Family: the calm in anxiety and anxiety in calm

The calm in anxiety and the anxiety in calm by Maria L. Berg 2022

Contradictory Abstract Nouns (Photography Challenge)

Today I’m looking at finding the calm in anxiety and the anxiety in calm. Actually, I’m looking to find that every day, but I’m looking at it differently today. For today’s images, I revisited the pin-hole patterns I’ve created, thinking of the black space as calm and the points of light as anxiety. I like how the images evoke both calm and anxiety: a keenness, a botheration in a halcyon harmony.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a family poem. Combining my prompts reminded me of a family gathering poem I wrote back in October of 2017. The poem was inspired by a flying horned monkey in a Joan Fontcuberta photograph which appears in this short video where he presents a museum showing of his work:

Joan Fontcuberta challenges the perceived reality in photography

The Horned Flying Monkey In The Room

When it flew into the room
You had just said, “That hurt my feelings”
She said it never happened
He wondered when you would get a real job
He shoved his mouth so full of mashed potatoes
he couldn’t answer any questions
and the baby hit his sister, hard
On purpose

When it flew into the room
You were staring at your empty plate
She was serving pork and steak
He was asking about the bank
He was chiding you for your tastes
And the baby threw his food on the floor
On purpose.

When it flew into the room
You were fighting back tears
She was poking at your fears
He was pushing Roth-IRAs for later years
He put his steak on top of your salad
And the baby was kicking the table
On purpose.

By the time anyone noticed it was in the room
You stared at it curiously
She said she didn’t see it
He threw his plate at it
It swooped down and pierced his neck with its horn
And landed on the baby’s head
On purpose.

Today’s Poem:

This year, I’m looking forward to a quiet, relaxed Thanksgiving with my parents.For fun I revisited this poem, imagining the horned flying monkey arriving at tomorrow’s dinner.

This Year’s Horned Flying Monkey In The Room

When I first heard the flapping
He had finished the same short grace
She had passed me the mashed potatoes, and
I was full of thanks for this quiet, relaxed meal

When it flew into the room, its horn glistening
I put down my fork and knife and watched agape
He stared at his plate and cut and cut, and
She discussed the most recent Proverb of study

When it circled the room, dropping more than feathers
She had mentioned a piece of political news
I had argued a counterpoint, but needed to produce evidence, and
He was yelling, though we were inches apart

When it perched on the table next to me
He said, “I don’t know” in that sing-songy way,
She made a connection about something unrelated, and
I plopped a scoop of mashed potatoes on the tablecloth

When it stole her corn with its tail
I wanted to laugh but didn’t say anything
He decided it was time to unretire for the third time, and
She admitted to the sin of pride

When it stabbed the turkey with its horn
She said, “but what about the murdered babies?”
I said, “Turkey’s gross! Why turkey?” and
He said, “How do I get that thing out of there?”

When it flew away and we stared after
He said the meal was delicious (though he has no sense of taste, or smell)
She brought out her home made pies, sweet and rich with flaky crusts, and
I knew that my dream holiday repast had finally come and gone

The anxiety in calm and the calm in anxiety by Maria L. Berg 2022


I’ll admit that I’m feeling a little anxious about actually getting to “The End” by the thirtieth. With all these words I keep writing, I would hope to see an end in sight, and I think I do, but I also don’t want to force it. I’ve enjoyed how the relationships between my characters have guided the story and I want everything to go into this draft, every single idea so I can carve out a great book from it in 2023, so today I’m going to stop stressing about it. Whatever happens, happens. I’m going to keep typing away, calmly having fun with this story, and see where it takes me.

If the American readers don’t stop by tomorrow, I hope you have a calm and relaxed Thanksgiving with tons to be thankful for. I’m sure I’ll have something to say about mine in the coming poems. 😊

Thank you for being here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s