Friday, January 30, 2015

The Chickasaw Bridge

As he drove home late one night
heading north on the Chickasaw Bridge,
he saw a hand-painted message on a billboard sign:
"there's someone else" . . . it was painted in red.

As the message burned in his mind,
he thought back on some things she had said
and her touch that seemed to grow colder each day,
and the distance in their bed.

That night brought a cold, deep chill,
made worse by the words that he'd read,
to a house where suspicion grew stronger each minute
while his jealousy fire burned red.

As he drove to work the next day,
heading south on the Chickasaw Bridge,
he couldn't keep from looking back
at the message that was written in red.

But a new one had taken its place,
and his heart seemed to stop when he read:
"she's not alone," so he turned right around
and went north on the Chickasaw Bridge.

She told the police she was startled,
all alone she was put to the test,
when he rushed through the door, then fell to the floor,
one shot put suspicion to rest.

The stares and the gossip meant nothing,
the neighbors all knew what she did.
No one was surprised when the new man arrived
at the house north of Chickasaw Bridge.

Months later on his way home from work,
heading north on the Chickasaw Bridge,
he saw a hand-painted message on a billboard sign
"there's someone else" . . . it was painted in red.




Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   January 2015

On My Way Down (I Saw Jesus, Part 3)


I saw Jesus on my way down
He was headed off to Glory
I was headed out of town
He said that I should call him
if I came back around
I saw Jesus on my way down

I saw Jesus on my way down
I was coming back from Judgement 
where I never made a sound
They wanted pleas for mercy
but I ain't that kind of clown
I saw Jesus on my way down

He stood there real quiet
He never made a move
I told him if I gotta go
I'm gonna take my groove
Shuffle down the road
Hold my head up high
'Cause it's much too late to worry
Ain't no sense to cry

I saw Jesus on The Judgement Day
He wished that he could help me
but I had a price to pay
I told him not to worry 
'cause I had a lovely stay
I saw Jesus on The Judgement Day

He looked me in the eyes
Gave me that sad frown
He was sad to see me go
but I couldn't stick around
I really wasn't worried 
'cause as far as I could tell
they were wearing horns in heaven
and halos down in hell

I saw Jesus on my way down
He was headed off to Glory
I was headed out of town
He said that I should call him
if I came back around
I saw Jesus on my way down


inspired from a story by Michael Oliver Warren



Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   January 2015

When Heartache Comes to Town


Hear that lonesome sound, 
don't you hear that lonesome sound,
that's the sound of heartbreak
coming back to town.

Get up off that track, 
you’d better get up off the track,
she'll run you over
and she won't look back.

If you try to play you're going down,
she’ll break your heart and never make a sound.
Don't look for me ‘cause I wont be around,
I’m highway bound when heartache comes to town. 

All she wants to know, 
all she really wants to know,
who she’ll meet backstage 
after the show.

Then she’ll see, 
then she’ll really see,
things ain’t always what
they seem to be.

If you try to play you're going down,
she’ll break your heart and never make a sound.
Don't look for me ‘cause I wont be around
I’m highway bound when heartache comes to town. 


Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   January 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Difference Between Sex and Love



Sex lasts 30 minutes
60 minutes if your lucky and good
Anyone who tells you differently is a liar
When I hear grand tales of all night this-and-that
I just smile and act impressed

Love lasts a long time
You can take it with you wherever you go
It rides around in your shirt pocket
poking its head out with a silly grin
It hides in your purse and surprises you 
when you are looking for something else 

Those other guys were looking for someone to fuck
No one would blame them for considering you
But that's not what I'm looking for
It never was

I want to make love to someone I'm in love with
Until then, I'll put my arms around you
so you can rest your head against my chest
and listen to the sound of a true heart 
beating just for you if you'd have it

I understand why this might scare you away
but this is what happens
when you show your heart to a poet



Ken Owen  Van Niddy Press   January 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Little Green Noses


Press Release: Green Noses Run Rampant, Worse Season On Record


In the short space of a few days, I went from providing care for the youngest member of our family (17 months) to our oldest (83 years). I suppose the writer in me should be able to connect the dots and conjure up some wonderfully creative analogy on the great cycle of life.

So far, I got nothing.

There are many strains of colds and flu that are ravishing the country this winter. Young children and the elderly seem especially hard hit.  Everyone knows at least a half dozen people that are sick. It's everywhere; headlines about flu shots that aren't working (but get them anyway), even a measles outbreak at Disneyland. Remember how we used to see the news reports of people in far away places wearing those hospital masks and we'd think, "Really? It's that bad? I'd feel kinda silly wearing that around all day." Well, I just bought a dozen of them.

 It feels like every winter is the worst on record...until next winter rolls around.

The 17 month old is very good at sharing. It seems to be an easy part of her nature to share her things with you. I doubt she knows she shared her boogery little cold with me and her parents. I don't mind it. If it means wiping her little green nose all day while her Mom is at a school wiping little green noses, I'll gladly do it for a day with her. I did all the hand washing and vitamin eating they tell you to do, but I knew I was destined to get her cold, because when I'm around her I can't stop kissing the little red cheeks of the little girl with the little green nose.

My 83 year old father ended up in the hospital with some virus. Thankfully it was not the flu, which can be life threatening for the elderly, but the virus caused him great difficulty in his breathing so we got him checked in for a few days. I felt like I could offer little value to his situation other than discussing the headlines of the day with him and reminding him to eat his tuna sandwich. I set up a chair and a table in his hospital room and began acting like a court reporter sending out status updates to the family. I asked the doctor questions and took notes. It was hard to tell how she felt about being interviewed because all I could see were her big brown eyes over her mask, but it think her body language told me "OK, this is the part they told you about in med school. Just take a deep breath and dumb-down your answers so he can understand you."

When Dad looked over and saw me typing away, he gave me quizzical looks and was probably upset that I came all this way just to play with my computer. After I explained to him what I was doing, I jokingly asked him if he wanted me to issue a press release on his status. He smiled and rolled over. Either he didn't hear me or he didn't appreciate the joke, which just proves I am farther away from being a comedian than a writer. There were many times I looked at my father and felt like I should be coming up with some sage pearls of wisdom about life, the father-son connection, and all those type of things.

So far, nothing.

I'm home now. There are boxes of tissues in every room. I've been very tired and going to bed early hoping my little boogery cold doesn't morph into something more serious. The back of my ears are sore from wearing those silly hospital masks. I thought I'd be smart and put a few drops of eucalyptus oil inside my mask to help clear my sinuses, but I put too much in and almost blew my brains out. 

The dog just sneezed. Now the pressure is on for me to draw some fantastic analogy about us all being one big animal family on this planet full of germs that make green noses pop up everywhere like little green flowers.

I got nothing (the little green flower bit just proved it).

Back to bed. I'll try again tomorrow.




Ken Owen  Van Niddy Press   January 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

Closed For The Day


As I walked past the large church 
across the street from the park full of winos 
shopping cart homeless and dogs playing Frisbee

I looked up and saw her 
at the top of the long marbled steps
head down, arms outstretched 
hands clutching the iron gate in front of the church door
in a private crucifixion

Church was closed for the day
but this would not prevent her petition
while two large bags of all her worldly possessions
lie at her feet

and I thought to myself

"Now THAT'S how to do it!
prostrate at God's door step
your possessions in offering
while ringing his door bell with prayer"

If her prayers were not heard
then yours have no chance


Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   January 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My Corner of Heaven


I will never forget 
that early morning in your small bed 
when I woke up next to you 
to the sounds of a harp playing 
and porch chimes dancing outside the open window 
as the wind came down our side of the mountain 

and for that brief moment in the dark
I thought I was still dreaming
that I was in my corner of heaven
and when God smiled and asked if I needed anything
I told him there was not one single thing he could offer 
that could make this moment more perfect than it was


Ken Owen  Van Niddy Press  January 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Girls With That Name


I had you
right where I knew you wanted to be
I took pride in that moment when I realized 
you were comfortable in your place with me

and then suddenly
you slipped through my fingers
and before I knew what had happened
it was too late, you were gone

I guess I'll never know why 
The Universe expects me to be 
in some continual state of mourning 
over brown-eyed girls with that name


In memoriam of Lucy Leitner
January 2015

















Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press    January 2015

Behind Dog Eyes


I think I can no longer trust 
what the dog has been suggesting
I see motive behind his eyes 
but I’m not sure what he’s plotting
If you go more than a week 
without hearing from me, send help


Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   January 2015

Look Back, Look Forward (The Story of Love)


Those great loves you had
They were not failures because they are not still here
They were bookmarks
Defining moments in time
that made you who you are today
A way to remember
how badly you treated your first love in 1974
and how much in love you were back in 1981
when you were young and beautiful
and how abandoned you felt in 1990
when you left her for the other woman
and nobody backed your play 
and how silly it seemed in 2001
when you warned everyone about the beautiful temptress
but you married her anyway
and how they cheered for you in 2010
to win the brown-eyed girl
but her heart was somewhere else

Now you look back at all that love
not lost, never forgotten,
and then look forward and wonder 
if you have the strength for new chapters 
or if it's time to just reflect 
and be happy for what you were given
and go forward with your days
expecting nothing
Then, when you least expect it
there's a knock on the door
and you answer without hesitation . . .

. . . to be continued.




Ken Owen    Van Niddy Press    January 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

My Dearest Heart


My Dearest Heart:

I mourn us not in separation
but praise our passion’s fire 
that can burn away all distance

I long not for the sight of thy beauty
for your portrait hangs fixed and constant
in The Great Hall of Dreams

I crave not for the taste of your kiss
for it lives in reverence everlasting 
upon the altar of my lips

I ache not with empty arms
for they hold your touch with eternal strength 
received from our last embrace

I weep not from loneliness
but rest easy knowing time will concede
and return to me My Dearest Heart


Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   January 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

Siren's Song


How shall I know you
   the golden instrument
   held close to my breast 

How shall I play you
   so thy sweet song in release
   be known to me

How shall I need music
   when your heart strings tremble
   my only song

How shall I hear
   when the melody of you 
   mutes all others

How shall I see
   when the image of you 
   commands all thought

How shall I speak
   as our hearts begin
   their silent talks 

How shall I live
   forever changed 
   by the siren's song


Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   January 2015

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Haiku: January 2015

Haiku (5/7/5)    Tanka (5/7/5/7/7)


Great sorrow teaches
heartfelt appreciation
for life's simple joys 


My vision of you 
appears in quiet moments
to bring me your smile


Falling Winter rain
flows with ease past tree and stone
shows me nature's way
that I may find my true path---
flow like rain to the river


The  Westerner seeks
enlightenment through haiku---
Japanese Scrabble 


Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   2015

The Flowers Ain't Talkin'


I think I have uninspired
all the inspiration 
that is here

The flowers ain't talkin'
they just stare back at me 
through the window with droopy frowns

The sunsets are in full rage for lovers 
at the ocean but won't be bothered 
to play to us suckers in the cheap seats

The trees have stopped dancing
and are staring at me like I'm the one 
who bumped into the record player

and the wind quit singing
when it became obvious 
I couldn't keep up with her tune

I think they would all agree 
I should move on
and hand the microphone to someone else



Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   January 2015

Thursday, January 1, 2015

When Buddha Dreams





Smiling Buddha dreams
visions of naked sirens
love visits us both
floating clouds of desire
in beauty—enlightenment!



for Chauncey

written in the Japanese form of 'tanka' ( 5 lines of 5/7/5/7/7 )


Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   January 2015