Things I Do On My Summer Staycation. ~ Jeffrey Bowen

Via Jeffrey Bowen
on Aug 23, 2013
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peace begins at home

God wants us to take vacation days.

Some simple things to do during a slow day at home:

Cook and eat Irish steel cut oats and golden California raisins while re-reading sections of a great book about pH balance and nutrition.

Not get up when breakfast is over. Instead, savor a seed saver’s story along with a steamy cup of freshly roasted, fairly traded, organic Sumatran coffee.

Clean a month’s, maybe two months’ worth of papers, flyers, business cards, small change, receipts, and miscellaneous pocket treasures off of the dresser.

Satellite shop for a knob to replace the broken one on the dryer, and some “Type T” bags for the old Royal upright vacuum cleaner, after first researching multiple local vendors and dutifully calling them, without any luck, before placing an order online.

Sweep the kitchen and bathroom floors while completing a load of laundry, and decide to plug in the drill gun charger, so that tomorrow, we can create a 1/4 inch hole in the broom handle to match the nail that we put in the utility closet wall over two years ago.

Enjoy a salad of sliced Ohio gala apple, baby kale, and roasted pumpkin seeds with balsamic vinaigrette, while listening to Gato Barbieri and Nana Vasconcelos.

Glue together some more window-setting shims, in the continuance of an ongoing project to manufacture multiple large wedges that can later be used with belt clamps to compress the bottom of a cracked conga drum during gluing.

Locate the leather needles, thimbles and wax thread, that we have carried from place to place since we first began working with leather and canvas as a teenager, and then spend the balance of the cloudy and damp, but mostly rainless, day on the back porch, repairing a badly torn drum bag.

Do such a good job that it becomes necessary to go through the kitchen drawers to find an old zipper pull, patch the emerging hole in the bag’s plastic base with a piece of vinyl purloined from a shopping bag bottom and some black contractor’s duct tape, and use multiple pliers to repair the broken catch for the shoulder strap.

Admire the “new” bag for a few minutes, then toss it on the floor, next to the other gig bags and percussion instruments, so we can play along with Solomon Illori’s “African High Life” on Pandora Radio.

Slice and steam a local cabbage with some baby kale, herbs, sunflower seeds and garlic, then make ginger tea, set the table for dinner and go back to Janisse Ray’s lovely “The Seed Underground” for a spell.

Wash a few dishes, make some more tea, grab a handful of cherries and sit quietly, in the blue screen light, to reflect & write, pray, savor the day.


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Asst. Ed. Renee Picard/Ed. Bryonie Wise


About Jeffrey Bowen

Jeffrey Bowen’s poetry has been published by Art Crimes, Cicada, Cool Cleveland, CSU Poetry Center, Dimensions, Doan Brook Watershed, Excursions, Green Panda Press, Hessler Street Fair, Procrastination Press, Poet’s League of Greater Cleveland, The City, The Cleveland Reader, and Whiskey Island Magazine. He is one of six poets profiled in the 1995 documentary, “Off the Page.” Four of his poems are featured on “Cleveland Tumbadors,” an album of Traditional Afro Cuban Music and Latin Jazz on Fame City Records. Jeffrey is the resident poet & conga player with the band, Cats On Holiday, and his poetry appears on their CD, “Holiday in a Box” from COHTONE Records. In addition to his poetic work, Jeffrey’s writing has appeared in Call & Post, City News, Cool Cleveland, EcoWatch, Girl Scout News, Green City-Blue Lake, Live Cleveland, Neighborhood News, Nonprofit Notes, Sun News and various Habitat for Humanity publications.


5 Responses to “Things I Do On My Summer Staycation. ~ Jeffrey Bowen”

  1. Jeffrey says:

    Thanks to Elephant Journal for running this piece! Check out the band at, YouTube, or on Facebook. Jeffrey

  2. Eric says:

    Jeff!! Great post, and I'm jealous since I'm still working and no vacation in sight. It was great to drum w/you again last weekend at the park–always a joy. I recommend a film, "Intangible Asset #82", it's a documentary about Australian jazz drummer Simon Barker going on a trek in Korea to meet a reclusive shaman/drum master who has influenced his drumming style. A wonderful journey into how we approach music and what it means to our cultural and spiritual life.

  3. Janisse Ray says:

    This is incredibly lovely, Jeffrey Bowen. Thank you so much for the shout-out. I am so honored to be part of your home & inner life.

  4. Jeffrey says:

    Many thanks to you, Janisse! "The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food" is thoughtful, humble and endearing, while simultaneously calling for an end to the outrageous practices of Corporate Food. Thanks to your gentle but persistent urging, I am seeing hundreds of seeds in my daily food stream that simply weren't there before, and am now carefully drying representative samples on a cutting board for future reference.

  5. Jeffrey says:

    Thank you, Eric! Playing next to the Lake is a joy, and I am always spellbound by the many drummers, dancers, hoopers, students of percussion, and folks who simply stop by… I will look for the piece about Simon Barker. One Love, Jeffrey