Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Misdirection


(Tonight's Battle with History)


Lately
I have been watching historical 
documentaries about war

and I am fascinated and saddened 
by the long history and incredible 
depths of man’s inhumanity against his brothers 

and though I have watched 
these same films many times 
it seems I do this to remind myself

that the events we are experiencing now
these things that have everyone so distraught 
so depressed and hopeless with fear

are nothing more than
Hollywood headlines meant to 
keep us distracted from the reality

that our pockets were picked
while we sat there stupefied
watching America’s Got Talent 

instead of reminding ourselves
that the history of the world
is filled with great battles over 

atrocities that really mattered 
when people stood up and 
changed things forever.

     ~~~~

The next morning 
on my way to 
the kitchen for coffee 

I survey the battlefield where 
the dead bodies of once 
proud beer soldiers lie

and a critically wounded 
Kentucky bourbon general
clings to life 

and through the morning fog
that hangs over this now quiet place
I remind myself 

to send the order for reinforcements 
before we suffer the inevitable 
casualties in tonight’s battle with history.



Ken Owen
Van Niddy Press   September 2018

Monday, September 17, 2018

A New Bear in The Woods

My new
girlfriend
told me

“I truly believe that
the secret to a long marriage
is separate bathrooms.”

I smiled because 
that’s when I knew
this one was different

and when I told her
to get stronger toilet paper
and more air freshener 

for her guest bathroom 
because there was a new 
bear in her woods

she said 
“Safeway’s open until 11:00pm,
good luck with that.”


Be still 
my beating 
heart.


Ken Owen
Van Niddy Press   September 2018

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Desperate Rain


A fur trimmed hat
and a crushed red rose
on a Saturday side walk
eight stories below.


The village assembled 
with mournful cries
as the flames of hell
opened the sky.


No one spoke of locked doors
and stairways behind bars
until our daughters danced with clouds
and young brides joined the stars.


The chance of a future
with freedom to gain
washed away in the sadness 
of a desperate rain.


Inspired by historical accounts and dedicated to the memory 
of those lost in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire,  March 25, 1911.



Ken Owen
Van Niddy Press    September 2018

Monday, September 10, 2018

On a Lazy Day

Sitting quietly 
resting
on the banks of 
The River
of Thought

with absolutely 
no energy or 
motivation 
to chase any 
of the many ideas 
floating past to see 
where they might lead

though the last one 
was making quite a splash 
and might really have made 
something nice

(it wanted to be something about 
 happy shadows dancing 
 on her bedroom ceiling).

It took every ounce 
of mental strength I had
just to write 
these lines.

I’m exhausted.


Ken Owen
Van Niddy Press    September 2018

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Home of The Brave

(to fight
                       to run)


I.

I believed
they would never
lie

        I believed
        it wasn’t my time
        to die.


I wore the uniform
proud for all
to see

          I shouted for an end
          until they came
          for me.


I left with the possibility 
I may never 
come home again.

          I left with the possibility 
          I may never 
          come home again.


The bravest thing 
I did was 
point their gun

          The bravest thing
          I ever did
          was run.
II.

I did my best 
and prayed each day
to make it home alive

          I watched the news
          and prayed each day
          my country would survive.


Each night I watched
their country 
slip away

          Each night I watched
          my republic
          in decay.


A peace sign
on my helmet
when their lies were known

           A peace sign
           on my jacket
           to bring our brothers home.


III.

When I came back
my country 
had changed

            When I came back
            my fear
            mixed with shame.


I thought that they
would welcome me 
and honor me as their own

            I thought that they
            would understand
            my choice of life or home.


But they hated me
for fighting

          and they hated me
          for running

and we hated
those in power

          as we learned
          their deceitful cunning.


I cursed my country
and cried for 
lost brothers

               I had no answers
               to offer a million 
               mourning mothers.


IV.

The Black Wall
honors the sacrifice 
but my wounds will not heal

               The history of
               my secret life 
               a lifetime to conceal.


Nightly haunting 
memories 
of wrongs they said were right

               Nights of guilty 
               suffering
               for those who would not fight.



The bravest thing
I ever did
was go

               The bravest thing
                I ever said
                was “No.”


~~/ /~~


To know war
before love

To know hate
before peace

Lives change
forever

      When memories 
won’t sleep.



Inspired by the stories of the men and women of the documentary “Vietnam “ by Ken Burns. 


Ken Owen 
September 2018    Van Niddy Press