All we ever see is image:

retina with its retinue

of stand-on-their head gymnasts,

an upside down world of surface

and mirage reinterpreted.

Like it or not, we screen and are

screened from the outset. Cinemas,

cellphones, cctv, skype-hype,

internet and intercom, i-

sockets, i-balls, eye-pods, eye-pads

to measure, hide and camouflage

as only screens know how.

Stare then till ur x-i’d, till ur


screen-self n ur seen self r da same.






Cracking Up


Defragmentation is complete, his computer informs him

and he’s delighted to hear it, especially since his head


feels as if it’s in bits, words and a few rough scrapings

of ideas strewn like greasy flakes of dandruff across


his shoulders. PC Keeper has checked the file system

and found no problems: Good!  5 Disk Cleaner(s) has (have) freed up


7.90 megabytes of disk space: Hallelujah!

But he’s cracking up, losing it, falling apart at the seams:


D fr gm nt ti n is c mpl t ?







Harry Owen is author of five poetry collections: Searching for Machynlleth (2000); The Music of Ourselves (2004); Five Books of Marriage (2008); Non-Dog (2010) and Worthy: poems for my father (2011). He is the editor of I Write Who I Am: an anthology of Upstart poems (2011), showcasing the work of nineteen young poets from township schools, and For Rhino in a Shrinking World: an international anthology (2013), supporting efforts to combat the obscenity of rhino poaching. ( A new collection, Small Stones for Bromley, is forthcoming from Lapwing Publications (Belfast) in 2014. He lives in Grahamstown, South Africa.


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One Response to Two Poems by Harry Owen

  1. Janice Eaton Akers says:

    Outstanding interplay of form and content. Marvelous.

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