Saturday, August 9, 2014

James Owens- Three Poems

American Naturalism

The cat wants
pleasure from
hurting the mouse,
wants to needle
his claws into
warm meat
and make the
little fucker
bleed and squeal.

The mouse wants
to avoid pain,
so scampers
into one hilarious
subterfuge after another.

Or maybe this
elementary calculus:
the cat wants to eat,
the mouse to live.

The children hold their bellies
and laugh their hairless asses off.


since we are
clay and ash
melded somehow
with the fire
old monks beg
god weeping
without cease
to let them
become only ---
through the swish
of windshield wipers
this man beside
the road who cups
a stut-ter-
ing flame
to his face
hunched away
from the wind

Wind and Ash

This wind ---
starved rose stems click
in their cage of thorns.
Cold polices the yard.
Scraps of paper.
Blood shudders and hides.

This ash, too,
from Dachau or Baghdad
or some other well managed death ---
the kind that colors the ground
here and there
and here.

Biographical note:

Two books of James's Owens poems have been published: An Hour is the Doorway (Black Lawrence Press) and Frost Lights a Thin Flame (Mayapple Press). His poems, reviews, translations, and photographs appear widely in literary journals, including recent or upcoming publications in Superstition Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Cresset, and The Stinging Fly. He lives in central Indiana and northern Ontario.

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