Friday, October 31, 2014

Morning is a Woman

Morning is a woman
cloudy-eyed
humming softly
sheer gown of night
tossed slowly to the floor
standing bare with possibility
in front of her wardrobe of seasons
deciding her mood

today
a flowing sky blue dress 
with pattern of easy clouds
the morning star her necklace
hair down to catch the wind
with perfume of evening rain.

I hate to see her leave.


Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   October 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

House Party


October was tipsy
and having a beautiful time
but not managing things very well

a few rainy days
then a week of heatwave
and the drought records were making everyone crazy

then Fall showed up 
late to the party and screamed
"What the hell are you guys doing?!"

Summer and Winter 
sitting together on the couch and mumbling
gave each other that "party over" look

then Summer passed out
and Winter got up to take a shower
and get ready for work with a big headache

as Fall started cleaning up
and October stumbled to the door
while sheepishly looking for his coat.


Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   October 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Demon Dance: Notes from Hell's Saloon


No Beard, Part 1: A beautiful woman I know was walking slowly across the dance floor towards me; it was a vision I'll never forget: grinning slightly, eyes smiling, looking right through me while she gave me silent commands to 'stay right there, here I come,' and I froze in my steps. Trying to keep eye contact with her as she came towards me was like staring at the Sun. Then, suddenly, she tried to kiss me on the lips. I had no reason to expect this, no idea what she was doing or why; I was baffled, the situation threw me completely off course. I hugged her with genuine affection and as I released her she did it again and was successful. It was sweet; it was delicate. I was confused and embarrassed at my embarrassment. She had no way to know about my rule: I never kiss any woman on the lips except the woman I am with: date, girl friend, wife, whatever . . . so it's always a quick head-dodge when someone tries that little innocent peck on the lips with me, though in this instance many parts of my conscience were immediately screaming for a suspension of such a silly rule, but it has become a natural reflex action for me now. (I wonder what people think? Germ-A-Phobe? Too good for my kiss? Freak? All of the above . . . ?)
    Turns out, I had shaved off my beard, and she was checking out what it felt like to kiss me without it (though she had never kissed me with it). "I don't know" she said, staring and thinking and comparing the incomparable, "I like it both ways!" to which we both exploded in laughter at the ridiculous double meaning of the remark she just made on the dance floor of Hell's Saloon. I'm not sure who blushed more, me or her.

No Beard, Part 2: "You’re gettin' (sex...but that's not what he said), aren't you!" he shouted as he made the clean-shaven motion across his face referring to my now-gone-beard, which I had forgotten about but kept getting reminders from people on how much I was associated with it. "No, that's why I shaved it -- to get some," was all I could come up with from my Clever Comeback Department, which seems suspiciously depleted as of late. He made the startled look of displeasure at my response (there was no correct response other than to lie and say 'yes'), as if to say, either way, don't go changing yourself for that, and he was right to think that.

The Traveler: It was good to see her after all this time. She had been traveling extensively and would be in town now while she figured her plans for the future. She talked non-stop for 10 minutes and reduced me to a silent head-bobber while I offered an occasional "uh-huh" as she weaved one adventure story into another, and I couldn't blame her one bit. I was jealous listening to her stories because she had been doing what I dream of: traveling to places you hear about and experiencing the beautiful locations of this great country. She was alive and buzzing, full of stories and pictures and scenes and could barely contain them. Jealous, me.

The Dark Side (a conversation on the band stand):
Musician 1: "Hang on, 'cause next set we're going to the Dark Side." 
Musician 2: "I don't know about you but I'm already there."

Musician 3: "Me too, man. Really, what are you expecting, eye liner?!"

It made perfect sense at the time.

Demon Dance: . . . and the dance floor was full of the usual wild dervish dancing, and I noticed that there are Drinkers Who Dance and Dancers Who Drink, two completely different animals: serious dancers put their drinks down when they dance which thereby gives priority to their Demon Dancing (not by much) over their drinking, while serious drinkers never put their drink down no matter what they are attempting (some might say they are multi-tasking, but I think that's modern day bullshit). There is an older women who comes in using a walker then sets it aside and goes immediately to the dance floor which invokes a mystical Lourdes-like healing quality to the proceedings. . . there is a young war veteran who sits quietly, assessing the musicianship while nursing his beer that I assume Uncle Sam buys for him on some sort of monthly pension for his service (I hope). . . there are people of all races and colors, smiling, staring, laughing, and drunks who like to stay in dark corners and never move from their seat at the bar. . . and there are happy tourists who were frightened when they walked into the place that everyone at the hotel told them they must go see, but then the band started, and the wild dancing began, and they realized what this place was, and they embraced it like they belonged even though it smelled a lot like what Hell must smell like - an eternity of piss and puke and sweat and cheap whiskey and stale beer. . .and the musicians were just as sweaty as and even more glassy-eyed than the dancers and drinkers from too much time in the alley between sets.

    I am there, slightly stoned, watching, and I'm thinking this is the bar scene in Hell, and it's wonderful and frightening and these people weren't damned here, they came willingly and they love it, and they'll be back . . . and I fit right in . . . and I'll be back.

- North Beach, San Francisco, Fall 2014