Saturday, August 26, 2017

My Side of the Mountain

During each of my
childhood summers
I watched my mountain burn

dry brush and parched weed
set aflame with the boredom of kids 
with no teachers to distract them 
with math and history
and keep them from idle mischief.

Back in those days
there were no homes 
on my side of the mountain

so the fire fighters would just
park their great machines 
on the road below
and watch it burn.

Sometimes when
my mountain 
burned too quickly 

helicopters would fly overhead
and toss great billowing 
clouds of orange dust
on the running flames
while we pleaded with our parents 
to let us watch until bedtime.

My friends and I
could never understand why anyone
would burn our mountain 

so we figured 
it must be the high school kids 
because we didn't 
understand them either.

When we became
a high school kids
we still went up to my mountain 

and did all the things 
you weren't supposed to do 
until you were much older
and we never 
burned my mountain
but someone else always did.

My mountain 
was an all-day 
private kingdom 

yet the only thing our parents 
cared about was that we were out 
from under their feet until 5:00pm.

I don't remember 
anyone in my house asking 
what I did all day on my mountain

and that seems 
strange to me now.

Ken Owen   
Van Niddy Press   August 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017

Pass The Salt

Remember. . .

all those times 
in restaurants 
when you'd look over 
and see an elderly person 
pouring the table salt in their hand 
before they dumped it 
on their food

and you thought to yourself

“What the fuck are they doing?”

now you know,
don't you.

They couldn't see it
and now
you can't either.

Welcome to The Inevitable, Tough Guy.

Ken Owen  
Van Niddy Press  August  2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Say It Now

Let us deliver
to the hearts we hold dear
our pronouncements of love
while they are still here.

Randy Craig, Ken Owen
 Marsh Cabaret, Berkeley, CA
August 9, 2017
Photo by (of a photo by) Doug McKechnie


As the setting sun warmed me 
with the last touch of its day

I closed my eyes and cast my thoughts 
of you adrift for sailing

on gentle evening breezes
to join the clouds of night

that whisper ever sweetly 
of love to the knowing moon

that its light might serve a beacon
and guide you until dawn

as we share this space between us
in quiet solitude.

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press
August 2017

How Hot Was It?

Well . . .

the clouds just lay there 
in small broken pieces
too hot to join together and form great works

because the wind had 
no energy or intent 
and took one long nap

birds sat still
quietly hidden in trees
because they knew better

and as we waited
for the burning sun 
to set

I watched a crepe myrtle
smile at the beauty of the day
from my spot in the shade.

Ken Owen  Van Niddy Press
July 2017

Fashion Statement

Her hand bag 
matched her jacket:

a print of black and white circles 
resembling a film negative 
of dozens of deviled eggs
over a black background

a bold fashion statement 
which, sadly
only seemed to highlight
that the rest of her was unremarkable 

but that caused me to review 
my own wardrobe choices for the day:

blue jean jacket
blue flower-print shirt
fading blue jeans
all which seemed to highlight 

me as equally unremarkable 
and much less imaginative.

Matching accessories wins.

-written on the morning work shuttle, March 2017

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Live Simply

Photograph by Suzette Odell

Spring and Summer Haiku, 2017

A beautiful day
     to stay in bed with a book--
sloth absolved by rain.

Dashboard hula girl,
     broken, her beauty fading.
Perfect match, we two.

Head down, snail tracks

     head up, sea birds ride the wind--
My morning lessons.

Sunday--when shouting
     "Breakfast is ready" at noon 
makes no one think twice.

Pine box oblation,
     soul collected, readied for
cosmic recycling.

Paradise Market
     Selling Daydreams since Day One.
(sorry, no returns.)

Majestic spring clouds
     crawling across my window
grazing on daydreams.

Morning Aria
     Act One, enter mama bird,
"Come children, breakfast!"

-written on the way to the train station

Dream of you complete,
     cars on sleepy roads tell time--
One thirty a.m.

-May 1st, 1:30a.m.

Silent church of dawn
     begins with an offering:
cosmic do-over.

Sadly, I waited
     to visit the new swallows 
one day too many.

Row twenty seven,
     Three squished mummies, eyes forward,
Trying not to touch.

In flight, one bathroom,
     two hundred souls, suddenly 
no gender issues.

United Airlines, Dallas to San Jose, June 2017

 Pleading forgiveness
     all is forgiven until
"lipstick marks, again?!"

from the English subtitles for a bad Chinese movie, June 2017

Golden summer moon,
     keep the secrets of my heart
safe until morning.

-Inspired by a fellow admirer of the moon, July 2017

Ken Owen   Van Niddy Press