Four Poems by Scott Owens

Three Wishes

It’s no wonder we never get very far
despite a world of wishes.
So many waste the first
simply proving it’s true,
endless sausages, a donkey’s head
on the man next door, and then spend
the second undoing the foolish first,
meatballs instead of rain, pigs that fly.
The real damage, however,
comes in thinking too big
on the last one, the loved one back
from the dead (uncleaned, health unimproved)
a mountain of wealth we suffocate under,
world peace (achieved through rapture).


The Apparent Relativity of Crime and Punishment

Did he wake up one day
and decide that tough love
was not the way,
that people had to be
forgiven, after all?
Or did his children
reach a certain age,
rising up from adolescence
(evolutionally speaking),
where spanking no longer made sense,
where punishment,
whether corporal or capital,
had to be replaced
with contrition, salvation, grace?
Surely he should have known
from the beginning,
what with omniscience, perfection,
and all that other stuff.


Likely Story

It hardly seems possible the first sin
was eating an apple or feeling shame,
covering breast and crotch with foliage,
even rapping a stone against a brother’s head.
I mean in a world where such beauty
abounds, and such appetite,
surely some sweeter seduction
must have come slithering along first
to lead Adam to forego promises,
covet, cheat, steal,
lie down in greener pastures.

Last Words

When they see the flash that says
the end of the world in two minutes,
what will they think about?

Where are the kids?
Did I turn out the lights?
Now I lay me down to sleep
I need a drink.
Let’s do it. Right now. In the middle of the street.
Do I have enough time for coffee?
Fucking 401K.
I could have been in Hawaii.
Goddamned politicians.
Now what?
So many things I should have done.

Nothing. Nothing at all. The disquiet of permanence

2 Responses to “Four Poems by Scott Owens”

  1. one can pray that one of your creative writing workshops across the country will appear in Oakland, California.

  2. Scott, your poems always grab me. I esp like Likely Story in this group.

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