A Pretend Trip to Palouse

The NaPoWriMo prompt is to relax with a Skeltonic.

The Poem-a-Day prompt is to write a city poem.

Over at A to Z Challenge we’re reminded that this is a challenge and to Never Give Up! The Janus word is nonplussed.
It can mean so surprised and confused that one is unsure how to react or not disconcerted, unperturbed.

A Skewed View

completely nonplussed
this trip to Palouse is a bust
everything covered in dust
and the haunt cancelled, I trust
curse this wanderlust
but if I adjust
my view just a touch
to the rolling hills of lush green and rust
swirling and diving in natural flux
the sun piercing the clouds makes the dust
in a gust
sparkle like stardust

I Couldn’t Think of Anything: ended up with way too much

Every photo in this post is a micro-mystery that starts with “M”

I can’t believe we’re already at the halfway point. The days are flying.

There’s a free online writing conference this weekend starting tomorrow called WRITEHIVE. I signed up yesterday. There are free workshops and presentations all weekend. Did any of you attend last year? I hope you’ll join me. Let me know in the comments and I’ll look for you. Now to poetry!

Can you guess them all? Post in the comments.

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to a small habit picked up from a parent. Pushing through while journaling really got me somewhere I hadn’t looked before.

The PAD prompt is a title prompt “(blank) Story.”

Over at the A to Z Challenge they have a fun game of Magnifying Glass. I think I’ll get in on that as a fun photography challenge.

I present two Janus words today: mad and mean

mad can bean both in love with/crazy about, and very angry at

mean can mean a lot of things, but as a Janus it is both average and superior 😉

Our Projects’ Story

Dad had two private spaces
the den and the garage
I wanted in, to watch
but wasn’t allowed
I thought he was mean
I was mad I was a girl

His spaces were messy
his messy, our kind of messy
everything had a plan, a purpose
yet to be accomplished
a spark of an idea
that would be

What if he was protecting me
he worried the moment that I might
see there was a flaw
an issue for him alone
or he listened to voices
on that raspy radio

that he didn’t want me to hear
having adult, contrary thoughts
I wasn’t ready for, or
it’s very possible,
that both of Dad’s places
were experiments

full of his projects
and work and ideas
were his systems of
controlled chaos
competing experiments
engineered to find order

A girl-child–
a precocious, curious, tomboy
with her own creative mess
would be an added variable
a deviation, produce an outlier
muddle any useful findings

irreplicable results
rendering any formulas useless
The math, but a recording
of a wish unfulfilled
or rather an algorithm
for lies forgotten



From Where I’m Sitting, I Fill Up the Sky

Berg in Immediate Surroundings – by Maria L. Berg 2021

The NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a poem about the meaning of your first or last name.

The April PAD prompt is to write a poem inspired by your immediate surroundings.

My Janus word for the A to Z Challenge is left.
As a past tense verb, it means “to have gone”; as an adjective, it means “remaining.”

Because I’ve often written about the mountain (Berg in Swedish means mountain), I thought adding a structure or form would help inspire something unique, so I took a look at the Poetics prompt from yesterday over at the dVerse Poets Pub.

I’m glad I did, because it got me thinking about all the fun adventures I’ve had on the mountain and the animals I’ve met there. Kim’s prompt was inspired by the poem The Print the Whales Make by Marjorie Saiser as was my poem.

close-up photograph of Mt. Rainier
Berg – by Maria L. Berg 2021

Black Bear’s Branch

I freeze. You haven’t seen it yet
the thick, dark fur tucked among the fir trunks
We are too close, my heart jackhammers
with fear and fascination
Is that how we are:
a dangerous shape
a few steps off the path?
Too late. Can’t go back.
But looking up at those sky-filling slopes
with awe, I remember
the deer and the fox prancing
also encountered there
and the way the bear licked
at the grass, not bothered
by the branch still attached
to his bum, so peacefully grazing
I didn’t notice him
until I had left him behind
on the return path
he wasn’t interested in me
and my fear of black bears
in dark forests of fascination
on the sky-filling slopes
slanted sunlight on snow
glinting promise
of new bear sightings
another day

Tomorrow’s Headline

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a poem in the form of a news article you wish would come out tomorrow.

Today’s PAD Challenge is the second two for Tuesday:

  1. Write a lucky poem and/or…
  2. Write an unlucky poem.

Over at the A to Z Challenge they encourage a quick game of Klondike solitaire to let the mind wander a bit when you need a break. My Janus word for today is killer which can mean something or someone that takes life, or in its slang usage can mean something challenging to do or something excellent.

Today’s prompts inspired some arts and crafts. I began today’s poetry journey by pulling some old local papers from my fire-fuel pile and began hunting for inspiration. Since the local Courier-Herald is mostly full of stories about kids sports and I couldn’t even find the word “luck” in there, I quickly lost interest, so I tried a different source. When I was taking the Futures Thinking specialization courses on Coursera, I signed up for some Futurist newsletters. I found my inspiration from a link in the Science X Newsletter that led me to Phys.org. I found a few different articles that interested me, printed them and then got to work.

Today’s poem about tomorrow’s headline used the following sources:

The role of hydrophobic molecules in catalytic reactions by Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum

Using near-field optical microscopy to conduct real-time evanescent wave imaging by Bob Yirka , Phys.org

Megafauna extinction mystery unlocked by Flinders University

Researchers find bubbles speed up energy transfer by Elaina Hancock, University of Connecticut

(images used are public domain)

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