Friday, November 25, 2016

The Haunting

Since I could 
not put an end 
to the

I have decided 
to become
with the ghost.

I've made my way 
back to 
the edge 
of the chasm

where we 
can now be
civil and


from across the 
unspoken forever-space 
high above the ruins of
our smoldering bridge.

Not what I had imagined,
but it's better this way
as long as you don't
look down.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press        November 2016

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Beauty of Dying

There seems 
a rural mystery
of an unwritten law

people who live
out in the country:

they let 
old barns die
at their own pace.

There is something
about an old barn
past its prime


in a field

it is architectural death
in slow motion
on public display.

There is an instant
when we see a barn


and held up 

by the wind 
and visions of its 
former glory

that causes us to
pull over on our
Sunday drive

and instantly 
award ourselves
the title of artist
or historian

and take a picture 
to document
the beauty of dying 
slowly in a rolling field

and we think
very naturally
to ourselves

all it would take
is one good push
to end the suffering

why don't they 
do it?


The Japanese are famous
for the respect they bestow
upon their elders

but we hide our old folks away 
from places they want to return
in places they don't know

and pay people 
to make sure 
they stay there

while we turn away
from discussions of suffering
and one good push

yet we let barns
take their time dying
where they have always been

and we

pull over
to watch.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   November 2016

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

You Know Something She Doesn't

I have always thought
that if sex could sing
it would sound
like Mavis Staples.

I have also thought
yet I carry no supporting evidence
that Mavis Staples is
most likely
a deeply religious person
who would bristle at the very mention
of that analogy.

Chances are slim
at best
that I will ever get the opportunity
to meet Ms Staples
but even if I did
I would never see myself
telling her this
even though I'd be dying too

so that creates a secret
hiding somewhere out there
in the dark
that you and I share:

Mavis Staples
will live out the rest of her days
never knowing I think her singing
sounds like sex

you do.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   November 2016

Monday, November 7, 2016

Fall Haiku 2016

In formation: birds
     fly south effortlessly above
crawling freeway cars

Golden light of Fall
     dances upon still waters--
High tide at sunset.

-West bound on the San Mateo Bridge, October 2016

Without reflection
     the mirror holds no answers.
Become The Mirror.

Fall quickly, blossom,
     and embrace your destiny 
in the world beyond.

The old dog sleeping--
     twitching limbs, quivering lips,
dreams of love and war.

Waves upon the shore
     proclaiming a steady pulse---
the earth's beating heart.

-A day in Pacifica, CA

Oh sleepy suburb,
     Tonight, 8:00pm, Magic!
Country AND Western!

-Live Music at Bird and Beckett Books and Records
San Francisco, CA

     his image in the mirror,
what would the dog change?

Let impermanence
     bring not fear of tomorrow 
but joy for the Now.

Leaping to his death,
     the leaf hit a spider web,
"Stick around," said Fall.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   November 2016

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Sharp As A Tack

One morning
as I was walking 
into a local burger place 
for a breakfast sandwich
a white haired gent
was coming out.

He looked happy
but he was shaking his
head and saying

"My oh my oh me oh my oh."

He didn't notice me
until I said

"My sentiments exactly."

Startled, he turned
looked up
looked me over quickly
and said with
a big smile

"Yeah, but I'm retired!
Are you retired?"

I couldn't figure
what that had to do
with anything.

"I'm working on it"
was all I could
come up with.

"Great pun!"
he exclaimed
with an even bigger smile.


and sharp
as a

I hope to be that lucky
when I'm retired.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   October 2016

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Large Puddles of Rain

Ruby, age 3: 

"Popi, we should go to the park 
and see how the swings are doing."

Popi, age 58, laughing:

"Well honey, since you put it that way, sure.

Just then
Grandma came for a visit
and in the excitement
all thoughts
of checking on the swings
were lost

so Popi sat back in his chair
at the backyard picnic table
opened a beer
and watched his girls
continue to play in
large puddles of rain.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press   Sacramento, Fall 2016