INSOMNIA

Rain wears to a whisper in the yard,
and lightening bugs take back the neighbor's hill,
synapses firing again in the night's black brain,
flickering numberless above high grass.

A man watches from the porch, plays
at stitching these bright points
into pattern, lines and shapes like signals,
forms broken by the dumb cast of chance.
Nothing meant for him,
only an odd pleasure
that the world slips his net.

If he needs something in the night to love,
there is endearing randomness.
Joy still might wander in from the woods.

If he could sleep, he would join
the dance of small illuminations,
would float above night-blooms
until the intermittent flashes
were shining incidents in his own body.


         James Owens
THE SORT OF THINGS I SAW WHEN I WAS KEEPING A JOURNAL AND INTENDING TO SHOW IT
TO YOU SOMEDAY

2/10/01  observations on hunger

The man at the corner table
gets up for another plate,
leaves chicken bones heaped.
A waitress shakes her head,
makes a little clucking pout
at the pink folds of his nape,
and clears a round of dishes.
He lays two-handed waste
to the dessert counter,
brings one plate of cookies,
one with chocolate cake
dripping cherry sauce.

I could explain it all
if you were here:
the mouth is a womb
where the soul can curl
alone in any crowd.
Cake is good in its accidents,
does not require one merit an essence.

I wonder if I will pass him later,
weeping in the parking lot,
staring at the sky,
tears glittering in the sun.
You would look away,
but I want to know everything.

My restlessness has never
brought you closer by any part of an inch


James Owens
TAR
JAMES OWENS is currently working toward an MFA in creative writing at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. His poems and book reviews have appeared in numerous literary journals, including Permafrost, Fugue, Birmingham Poetry Review and Locust Magazine (online).  He is the editor of The Sow's Ear Poetry Review.