Who will save America?: On the Crumbling Pillars of Our Democracy

Trump Fires Comey

This week, Donald Trump fired the Director of the F.B.I., James Comey, who was leading an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, including possible collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign. Continue reading Who will save America?: On the Crumbling Pillars of Our Democracy

Thoughts on the War on Art

I’ve been thinking a lot about art lately. As some of you know, I’m a fan, as well as a dabbler. I recently joined the board of a local arts organization and am super proud of the work it’s doing. My brother, Jeff, is an accomplished writer and creative writing instructor. Art is important to me, my family, and many people I know. For some, it is their livelihood.

And the arts are under attack. Again. Continue reading Thoughts on the War on Art

A Belated Post-Election Narrative About Narratives

A lot of narratives have emerged since Donald Trump’s recent electoral victory. Some have held some merit. Others, not so much. Political narratives can be important, I think, especially Continue reading A Belated Post-Election Narrative About Narratives

On Birds and Words and Metaphors

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Just as I sat down to write this morning — to yet again try to write something meaningful and insightful, that might somehow make a dent in the current wall of confusion — I was startled by a loud “thump” against my window. Continue reading On Birds and Words and Metaphors

“Good Bones” by Maggie Smith


Life is short, though I keep this from my children.

Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine

in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,

a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways

I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least

fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative

estimate, though I keep this from my children.

For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.

For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,

sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world

is at least half terrible, and for every kind

stranger, there is one who would break you,

though I keep this from my children. I am trying

to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,

walking you through a real shithole, chirps on

about good bones: This place could be beautiful,

right? You could make this place beautiful.


Reprinted with gracious permission from the author. Copyright Maggie Smith, all rights reserved.

“Good Bones” first appeared in Waxwing http://waxwingmag.org/items/issue9/28_Smith-Good-Bones.php

There is a beautiful, limited-edition letterpress broadside of the poem available here: https://www.tupelopress.org/product/good-bones-broadside/

Please visit Maggie’s website where you can find more information about her, her poetry, and publications. https://maggiesmithpoet.com

When Being President Was Considered Difficult: How GOP Strategy and Ideology Supplanted Notions of Meritocracy in Respect to the U.S. Presidency

A once-upon-a-time meritocracy

Not long ago, being president of the United States was considered a particularly difficult job, one requiring keen intelligence, high moral character, and a long record of distinguished public service. Continue reading When Being President Was Considered Difficult: How GOP Strategy and Ideology Supplanted Notions of Meritocracy in Respect to the U.S. Presidency

Blue Funk

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Blue Funk

This election season has gotten me down. This isn’t entirely unusual, in that most election cycles fill me with a certain sense of doom regarding the state of our republic. But this year’s feels different, Continue reading Blue Funk

A Post-Debate Letter to Hillary From an Old Rust Belt Democrat

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Hillary,

‘Solid job on the debate this week. While Trump scored well in a few categories (interrupting, mansplaining, general incoherence, weirdest makeup, coining new words, etc.), you prevailed on most everything else, including, importantly, substance, knowledge, experience, articulateness, aptitude, and temperament.

Still — and I’m simply being honest here — Continue reading A Post-Debate Letter to Hillary From an Old Rust Belt Democrat

Let’s Have a Conversation About Race

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My best friend’s dad growing up was a cop. He was (and is) a good man, who spent his entire life in public service — first as a soldier, then a police officer. His wife was (and is) a saint, who treated me like part of her own family when I was a kid. I owe both of them a lot.  Continue reading Let’s Have a Conversation About Race

A Handshake for the Generations

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What if I told you I met somebody once who personally knew James Polk? Or Dred Scott? Or John Keats? Impossible, right? I mean, it’s 2016. These men were all born in the 1700’s.

And yet . . . Continue reading A Handshake for the Generations