In Honor of…

nbsmithblog...random digressions and musings

Memorial Day, several haiku and a poem commemorating young men and women serving in the military through the years.

ruptured duck…
listening to dad’s stories
of Indo-China


Memorial Day…
the silence
of white stones


last deployment
yellow ribbon replaced
with black wreath


the few, the proud, the Marine
fledglings off to war


One Hand

What is the sound of one hand clapping?
Or can it 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 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…

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Superhero Mom

nbsmithblog...random digressions and musings

I suspect every mother has at least one superpower. What that superpower for any particular mother is anyone’s guess. Further, there may even be a superhero suit lurking underneath the regular workaday clothes.

It is only in retrospect that I believe I have identified one of the superpowers my mom possessed. It wasn’t invisibility; it wasn’t being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound; and she could only fly with the help of an airplane.

It was (drum roll, please) Kleenex. Mom always had, at the ready, Kleenex, Puffs, or other tissues. Whether it was a box of tissues in my parents’ bedroom, the bathrooms, or other rooms in the house or a slightly wrinkled, but clean one she produced at a moment’s notice from her purse*, there was always Kleenex readily available. She always had pocket packs of tissues for my sisters and me if we needed…

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Nobody is coming to fix your town…


waiting-for-godot-bw-920Waiting for Godot…or some unicorn developer…

How many times have you seen local elected officials recruiting a large scale developer from out of town to come and build some sort of catalytic project to help spur redevelopment?  These kinds of recruiting efforts typically involve some free or deeply discounted land, a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) deal, construction of off-site infrastructure, structured parking, and maybe some direct investment in the developer’s project.  Does this ever work?  By necessity, the scale of these projects and the  expectations that come with them are really large.  Think about it.  The Unicorn Developer From Out of Town will probably have to travel past 4 or 5 perfectly good opportunities in markets they already understand to get to your town (where they don’t know a single plumber, banker, or building inspector).

Are you pinning the hopes of your community’s future upon somebody that is not coming? …

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From Darkness to Light

In Transition

Only when your step becomes lighter,

and the sun shines brighter,

do you realize ~

how heavy a load

you’ve been carrying

over the rough, uneven stones,

stumbling through the darkness,

wishing for a light.


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Friends come in many shapes and sizes. I’ve found that it’s not their shapes and sizes that makes a friends, but the size of their hearts.

As with anything in Life, there is a certain chemistry that steers a person to another. There is that same interest in a hobby or an activity that captures the attention—similar tastes in foods, a certain adventurous spirit, an attraction to the same kinds of music or art and so much more. But, there are also differences that attracts as well and this becomes a learning experience for both.

There are different kinds of friends.

There are Casual Friends—these are people who pop into our lives briefly, but are likeable and personable. I include among them  the produce person, the baker and my favourite cashier at the supermarket; the friendly barista at the frequented coffee-bar or the wait-person at the bistro who knows your…

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Little House in the Desert

El Malpais

Dawn in the desert is a colorful thing.
It’s something to see and remember.
You feel the night chill as the muted twilight
changes to color — the sky first then the far mountains
and then the desert floor.


On this day, just a day in July, the twilight flashed
with the light of many suns. Witnesses: Ben was filming
in a bunker just six miles out. Nestor was starting his car
eighty miles away. Oppenheimer was at his
post twenty miles out…maybe a safe enough distance.


Fermi watched and took bets that maybe the very
sky would ignite.  Anyway, who would collect if it did?
Birds were stirring. Maybe a coyote or a roadrunner
saw it first. Men in bunkers looked away.  The angry sun
rose from the sand and sage – a death star.


Old McDonald had a ranch. A small place,
fifty years old. Pioneers once lived here.

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Soul Connection


In Transition

The connection between souls

is real,

it cannot be explained,

or broken.

We meet many people.

We love many others,

but there are, in life,

a few

who are different.

We connect in mind and soul.

It is a precious gift,

to find,

one perfect shell

in a beach littered with

broken pieces.


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In Transition


is like a riptide

sucking you in,

taking you far from the truth,

to survive~

you surrender, but don’t despair

swim parallel to the shore,

until its ugly grip is released,

and you can return to shore,

bruised and exhausted


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via Uncommon

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