#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

NaPoWriMo

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

NaPoWriMo

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 6: Vanity by any other name

Garden of earthly delight lizards

Small section of Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch

Blogging A to Z

enharmonic – tones which sound the same pitch, but are written & named differently

NaPoWriMo

Prompt: “write a poem from the point of view of one person/animal/thing from Hieronymous Bosch’s famous (and famously bizarre) triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights.”

PAD Challenge

Prompt: Write a trap poem

The poem

A Giant Leap for Lizardkind

I alone among my brethren prepared for this journey
asking my mentor, Queen of the spiders
to fashion me a coat,
a protective armor to guard
my water-born fragile flesh
from the ground

At first, I was weary
of the bright reflective color
my sisters laughed at me
and shielded their eyes
but she assures me that I will
blend perfectly with the
pale flesh of the groundlings.

She thought of everything
protecting my head and neck
hiding my tail
While she spun at the water’s edge
she told me tales of the beings
I will encounter upon the land
It is important to blend in
and not be noticed, she explained
for they fear the unknown and
will lash out violently

I try to lead the way
to test the ground
perhaps mitigate the potential losses
because they would not head
my warnings and yet
are determined to leave home
but they rush ahead
as if the water they have known
boils their tails

I watch in horror as the first
of my kin are skewered
I slip into a crowd of ivory bodies unnoticed
and watch as my familiars are roasted
and devoured
I pity them

I hear a whisper
the spider queen
lowers herself on her silk strand
above me reaching
she tugs a thread at the front of my hood
near my eye it cinches tight
and she drags me up
up into her web
There was more than one predator on the land
I had trusted her
and she trapped me with my vanity

 

#NaPoWriMo Day 5: Twenty Little Moments

bokeh photography experiment with a wide angle attachment on a zoom lens

Galactic Unions photo by Maria L. Berg

I thought these prompts would be challenging, but once I decided on the abstract concept I wanted to explore for my metaphor, it really took me to some interesting places. I can see why I would visit this prompt again.

NaPoWriMo

Prompt: “Twenty Little Poetry Projects”

  1. Begin the poem with a metaphor.
  2. Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
  3. Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
  4. Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
  5. Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
  6. Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
  7. Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
  8. Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
  9. Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
  10. Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
  11. Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”
  12. Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
  13. Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”
  14. Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
  15. Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
  16. Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
  17. Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
  18. Use a phrase from a language other than English.
  19. Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).
  20. Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.

All in one poem.

PAD Challenge

Prompt: write a moment poem

The poem

She Used to Say Patience is a Virtue

Patience is a convertible in orbit
where stars joyride through the void
the new-car smell slowly expanding with the universe
the squeaky, sticky leather seats never to crack or fade
the roar of the engine forever in wait
the left blinker signals its eternal turning in the key of B flat
like Misty Copeland on a piano at a Prince concert

Learning patience is not in space
not floating around with a long expansive view
It is the lagniappe of a hard life
When the rat crawls out of the hole you’re squatting over,
you either stare it down and hold back a scream,
or catch it and eat it for dinner
Why make groceries when they come to you?

Supergirl will face death again,
but for now, she will avoid
searching out the blood-rat dinner
Because patience leads to tastier meals
without most of the hair still on.
Io. Iadro. Am go swanlay.
In other words: Hello. How are you? I’m going to shower.
The goats at my house cry like children.
But the orbiting patience vrooms around all of it
not seeing or hearing the small details
only the largest changes over the ages.

# 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

NaPoWriMo

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

 

# NaPoWriMo Day 3: Playing with Sounds

Water bones resized

Water Bones (2020) arrangement and photograph by Maria L. Berg

On my search for “chromatic notes” in nature around my house, I found this odd assortment of bones in the water and on the rocks nearby. I found one similar to the largest bone about two months ago. I believe they are fish bones, but they could be bird, so I played archeologist and made a fishbird.

Blogging A to Z

Today’s theme is playing with sound and creating a word bank, so my “C” music terms might make it into the poem today.

chromatic – chromatic notes are notes that do not belong to the diatonic scale (the key signature).

counterpoint – the texture resulting from combining individual melodic lines.

crescendo – gradually get louder

NaPoWriMo

Prompt: List ten words then use Rhymezone to find two to four similar or rhyming words for each to create a word bank to use in your poem.

I’ve used Rhymezone as my rhyming dictionary for a long time now, but I only used the “Find Rhymes” feature. I hadn’t explored any of the other options. It’s a whole new world. 🙂

For my word bank, I started with my three music terms then I grabbed the most recent literary magazines I have and turned to random pages.

From New England Review Volume 41 I added: single, picture, footprints, qualified

And from The MacGuffin Vol. XXXVI I added: manufacture, waiting, prickly

Turns out I chose some great words for this exercise, and now my word bank is so loaded, it could give out loans. However, an idea for how all those words want to combine into meaning still escapes me. Time to go walk around the house to find some inspiration.

PAD Challenge

Prompt: Follow (blank)
This prompt means to put a word or phrase after the word Follow as the idea for your poem.

The poem

Follow Along With The Chromatic Song

Sick of static, I searched aquatic
And found these bones

Chromatic notes in nature
An innuendo, a memento in the splendor
A flicker in the mixture becomes a picture
A fracture creating counterpoint to enrapture

The bones could be fishy but tricky
I find them acrobatic though tragic

Moving mountainside, I glide
Toward the prickly quickly
And manufacture a capture
Qualified to crystallize
A snatcher of pasture
But then a wrinkle

Concentrating, alternating surprise and confusion
Tempo and crescendo of the pulse intermingle

Equating verified with horrified
And sickly with crispy
I stared at the midpoint now a joint
Compromised alongside and single
So glad it has yet to intermingle with
my car or house or
Me, either waiting or lucky

 

#NaPoWriMo Day 2: A Place in Space

fabricglass textile art by Maria L. Berg

Broken (2006) fabricglass textile art by Maria L. Berg

Today’s prompts inspired me to pull one of the pieces I made after Hurricane Katrina out of the closet and take some pictures of it. The place in the space between the two figures represents a playhouse and a greenhouse separated by an entire country.

Blogging A to Z

Since today has a theme of place and space, I found some musical terms with that theme in mind for my “B” words:

Busker – a person who plays music on the street

Baffle – A free hanging acoustical sound absorbing unit. Normally suspended vertically in a variety of patterns to introduce absorption into a space to reduce reverberation and noise levels.

Bailecito – small dance

NaPoWriMo

Prompt: “write a poem about a specific place — a particular house or store or school or office.”

The resource for today led me to an interesting website Poets House. Since my internet was too slow to load the PDF recommended, I explored what else the website offered and was happy to discover Poetry Trading Cards which they paired with archived readings by the poets on the cards. What a great idea. Maybe later, in the middle of the night when all of my neighbors are asleep, my internet will work better and I can enjoy the Digital Chapbook Collection. It looks wonderful.

PAD Challenge

Prompt: write a space poem

Today, the two prompts fit together, in my mind, which creates a nice theme.

The poem

Finally, A Place of Bounty

The big house
an imagined paradise
made prison by heartbreak and circumstance
long before mandated isolation

With a beautiful view
now masked by clouds
fickle weather creates an excitement
that doesn’t deter mating water foul

Hail bounces off the grass
its black patches of dead moss
blemishes to evidence Dad’s last visit
surrounded by early dandelions and heather

Since my tragic arrival so long ago
I have saved this place from self-destruction
by tree root-blocked septic, rusted water heater,
spraying pipes that give up, so much water

As if my drowning
could manifest in a house
But now, as the world joins me
I want for nothing

I open a closet and find
the fun and forgotten
I haven’t hoarded; I can’t afford it
But what I hid from myself surprises

 

 

 

 

 

National Poetry Writing Month is Here!

Greet the day with song resized

Blogging A to Z

This year I wanted to do something a little different. I’ll still be exploring great words, but instead of new words I decided to concentrate on specific terminology. Every skill, concentration, study or craft has its own terminology. I thought I would add some music to my poetry by looking at the terminology of music from A to Z.

For my “A” words I’ll start with some words that express tempo (relative rapidity or rate of movement):

adagio – in a leisurely manner, slowly

allegro – brisk or rapid

andante – moderately slow and even, a walking tempo

NaPoWriMo

Prompt: “write a self-portrait poem in which you make a specific action a metaphor for your life – one that typically isn’t done all that often, or only in specific circumstances.”

My action ideas: downhill skiing, water skiing, synchronized swimming, encountering a bear in the wild.

Today’s resource is the Synaesthetic Metaphor Generator. It wasn’t what I expected. Most of the responses I received were neither metaphors nor similes, but after many tries I got a few that I liked:

as lime-green as incandescence
her nerves are ebony lava tubes
my cells are amber nebulae

PAD Challenge

Prompt: a new world

The poem

Shaky Legs

Dragged slowly behind
The push and pull threatens
as I try to control my wobbly knees
and coax my feet with their unwieldy extensions
into position against the current

At my signal
–when I believe I am ready–
I am yanked from buoyancy
only to flail and twist in the cold
losing my legs in every direction
to be slapped hard on the way down

The rope circles back around
I grab for it
Again I fight into the correct coil
then call on the power
to break through the surface tension
and skitter across the waves
all for that one moment of glassy calm
that feels like soaring

 

Klecksography- Today’s poem: Shelter at Home

Shelter at Home

For today’s poem I used the Sasquatch magnetic poetry kit.

This ink blot shows the nice copper iridescent paint in the Golden acrylics I talked about in my Happy Accidents post. Poetry month starts a week from today. Are you getting excited? What are you doing to prepare for your daily poetry challenge?

Happy Reading and Writing!

#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.