Two Poems by Scott Owens


Leaving Eden

Being awake and alive
she spoke the meanings of flowers,
she said the birds held thoughts in their mouths.
Being new
she pressed her face against the windows,
imagined paths unwinding before her.
Being young
she lay down on the rocks
hung her feet in the stream.
Being kissed by the wind,
being under the sky and stars
she rolled over, she said the trees
bore heaven in their arms,
she said the weight was sometimes too much.

Being with him
she said her hands smelled of living,
she said things had to get better.
Being in pain she cried.
Being alone
she spoke of night’s ejaculation of stars.
Being amazed
she said the darkness breathed dreams in her ears,
she said the sky was full of holes,
she said she almost saw through them.
Being the spoken, being named,
being always the spoken to,
she wandered off to tracks behind the house,
caught the metal fish-tail leaving town,
screamed against the wheel’s turning,
never looked back, spoke her name
into night’s incessant unfolding.

_____________________________

_____________________________

First Peanut in America Grown Near This Site
from a marker near Waverly, VA

Not on this spot, you understand.
Not even in some primordial field
here lost to roads or billboards,
any such marker of community progress.
Not specifically north or south of here,
not exactly 1 mile, maybe 10,
roughly rounded to the nearest whole number.

Such wonderful vagueness makes anything possible.
Anyone standing on any inch of soil,
arms akimbo, might say, “Here it is,
the X of my body marking the very spot.”
Or everyone for miles might claim
fame by association.  Near here
Andrew Johnson was born, or James K. Polk,
George Washington slept, 22,000 died
in one day. Near here
Jack Johnson beat a white man,
King was killed or Kennedy or Garfield.
Near here Philip Freneau wrote
a poem, maybe leaning against this tree,
or that one, or one that looked like this one.
Near here a nation was born,
men were hung, something or someone
great was conceived in the back of a Buick,
something else given up as hopeless.

I felt power once when I stood
on the very spot Orville’s wreck
left the ground. Now I wonder,
a barrier island, a dune of shifting sand.
Near here my uncle is buried.
Nearer he fired a shot somewhere
behind his left ear, his wife and daughter
nearby. This ground is nothing
like what they threw over him
as a preacher spoke his careful words
evading a hot August day
with sweat dripping from each pallbearer’s
precisely stony face.

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9 Responses to “Two Poems by Scott Owens”

  1. Author of 6 collections of poetry and over 600 poems published in journals and anthologies, Scott Owens is editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review, Vice President of the Poetry Council of North Carolina, and recipient of awards from the Pushcart Prize Anthology, the Academy of American Poets, the NC Writers’ Network, the NC Poetry Society, and the Poetry Society of SC. He holds an MFA from UNC Greensboro and currently teaches at Catawba Valley Community College.

  2. I like these, and most especially the first one!

  3. Carter Monroe Says:

    Fine work here.

  4. Nice poems.

  5. Leaving Eden left me in such a mood – cannot even describe. this poem is powerful. inspirational writer you are. thank you. best, winnie

  6. first class

  7. Maren Mitchell Says:

    The causes of Eve’s dissatisfactions become clearer. Thanks, Scott, for this detailed, oh so human, clarification.

  8. Thanks to everyone for your comments.

  9. Dennis Lovelace Says:

    great poems Scott but my favorite one is Misunderstanding Elvis.

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