Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday, Thoughts of Rain

Outside my window
It's raining like hell
On my neighbors orange tree

It's California
In November
And it's finally raining

A real storm
And everyone is thankful
For the gift from crying clouds

That same gift
They don't notice anymore
In Hawaii

Or Florida, where I remember
It rained every day of my vacation at 3:00p.m.
And went unappreciated by everyone but me

They say California is mostly high desert
They say we should treat water like gold now
They say we should have been doing this all along

But, of course, nobody listens because 
We always grow careless with what we have
When we think there's plenty

And we live our days
Like there is a never-ending supply
And an abundance of all things

So now I collect the cold water
That gets pushed along
By the hot water slowly crawling 

Through the old pipes
as it makes its way to my shower
And last night's dirty highball glass in the sink

And I sprinkle these buckets of gold
On the dying plants in the garden
And give the rest to the dog

On days when there are no crying clouds 
Swollen with nature's gold
To wash my neighbors oranges.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   November 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fire On The Mountain

I remember the day
the Sun dove straight into the ocean
                             as fast as it could

                  in a ball 
             of blazing glory
               to escape 
         the dirt brown haze
     and its own runaway heat
         that was smothering 

             while clouds 
         turned the colors
of a distant fire on the mountain

and there was 

no rain 

in sight.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   November 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My Father's Friend

My father's friend is one of many
in a field of faded marble stones
that get a small American flag
one day each year.

The stone has no mention
of a wife or the house they bought 
and how they worried they could not afford it
but somehow did,

no mention of his children or grandchildren
or the car that he drove
that always smelled 
like cigarettes and aftershave,

no mention of the friends that loved him
and the place where they all went
every night after work for just one or two
but always stayed longer,

just a few chiseled sentences 
describing a short but significant period
from a lifetime of events worth noting.

For many people, my father's friend 
will always be more than just a faded marble stone
that gets a small American flag
one day each year,

and I wonder but never ask
how it makes my father feel
to remember his past while looking at his destiny
as he walks the field of faded marble stones.

inspired by a photograph by Colleen Granero Ramirez

Ken Owen     
Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2014
Van Niddy Press 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Wrong Man, Wrong Dream (Spirits in Dreamland)

A strange man walked 
through my dream last night.

A small bohemian attic,
low pitched ceiling, an empty cot 
and a table with one chair and a candle
near a half-circle window full of moonlight,

and as I wondered 
whose room this was 
and what my dream was trying to tell me
suddenly, from out of nowhere

a person whom I did not recognize
walked right in front of me and looked directly
into the camera lens of my mind's eye
to see if he recognized me,

he didn't--you could see it in his face.

He was in the wrong room.
He was in the wrong dream.
So he opened a door and left.
It startled me awake

and I wondered 
how many doors in how many dreams
before he found the dream 
he was looking for

and I wondered
how many spirits walk the night
searching for the right dream to haunt
so as not to be forgotten by those they miss.

written while waiting for Maurice
backstage at Lagunitas Brewery, Petaluma, CA

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   November 2014

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Empty Side Of The Bed

You can learn a great deal 
about a person by what they keep 
on the empty side of the bed

You can gain insight from the night stand
with its reading lamp, water glass (coaster?)
and collection of medicines easily swept 
into the drawer should a guest arrive

but the empty side of the bed 
will show you what a person wants near 
when they reach for comfort 
with the bleary eyes of day break 
and the lonely heart of night

and if the empty side of the bed has become 
a library of unfinished books and magazines
a graveyard of lost reading glasses
and an orphanage for pillows

you can bet it's been a long while 
since they have entertained the thought
of finding someone to share the blankets
on the empty side of the bed.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   November 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

Haiku on The Wind

The tired wind
won't bother the sea today ---
resting quietly.


Morning wind voices ---
    trees offer praise, singing streets
         break the morning calm,

         evening wind voices ---
    trees wail and moan, dark streets howl
pleading for mercy.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   November 2014

It's The Little Things

You're going to miss me,
but not for the reasons 
you think:

you probably never noticed
the salt and pepper shakers 
were always full ---

that was me,

or how the vacuum cleaner bag
was always empty
and the cord magically redone

after you shoved them 
unceremoniously back into the closet
in a fit of housecleaning rage ---

me also,

or the couch pillows returned 
to their proper order by size and pattern
but slightly askew to show casual style

and our snuggly couch blanket folded and ready
for another night of watching your latest
conspiracy theory documentaries 

and the collection of remote controls 
in an orderly row on the coffee table
at the ready with fresh batteries ---

me again,

and the dogs latest bone
removed from harms way
of midnight bare foot trips to the bath room ---

yeah, me.

So, before I forget...

garbage goes out on Wednesday night,
you should clean the espresso maker 
with white vinegar when it gets slow,

you mow the lawn
shorter in Winter
and longer in summer,

change the water filter once a month
and the smoke alarm batteries 
on New Years Day,

and please be careful on the ladder 
when getting down the holiday decorations
(trust me, there are no killer spiders in the attic).

Call any time if you have questions.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   November 2014