Sunday, October 23, 2005


This first poem appeared in the January 2005 issue of the Birmingham Arts Journal (see LINKS), and the second was written at the start of the Iraq War but still seems pertinent now. I haven't figured out a way to maintain tabs in poems when I paste them in, so poem format is off for now.

J.B. Rowell

tiny blue branching
on your egg shell head

tiny smell of sweet spoiled milk
tiny blister on the point of your lip
tiny shine on your tongue tasting air

tiny dimples
one when you smile
four on each hand
two on each elbow
one above each tiny buttock

tiny papery nails
gripped in tiny fists
two tiny nipples
speckled shells pressed into
the soft sand
of your tiny torso

tiny penis
hiding in the folds
rippling down your tiny legs

tiny kernel toes

tiny pupils circled blue-grey
showing the way
to the hugeness inside

J.B. Rowell

The thunder of bunker busters
reverberates him awake
to his own scream
the way babies do
only worse
tears squeezed hot
from shut eyelids
tongue clanging
in the wide bell of his mouth
sounding with the city
a cry not calling
for a full, warm belly
or powder-fresh skin
there are deeper
circles of survival at work
gears set in motion
by the fear and blood
he is weaned on.

The startle reflex
soft, dimpled hands
outstretched and trembling
does nothing
it hangs in the air
like a failed spell
cannot keep his body whole
as precision-guided bombs
go astray
and if he survives
when this baby becomes a man
can I really blame him
for hating my little man?
who sleeps on flannel sheets
with powder blue sheep
who sleeps with dry lashes
a sweet expression
and tiny, nursing lips
translating a simple dream
uninterrupted by the rumble
of a passing train.


Blogger reniebob said...

Wanted to say how much I enjoyed Tiny Inventory (again) and what a refreshing perspective Baghdad Baby is written from. Interesting thought, how hate is born... I just like the idea of being empathetic to hate and admitting that is a possibility rather than pushing it aside with some rhetoric. Write more like that one!

9:15 PM, October 24, 2005  

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