The Tuesday Writing Prompt at Go Dog Go Café is to write a poem without using the words “the” and “and.” I think this constraint could work well with sonic surrender, so I’m going to give it a try.
Today’s Poetics prompt at the dVerse Poets Pub: to write my way out of a place of pain, fits so perfectly with my thoughts of an ode to tortured love, it’s as if Ingrid was in my head this morning.
Oh, my Torture, this Love
When pain reigns, thrilling heightened awareness glaring nerves sparking with life firing toward limitations creating tense-muscled suspense extremes of what I can stand
Is it fear that brings me here? Does my flesh believe it will tear? Warning of peril from unlimited pleasure chaotic behavior when overwhelming pre-frontal processes, living uninhibited
In dizzying free-fall, Contusia dazed in a haze, purples sensitive to touch, crazed obsessive worries in separation so unstable wobbles, topples hobbled drained faint–that in-between pain
like frogs hopping perilously across back roads in thick morning fog brought on by a pond squashed in grills every year I am drawn to danger, red cayenne heat of danger, frying-pan-to-fire danger, tightrope-no-net danger, thin lines connecting cliffs over synaptic canyons too far to cross, between gains lost, ends too soon
Go Dog Go Café also has a Halloween-themed Prompt Challenge looking for Halloween inspired original pieces of writing / and or art. Submissions are open until October 25th.
This Week’s Story
Logline: An arrogant gossip hears noises coming from his shower. Exploring the drain isn’t enough, after cutting a whole through the floor, he finds that his problems run much deeper.
This morning I started the draft and it already surprised me. I’ll keep writing to about 1,000 words today and then let it simmer again until tomorrow. Here’s a little excerpt from my protagonist’s childhood trauma flashback:
I’m not sure what I did to convince it to stop playing dead, but when it did it was all claws and teeth. Its feet pierced my neck and shoulders trying to hold purchase while its teeth and front claws went for my head and face. I dropped the wood and flailed, but couldn’t scream for fear that parts of it would get in my mouth. So no one came to my aide.
I fell hard to the concrete on top of the wood I dropped, bruising my ribs, and played dead myself. It didn’t take long for it to lose interest and scurry into the shadows. I crawled up the steps and cried for my mom. She covered my cuts in stinging alcohol. I filled the house with screams, outmatching the wind until it died, and she took me to the hospital.
set in stone a tome, a tomb slow to erode unmoved by storm’s wet starved moan leftovers torn forlorn, stone cold bones hold known tones strummed by the stubborn turned to stone struck, stuck outta luck stored enduring alone a stone’s throw from home
Today’s Quadrille #137 prompt from De Jackson at dVerse is to “carve a poem out of the word stone.” The Quadrille is a poem of 44 words. (Images taken by me this evening. The light was really nice. Glad I went searching for stones)
a sudden interest overpowers calm and everywhere I look a present falls like plums too high to pluck now in my palm enthralling rubber skin to sweetness calls excite my senses newness all around abundance fills my morning breakfast air the plop of ready fruit, adventure’s sound what foreign taste awaits for me to dare once hidden, now the joy in looking found
I finished this poem right on time to go combine my shrubs. I made:
plum & honey + apple cider vinegar with basil
plum & agave + balsamic vinegar with sage
For my cocktail I used equal parts rum, the balsamic shrub and tonic water. Sounds weird, but it’s tasty and has a nice bite. Here’s to trying new things! Make your way to the bar and request a sample. 🙂
I thought I’d share this vocal warm-up I like to do before recording (because it’s fun):
Yesterday, I discovered that the bass effects pedal I’ve had for many years, has a built in drum machine, so hold onto your hats world.
Focus on Reflections
I face a self-imposed focus on reflections a month of looking of looking in mirrors looking at me
not turning away looking further and deeper finding the deep waters past the imperfections
What will I find there? What does reflection smell like? What is its taste? How will I get to the point where I only see what I like?
All those flaws become only a reflection only the light hitting a chip in the mirror everything reflects light all we see is a reflection
*That was an interesting experience. After finding a drum beat and recording the drum and bass. I played it back while saying lines to the room. When I felt like the concept was flowing, I recorded myself, then typed up what I said as if transcribing. That was fun. I think I’ll play with that a lot.
I hope all of you will come by this Thursday, Sept. 2, and read a special guest post about revision by Jacob M. Appel. I recently enjoyed his poetry collection, The Cynic in Extremis. I found it both entertaining and provocative.
I’ve wanted to try something that combines music, photography, and writing for a while, so this was a great inspiration to give it a try. This first effort was a bit rushed ( I happened upon the challenge halfway through the month), but I had a lot of fun with it and learned a lot.
While putting together the video, I learned how to do some animations with my photographs (haven’t figured out how to use them with my video editing software yet), and learned some techniques for combining motion and still photography.
Recording myself reading my poems was great practice. While practicing, some revisions and edits became obvious.
Writing music to go with the visuals and poetry was very challenging. Many of my ideas just wouldn’t work. I went through days of discarding recordings, but finally came up with the feel of pathways I was going for.
September’s theme is Reflections. I have a lot of reflection to do about my Pathways project. 😉
In April of this year I learned about Sky Awareness Week. I was looking up an occasion to write about for a poetry prompt, so I went to the National Days site and found I was in the midst of Sky Awareness Week and after laughing, a lot, imagining people that needed to be made aware of the sky, I learned that one important activity of Sky Awareness Week is taking a blanket or mat into the yard, lying on one’s back and practicing Nephelococcygia: the act of seeking and finding shapes in clouds. And listen to the word: it’s music.
I bring this up because over at the dVerse Poets Pub, Merril presented a line from a great poem called “Clouds” by Constance Urdang as the line to be included in a short bit of prose. I’ve never participated in Prosery before, but I loved the prompt, so I’ll give it a try.
A gentle breeze comes, and the gray that has been smoke for days, breaks to blue rivulets between fluffy clouds. And I break for some needed nephelococcygia. But these clouds are clearly foreign, such an exotic clutter against the blue cloth of the sky. All I see are faces: an alien with huge eyes and a bulbous head, bubbling off the horizon, observing the firs and the lake; a cartoon professor with crazy eyebrows, nose pointing to my right over his wide lips, stretches to the alien’s right; overhead, an angry smiley face and a detailed sneak with a foamy, twisty beard. All these strange faces, remind me of the weeks after Katrina, after relocating, when I kept seeing friends’ faces on strangers. Wanting, needing the familiar so badly. And like those strangers, who only resembled friends from a distance, the cloud faces change.
Today’s Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub is to use a movie quote in a poem. Mish provided a list to choose from. When I saw “It’s alive! It’s alive!” from Frankenstein (1931), the repetition reminded me of a poetry form. I looked back through my poems from last OctPoWriMo and found it in my post from October 6, 2020 Following Desire. The form is Monotetra.
The instructions for the Monotetra are a little confusing because it talks about number of feet and also number of syllables. If you look at my poem in that post, “Desire is the ear at the curtain,” I was counting syllables (eight), and rhyming, but wasn’t paying attention to meter. The instructions for the Monotetra form assume a poetic metrical foot to have two syllables, but a poetic foot can have more than two syllables: like the dactyl (stressed, unstressed, unstressed) I used in my last post, and the anapest (unstressed, unstressed, stressed) which is how I read “It’s alive!”
Since I want to play with anapestic meter instead of 8 syllables this will be an alternate form of a Monotetra. It will still be made of rhyming quatrains, and the fourth line will repeat, but each line will be in anapestic dimeter.
When a song with a drive brings the bees to the hive and the throng into thrive “It’s alive! It’s alive!”
like a wrong she deprives and with love to connive and belong she can strive Hope’s alive! It’s alive!
on the path to revive when the depth of the dive meets the wrath she archived Hope’s alive! It’s alive!
like a storm will arrive hear the clap, count to five stay informed to survive “It’s alive! It’s alive!”
dance to the, dance to the music of Chopin and waltz with me, waltz with me round a nice fantasy keep up appearances sentimentalities backhanded compliments blacking out promises
dance with me, dance with me turning me endlessly waltz to the, waltz to the mockingbird murmuring visitors’ vanities blushing with jealousy echoing, echoing over the wonderful fantasy
Today’s Meet the bar prompt at dVerse Poets Pub is to take a look at the waltz. I took this as inspiration to attempt a poem in dactylic meter. Dactyls are feet that are three syllables with the first syllable stressed, or long short short like a waltz.
My previous post, the last in my redrafting demonstration, was about emulating a poem or poet. Today, the Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub takes that to a whole new level. Laura challenges us to write a poem either about one of our favorite poets, or addressing a poet in direct voice. I think I’ll take a look at a couple lessons of the How Writers Write Poetry MOOC and see if one of the poets inspires me to write about or to them.
A Temporary Respite with James Galvin
May I share in your antidote? I’ll approach with pleasure pleasure of the somatosensory alphabet that provides temporary respite from knowing we’re going to die
It will be delicious delighting our senses five We’ll get to hear beautiful musics I won’t want just one I’ll want another one I’ll bring passion
I’ll drag it, pulling against a leash like a dog you don’t believe knows or fears death giving us something to survive for giving us a chance to stay alive better
The Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub is a great way to introduce the next step in my revision process. Ingrid challenged us to explore Narrative Voice. One of the first things I did in my poem review was look at the point of view and narrative of the poem. It isn’t very clear. The poem starts with “An impression,” but whose impression? Is it a general impression by the reader, everyone, the universe? Or is it one woman standing at the kitchen sink. While reviewing my poem, I also thought of the Andrew Wyeth painting above. I’m going to write a poem in my imagined woman’s narrative voice and see what that can add to the redraft.
Staring through the cracked pane
over the vast, yellowed field, the failed seal has left the view speckled, impossibly frustrating, like the black grout and stained porcelain the ruin of wear and age
somehow my fault my ineptitude as if any more scrubbing would discourage the fruit flies in the sink more than my reddened, sore, cracked hands do me.
These hands that used to capture the cosmos, fold fantasies, weave worlds, now swat, squish and scour, in fruitless and futile daily exercise toward demise.
I don’t hear the tractor Is it behind that bale? his sweat dripping on her skin it was never going to be the last time how will the bill’s get paid with only that seed sown?
An explosion, pressure shakes the pane the noise rings in my ears stops the world I step from my spiraling thoughts and see clearly how small my worries each a fruit fly in the sink
A solution, so long obscured by chores and basic needs now, in this chilling moment bright the truth of everything with underlying cause: He doesn’t love me this lack so erosive I can’t love myself
It’s scary, I shiver with the knowing there’s no going back What hateful words will escape my lips forever burning like the fading flower curtains around the uncleanable kitchen window behind me
The Pep Talk
Don’t be afraid to try every and all ideas. The exciting thing about this process, is none of it is cut in stone. Each and every version of the poem and those it inspires should be saved separately. I recommend creating a folder for the poem and saving after each change with version numbers. That way you can always go back and compare.
Finishing the Review
It has been a busy morning. I’m proud to say, I’m working through each step in the process. I did four mind maps and saw some very interesting overlap. It seems like such a simple task, and it is, but somehow it really works to generate ideas. Then I free-wrote around the best lines, thinking about my character and narrative which really helped me dive into my poem. I concluded that it’s actually better than I originally thought and helped me make some big changes already. The free-write also helped me finish the narrative poem above.
This process of going through revision with you is already helping me revise my process. So fun. While going through the review, I added “identify sensory details.” I’m so glad I did. In my free-write this morning, I explored some sensory details and came upon an idea that needed some research, so I’m going to add “do research” to the review process before redrafting.
Here’s my revised review checklist:
Identify POV, tense, form, voice
create a color key
identify sensory details
identify best lines
mark weak verbs & nouns
words to mind map
mark areas to expand
highlight cliche language
make easy cuts
choose what to edit to (theme, idea)
brainstorm alternate titles
make notes to guide re-write
do mind maps
free-write around best lines, character and narrative
write a narrative poem
A sample of the free-write
“It’s a snapshot, orienting the reader to someone irritated by fruit flies in the kitchen sink. She’s thinking a million different things when suddenly, something causes everything to stop. What is this trigger? Does it matter for this poem? Like I was thinking yesterday, it could be as tiny as a sparkle in a crow’s beak, or a certain trill in a bird’s song, or it could be as large as a tornado . . . or aliens landing on the lawn. For this poem, what makes the impression doesn’t matter. It happened, it stops everything.”
–Maria L. Berg’s morning pages 5/5/2021
The poem now
After all that work this morning, I have my first redraft. I hadn’t planned to make such large changes before going through the redrafting I already planned, but the mind-maps, free-write, brainstorming sensory detail, research, and narrative poem gave me some ideas. I’ve decided to give each of my revisions one of the alternate titles I brainstormed to try them out.
She stares out the kitchen window
An impression arrests fruit flies in kitchen sinks full of ideas frozen mid-irritation, like tinnitus of Meniere’s before the dizzying vertigo stepping out of a spiral, the view becomes clear, as if finally finding the source of wafting, permeating decay
Contentment empties the glue of flavor and steals the scissors of artistry but constant irritation and insatiable hunger remain to this arsonist of bridges with nothing I’ve left what indelible marks will topple to the tongue?
Refreshment wriggles among the moles under the tent of solitude having vacated the house with ideas, but left the kitchen sink to the fruit flies the dark, fresh-earth tunnels adumbrate new and curious spaces for contemplation where crawling, not seeing, may nourish new understanding
I had planned to continue to some more redrafting, but I hadn’t imagined the big changes I already made today. What do you think? Is the poem improved? Does it make more sense? I would love to hear your thoughts of the pros and cons of the changes while I let it sit until tomorrow. I hope you’re enjoying the process as much as I am.