nbsmithblog...random digressions and musings

Still working on a title (suggestions welcomed).

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Or having the ability to wash itself,

or tie a shoe?

For me, it is but temporary, a mere blip.

But what about those whose loss is more permanent?

Those who have lost an arm? A leg? More?

And the unseen wounds of war? The PTSD?

for those twenty and thirty year old kids?

The time away from family

in deployment after deployment

The experiences of the battlefield,

friends and foes alike lying in their own blood,

with their own losses.

“They volunteered,” the old white men say, the ones

too old to do battle themselves.

Complaints fall on deaf ears as the soldiers are sent

again and again

to Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and beyond.

“Let’s send in ground troops,” the hawks say, the ones

who rake in the profits,

never considering the loss to

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Numbers really don’t matter

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Numbers really don’t matter

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Update on The Late Orphan Project

The Backpack Press

Thank you to everyone who has expressed interest in this project!

We are now 25 writers, expressing our thoughts, feelings, confusion, realizations, even humor after the death of our mother or father. In many cases, grief was delayed by activity. In some, the role of parent was pushed off on the child. In others, something was learned after cleaning out the family home.

But in each case, the writing exhibits a portrait of a family, a loss, a complicated or troubling relationship, or the lack of one. The stories are human, personal, and ultimately universal by nature.

It is an honest assessment of how the death of a parent impacts the child.

The fact that the child is also an adult is what makes these stories so rich. They are filled with regret, with questions left unanswered, with late admission of the depth of the parent’s love, or the ever-present…

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Adrian Blevins: Word Gluttons and Rhythm Sluts, Book Letches and Paragraph Drunks — The Magic of Metaphor

Vox Populi

We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.

                 –Pablo Picasso

With your permission I’d like to take a few minutes in this time of war and ruination and buying and selling to sing literature’s praises. That’s because I want to remind myself, probably, that metaphor, or the primary means by which writing gets written and moves, in some cases, into the realm of literature, says, in addition to the many other things that it says, that we are not alone. Here’s a masterful poem by the masterful Southern poet Rodney Jones:


These fulsome nouns, these abbreviations of the air,

Are not real, but two of them may fit a small man

I knew in high school, who, seeing an accident,

Stopped one day, leapt over a mangled guardrail,

Took a mother and two children from a flooded…

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Being a mom…

nbsmithblog...random digressions and musings

Generally, I have found that composing at the keyboard leads to not saying exactly what I want…either forgetting something I wanted to say or not expressing myself as I hoped. But, despite this, this post is being composed at the keyboard.

My son and his wife recently had their first child, a little boy. I have to say, based on my limited observations, they are great parents. From the get-go, they seemed so comfortable in their new roles of mom and dad. Much better than I felt about my early parenting skills as I always felt that I was barely surviving (picture a duck placidly swimming on the lake and the frantic feet paddling below), trying to be a good mom, hoping to be a good enough mom.

They seem so comfortable taking out their son out on adventures already while I rarely took them out unless it was absolutely…

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Among the Ancients – Acoma

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Originally posted on Brick and Stone: Architecture and Preservation:
? Acoma Pueblo — “The Sky City” — is possibly the longest occupied place in America. There are other contenders, Taos Pueblo up north or the Hopi pueblos over in Arizona…

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What Do You Take Away from York?

The Backpack Press

I love that expression – take away. In New York, we call it “take out.” In Spain or the Spanish neighborhoods in New York, it’s para llevar. But here in York, we take away. Last night we got Chinese – and we just ordered, waited, and took it away! It’s like, “And away we go!”

Visiting York in the UK just for a few days without going to London or Stonehenge is kind of an interesting experience. I get to see more of what living in England is like even though I’m still surrounded by tourists, both from the UK and not.

And that is the big attraction: York Minster.

My passion is visiting houses of worship – both empty and filled – and this one is very special. You pay one admission that nets you a ticket good for a year’s worth of visits and there are free…

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Welcome to the Jungle

In Transition

Lizard sits on my chair

bobbing his ugly head,

birds perch among the green oak leaves,

raucous voices raised,

when something catches my eye~

a black snake slithers by,

dangerously close to my flip flop toes~

I’m just trying to read

in this jungle I call home.


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Annie’s Gift: a short story

nbsmithblog...random digressions and musings

Still healing from my surgery so typing is still difficult, hence another summer rerun.

Annie’s Gift

Annie didn’t want to take an apple to Mrs. Rinehart, her third grade teacher.  That is what everybody did.  It was the classic fall gift for a teacher. She wanted, though, to get Mrs. Rinehart to like her so she wanted to take her something different. Something that Annie thought Mrs. Rinehart would like.

Wandering around the backyard on the cool fall Sunday afternoon, Annie noticed some wildflowers still blooming.  The white rhinestone heads that contained a single black flower in the center of the Queen Anne’s lace and the yellows and gold of the marigolds were among the flowers she picked.  When she was through, she had a small bouquet.  It wasn’t large, but it wasn’t too small, either.  It was just about the right size for a vase on a teacher’s desk.

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