Sunday, December 31, 2006


I don't know where these poems are coming from, but at least they are coming.

I have a definite issue with weeds, apparently, which I will explore later.

I think this poem is in response to the bizarre, quiet nature of New Year's Eve. I walked around the lake and neighborhood this morning, and it feels abandoned with everyone out-of-town or "tucked in." A disclaimer: my kids are not watching TV all day, don't worry, we are playing outside thanks to global warming . . .

Santa brought Razor scooters - zoom!

Tucked In

j.b. rowell

Used mini-vans supine
before quiet houses clad
in siding. Weeds
can never be gone,
peek between brick
and pavement.

The secret is to know
that everyone else
has weeds too. Even
mailbox flags that swing
free: never upright
or tucked at the sides
of plastic bellies.

We are all in hiding.
Children before TVs,
parents, "resting their eyes."
It's okay, rest,
the new year will bring
open doors, and a sharing
of life's similarities
and dull tragedies.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Two items on the food front:

Trader Joe's opened not too far from us. We have been making a serious attempt to cook more healthy dishes at home and eat out less.

A dijon Dutch oven arrived as a Christmas gift. In addition to cooking delicious chicken, it also builds muscles. If you have any great Dutch oven recipes, pleases pass them on.


Saturday, December 23, 2006


My daughter played the part of Mary in a Living Nativity last weekend. We arrived on a beautiful 30-acre farm north in Bahama, NC, (the name derives from the first letters of the names of three local families: Ball, Harris and Mangum) to find out that she was going to hold a "real baby" only seven weeks old and not a doll like we expected.

"But I'm only seven!"

After practicing holding the "real baby" with the mom nearby, MH was ready for her debut as the mother of Jesus. The nativity was indeed "living" (and lively) with sheep and shepherd boys dueling each other with their walking sticks.

Today we found photographs of the Living Nativity in The Durham News with a stunning slide show.

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I sat down to write a poem that was gnawing away, a poem that gets to a feeling when all seems right. I tried to communicate a time when the haphazard way brings you right where you are supposed to be. I tried, but it turned out bleak.

Has this ever happened to you, fellow poets? Have you set your sights on writing a poem with a certain outcome, but the poem turns itself on its head and you go along for the ride? Is this the poem writing itself, or failing?

I wonder.

The Sign

j.b. rowell

When the search stops
for a straight way
with no cracks or weeds
to trip on, you find
yourself in bed
in the afternoon.

You didn't mean to,
but here you are,
preferring to stare down
the sunset until blurred
between blacks slats.

The pot will boil,
and in the meantime,
you may notice
how steam thickens
like the sky to your
unblinking eyes.

The sign waited for
arrives. A convergence
of letting go, barring in,
and having no
other choice.

You are the final piece.
This settles until the sun
is gone and the striped
window turns black.

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Monday, December 18, 2006


Listening to Billy Collins read his poem Tension on NPR made me laugh out loud. He's one of those poets who I say I don't care so much for, but when I hear him read (more like perform) his poetry, it works. Laughing out loud is a rare commodity these days - who has time? Holidays pick up the speed of life exponentially - it's dizzying.

Two more days of school before Winter Break, then I can schedule regular times to laugh.

Here is the photo for our holiday card currently en route to friends and family around the country:


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Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Poem: "Things You Didn't Put On Your Resumé" by Joyce Sutphen.

Things You Didn't Put On Your Resumé

How often you got up in the middle of the night
when one of your children had a bad dream,

and sometimes you woke because you thought
you heard a cry but they were all sleeping,

so you stood in the moonlight just listening
to their breathing, and you didn't mention

that you were an expert at putting toothpaste
on tiny toothbrushes and bending down to wiggle

the toothbrush ten times on each tooth while
you sang the words to songs from Annie, and

who would suspect that you know the fingerings
to the songs in the first four books of the Suzuki

Violin Method and that you can do the voices
of Pooh and Piglet especially well, though

your absolute favorite thing to read out loud is
Bedtime for Frances and that you picked

up your way of reading it from Glynnis Johns,
and it is, now that you think of it, rather impressive

that you read all of Narnia and all of the Ring Trilogy
(and others too many to mention here) to them

before they went to bed and on way out to
Yellowstone, which is another thing you don't put

on the resumé: how you took them to the ocean
and the mountains and brought them safely home.