Closing Out All the April Challenges

This Sunday is the first of the month, and all the challenges are over, but I thought I would close with a visual poem guided by a homograph.

Coming to a Close by Maria L. Berg 2022

Close

I really enjoy homographs that have different pronunciations. Close can be an adjective or adverb; a noun or verb.
Pronounced klohs
adjective – near in space or time: near in relationship: parts or elements near to one another: compact, dense (a close weave)
adverb – tightly: near or within proximity
Pronounced klohz
noun – the end or conclusion (the close of the day)
verb – to cover an opening; shut: (tr) to bar, obstruct, or fill up: to bring the parts or edges of (a wound, etc) together or (of a wound, etc) to be brought together, unite.

I think of: closing a lid; closing a door; cutting it close; That was close!; close ties; close friends; personal space: too close; closing in on a solution.

Closing by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

The April Challenges are over, but there are still plenty of prompts to be found. For today’s poem, I took a look at my WordPress reader and found:

Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #257 is “Luminous” and to write a poem (or piece of prose) in exactly 30 words.

Pensitivity101’s Three Things Challenge #950 is CROWD, BUSY, RUSH.

E. M.’s Sunday Ramble Prompt #22 This one’s new to me. The Sunday Ramble is 5 questions about a topic to ramble on about. Sounds a little like Stream of Consciousness Saturday, which I enjoy. Today’s topic is “Random Questions to Trigger Imagination” and the questions are:

  1. If people get a purple heart for bravery, what do the other colors of hearts mean? (Make up your own heart meanings and colors.)
  2. If you were given $5 Million to open a small museum, what kind of museum would you create?
  3. if you could build a themed hotel, what would the theme be and what would it look like?
  4. What would the adult version of an ice cream truck sell, look like, and play for its song?
  5. What animal would be the cutest if it was down-sized to the size of a cat?

Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) is “remuneration”–money paid for work or services.

Closing by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

When Staying at the Hotel Magique Réal

At my magical
realism hotel where
crowds rush to try
the strawberry pop-rocks
that make them sprout
wings and fly
the first to reach
the luminous-gold
heart that means
a dream will never die,
hanging in the
ceiling sky, is remunerated
an unimaginable sum
in magic hotel money.
And if that isn’t enough
excitement to keep
every patron busy,
they can visit the Museum
of the Fantastical and Silly
with a tank of whales
the size of cats and
giraffes the size of mice
that swish their tails
to swat at pesky
winged-humans
the size of flies.

#SoCS & Day Thirty: Moving On with Zealousness

Zealousness by Maria L. Berg 2022

Zealousness

Ardent activity, devotion, or diligence. What is ardent? With great conviction or zeal. I have no idea why I follow circular definitions with such intense emotion; passionately and fervently; such zealousness; I guess that’s something more for me to explore.

Here we are at the last day of April: the last day of National Poetry Month; the last day of the A to Z Challenge; the last day of the Poem a Day Challenge; and the last day of my photo challenge. That’s a lot of endings, and yet I feel like it’s only a beginning.

While exploring abstract nouns, I’ve encountered so many more abstract nouns I would like to explore in the mirrorworld, and I now have new filters and techniques for that. This has been a great month of discovery. I hope you’ve also discovered a zealousness for your topic and art and poetry.

For today’s images, I tried something completely new. When I first set up the mirrorworld, I had a moment that felt really magical: When I pointed a flashlight at an object in the mirror, the light showed on the object. It felt like I had found a gateway to new dimensions. Today, I put the camera on a tripod, and light painted with a flashlight to create still and moving bokeh at the same time. It was very challenging and will take a lot more practice, but that’s where zealousness helps.

Ardently Zealous by Maria L. Berg 2022

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Today’s prompt is “zip, zero, zilch.” All great words. Here’s a sections from my journal this morning:

I thought zilch might have some more interesting meaning
but it’s only–nothing
Zip, on the other hand works
with zealousness–ardently active–
zipping around and
zero has the same shape
as the filter I used, and
circular definitions–though
maybe more oblong definitions
which is what abstract nouns
really have–distorted
by history and perception.
I like zilch: I never use it.

Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a cento. A cento is a poem made up of lines from other poems. I like how creating a cento is described in the example as patching the lines into a coherent quilt. I recently bought the new book and CD by Dolly Parton. I also borrowed books from my local library by Adrienne Rich and Robert Bly. For this cento about moving on in zealousness, I’ll be quilting with lines from Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton, Silence in the Snowy Fields by Robert Bly, and The Fact of a Doorframe by Adrienne Rich

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a moving on poem.

Zeal by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Moving On With Zealousness

Day Twenty-Nine: The Birth of Yearning

Yearning by Maria L. Berg 2022

Yearning

Yearning is a deep longing: a strong, persistent craving or desire accompanied by tenderness or sadness for something unattainable or distant. Thinking about how to represent yearning, I thought about how the other abstract nouns I’ve explored this month are entangled with yearning: Ambition, Goals, Ideas, Needs and Hopes can induce yearning; people yearn for Beauty, a certain Quality of life, Respect, Success, to have Value, Wisdom, a Xanadu, and of course Thrills. It takes Patience to live with and through our yearning.

I looked back over all these different aspects of yearning that I’ve represented through abstracts, and listed the filters and techniques I’ve tried. I took in what a big month of discovery it has been for me, and yet, I yearn for more.

Today, I wanted to create even more depth than the mirrorworld provides, so I opened the curtains across the room, strung lights over the glass door and tried taking pictures from outside into the mirrorworld–didn’t work. However, the trees reflected in the mirrorworld looked interesting, so I focused on that. I also thought black and white represented yearning better than all the neons of yesterday.

Yearning II by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a poem in which you muse on the gifts you received at birth, both positive and negative.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a poem with The Last (Blank) as the title.

Yearning Hearts by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

The Last Gift

I was born
at the magic hour
of midnight on
the day Picasso died.

I remember
feeling elated when
reading the date
in beautiful Barcelona
at the museum
and I thought,
that explains a lot.

Could it be his energy
newly sent to roam
came right back
home unknown
to a screaming baby,

Lurking in wait
silently guiding my
choices and my hands
toward abstract thought
and art and places hard
to understand, exploding
color and shape and line
to find a truth behind
the surface?

It would explain
the internal dual
of masculine and feminine
of flamboyant performer
who hides in her room
of wild rogue who
follows the rules
of artist-scientist
practical poet
yearning to fit in

Labeled creative as long
as I’ve lived, but also
weird and strange and
bullied by my peers
for being different. Is
he to blame, dead
pompous artist who
paid his checks
with a scribble
and his name?

I wouldn’t mind
having that gift
if he’s in here
and he’s to blame.

Day Twenty-Eight: Exploring Xanadu

Xanadu by Maria L. Berg 2022

Xanadu

I had to stretch a little bit to find something that starts with X. Xanadu is a proper noun for a mythical place, but it can serve as a metaphor for opulence or an idyllic place, and that is how I intend it today for our abstraction. It is described as a “stately pleasure-dome” in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem Kubla Khan.

Exploring the idea of Xanadu gave me an excuse to (re)watch the 1980 roller-skating musical fantasy starring Olivia Newton-John. It was Gene Kelly’s final film, and he was on roller-skates! When I searched to see if he was really skating in the film, I came across this gorgeous gem of cinema history:

and here’s Gene Kelly in Xanadu

Just watching those two clips, it’s easy to see that Xanadu can be any place when in the right state of mind. For today’s images, and just for fun, I cut a roller-skate filter and whooshed it through my world like a muse returning to her Xanadu in the clouds.

The Pleasures of Xanadu by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a concrete poem, a poem in which the words create a shape. My favorite concrete poem I’ve written is “Humans Need Stories” from 2017. And it goes well with the muses of Xanadu, so here it is:

Shape poem in the shape of a hand
Humans Need Stories by Maria L. Berg 2017

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a sight poem. This should go well with describing Xanadu.

dVerse Poets Pub

Over at dVerse Poets Pub they are celebrating the poems of Joy Harjo. Tonight is open link night at the pub, so head over and link up your best poem from this week.

Skating to Xanadu by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Finding Xanadu

Remembering Xanadu by Maria L. Berg 2022

Day Twenty-Seven: Words of the Wise

Wisdom by Maria L. Berg 2022

Wisdom

By definition, having wisdom is to possess a power, the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right; also scholarly knowledge or learning. Many people relate wisdom to age, believing that it is accumulated over time, thus the symbol of the wise old owl. Some relate it to spiritual or ancient teachings that have stood the test of time. Some believe wisdom is found within through meditation or dreams, tapping into the collective unconscious of ancestral memory. “-wise” as a suffix denotes manner, position, direction, reference, etc. as in counterclockwise or edgewise. Wisdom may lie simply in knowing where you are, your position, your reference points, and the direction you are heading.

Happily, I have an owl filter already cut. For today’s images I will try to capture its accumulated wisdom by hunting for its reference points and direction.

Elusive Wisdom by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a duplex poem, a form created by Jericho Brown and my favorite poems in The Tradition. I wrote my first duplex and talked about the form last year in my post Playing in the Duplex.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a remix poem. This should be an interesting challenge, to remix one of this month’s poems into a duplex. For today’s remix, I decided to work with lines from day nine’s poem “Hope Breaks Eternal” and day sixteen’s poem “Needs For Sale.”

Wise by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Last Night’s Forgotten Bruise

Hope breaks through last night’s disappointments
Swirling the spiral when need’s a deep bruise pressed

Need is felt like a forgotten bruise pressed
When hunger turns to feed on its own tail

Turning to yearning when finding tales stale
Hope breaks the mold of expectation

Molded clay days of expectation have
A brittle grasp on reason’s crumbs to break

Reason’s crumbs scatter as the days break
and a vacancy needs filling, love’s ache

Hope sees a need-filled hollow, vacancy’s ache
And jumps, unstartled, unique and new

To flip perspective for the world anew
Hope breaks through last night’s disappointments

Day Twenty-Six: The Value of Love

Value by Maria L. Berg 2022

Value

Value is a concept I find intriguing. Does anything have intrinsic value, or is it only through exchange that value comes into existence?

Value has so many definitions, many of which have to do with worth: “relative worth, merit, or importance: monetary or material worth: the worth of something in terms of the amount of other things for which it can be exchanged or in terms of some medium of exchange.” What is worth? Having a value of, or equal in value to. I’m starting to enjoy discovering circular definitions.

Value also has definitions specific to fine arts:

  1. degree of lightness or darkness in a color.
  2. the relation of light and shade in a painting, drawing, or the like.

So no matter what, I’ll be creating something with value. 😊

One person’s trash is another’s treasure, so the saying goes. I find it interesting how something can have no value one moment and be precious the next, so I re-visited a filter and some lights and reflectors that I thought had no value when I first tried them, and gave them a second look.

Intrinsic Value by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a poem that contains an epic simile.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is the final two for Tuesday of the challenge:

  1. Write a love poem, and/or…
  2. Write an anti-love poem.

dVerse Poets Pub

Today’s Poetics prompt fits perfectly with the idea I had for my poem this morning. In honor of Shakespeare’s baptism day, Ingrid challenges us to choose one of his plays from a list and:

Write a poem based on the theme of your chosen play (be sure to mention which play you have chosen at the end of your poem, or use the play’s title as your poem’s title) or

Use your chosen title somewhere within your poem (you can also use it as the title of the poem, if you wish).

Shared Values by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Wherefore Art Thou?

Assigning a value to love
is like asking the dryer
where the missing socks go

It won’t tell you that
one is trapped between
its back and the wall
or another has slid
underneath. It won’t
explain that one
unraveled and became
the thread stuck
by static cling
to a sheet, and
it definitely won’t
reveal that when
it’s loaded just right
and spins at a certain
velocity to vibrate at
a frequency just so
a portal opens to the
sock dimension, only
long enough for one
sock to get through

The dryer won’t spill
its secrets because
it enjoys an air
of mystery
and it can’t talk
but if it did
and all the missing
socks were found
it would only
cause heartache

because without their pairs
the lone socks removed
from the dryer lost
all value and
were tossed away
like Romeo and Juliet
the perceived loss
of the other
made existence
impossible

Day Twenty-Five: The Delightful Excitement of Uncertainty

Uncertainty by Maria L. Berg 2022

Uncertainty

The fun of exploring abstract nouns is the area of uncertainty. They are not “ascertainable or fixed, as in time of occurrence, number, dimensions, or quality; not clearly or precisely determined.” They are “vague; indistinct; not perfectly apprehended: subject to change; variable; capricious; unstable: ambiguous; unreliable; undependable (definition of uncertain from dictionary.com).”

Uncertainty can be exciting, it adds mystery, raises questions, leaves blanks to be filled. It inspires exploration, and promises adventure to the optimist. But uncertainty is also the breeder of fears. Absolutely everything is an uncertainty except taxes and death, as the saying goes, so how can I approach that visually?

I recently ordered four strands of clear lights. I was thinking of creating a grid on the porch and laying under it, but today it’s raining, so I think I’ll try surrounding myself with lights like a waterfall and see what happens. The effect is uncertain. How exciting.

Growing Uncertainty by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt, based on the “aisling” form, Irish for dream, is to write a poem that recounts a dream or vision in which a woman appears who represents or reflects the area where you live.

I created a character called the Lake Spirit years ago to explain why so many young, athletic men die in the lake every summer (it seems like every summer, but I don’t have data on that). Her origin story, “Deadly Again This Summer,” was published in America’s Emerging Fantasy Writers: Pacific Region in 2019. Her name is Ondinara, and she will be appearing in today’s dream poem.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a response poem. I think Ondinara might come in a dream in response to the events in my poem, “Suspending Belief,” from Day Fourteen.

Uncertain by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

A Desperate Hunger to Consume

With the feel of damp
carpet at my bedside
and a distant smell of fish
her haunting words return
“Help me. I’m so hungry.”
Coming back so vividly

Cold spots on my skin
as she dripped, dripped
hovering over me, so
close to my face
sharp teeth like
a tiger muskie
huge dark eyes
like a perch and
the mouth of a bass
and yet the sweet
visage of a girl
still echoed within

She said she had held me
and shown me the way
when I Iost my will to
surface and my lungs
began to beg

She said she felt my longing
to become one with the lake
and in that moment felt a kinship
and reflected on her fate

So she came to me in dreaming
so I might hear her water words
and understand her nature
before the hunger overwhelms
and she must consume


Day Twenty-Four: Sheer Villainy

This is the last Sunday of the of the month, and there is no A to Z on Sundays, so today’s photo-challenge is a little different. I’ll be using the photos I took this week to create visual poems guided by a homograph.

A Sheer Lack of Respect by Maria L. Berg 2022

Sheer

Sheer has so many interesting meanings:

adjective – perpendicular; very steep; a sheer cliff

(of textiles) so fine as to be transparent

(prenominal: before a noun) absolute; unmitigated; sheer folly

noun – any transparent fabric used for making garments

verb – to deviate or cause to deviate from a course

(intransitive) to avoid an unpleasant person, thing, topic, etc (swerve)

When I chose this homograph, I was thinking of “shears,” as in scissors, and to shear as in cutting or trimming like shearing sheep which is a homophone to this homograph (oops). However, I’m glad for my mistake. I like the visual possibilities of “perpendicular” and sheer fabrics.

Sheer Wilderness by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a poem with vivid similes.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a superhero or supervillain poem.

Sheer by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Your Favorite Supervillain

Every word he says
is a lie designed
to manipulate
through fear

He dresses to intimidate
like an electric-blue
frog, standing out
in contrast to the
forest, announcing
its poison

He wails demands
and commands like
a siren calling those
lost in the fog
to crash upon
the rocks

He directs attention
to his misdemeanors
while committing atrocities
where no one’s looking
like a magician whose
vanishing cabinet doubles
as an iron maiden

He twists and turns
a truth to a question garbled
never finishing, so blanks
are forced to be filled
like the tendency of
a fluid in exosmosis
substance flows lower and lower
and lower

He sticks his long fingers
into dark, damp holes
pushing and prodding
until the vile emerge
to do his bidding
echoing lies designed
to manipulate
through fear

Day Twenty-Three: Everybody Needs a Thrill

Thrill by Maria L. Berg 2022

Thrill

The abstract noun “thrill” makes me think of the Prince song “Pop Life.” The chorus is:

Pop life
Everybody needs a thrill
Pop life
We’ve all got a space to fill
Pop Life
Everybody can’t be on top
Life it ain’t real funky
unless it’s got that pop!

So what makes life pop? What does a thrill look like? I think of roller-coasters and fireworks, but I get as much of a thrill from making a new shape and taking photos in the mirrorworld. For today’s images I tried taking pictures of flowers using the “pop” effect in my camera. The effect is supposed to create a vivid look by emphasizing color tones, but all I noticed was brighter reds and pinks which did not thrill me. So I added the center circle to yesterday’s shape and headed for the mirrorworld.

Thrill Ride by Maria L. Berg

The Poetry Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt is to write a poem in the style of Kay Ryan. I’ve actually done this before because I liked her poems so much. Here’s one I did last year:

Rearrangement II
~after Kay Ryan

As crafty as
a grifter who
knows where
you got your shoes
is the slight of hand
of rearrangement

In the wee hours
among the lip-loosened
marks, he plies his
trade unnoticed

until the tourists
are sorted from
the locals

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a conspiracy poem. I like how Kay Ryan’s poem Blue China Doorknob fits with this prompt.

The Poem

Thriller Night
~after Kay Ryan


Monsters may be
dreaming us. We
the detritus of
a long day’s worries
sloughed off
in REM sleep. We
may be the the nightmares
of Nessie snoozing
deep in the Loch
watching us acting out
her surreal conflicts
and fears. And if
we’re the Boogie Man’s
daydreams, or the
chaser to an ogre’s
free fall–before
shuddering awake in
his cave in a cold
sweat or a deep
sorrow of regret–
do the monster’s
ever linger at
the edge of sleep
to stay with us,
try to get us back,
catch a glimpse
before we fade
away?


Day Twenty-Two: The Secret of My Success

Success by Maria L. Berg 2022

Success

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

I thought this morning’s images would be easy. I received some new lights I ordered yesterday, so I figured anything that came from playing with them would be a success. Like any experiment, the results, whether proving the hypothesis or not, are a success because they lead to the next hypothesis.

This morning, however, was not a success. The lights were garbage (three bulbs dead and hot the instant plugged in, even smelled hot=fire hazard) and the only thing I achieved was to get a return code. So what does success look like after disappointment and frustration? I could take a nice picture of the cat or a flower and call it a day, but I would not see that as a success.

Is success the color of money, of gold and jewels? Is it seeing a goal to completion, an accomplishment? What does that look like visually? Perhaps a loop, or a bullseye. I have an idea.

Today’s successful images were all about perseverance.

Finding Success by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts

NaPoWriMo

Yay, a repetition prompt! Today’s prompt is to write a poem that repeats “a sound, a word, a phrase, or an image, or any combination of things.”

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is an Earth Day prompt to write an organism poem. Happy Earth Day!

My Idea of Success by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

Our Living Organism

in relation

gentle pets produce purrs

relative to being

I place my head on his furry brow

being composed of the parts

below his ears, above his whiskers

the individual moving

I breathe with him, in sync with him

parts of the whole organic system

and listen, absorbing the vibrations

structured, living entity, complex thing

and feel calm; but don’t trust it

a networked system, organic whole

watch for the flick of the tail

parts of the moving organized

signalling the coming pain

individual being

of grasping claws

complex living creature

and piercing teeth

networked entity

his wild

organism