Saturday, July 18, 2009


First there's the planning.
Before or after nap?
What to pack in the bag?
How much snack and water?
Reminders to layer; load up the minivan.

Then there's the drive.
Whoever said that it's all about the journey
didn't have kids.

Park in the shade, walk in, read the sign,
learn what to do if we encounter a mountain lion:

#5 "Do all you can to appear larger."

We act out just how that might be done.

#7 "Fight back if attacked."

We pick out good fighting sticks.

Begin our hike,
wait for a striped snake to cross.
Wonder if it's poisonous,
notice how much faster it goes in grass
than on the paved path,
talk about how it moves like a dragon
in the Chinese New Year's parade.

Wait and watch until it disappears into the trees.

Walk 15 minutes . . .
stop for snack,
complain about the snack,
remind them not to drink all of the water so soon.

Decide to head back on the upper trail.
we've had enough already.
The youngest has been screaming
Bee! Bee!
every time something that is not a bee
buzzes his ears.

Remind them to listen to nature . . .

. . .

The oldest announces
that her butt itches,
the middle thinks a mosquito
got into his pants
and is right next to his pickle
and points.

Remind him to call his parts by their real names.
Remind them all to look up at the Redwoods,
Whoa . . .

Back to trudging eyes down
with frequent warnings from them
about poop and poison ivy just ahead.

back on the main path,
our tiny hiking loop is almost closed.

Follow the momentum of Yellowtails
to the parking lot,
remind them not to bring nature in the minivan,
the sticks stay.

~j.b. rowell

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Didn't know this was published until just now! Warning: not a feel good poem . . .

bumper sticker: god is too big for one religion

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Letters to My Unborn

August 3, 2006

it's almost a joke
the way we make you
so effortlessly
all we have to do
is listen closely
for your whispers
from the everywhere
into the here

but now I fear we'll jinx
you the third
with our confidence
we are masters
at being caught off guard
by the ease

the digital stick
options: pregnant or
not pregnant
I, fully expecting
a not, hand it
to you to translate
the absence of that first
word that means
the presence of you

I hoped for you
but also hoped for
more savings and more
time to devote
because I am also
an expert at making
a little stretch
to be barely enough

the things we need
for you loom
all the gadgets
and supplies we gave away
in the move
except a few tubs
of clothes
and the oak crib

I breathe in and remind
myself to breath out
take it one day at a time
do my best for us
and know that
your welcoming
is all that matters

August 4, 2006

one morning of trying
to negotiate the medical system
and I have had enough
tears and frustration and
waiting on hold

I don't know exactly
the first day
of my last period
but I can tell you
the day of conception
but it's not about
what the mother knows
it's about filling
in their blanks

August 6, 2006

How can your mind wrap
around the idea of the being
growing inside you? Even after
experiencing it two times before.

The baby experience floors, always
humbles, makes you realize
you are at the mercy
of cosmic chance

one in thousands breaks
the shell loses its tail, nestles
into the prehistoric puzzle
to multiply and multiply cells
into a person

Day trip to the beach

no one can see
the life growing inside
the flutter of heart beat
as I walk against waves
ride them in again

August 9, 2006

Being pregnant is like spraying
anti-muse repellent all over
and laying on the couch watching
daytime tv wondering if you'll
ever get up again

it take all my energy
to grow a baby

August 11, 2006

Every morning I wake up
uncertain of my own
identity and the one
forming inside of me
I feel dehydrated
disorientated almost
hungover by the hormones
coursing like yesterday's
binge of cheap dry red wine
but I am pure
as pure as someone
could be who
gives up all vices and
snacks on healthy foods
drinks lots of water
I know where this is going
but don't
I have forgotten all
the details and the over-
arching feeling of
as the grain
of rice doubles its size
into a bean
loses its tail
concocts the scent
that I will breath in
with closed eyes
the day we finally meet

October 3, 2006


no one knows you
but I feel you
no one sees your face
but I did in last night's dream
no one will hold you
before I do
no one will love you
like I do
no one will be your mother
but me

~j.b. rowell

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