#NaPoWriMo Day 22: Fun With Idioms


Netherlandish Proverbs (1559) Pieter Bruegel the Elder

The poem

Pay The Duck

Quit throwing cream into their eyes
and blowing little ducks
the thief has a burning hat
and is pushing the facts with his belly
but the pussy cat will come to the tiny door

We see whose mother is spinning black wool
he’s in a drifting boat with the bark falling off
and he keeps hanging noodles from his ears
but slippery ground does not recognize a king
and the frog in the well does not know the great sea

Did an elephant stomp on his ear
or are his ears lined with ham?
Some still have tomatoes on their eyes
They bought a cat in a sack
who put fleas in their ears

Stop ironing my head
empty barrels make the most noise
out here at the end of the world turn left
because the carrots are cooked
and it’s time to pay the duck


The prompts

A to Z Challenge

slur – a curved line over or under two or more notes. Played legato without tonguing or changing bow direction
staff – 5 lines and 4 spaces on which notes are placed
staccato – the note is separated and played shorter with space between notes


Prompt: find an idiomatic phrase from a different language or culture, and use it as the jumping-off point for your poem

PAD Challenge

Prompt: write a quirk poem.

#NaPoWriMo Day 17: Obsolete Tech Not Yet Forgotten

artistic interpretation of the corona virus

If we could see the virus one (2020) bokeh photography by Maria L. Berg

I woke up still angry at the guy that came to my door and rang and knocked and knocked until I went up and yelled, “who is it” and he said “pest control.” After yelling, “I don’t need your services,” through the door, I knew he would go next door, so I ran to my backyard and watched him. No gloves, no mask, banging on the door. I yelled, “they don’t want your services either,” and he had the gall to say, “when will they be home? So their on vacation?” What is wrong with people?

I tried to let it go, but I encountered two attempted murderers (in my neighborhood (including coffee nose guy) in under a week. I do feel for people who need to work, but knocking on doors right now to represent pest-control is not only ironic, it’s deadly.

It felt like time to create a virus bokeh filter. I looked at a microscopic photograph of the virus and attempted to get the outer shape, then added wire for those distinctive fuzzy triangles. The wire shifted in this photo, but I still think it’s an interesting first attempt. My idea is to do a series of images outside when the light is right on the water, with the idea of what would we do differently if we could see the virus.

A to Z Challenge

octave – the interval between two tones with the same letter name which are eight steps apart in the key

obertas – round dance in fast 3, performed wildly. Also called oberek

obertaste – black key on the piano (German)


Prompt: Write a poem that features forgotten technology

PAD Challenge

Prompt: Write an exotic poem

The poem

Obsolete Tech Not Yet Forgotten

During this pandemic,
with renewed interest in recording,
I have discovered
what was once the most expensive,
latest and greatest,exotic, must-have
equipment, is now forgotten tech

Things change so quickly
in this digital age
though analog is always
better in the ear
tech is a tool to make everything
easier and faster
but greed makes it useless in
under a year

This became clear two weeks ago
when I made Big Ben chime on watervases
I pulled out my M-Audio to record
my stunning accomplishment
to learn that there were no drivers made
since 2011 and those wouldn’t work with my system
Why, humans why? Monsters, why do you do this?
For three days, old chatrooms became home.

I conquered in the end
and believe me, my friend
I am the queen of my empty space
I can’t use Print Music
or my old video games
that I bought with good money
all those years ago
but I can record any noise that I want
and post it to SoundCloud or some other Spot
to give it away for free, I guess
because no one buys music anymore.





#NaPoWriMo Day 8: A crooked line

a new idea

A to Z Challenge

glissando – to slide: playing a very fast scale by a sliding movement

grave – very slow


Prompt: Start with a line from another poet.

PAD Challenge

Prompt: Write a future poem

The Poem

(first line from anne carson bot)

A future voice in the dark

I am asking you to study the dark
to glimpse a future,
a glissando played grave
on the backs of eyelids

Is the crooked line imagined?
this jag in the path
weighted with time
grooved with new purpose

a texture, an echo
soft, small comforts
a distant tune of
what might have been

#NaPoWriMo Day 7: I read the news today, Oh Boy.

Collage illustration of poem

The Moon is Mine (2020) collage by Maria L. Berg

Blogging A to Z

I am not doing a great job of bringing my musical terms into my poetry, but they are still fun words to explore. Maybe I’ll use them to write little micro-fictions instead. That could be fun.

I recently read that April is also International Guitar Month, started in 1987 to promote retail guitar sales. Though I am not in the market for a guitar, I did find this fun playlist from NPR Celebrate International Guitar Month With These Guitar Greats.

This got me thinking about MoPop (It used to be the Experience Music Project) in Seattle. I headed to there website, but they don’t have virtual tours, so then I looked around for who did have virtual tours and found some fun ones:

Joe Bonamassa’s Vintage Guitar Studio Tour (this one made me say Whoa)

The National Music Museum

The National Blues Museum (this is the kind of virtual tour I had hoped to find at MoPop)

The David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) Guitar Collection

Musical Instrument Museum (this one is a little tricky to navigate, but worth the effort)

And there are more. I found an intriguing international collection at musicandenglish-interactivelearning.

I may end up spending quarantine in the Liszt Academy. Yep. This is now my mind palace. It’s amazing.

I cannot figure out how a single person can be bored. There is so much to explore. My time is flying by. I could spend an entire day in only one of these museums. Except now I’m never leaving Liszt Academy, so that could be a problem. 😉

Today’s musical terms:

fermata – a musical symbol that indicates to hold/pause on a note, played as long as the performer/director wishes

forte – loud

Fine – end of the song, stop here


Prompt: a poem based on a news article

I cannot believe that during this unprecedented time of pandemic, when people are suffering and dying, losing loved ones and family members; medical professionals are desperate for supplies and people are bartering with toilet paper; the president of the United States thought it would be appropriate to sign an Executive Order on Space Resources. That’s right, he wants to profit from space mining. That is what he’s thinking about.

Quote from the “fact sheet” :

“Outer space is a legally and physically unique domain of human activity, and the United States does not view space as a global commons.”

So he makes a Space Force then creates a reason for there to be wars for it to fight? What a horror show. Does he think The Emperor from Star Wars was the good guy? Or does he just like his looks?

I also happened upon an article showing that we can’t even manage the National Laboratory at the International Space Center: Report criticizes management of ISS National Laboratory. I’m sure we’ll get it all sorted out before the death star is fully functional.

PAD Challenge

Prompt: pick a piece of clothing, use it as your title

The poem

The Business Casual Space Suit

The man is on a mission
Talk about an ill-fitting suit
He has a moon to conquer
and another planet to loot

The man needs a taller tower
and his snake oils are now lunar
His wreckage is universal
powders promise to get you there sooner

The man without compassion
inspires every greedy crook
but they don’t break any laws
because in space he re-wrote the book

The man is on a mission
His suit feels bulky, flattens his hair
He can’t wait to bounce on the surface
and remove his helmet when he gets there.


# NaPoWriMo Day 4: Dreams and Wishes

double ink blot with acrylic paint

Dreamscape (2020)                             acrylic inkblot and photo by Maria L. Berg

I wrote a song called Haunting Dreams that I recorded with Maria and the Aftermath on our album Selective Memories. I uploaded it to HitRecord which is a fun site for artistic collaboration. I think it fits nicely with this theme.

Blogging A to Z

diminuendo – gradually get softer

dolce – play with a sweet tone

dynamics – variations in degree of loudness and softness, shading


Prompt: Write a poem based on an image from a dream

PAD Challenge

Prompt: Write a wish poem

The poem

Dreams and Wishes

Dreams and wishes
echo unfulfilled desires
remnants of reaching
into the vast unknown
only to find a silent ache

Wishes like fishes
swim around in
the collective unconscious
looking for tasty bait
that will hook
and draw them wriggling
to the surface
for a last gasp
only to die

Dreams are the streams
where hope battles
against the current
guided by biological
determination to
fertilize and duplicate
and once spawned
wither and die
decay and wash away

Be diligently weary
of wishes
and find a way
to keep REM sleep at bay
for the promises
dangled by those shimmering
glimpses in the night
are but slimy scales in the light