Quickly Capturing Lingering Light

Lingering in Quickness by Maria L. Berg 2022

It’s amazing how energizing one cool, cloudy day was. Today, was back to hot and sweaty, but it didn’t feel as oppressive. I finally set up my new mobile mirrorworld to my satisfaction, and played with an interesting purple and green light palette.

And They Dance by Maria L. Berg 2022

I find it amusing that these random globs of dried hot glue in different shapes look like people dancing to me.

Today was the first time I tried using the net-lights with the reflection balls in the fabric-covered pool noodles. I like how nature adds to the abstractions. I’m seeing lots of potential.

Bursting by Maria L. Berg 2022

New Poem

The poetry form prompt at dVerse Poets Pub is to write an Octelle. The focus of the form is to use personification and symbolism, so that sounded fun.

Quickly Capturing Lingering Light

When light escapes and comes to play
I know I’ll have a busy day
Free of night and free of fears
as glaring white she appears
but in our game I calm her
and coax each color forward
when light escapes and comes to play
I know I’ll have a busy day

The Values of Literature

A bokeh shape image of feathers in house shapes.
Gathered Feathers by Maria L. Berg 2022

Last week I stumbled upon Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium which are a series of planned lectures about literary values he was working on when he died. He died before he finished writing the sixth. His six values of literature are: Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility, Multiplicity, and Consistency.

In each of his lectures he discusses his ideas of the stated value and its opposite which inspired me to use these values as my contradictory abstractions for August and into September.

First, I considered the word value, and its many meanings. When I looked at value at the beginning of this study of abstract nouns in April, I was thinking about value in terms of exchange. Calvino appears to be using the seventh definition for value in my Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary which is “something (as a principal or quality) intrinsically valuable or desirable.

Three pool noodles covered in patterned spandex and tied together in a triangle, creating a cage for six reflection balls floating on a lake.
My Floating Summer Studio by Maria L. Berg 2022

Artistically, what I was desiring was a changeable color palette for my floating photography studio. So I chose some garish spandex I had collected from bargain tables over the years, and sewed colorful skins for my pool noodles. The results were surprisingly subtle, yet interesting.

Colorful Cogs by Maria L. Berg 2022

Calvino’s first value, “Lightness,” he sees as the opposite of “Weight” as in the weight of the world, or gravity of thought. When he discusses lightness as a quality of literature, he describes it as “the sudden agile leap of the poet-philosopher.”

Calvino says that lightness in writing is precision and determination, not vagueness and the haphazard. Then he quotes Paul Valery who said: “Il faut etre leger comme l’oiseau, et non comme la plume” (One should be light like a bird, and not like a feather).

This idea really appealed to me. Where I live, I am constantly surrounded by birds, from tiny hummingbirds and dark-eyed juncos to great blue herons, osprey and bald eagles. The mystery and grace, flight’s sheer defiance of gravity is exciting to watch.

I had already collected some small feathers the neighbor’s cats so kindly left on my porch. so I tried using them as filters.

Feathers on the Mat by Maria L. Berg 2022
A Bird in the Dry Grass by Maria L. Berg 2022

This week I am looking at Calvino’s second value Quickness which he sees as the opposite of Lingering and Digression. Yesterday, to begin my study, I tried a technique I found in Abstract Explorations in Acrylic Painting by Jo Toye. Jo used hot glue to create stencils to create resist patterns in her paintings. Now that I am look at my filters as both positive and negative space, I saw the potential for this technique with my photography. Here’s my first attempt:

Sudden Agile Leaping by Maria L. Berg 2022

What’s fun is it’s similar to something I tried a long time ago with wire:

Wire Lines by Maria L. Berg 2019

Guess it wasn’t that long ago, but it sure seems like a very long time ago. I think the changes in the thickness of line from the glue are much more dynamic.

The reason I chose to try the glue technique this week is because once the glue gun is hot and I’ve cut the basic filter shapes, I can create many different designs with quickness, then linger in all their image possibilities.

New Poem

Today’s Poetics prompt from Merril at dVerse Poets Pub is to write a poem about a restaurant. The example poem by Margaret Atwood “They eat out,” was an odd surprise, opening the prompt to all sorts of possibilities.

Restaurants bring up so many memories fraught with conflicting emotions. I think Lightness and Weight, and Quickness and Lingering can all find their way into a restaurant.

Gathered at Another Steak House

Restless in this restaurant, her eyes rest
on the fake, flickering candles and cloth
carnations, on the bleached tablecloth and
folded cloth napkin swans swimming
in place on gold waves rippling
at the edges of shiny plates waiting
for waiters to replace them with
appetizers, strengthening hunger’s desire.

Tense utensils clang in past and future tense
Tumblers topple, ice tumbling, sliding across
tabletops, and topics are quickly tabled as
secrets spilled splatter saucy and juicy
stains that will never completely come out
and after desserts are devoured
no one lingers to feel sated.

Pondering Possibilities

I felt inspired by dVerse poets pub’s Quadrille prompt today to ponder possibilities. My quadrille came to me almost complete (short one word) in the shower.

Imagination’s Playground

The imaginative life
is a playground of possibilities

until all the door and windows
are locked and the bed
is on fire

then there are only two possibilities:
to dance or to cower

and soon there is one:
to face all the unimagined possibilities

What color is your portal? Change it with online paint chips.

I opened a portal

I opened a portal (2020)                 bokeh photograph by Maria L. Berg

Yesterday I started a new Coursera course: Songwriting:Writing the Lyrics with Pat Pattison through Berklee College of Music. One of the first lessons conceptualized a song as three boxes, stacked with the smallest on top. The top box fitting inside the middle box and both fitting in the bottom box. He used this imagery as the build and progression of the song.

I liked how he used “the boxes” and thought it would be a good way to approach a poem, so I thought I would take a look at what was going on at #dVerse Poets Pub to inspire some words to put in my boxes.

I felt like the #dVersepoetics prompt presented by HA: About Portals, was perfect for my poem. I talked a bit about portals and doorways while I was Excavating my mind. The prompt inspired me to open a portal in the side of the house and capture some photographs of the dimensions on the other side.

Where we can see the virus

Where We Can See The Virus (2020)    bokeh photograph by Maria L. Berg

Where there are tiny dinosaurs in the trees

Where There Are Tiny Dinosaurs In Trees (2020) bokeh photograph by Maria L. Berg

I thought I would combine my portal ideas with Linda L. Krushke’s Paint Chip Poetry Prompt. I was looking for interesting color names a couple weeks ago for a poem, but didn’t find what I was imagining. The paint chip poetry prompt got me thinking and I searched again. Sherwin-Williams color families is exactly what I was looking for, so many creative color names with history and symbolism and oddity. It’s great. I can also explore Behr’s colors.

Armed with great inspiration, I lost all energy and interest 🙂 But I came back to it this morning, so I’ll call that a win.

The poem

Portals to here

Doors block and stop
when closed and locked hold
secrets and mysteries, create
yearning and discomfort, force

vocal expression out of context
the imagination runs rabid,
but when the key is found
and the door creaks, cracked

upon its hinges, it becomes
but a frame, lines and angles
to accentuate or break
the nouns within

Portals are but separators,
organizations to define
yours from mine from ours,
space from time, earthly from divine

find the vibration to pass
through the membrane,
concentrate, believe, transform
pass through to here

How long will it take to
notice the subtle differences
What color is your portal now?
Is it the drab aloe vera of the desert house

where I shaved my head
for the first time, or is it marine
like the flap of my tent I call the hurricane
that accompanies me on all my travels

did you walk through the door
that glowed like a sunset behind
the intricate carving of the head of Medusa
that I continued to visit every day in Venice

or is your portal no color at all
a carved opening in a cliff dwelling
showing the complete eclipse
where you look down through infinity, trapped

#Poetry out in the world

Cover of Washington's Best Emerging Poets 2019

Today’s the day! Two of my poems have escaped Experience Writing and are out exploring the world. I hope you will pick up a copy of Washington’s Best Emerging Poets 2019 and read all the great poetry by Washington State poets. It will also make a great gift for the lovers of words in your life.

I want to thank all the poets of OctPoWriMo, NaPoWriMo, dVerse Poets Pub, and PAD Chapbook Challenge for keeping me motivated and inspired over the last few years.

 

dVerse Poets Pub Quadrille: earth

Today’s prompt for the dVerse Poets Quadrille is the word earth.

Tiny shoots in a new garden

Cruel Dance

Your roots, deep veins
in dark earth smell
of heat and safety
Clinging sweet on savory
Luscious minerals necessary for

Life on earth our
feet stabilize during the
eternal push and pull
of gravity’s cruel dance
The earth leaves its
mark upon our soles.

dVerse Poets Quadrille: Stacked Boxes

Today is Quadrille Monday over at the dVerse Poets Pub and De Jackson served up the word: box.

A photograph of large boxes stacked on smaller boxes

 

Stacked Boxes

Stacking larger boxes on small boxes
A heavy head bobbles upon a lilting middle, teetering on a poor foundation
Functioning intelligence, serpentine systems based on a corrupted piece of code
The hypocrisy covers lies told to disguise the fib
A whisper topples the tower.

dVerse Poets Quadrille: Puzzle

For anyone who has been following my writing adventure, you will not be surprised that “Puzzle” inspired me to write many poems. I wrote three dVerse Poet Quadrilles in the first 25 minute sprint of #MagicMon over on twitter. I am excited about this one.

pieces

Bronchial Birch Trees

I asked for the box because I need to see the corrupted result
Pieces will fit together, but not to my vision
My passion for this puzzle used to excite me into the night
I can’t open this mangled mutation of my aborted dream.

 

dVerse Meeting the Bar: Bridging Southern Florida

Today’s dVerse poets prompt is a fun one. The challenge is to pick a line from two books then start your poem with one and end with the other. I just so happen to be reading  Rum Punch: A Novel by Elmore Leonard and Razor Girl: A novel by Carl Hiaasen. The first is set in Miami and the other in Key West. That should make for an interesting bridge.

Southern Florida Bridge

Always On The Grift

Sheepishly she displayed the razor
as she lowered her skirt

Flashing her wide whites and woollies
innocent as a lamb while

Hiding her black sheep, freshly shorn,
back into the fold

But he keeps visualizing
a fresh, pink clam

The wolf in sheep’s clothing
so well disguised

Even the shepherd was blinded
if only long enough for the crime

He follows her bleating
until he is fleeced

No apology or acting sheepish
about it, wanting to explain

She re-opens the straight blade
Just like that, back in the game

 

The first line, “Sheepishly she displayed the razor as she lowered her skirt,” was taken directly from Razor Girl: A novel by Carl Hiaasen (pg. 43) and the lines, “No apology or acting sheepish about it, wanting to explain” and “Just like that, back in the game,” were taken from Rum Punch: A Novel by Elmore Leonard (pgs. 143 and 144). I chose these lines to create my bridge because I found it interesting that two different authors in books separated by twenty-four years would choose “sheepish” to describe women who were committing crimes and in acts of deception.