Bloganuary Day 21

Ten more days left to go in the Bloganuary challenge! Will I make it? We shall see…

woman lying in bed reading next to a stack of books
Photo by @Planetnehemiah on

Today’s question asks us who is our favorite author and why.

Well, that’s easy…

ME! Of course!

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Bloganuary Day 20

Beer-Battered: A Nano Story

Photo by Sergio Camalich on Unsplash

“The neighbors are fighting again,” I say as a slam against the wall causes me to drop the saltshaker into the sizzling frying pan.

“They could be killing a roach,” says my husband, who sits at the kitchen table. He clicks something on his laptop and gasps.

“What!” I shriek. “Do you see a roach?”

“They want $1600 for a one-bedroom. These are two-bedroom prices!”

I put a hand to my chest to calm my racing heart and carefully pluck the plastic saltshaker from the popping oil. Half of it is melted. The fish is probably ruined.

Another bang, followed by a muffled “Fuck you!” Whoosh goes the oil.


“Should I order a pizza?” my husband asks.

“How soon can we move into that $1600 apartment?”

© 2023 Nortina Simmons

Bloganuary Day 19

Today’s Bloganuary prompt is all about colors, particularly which one best describes your personality.

Honestly, I have no idea. My favorite color is red, but red represents boldness, passion, being boisterous—the typical qualities of an extrovert.

That doesn’t describe me at all.

I’m shy, quiet, reserved…

Does that make me yellow? Blue? A combination of the two (green)?


Honestly, my response to color personality tests is the same as my response to zodiac signs, vibrations, energies, etc. It’s all stupid.

Don’t limit yourself by trying to fit into a box someone else has drawn. We are who we are, whether we’re blue, yellow, purple, or green. We are who God created us to be in all His infinite wisdom and glory. So be proud of that. Be bold in that!

Photo by Darina Belonogova on
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Bloganuary Day 18

We’re a little more than halfway through the Bloganuary month-long challenge, and I fear I’m beginning to fizzle out. I’m not feeling all that creative today, so I think I’ll answer today’s question personally.

But first, I would like a do-over of yesterday’s “Describe the happiest day of your life” response, because I’m not completely in love with the poem I wrote (says the perfectionist).

Truth be told, I can’t really recall a time when I was “happiest.” That’s not to say I’m constantly depressed, but how does one define “happy”? And what happens in a day that qualifies it as the happiest of all?

Like many around the world, I’ve been living the same day on repeat for nearly three years now. Even if I did have a “happiest” day, it doesn’t pop up in my recent memory. And my short- and long-term memory are practically nonexistent currently.

There are days—though too few and too far between—when I feel most content, days when I have immense joy in my heart, days when I go to bed feeling satisfied, fulfilled.

But am I “happy”? The jury’s still out on that.

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Bloganuary Day 17

Year Four Long Distance

A Poem

The happiest day of my life
is often remembered as the saddest—
as I professed my love for you
and watched you walk away,
not because you wanted to
but because you had to.

© 2023 Nortina Simmons

Photo by Taryn Elliott on

Bloganuary Day 16

Your coat is still in my closet: A poem

Photo by John Rocha on
Your coat is still in my closet,
and I know it's been years since we've called it quits—

It shows its age.
The rusted zipper stuck in place,
the faded blue nylon,
the cotton stuffing spilling out of elbow patches—

You've moved on,
I have too.

But nights when it's coldest and he's working late,
I put it on and wrap myself in the memory 
of a passionate love that burned too quickly.

I can smell the cigar smoke on your collar,
feel the warmth of your skin in the sleeves. 
I can feel your lips pressed firmly against mine. 

They taste like ash.

And as I lie in bed, kissing and caressing your essence,
allowing thoughts of you to creep back into my crevices,
I wonder—

Do you still keep the sun-bleached sports bra 
I left under your pillow?

Do you sniff it while she sleeps?

Do you imagine taking it off, putting my breasts in your mouth?

I ask this as I traces my fingers around my areolas,
and my nipples harden under the prick of your tongue. 

© 2023 Nortina Simmons

Bloganuary Day 15

Make the First Move

Love Sedoka #3

Ice pelts my face like
tiny daggers, but I bear
wintry mix to ask you out.

Rain or shine, I’m yours
to wine and dine. Come inside,
let me warm you from the cold.

© 2023 Nortina Simmons

Bloganuary Day 14

Refugees: A Nano-Story

view of earth from the moon
Photo by Pixabay on

Adam squeezes my hand as everything around us quakes. My breathing is heavy, labored. I can taste the all-beef hotdog, the chili cheese on the back of my tongue. They say to wait thirty minutes after a meal before you swim, and riding in a space shuttle feels like swimming.

“How much longer?” I ask, then quickly hold my breath as the contents in my stomach gurgle.

 “We’re almost out,” he answers without checking the view. He’s the astronaut. He’s used to this. He’s ridden the layers of the atmosphere many times to know how they feel.

I’m the only one who’s new.

I glance out the window the width of my face and watch the clouds clear for darkness. When the turbulence calms, I let out an exhale.

“You shouldn’t have ate that stuff,” he says, shaking his head.

As relieved as I am to not be floating in vomit, it was my last meal on earth. Who knows if I’ll ever get a chance to eat something not freeze-dried again.

We can never go back,” he says flatly, apparently reading my mind.

I crane my neck to catch one final glimpse of the tiny blue planet we’re leaving behind, shrinking in the distance.

I wonder if there will be a sudden explosion of light before it finally disappears.

© 2023 Nortina Simmons

Bloganuary Day 13

Happy Friday the 13th, Bloganuary participants! No, I did not almost burn my apartment down this morning by forgetting a slice of cheese toast under the broiler in the oven. Today was a totally normal Friday… 😀

For today’s prompt, I couldn’t decide which poem I liked more, so I’m giving you a twofer.

What would you do with a billion US dollars?

A Billion Dollars? A Senryu

A billion dollars?
Is that before or after
taxes? Pay my bills.

© 2023 Nortina Simmons

A Billion Dollars? Love Tanka #18

Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on

A billion dollars?
I'd buy a resort island
for me and my love.
Sip mango lassi on the
beach—no visas required.

© 2023 Nortina Simmons

Bloganuary Day 12

Useless Girl: A Nano-Story

Photo by cottonbro studio on

Call me Cinderella—except, my Prince Charming is the CEO of a startup who’s never home, and I’ve traded evil step-relatives for a mother-in-law who doesn’t speak English.

She lifts a crooked finger coated in dust she’s wiped from the edge of a ceiling fan blade.

“Faltu larki.”

Since moving to Pakistan, I’ve slowly picked up on the Urdu words she mumbles around the house. I know “larki” means girl, and from the way she curls her upper lip at the dust on her finger, I suspect “faltu” isn’t “good.” But I’m more confused by how she was able to reach the fan when I’m barely five feet and she doesn’t even come to my shoulders.

“Seerhi kahan hai?” I ask. God, I hope I said, “Where’s the ladder?”

“Amriki bahu. Aray, wow!” She waves her arms and leaves the room.

I don’t think I’m making a good impression.

© 2023 Nortina Simmons