Daniel Owen
Two Poems

Summer Program

Herman-colored moon, a doozy

in the back of pick-up trucks

the history of ideas, Back to the Future revival at the mall

or vast quantities of peanut butter and jelly

or the mortar you eat at Passover to symbolize the mortar

slaves used to cement the pyramids or the Isle of Capri

or the States or Monaco or me

everything sad and remote and built seeming

the sex of ex-lovers, coffee shops, Braille

getting the job done, as they say

or theories of forms, how you count by array

but semblance is only mostly all of seeing

the rest suffers

without a vote or word of bad faith

anyone's idea of it sounds like a winecork one endlessly chews

without knowing how it got there or why

must be horrifying to actually think reality so different than it is

the fact that anything can happen at any given moment doesn't change the fact that it usually doesn't

I don't know why horrible things happen to people

The kid drew a picture of a big tree with a beehive at the top, and on the grass a grill, a picnic table with some soda bottles and a pineapple

lilies in bloom in early July

ice cream truck on a day that won't end

prisoners force fed in the name of God and country

or we have to keep going

major funding for this morning's programming has been brought to you by the Helena Rubinstein Foundation

endlessly reproducible texts proliferate

only the lonely get it

but now I'm tired, and though I miss you, maybe another night would be better

the lyre is tense with wind

the kid flooded the fourth floor by cramming paper towels into the bathroom sink and leaving the water on

or so I imagine, invoking this or that

drinking Bryan's beer

my fifth eye opens

on what dogs work like

we can only hope that gentle animals will control the computers that control the future

all the same fucking day

all gendered ruins, naïve surprise that war breeds wealth

do systems lack feelings

is that what I'm feeling

is there a man-made death that isn't murder

a length of time required to grasp what's almost there

thrill of survival, suburban feeling

jerking off to vague moments with strangers on the subway

rectangles transcend rectangles

anything would have been scarier than nothing

existing at all is hysterical

for lack of a better phrase

everything's something else someone's doing

and I'm all out of bubble gum

but a few moments is long enough

for infinite erotic fantasy

welding wires beneath the ground, catching one's breath in the shade

it's all very personal

dappled canvas sneakers

or the smile upon the ticket-taker's lips

it's like someone else is thinking my thoughts, but more completely and further away

all the waves

how being 5 was in the ocean

The Black Hackwork Of The Present Moment Devoured

for Lisa Rogal

suddenly I caught myself wildly desiring to have a look at nature, the thickness
of a sleeve and the worn heart there, and what's it's color
and what's it's name, and the paintings had no pictures in them at all
only words, some squiggles where the market touched its fingers
to the steamed glass I was required to know because I was young, the everclear rushes,
the radio's charm, the marionette goes pancakes, peopled pancakes, sweet
corn sweet kiss drunk kiss by which to light and string, the bee's sting, apologetic spring,
mistrusting the floor of aping dollars and Whitman past tone and color of blood
to seduce the eyes undercut by symbology's gaze, emotional landscapes
la-di-da'd, Forest For the Trees 2013, in Tony's collage a face is simple and speaks
for itself, a child is made to eat endless Twinkie with a nod to the past, its material vacillation, one mustn't
let the syrup become too thick, who will light the lamp wick, the light on
summer basil the light in spring the light that lights the yellow campus the hippocampus
in spring, the critical crisis, the phone buzz, the church of Crystal Lite is rainbow made, upside-down dogs
and suns, a Cher-like frock foregrounded, in careful proportion
for maximum effect, the weather is noodles and I look out at the park and think the human needs the sound
of water, splash and shine, let's have a drink to us! to the beat of a new drummer broken
over the hole in the beat of an old drummer and I look at the sky and the sky is pale, the loving
gaze of photoshopped cats imposed over the love made by the NYPD, sometimes
I think of everyone fucking in relation to an ideal like
on a subway car everyone instinctively disrobes and fucks, this might not be good but
this might not be bad and I often think that I'm already dead it just hasn't caught up
with me yet, a wave buried at the bottom of the sea, mass upon mass, you to you, while elevators go up
and down, up and down but nothing's working, not this light nor this
poem nor this place, there were skyscrapers and they were all McDonald's
the polis and the pubis and the hummus and the colis, there was a rising voice
from the shallow water, it came through a rusted pipe lodged between two large stones
and it said 'the sun came out last Thursday, remember?' and I said 'yes,' 'and what did you do?' 'oh, just
a glance,' interior space filled with a few slugs of nostalgia for world culture
looming up the cracks like crabgrass, in his black and white checked shirt he drew
a door on the brick and knocked, the socket come loose in the breath space isolate experience
proctors, representing self like 'is that a hickey or a rash,' and the other beside its statue, we can talk
and talk and talk but note the persistence unlearned and untaught of behaving as if there's somewhere to go

Daniel Owen is the author of the chapbooks Authentic Other Landscape (Diez Press, 2013) and Up in the Empty Ferries (Third Floor Apartment Press, forthcoming 2014). His poems have been or will be in Lana Turner, Greetings, Clock, Lungfull!, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn, where he co-edits Poems by Sunday and is a member of the Ugly Duckling Presse editorial collective.