Just now in future past

Janus Lego man
Janus Lego man – Maria L. Berg 2021

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to use words and concepts from Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary and the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction.

The PAD prompt is to use the words: convict, great, play, race, season, and voice. With an extra challenge of writing a sestina.

My Janus phrase for the A to Z challenge is:

just now
(1) A moment ago (past); (2) Now (in the present); (3) (Scotland, South Africa) In a little while (future).

From the entry for Janus in Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary:

Janus is represented with two faces, because he was acquainted with the past and the future; or, according to others, because he was taken for the sun who opens the day at his rising, and shuts it at his setting.

It really is fun when the prompts overlap so nicely.

In the Jumpspace of Janus

Just now, as Janus stares at both horizons with conviction,
the great fall, and the next rise to be great
in the eternal tail-biting race
the circuitous circuit at play
with each repeating season
an echoing voice

Just now in spring, a call of sweet voice
sings with reproductions conviction
which is, Janus blushes, the impetus of the season
building sharply until too great
to continue to ignore as play
panting and sweating before and after the race

Just now, still circuiting the race,
Janus coughs, having lost his voice
the tug of war is at barbarous play
both sides pulling with such conviction
to see them mud-splattered would be great
but the ionic repulsion is strong this season

And just now, Janus has forgotten the season
he has tripped and fallen during the race
seeing his tail so close and so great
he remembered the profound words he needed to voice
all of the accumulated knowledge believed with conviction
but then he wagged and forgot and wanted to play

Just now, Janus stares at daylight at play
so many sparkles and shadows this season
he has trouble focusing near or far with conviction
and his thoughts and memories spin and race
he longs to hear that one special voice
from his future past of somedays great

Just now, Janus will circle again feeling great
dizzy and heady from all this play
enchanted by so many echoes of his own voice
with similar words for each season
at this horizon he chooses to skip the race
and stretch his vision with conviction

To sing a great season
Janus will play, bringing hearts to race
just now, his voice is future and past’s conviction.

An Exchange of Letters

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a poem containing a letter and a response. The PAD Challenge prompt is a prime number poem.

Dear Sandman,
This is to extend
an open invitation
to come by tonight
and bring me a dream
I haven’t seen you
in such a long time
I am exhausted
please come

I’m afraid
I will have to pass
with the days getting longer
and the sand shortage
I have found myself stretched thin
please accept this missive
as a call to non-action
with my permission
to nap

Get into the Junk Drawer Song

Bokeh notes over some stain cleaning pads in the junk drawer.

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt called “Junk Drawer Song” is an interesting juxtaposition of thoughts on a song and the stuff in the junk drawer.

The April PAD Challenge is a “Get (blank)” title poem.

Over at the A to Z Challenge they linked to a bunch of random generators in hopes to inspire. My Janus word for today is incorporate (adjective) 1) having a body, having been incorporated; 2) having no body; incorporeal

Get Out of that Confined Mind

The drawer forms the junk incorporate
like that yellow-shagged square
that contained my pre-teen change-up
a lone D battery as solo as a wall-flower
hoping to show her power some day
under that battery, a collection of inkblots
half-hiding the instruction manual
for the Air Hawk Pro as if they
are the gateway to the subconscious–

where hips, hips and boobs
I don’t yet have, shaved armpits,
a whisper of stubble
she’s on the empty dance floor
the club on the first, small, odd
cruise ship, a trip flush
with firsts. She had it,
the seductive movement I didn’t
the easy knowledge of her body,
knowing everyone was watching
her and breathing it in
through her arms and hands
lifted above her head, lifted
toward the short ceiling

–I’ve been wondering where to look
for that manual because I need to check
my tire pressure, there’s an unopened
box of two, unused, multi-eraser
cleaning pads, I leave it there, unused
as if still choosing to keep the stains
like all the sit-ups in front of the antique
mirror behind the closed bedroom door
or the lit floor tiles on the busy dance floor
when I became incorporate and understood
the unhidden meaning my mother feared–

my breath so close, the rhythmic touching
not exactly accidental, though still innocent
One and two, three, four and
two three pause clap clap clap

–so much shoved in this drawer:
two long screws, one short, and a dime
all those unused padded envelopes
meant to hold CDs, my CDs
and the blue, plastic, kidney-shaped
Mayor for my pocket, a yelling voice
of Katrina survival whose batteries
have not yet gone dead
That man needs to yell “I am pissed.”
And I, obviously, don’t hear it
enough, or it creates
its own power

I love that I push those buttons now
and he yells out to the future me
in another state, because contained
doesn’t work for a dancer
who needs to prove her groove

What the Inanimate Need to Do

The NaPoWriMo prompt for today is to write an unusual character’s to-do list.

The PAD challenge is to write a persona poem for an inanimate object.

Over at A to Z the word is “hustle.” I’m feeling that. My Janus phrase for today is hold up which can mean to support or aid, or to hinder or impede.

Such a busy day

I’ll need to make a list
a to-do list
to keep everything straight
to keep me on track
I need to be sturdy
never wobble
stay grounded
to hold her dishes
while she stares out the window
at the mountain and waves
to hold up her elbows as she
holds her head
I need to be vast
never completely covered
to have space for her projects
her work, and her whims
constantly rotating
around my head
one side of the runner
to the other
I need to avoid banging
into her knees or feet
as she tends to bounce
and bruise easily
and I don’t feel a thing
I need to avoid spills
as today is too busy
for mopping up
or changing my cloth
but the most important thing
I need to do today
is be supportive
she needs me to
be here for her
standing straight
in quiet patience
and not hold her up
in any way
because today
is a very busy day

After Fleeting Moments Fly

Tree growing around a headstone
photograph by Maria L. Berg 2017

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is a bit odd (but timely since I found out last night that a friend died). We are to write a monologue poem delivered by someone who is dead.

Poem-a-Day prompt is a metaphor poem.

A to Z Challenge is Game. My Janus word is garnish: With food, the verb means “to add to”; with wages, it means “to take from”.

Because my friend and I got to know each other through a show I put together with Ernie K-Doe, I thought I would ruminate on some K-Doe lyrics while working on this.

Someday I’ll Wake Up and Say

You stoop in the leaves
garnishing the base of this tree
a long, long time
I rock and roll
down below
are the branches dancing?

The roots are
bass strings
I strum all night and day
I can’t tell you
I can’t explain
wake up and say
you should have
been there

wherever, wherever you are
while you’re waiting,
waiting a solution
susurrus advice
or contribution

You stoop so low
one more time
I rock and roll
down below
to me
they’re about
the same

Fun with Collective Nouns

A drawing of a wisdom of wombats

The NaPoWriMo prompt today is to choose a short line from a beloved book as the title of the poem, then once the poem is written, completely change the title. At first I had trouble deciding which book to draw from, but then my eyes rested on my beautiful copy of A Compendium of Collective Nouns from Woop Studios.

The A to Z Challenge is to write a sentence without the letter E. My Janus word is execute: to execute a person is to end their life; to execute a program is to start it.

Today is the first two for Tuesday at the Poem-a-Day Challenge:

  1. Write a change poem and/or
  2. Write a don’t change poem

Wise Wombat Moon

A wisdom of wombats
is said to have
a unique defense system

thus intrigued
I read on to learn
their prized wise way

like a gaze of raccoons, I turn
and rinse the text for clues

like a wriggle of worms, I churn
through the dark, rich words

like a blessing of unicorns, I home
the unique

like a doom of dragons, I stalk
their defense

then I find it,
the trove of treasure
the secret to their system

when under duress
what performance are the
wise ones uniquely wired to execute?

with thick cartilage
and lack of tail, they dive
into burrows headlong

leaving their predators
with nothing protruding
to grab onto

they do not change colors
like a lounge of chameleons

nor do they change spots
like a hypnosis of cuttlefish

they do not stand tall and growl
like a maul of bears

they do not bare their teeth and howl
like a pack of wolves

in other words
they turn [tail] and run
showing their hunters their bums

Oh, wise, wise
wombat moon
shine in the face of danger

a wombat in contemplation

Heightened Senses

image of a white flower bursting from fuzzy buds.
by Maria L. Berg 2021

The prompt for NaPoWriMo is a form prompt called “The Shapes a Bright Container Can Contain.” We are to emulate a poems shape/line lengths and use the same first letter of each line.

Over at the A to Z challenge there is a dice game of challenges and rewards. I’m enjoying their theme this year. I rolled two sixes, so my challenge is to visit 6 new blogs, and my reward it to take a nap! Looking forward to that.

Today’s Janus word is downhill. When referring to difficulty, it means “progressively easier”; but when referring to status or condition, it means “progressively worse.”

The April Poem-a-Day prompt is to title the poem “First (blank).” So talking about firsts today.

The poem I chose for the prompt is “When Love” by Alicia Ostriker which was the poem-a-day in my email from poets.org. For my title, I used my new Personal Universal Deck.

The First Gardenia Reverberates

When a favorite smell surprises
it reverberates
a memory

that invites the other senses
conspiring elation
askew reality

the true perception
revised
lifted and bright

the trigger of an avalanche
surging, downhill tumble
gracious grey matter

When a beloved smell bushwhacks
it bushwhacks
time and space

Liminal Imagery

image from Liminal Spaces @SpaceLiminalBot

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to choose an image from @SpaceLiminalBot to inspire a poem.

PAD Challenge: Write an active poem

Self-fulfilling

All of the shelves are empty
the end is near

nothing left to read here
the end is near

the light blotches in the blue carpet
lead the eye to the liner left in the trash can

under those letters had there
been apocalyptic fiction

escapist fantasies of survival
in a world after cataclysmic catastrophes

or catastrophic cataclysms
the end is near

the pink and yellow sale signs
taped to the columns remain

forever a testament
to a once bustling environment

but there is no one left
the end has come

Shuffling my deck

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt includes some arts and crafts. We are challenged to create a “Personal Universal Deck” of words, then use some in a poem. I also listened to an audio recording of Michael McClure giving a lecture explaining the deck. Sadly, it ends right before he’s going to discuss things that can be done with the deck. Some aspects of creating the deck that I found interesting are the words are to represent both your good and bad side in concrete basic grammatical units, and come from a meditative state. He describes the deck as creating an arranged derangement which echoes day one’s prompt.

Over at Blogging from A to Z C is for Card trick. After I create my Personal Universal Deck, I’ll have to teach it some tricks. My Janus word for today is critical which can mean vital to success (a critical component), or disparaging (a critical comment).

The April Poem-a-Day prompt is to write a communication poem. So I guess my card trick will be opening a dialogue with myself through the Personal Universal Deck without being too critical, or perhaps I will find the Deck a critical component of personal communication.

My Personal Universal Deck in Progress

Not trusting myself to truly choose the words from the list at random for the cards, I typed them up, printed them, cut them out and put them in a vase. I selected two out of the vase without looking, then pasted them to a card, one right-side-up at the top, and one upside-down near the bottom.

This aspect of the deck–having a word upside down–made me think of tarot cards in reverse direction. I thought about the “reverse position” of the words and what that might mean.

I’ve previously talked about Plotting with Tarot. Since there weren’t really instructions for how to use this new deck once I made it, I thought I would try applying some similar ideas. I was inspired by Michael McClure’s instructions to meditate on the past, present, and future to find the words, to use Arwen Lynch’s card draw in Mapping the Hero’s Journey With Tarot: 33 Days To Finish Your Book. The first card represents the present, the second card drawn represents what happened directly before the first, and the third is what happens directly after.

A Familiar Laugh

Her laugh, cut off when you entered the room,
continued to ring in your ears.
You would know that critical cackle anywhere.
So many tears shed
because that laugh was infectious
when at your expense.

Moments before you entered the room,
you had stared at your rain-soaked self
in the odd, corroding mirror in the hall,
and recognized not a dampened mess,
but a sparkling creation.

She is but a grain of sand
in your boot
as you climb.

#NaPoWriMo Day 2: A Different Choice

White bell flowers in front of over-lapping bokey squares of a segment of traintracks. A few stick out with yellow backgrounds.
The Golden Trail – bokeh photograph by Maria L. Berg 2021

The NaPoWriMo prompt this morning is to explore a road not taken. What would have happened if I made a different choice.

The PAD Challenge prompt is “What will the future hold?”

Over at A to Z they’re challenging writers to make bets with ourselves. I bet I can read and leave comments on five A to Z blogs today.

Today’s Janus word is buckle (1) To secure, tighten, hold (by fastening with a buckle); (2) to collapse after being acted upon by an external force, as in “to buckle under the strain.”

The Future Holds a Multitude of Choices

Choice swung a bat
at mailboxes
full of parasites
during the full worm moon
of Regret

While Regret visited
the ghost zoo
to stare through
the glass of
Free Will’s enclosure

While Free Will stalked the boundary,
Destiny twisted
in an office chair
at an enormous oak desk,
waiting for Will
to buckle

While Destiny swiveled,
Choice dropped the bat
and snatched a ruler
from Education
to measure
the distance
to Yes.

The NaPoWriMo prompt inspired me to grab my “tracks” bokeh filter that I created during OctPoWriMo last year and head outside. Since it is a cloudy morning, I took a selection of light strings and some extension cords along. Yesterday was the first time I strung my lights from the curtain rod to hang in front of the window and today is the first time I’ve taken them to shoot outside. I don’t know why it took me so long to try these things, but it looks like this NaPoWriMo is expanding my world of bokeh photography. Woohoo!

Yellow background bokeh train tracks and a few leaves in a an oblong globe of grey.
A Future Golden Trail – by Maria L. Berg 2021

I love how this path looks like it’s inside a crystal ball.

As I mentioned in another post from OctPoWriMo, Change of Perspectives, my camera has a cool built-in art feature that lets me filter for a primary color, leaving everything else grey scale. I mentioned playing with it yesterday, but it didn’t work with those pictures, so I gave it a try today and had some great results.

Black and white train track bokeh, a few with striking red backgrounds/
A Perilous Path – Maria L. Berg 2021

And this photograph made me think of the Lil Nas X vs. Nike controversy–Who the heck wants human blood in their shoes?