Wednesday, March 21, 2018


you are with me 

In days 
when I knew 
you were safe
at home

I didn’t see you
in every shadow 
as the sun played 
with the leaves

I never wondered
if that bird song 
was really you 
singing me 
your new 

or if the 
crashing waves
had become 
your chance 
to shout

or if the 
young tree 
near the lake 
was you 

reaching your arms 
to a sun that seems brighter 
now that you shine with it.

begins our next 
great adventure
alone together

You’ll follow me 
in my shadow
and be the breeze 
that combs my hair 

and as you become 
the sum of your dreams
we will dance and play 
inside the private 
reverie of mine.

you are with me 

for Audrey
in memory of Valerie

Ken Owen
Van Niddy Press   March 2018

Monday, March 5, 2018

It Takes A Village


In the place where I live 
many new villages are being 
built by herds of men 
with great machines

and soon 
homes in these shiny villages 
will be ready for sale to 
the people who are coming here 
from all over the globe to 
clog the stores, restaurants 
and movie theaters when they are not 
slowly crawling along a freeway
between their jobs in the valley 
and their new home 
in the village.

For some,
this does not feel 
like progress.


To go anywhere now
on any freeway 
at any time  
is to give up 
2 hours of your life 
to go 30 miles
in any direction

and yet
of thousands 
of people 
are still making their way here 
every year 
for the privilege 
of doing that very thing.

(as of this writing, while sinners sleep 
and the penitent stir, Sunday morning 
4:00am to 9:00am is still passable)


I had a job down in the valley 
for many years until one day 
they said it would be 
going to India without me.

I was fine with that
but I never understood 
why so many good people 
from India were coming here
while my job was going

I told my friends 
I did not want to go back 
to working a 9-to-5 job in the valley
and they looked at me 
like I had lost my mind.

I went back.


The company I work for now
picks me up at the train station 
in a van and brings me to work
so I can sit and look out the window 
at all the motionless drivers on
the motionless freeways who have
come from far away for the privilege
of parading to a job they
are grateful to have

and these good people
will never once complain about 
the traffic
the pay
their boss
or what he asks 
them to do

I, however 
 am not so


This has become
one of the most 
expensive areas to live
on Planet Earth.

Many people need 
two jobs 
just to exist here
(I am one of them)

but I try to remind myself
to look up from my time spent 
crawling along the freeways and 
to get up from my desk job in the valley 
and take a walk outside so I'll
remember how each day here 
is a beautiful gift 

but I often wonder 
if there will ever 
come a time 
when things 
get so crowded 
that everything comes to 
a grinding halt and we will 
have to declare 
there is no room left 
to build any more 
new villages.

Ken Owen
Van Niddy Press   March 2018

Saturday, March 3, 2018

A Lie Before Breakfast

Her system of survival 
had become an art form of 
practiced deception.

Skilled in the role
of false sleep as quiet rest
the pre-dawn hours were spent

projecting dreams
over the peaks and valleys of 
the bedroom ceiling moonscape

while listening for
interruptions in his breathing
like waves dying on a soft beach

to know when to get up 
seconds before him
and be first 

in the shower

door locked


After a breakfast
of mumbling over headlines 
he kisses her forehead 

grabs his coat
and heading for the door
tosses a

"love you"
over his shoulder
without looking

that lands uncaught like
a bloop pop up in
short center field.

She does not look up
offers nothing
and he never notices

and on the day
when her misery is finally discovered 
it will be much too late.

Ken Owen
Van Niddy Press    March 2018