To My Friend (Who I Do Not Yet Know)

“I spent a long time in the hospital”, volume eleventy-million

When I was in my twenties
My body fell apart
And inflammation spread down to
The lining on my heart

I started to have seizures
My platelet count was low
I was awash in bruises
From my head down to my toe

They had to take out part of
The structure of my back
My spleen was then the next to go
And what else? I lost track

I had to go on steroids
And gained X million pounds
Believe me when I tell you
It was worse than it sounds

The guy I asked to watch my house
Cleaned out my bank account
While I was in the hospital
With all this to surmount

And I was so depressed
I wanted all to end —
But what I want to tell you
My still yet unmet friend,

Is sometimes good things happen
That we cannot explain;
That I, somehow, got better
And found relief from pain

I wish that I could guarantee
A bolt out of the blue
But healing one day came to me
And could still come to you

Old Poem, Age 24 (Edited)

[I had completely forgotten this poem and the event it refers to. At the time, I would not have thought that possible, so hard did it hit me. – Owen]

One night, you gave yourself to me
  the next night you had gone away
I do not understand
I do not understand at all

I still remember how it felt
  to be right next inside of you
I do not understand
I do not understand at all

The wine the bath the touch the kiss
  the hours spent in all of this –
The feel of you the sound of you
  the taste of your intention

One night I do not understand
I still I do not understand
The wine I do not understand
I do not understand

Cherries By The Lake

The heat was so oppressive, we
Could barely make it up the hill
That overlooked the distant lake.

A shack with cherries there for sale,
A tiny windmill in the yard,
And both of us, exhausted —

The woman said, “Come in. Cool off.”
The air felt like a swimming pool
And you and I ate cherries in our chairs.

This comes back now, I think, because
How often, these days, all we share
Is that we both are tired,

But that such sharing is a thing.
And even one remembered fond,
Might make today, well


La Casa

One year,
I decided to be cool.

It wasn’t easy being badass
Wearing a “Members Only” jacket,
But I thought I managed.
I was wrong, but,

I was hanging out with my buddies at this bar.
My best friend, wearing so much Polo aftershave
It made my skin hurt, tells me
I should go talk to this girl.
It was the 1980’s:
She had on enough hairspray
To hold off an enemy invasion,
Which, it turned out, meant me.

Five of us guys, us losers,
Bouncing quarters into various glasses,
Drinking shots, staggering over to tables of women,
Taking shots, wobbling back to the table
Vaguely aware we might not be appearing
At our best advantage under these lights
Because girls could actually see us.

But somehow

I’m out on the dance floor with this girl
I don’t even remember asking
And her hair is dark like
Rain and all
My other mistakes, but she smiles
Shining under those old disco lights and

The problem with falling in love at
La Casa is that
I had already lost
Twelve dollars in quarters and
Some recent memories and
That stupid jacket and
My sense of proportion, but not
That awful Polo smell

Contemplating all of that,
I realized I had lost track
Of where I was and
My buddies and
The girl with the dark hair and

I was walking home
Looking pretty cool with
Somebody’s jacket over my shoulder,
Politician style


I wasn’t all that cool

table stakes

he, five watches
He, thirty-nine
working a piece of wood
on a lathe

soon to be
part of a table leg –
the smell of friction-burnt
careful distance-keeping,
and wide eyes taking in

this was how
his Father communicated –
working while
keeping up an ongoing monologue
to no one in particular

the power to do
so many things,
to change things in their
very essence into
something permanent;
never understood by
childish eyes and heart

but admired

he was there when
He picked up four pieces
of wood that had fallen
in the forest nearby;
watching them now transformed…

the house is gone

the lathe, who knows where –

his Father dead and incinerated —

but the scent of communication
lives in nostrils not yet dimmed
by time’s corrosive atrophy

what has he learned?

what have i learned?

why has he not made his world
better through
the work of his hands?

Remembering My First Real… Kiss

I was sixteen.
I’d just been dumped
By a girl I wasn’t actually with
And who was using me
To get something else

The beautiful neighbor girl
From across the street
Had tried to tell me
This would happen
But I didn’t listen

I knocked on the neighbor girl’s door
Because I needed a friend who understood
And we talked out in my front yard
As the night grew darker
And the wind blew colder

This neighbor, who was a stunning beauty
[Actually, she still is. You know, Facebook]
As we finished our conversation
Impulsively kissed me.
It was incredible, my first kiss.

Why, I’ll never know.
It certainly never happened again.
I made as regular a practice as I could
After that time
Of kissing girls
And that kiss was one of the top four, all-time
At least, until I met my wife

Occasionally, now,
When beautiful neighbor girl (now woman) and I
Trade pleasantries online
I think about that night

I don’t know why she did it
But when she kissed me
She lifted my spirits
In such a way that
They’ve never really come down again

(“Remembering My First Real… Kiss” – 8-7-2014)

Disconsolate Nights

Alone and wand’ring in the dark,
Out on┬áthe beach ’til very late;
With only beer to comfort him
And mem’ries streaming in a wake

The moon hangs low, disconsolate,
The waves are muffled, nearly still;
Like waiting for a morning star
That never comes
And never will

(Back when I would go three days or so between sleeping. – Owen)