and love
and the love of life,

let me speak
directly to your heart
so I may feel
our common pulse
as we lie together
two hearts united,

let me speak 
directly to your heart
so it may know
the river of tears when we part
flows to the sea of joy 
when you return,

let me speak 
directly to your heart
so you may know
without reservation
the depth of longing
that brings me to you,

let me speak
directly to your heart
so you may know
when we silence the voices
of fear and pride
the heart will hear nothing but love.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   June 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Last Thing

The will to struggle
and fight the long great battle
the last thing you lose.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   June 2014

Set Sail

Endless waves of time 
smooth the edges from our pain
I'll soon sail again.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   June 2014


Bird of flightless wing
sad parents look down helpless
nature takes command.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   June 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014


when we allow ourselves
7 days in a row
to do different things
in different places
but only if you clean your house
from top to bottom
before you leave.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   June 2014

My Voice

I told her
I try everyday
to find my words for love
but alas 
I speak with reverent homage 
in the voice of the great ones 
who created beautiful odes
to love and suffering.

Don’t worry, she said 
it is all the same song
until one day
if you're lucky
it isn’t
and the voice you hear
shall be yours.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   June 2014

Ebb and Flow

Reading and Writing
my mind empty while filling
my thoughts with your words.

Now I give them back
ebb and flow inspires words
thought gives birth to thought.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   June 2014