Saturday, November 28, 2015

Your Wrong about Bukowski

                                   I think your wrong about Bukowski.
                                   he's great. you just have to sift through
                                   piles of his drunken bullshit to find the
                                   occasional corn kernel, but trust me,
                                   they're there, I've found them. you should
                                   go back and try it again.

                                   when I read his stuff it's like I'm right
                                   there in his crappy apartment at 3:00a.m.
                                   sitting on his Goodwill couch watching
                                   things go from bad to worse and when
                                   I go to the kitchen to get some more beers
                                   and flick on the light and get dirty looks from
                                   interrupted cockroaches I don't feel sad that
                                   I have no reason to leave and nowhere else to go.

                                   it's not what you write about,
                                   it's how you write about it.

                                   the train conductor who counts his sober
                                   moments down to the hours just told me he
                                   loves Bukowski, read him all the time when
                                   he was drinking too much in North Beach and
                                   thinks he should go back and read him again.
                                   he was smiling too hard and talking too fast
                                   and I was glad he wasn't driving the train.

                                  when I congratulated him for putting himself on
                                  the right track, all the excitement left his body
                                  and he dropped his head and mumbled some Bill W.
                                  bullshit about facing your demons instead of living
                                  with them. You could tell he really missed visiting that
                                  crappy apartment.

                                 I didn't have the heart to tell him
                                 that going back and reading Bukowski
                                 probably wasn't the best idea for him

                                 but for you

                                 try it again.

for B. M.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   November 2015

Friday, November 27, 2015

Sunday Nights (Too Many Good-Byes)

When you were a little girl
I used to put you on a
northbound bus by yourself
to get you back home
every other Sunday night.

You tried really hard
not to cry.

Now you put me
on a southbound train
to get me back home
after weekends of bouncing
your beautiful babies on my knee.

I try really hard
not to cry.

 Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   November 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015


I thought I heard you
singing on the radio,
while sitting at the
kitchen table long ago.
"Hey, that sounds
like Mo," I said
as your sad song
went through my head,
"I always knew he'd
make it to the show."

I pulled my chair up
closer to the tune,
and watched your music
float around the room,
as broken hearted lovers cried
eggs and bacon slowly fried,
coffee with two
tablespoons of gloom.

She handed me my plate
and then she said,
"Someone in this song
will end up dead",
and sure enough
right through the heart,
a soundtrack for
a brand new start,
her white linoleum
turned crimson red.

for m.t.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   November 2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015

One of Us is Upside Down

There is a spider
living in a corner of the ceiling
above the shower in my bathroom
that has no window

Based on my observations
I have decide she poses no threat
and therefore requires no relocation as it
is a big house and I am not using that spot

and because of her long slender legs
and graceful dancing on invisible wires
that she is a she even though we called them
Daddy Long Legs when I was young

Now that I'm older
I seem to have lost the insistence
to force my place in the grand
scheme of all creatures

I have no idea why
she chose this spot

Perhaps the outside world
proved too much for her
Perhaps to her it's like
living at a day spa

I beg her pardon daily
for my morning interruption
as I scrub and observe
and she dances in the mist

One of us is upside down

I have thought about that
for so long I am no longer
sure which one of us is
right-side up and if
there really is a right-side up

One day I noticed she was carrying something
and she stayed frozen in position for days
until one day I found a very small spider
dead on the shower floor

She had held on for as long as she could
but she had to let go of her young one

Up to heaven and down the drain

then she retreated back to her corner
to be alone as I performed the ceremony
and offered condolences then respectfully
closed the curtain on her private grief

I wonder if she is a refugee or a migrant
or was just seeking a better life
for herself and the family she lost

She is alone now
and some mornings I tell her
there is nothing to catch here
no husband, no food

just the sight of an old man
who can end her lonely nights
in a bath room with no window
by bringing rain to her short days
while upside down with no wires at all

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Time Marches On (The View From Here)

The printed word
at any distance

The pounding heart 
every stair step

The mirror
throws mental images 
out of sync

Days quicken 
as pace

Nights grow long 
as sleep hides 
off in the distance

Gravity pounds 
the skin suit 
to a relaxed fit

Mysterious aches
take up residence
without permission 

The soul surrendered  
in passionless toil is penance 
for the sin of want

Perspective begins to manifest
within view of 
the finish line

Truth jumps off your tongue 
like a springboard and smashes
all the dinner dishes
and you don't 
give a 


Love is a weathered monument 
to years of destruction and rebuilding 
in the garden of memory 

Children are
a joyous measure
of our distance

We gaze fondly at the laughing picture 
of invincible youth
and would not trade places

for everyday brings a lesson
now that we're paying attention
and not holding important
all the wrong things

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   
November 2015