What color is your portal? Change it with online paint chips.

I opened a portal

I opened a portal (2020)                 bokeh photograph by Maria L. Berg

Yesterday I started a new Coursera course: Songwriting:Writing the Lyrics with Pat Pattison through Berklee College of Music. One of the first lessons conceptualized a song as three boxes, stacked with the smallest on top. The top box fitting inside the middle box and both fitting in the bottom box. He used this imagery as the build and progression of the song.

I liked how he used “the boxes” and thought it would be a good way to approach a poem, so I thought I would take a look at what was going on at #dVerse Poets Pub to inspire some words to put in my boxes.

I felt like the #dVersepoetics prompt presented by HA: About Portals, was perfect for my poem. I talked a bit about portals and doorways while I was Excavating my mind. The prompt inspired me to open a portal in the side of the house and capture some photographs of the dimensions on the other side.

Where we can see the virus

Where We Can See The Virus (2020)    bokeh photograph by Maria L. Berg

Where there are tiny dinosaurs in the trees

Where There Are Tiny Dinosaurs In Trees (2020) bokeh photograph by Maria L. Berg

I thought I would combine my portal ideas with Linda L. Krushke’s Paint Chip Poetry Prompt. I was looking for interesting color names a couple weeks ago for a poem, but didn’t find what I was imagining. The paint chip poetry prompt got me thinking and I searched again. Sherwin-Williams color families is exactly what I was looking for, so many creative color names with history and symbolism and oddity. It’s great. I can also explore Behr’s colors.

Armed with great inspiration, I lost all energy and interest 🙂 But I came back to it this morning, so I’ll call that a win.

The poem

Portals to here

Doors block and stop
when closed and locked hold
secrets and mysteries, create
yearning and discomfort, force

vocal expression out of context
the imagination runs rabid,
but when the key is found
and the door creaks, cracked

upon its hinges, it becomes
but a frame, lines and angles
to accentuate or break
the nouns within

Portals are but separators,
organizations to define
yours from mine from ours,
space from time, earthly from divine

find the vibration to pass
through the membrane,
concentrate, believe, transform
pass through to here

How long will it take to
notice the subtle differences
What color is your portal now?
Is it the drab aloe vera of the desert house

where I shaved my head
for the first time, or is it marine
like the flap of my tent I call the hurricane
that accompanies me on all my travels

did you walk through the door
that glowed like a sunset behind
the intricate carving of the head of Medusa
that I continued to visit every day in Venice

or is your portal no color at all
a carved opening in a cliff dwelling
showing the complete eclipse
where you look down through infinity, trapped

Monday Quadrille – Mr. Fix-it

Since I finished my short story draft for the Writer’s Games and need to let it sit a bit before the final edit, I thought I would wander over to the dVerse Poets Pub where it’s Monday Quadrille day. Today’s word to put into my 44 word poem is “fix.”

tools of physical labor

Mr. Fix-it

He has always been Mr. Fix-it
he can fix anything
every motor, structure, even nature
bends to his will eventually

But this time admit
he can’t fix this
the right part isn’t online
WD40 won’t loosen this screw
no spray will discourage this scourge

Excavating the Mind Round 2: The poem, the sequential mass

Amazing headlines and a burlap sack

 
I read across the yellowing paper under the burlap sack “Attraction Dear Reader Israel-Syria River Fastest Gun JFK To Head”

across from these headlines the fuzzy blue face admires,
casually aware of thumb tacks
ironic placement comes to light,
reminding me of cyclical efforts to tirelessly beckon sleep
and the weight that killing germs has taken on, so quickly changing focus
of mortal fears and intentions

Is the sky half full or empty when the clouds part only on my right?
wet makes the world reflective
I missed the camellia’s dance on the wind that must have caressed it
with strong gusts to deposit it so far from its bush.
Here, alone in loveliness, swirls of gaudy pink and white,
showing off its golden sex, it punctuates the pavement
But I can imagine the rhythm which lingers
in the metronomic drips of the accumulated leftover rain
microscopic twirlers within the droplets, like the camellia
her shocking cotton-candy petals betray her; she wants to fit in.
The relationship falters when she blooms; her strength and beauty overwhelm.
In a world of gigantic rhododendrons, this flower became a tree.

squatting down to see his world
new perspective’s surprises unveil
a small bit of crumpled foil on the walk so out of place like drugged teens
the follower staggers, attempting to communicate released control
he leads to places I can’t follow
and only pops his head out when I’m too slow
A canyon created, mysterious geological event.
Moss and detritus of trees collect on and in his new surfaces.
from here I see rot and damage near the base
but sometimes rot fuels new life, hope to feed a future
new points of view open whole new worlds, untouchable mysteries
he rears up, pounces on the unseen, again and again

Accumulating colors into the big box of crayons with the sharpener,
crayons juxtaposed with Miracle Gro Shake and Feed tell the story
of my nephew’s attention,
the hand drawn labels, his symbols of language
renaming my vegetables to be
adding the stove to the picture induces my own childhood
melting crayons between waxed paper to grow layers of color
to scratch away rainbow scenes of Halloween witches and jack-o-lanterns
trick-or-treating through the black layer of night

Joyful memories collect in a glass jar of buttons,
my precious gift from my mother who knows me so well,
a history of someone else’s sewing life, leftover closures,
one or more than needed for a loved one’s shirt, dress or coat,
or that one article of clothing wanted but too dear to afford,
replicated by a skilled hand over weeks or months,
this jar of time and intimate design found its way to a sink
next to a vacuum for cleaning a computer that,
at this angle, looks like a robot’s foot also by a sink,
a sink that dripped so it is turned off,
a useless sink, except for its shadow, swan-like, gliding to the jar,
to inspect the colorful contents, to peck and pry the lid,
to crave one button so entirely that it must pluck it in its beak
and taste its story only to enjoy the taste
of that story’s longing so thoroughly that it glides
down its throat and sticks there, choking and gurgling

Music, the skeleton key to memory, to emotion, to the subconscious,
enhancing the flavors of attention and mood
This decorative, vintage key I wear around my neck, the one
that opened our practice room in the old hotel that burned
or the small, recognizable key I called “the key to my heart” with a sly smirk
Music tempers all these keys, opens their doors with new light
flooding each room, perching on different objects each time
a blue note, turned orange by the days, alights a prism of shadows
the crooner’s microphone croons alone, a symbol of passions
warm vibrations again to come
I bob and sway to children’s songs of other lands
in the same way I move to your jazz variations
with joy of place and sound, with wonder and understanding,
I have no choice but to dance in my seat,
putting weight in my pelvis and shoulders, knowing my gut and my breast

I want to play, I search for toys and find
tiny soldiers hiding among the stones of the hearth
I want adventure and wander among the cinders inside the fireplace
goslings arrive as if to accentuate my childishness, so fluffy
this time the geese, now parents, don’t linger for photographic evidence
from the best side

Music holds history like a jar of buttons. A sound, the design of an age,
revealing tools, technologies, politics and fads
all revealed in only the first few notes of a needle on vinyl,
reminding me of a very different world view.
My innocent, naive openness, my rosy oneness
fueled by false advertising and deceptive equivalencies.
Her voice influences the lighting. His piano changes how I see.
The saxophone transports me through time,
then when the needle stops, I stop. I can’t go on with this manipulation.
I need silence, to rest and reflect. To clean up my mess.
Two lifetimes later, I remember everything
was in gelatin and the water tasted like iron,
but I can’t forget the man begging me for my ticket to the buffet

fresh goslings

Happy Reading and Writing!

Excavating the Mind: The poem, the sequential mass

Don't look down

The Dark-Eyed Junko’s Alert

He greets me for the morning game of follow the leader
don’t leave the door open, space will fill
light paints the world with shadow
our observations manipulate what we observe
captured in every reflective surface,
our shadows join the trees’
across the grass, the water, each other

Flowers steal focus, the little I have left
with shocking leopard-print spots dripping dew
and inviting fragrance on the slightest breeze
tickling my nose with soft petals and stamen
yellow dots of pollen cover
procreation fills the air

I chase the birds that chase each other
loudly displaying their worth
The geese pay me, my camera, and my feline companion no mind
The Dark-Eyed Junko’s alert: loud, short and sharp
is a song compared to Bewick’s Wren’s screams
like a fire alarm in a hotel
the huge call from its tiny, fluffy body amuses

Life punctuates the world with sound
the clear calls on one side of the house
like a volley, a game of table tennis, from the other

With everything blooming and growing new life,
the dead ivy on the side of the cedar
clings like a bad omen

upon closer look, mysteries abound in the mundane
That buoy is a clown nose on the lake
a fox head pounces in the movement of the water
What is that roll of hair in the fire-pit?
dissection only reveals more questions
rusted bolts and nails joined in concrete, resting on a rusting pail
(Why would anyone keep that?)
strangely phallic, yet looks like a human heart

Suds on the water surprise
gathering on only one side of the dock
pulsing against rocks, sharp edges and crevices
the bubbles do not pop
evidence of the folly of man’s
attempt to control nature
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly
murky and choppy, the light swerves and curls
like tracing an oil slick,
golden snakes on the slate surface whisper
another omen
the lake does not invite today

My companion becomes impatient, he wants to wander on
He has accrued his own follower
We now play follow the follower of the leader
or follow the leader who follows the leader

my reflection shows up in unexpected places
patterns in nature-repetitions with slight variance
insights lead me back to previous observations
because sometimes it’s fun not to be in focus
and certain illusions can’t be photographed

taking pictures through doorways only re-shapes the frame
a truly different perspective is needed for change
objects joined in space invoke history
a juxtaposition of the absurd: my meaning

We three wander again
each unique but not unique
exploring an order of chaos
creating our pattern of observing
thus changing natural patterns
seeing through to the dramatic
light behind the subject
which has become a subject through our looking
then looking through
illuminating its veins, stems, roots
we pause, observe it from above, below and every side,
capture its light
never the same

 

I shared this poem with dVerse Poet’s Pub’s Open Link Night.

Next Week

I really enjoyed Excavating the Mind and think the challenge of repeating the exercise will force the observations deeper. So starting tomorrow, I’ll begin a new set of observations, for five days this time with drafting on Saturday and another poem next Sunday.

I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Dramatic Interplay: Poem for dVerse Poets Pub

When I finished my observations post for today, I went to my wordpress reader to see what other writers were up to and saw Frank Hubeny’s prompt for the dVerse Poets Pub. The prompt is to write a poem of fourteen lines.

Since my week of observation is almost up and I’ll need to turn it all into a poem soon, I thought I would test out some observation-to-poem by putting together a few of today’s observations into fourteen lines.

Dramatic Interplay

A morning, exploring light and shadow
backlit life turned to space
to dive into
shadow painted leaves and lilacs
on walls, over mountain murals
and in my mind
I look behind
the subject to focus
on the light
the blur and glow
excite the drama
each click dramatic
scene in contrast
light painting of the in between

 

#NaPoWriMo Day 30: When Zeal Returns

I thought a couple of my fabric glass light boxes were nice illustrations for today’s return poem, but the way they were hanging on the wall wasn’t conducive to the photographs I wanted, so I rearranged them. It felt weird, but good, pulling them off the wall and swapping them around, plugging them in and enjoying them in a new way.

The poem

When Zeal Returns

Zeal returns at the break of dawn
before realization or consequence yawn

like a child on a swing who
soars and falls
higher and faster until
she tires or jumps
trying to fly
only to crash

Zeal returns with an ember of creation
before impossibility or discouragement’s gestation

like a comet it lights
my sky
for a while
its tail a dying
as it travels
from sight

Zeal returns when discovering the forgotten
before loss and grief get a word in

like a yo-yo on a frayed string
the return feels like
skilled control until
snap
it rolls
away

Zeal returns when it does
passion and zest without cause

like flowers and leaves
sun and rain
in the spring
bring a will to begin
something, anything
and clean and plant
to kneel in the dirt
let go
of the hurt and
turn my face, arms extended
to the wind until
it burns

Then zeal returns

 

A to Z Challenge

zither – a musical instrument consisting of a flat wooden sound box with numerous strings stretched across it, placed horizontally and played with the fingers and a plectrum (any implement for plucking a string, such as a small piece of plastic, wood, etc.). It is used especially in central European folk music.

zydecoPopular music of southern Louisiana that combines French dance melodies, elements of Caribbean music, and the blues, played by small groups featuring the guitar, the accordion, and a washboard.

Looking for a good definition of zydeco got me going through my personal collection of not only zydeco music, but a beautiful art collection by Earl Hébert. His warm joyous paintings of Louisiana life brightened my days. His studio was next to Royal Rags, the costume shop I worked at in the French Quarter. His beautiful book Zydeco Shoes includes his paintings, recipes, and a CD of zydeco by The Lucky Playboys “Plus d’chance–Que d’esprit” meaning More Luck–Than Sense. 🙂

NaPoWriMo

Prompt: Write a poem about something that returns

What a wonderful way to end this poetry challenge. I’m listening to zydeco, admiring beautiful paintings by an old friend and thinking about the return of zeal, passion, and zest for life.

PAD Challenge

Prompt: write a praise poem

Shelter in Poems, a virtual reading this evening!

Shelter in poems April 30 2020

Free virtual Event                 April 30, 2020 7:30 EDT

Academy of American Poets has an event tonight. What a great way to end NaPoWriMo. I was surprised to see names like Dulé Hill and Dan Rather on the list. I look forward to seeing which poems they read.

Enjoy This Day! Treat Yourself to some Great Poetry!

#NaPoWriMo Day 29: The penultimate poem

The poem

Total Trickster

It’s a complicated relationship
but then, isn’t every relationship–complicated
We keep it casual
He wanders over on a whim
takes a nap on my porch
either in the chair where I like to read
or the cushion on the bench
When I notice him,
I go out to say Hello
sometimes, when I open the door,
he’ll waltz right in

He’ll snuggle up to me,
put his head on my leg as I work
I cherish this time and try not to move
because if I do, he’ll leave
He gets mad if I go to the bathroom or if I eat
More often these days,
when I think we’re enjoying each other’s company
he lashes out at me
his moods change so quickly
I am often caught off guard
the language barrier can be frustrating

At the moment, he is inside my bass drum
a sign that he wants to hide
from the world as much as I do
Yesterday, I didn’t realize he was there
I thought he was outside
and he appeared in the middle of the day
The way he strutted across the room
I think he enjoyed surprising me

He’s a total trickster
changing the whims of the wind
with the flick of his tail
like Coyote, he draws in the fool with false wisdom
like the one-eyed pirate with a see-through eye patch
he prowls

He has trained me well
I do tricks for his affections
provide treats at his command
slide and click, slide and click
the glass door to his whims
all for a moment more
with this elderly feline
who chooses my company
over the chaos at home

A to Z Challenge

Yu – “An interval of the Chinese scale. The ancient Chinese divided the octave into twelve equal parts, like the semitones of our chromatic scale, which were called lu. Their scale, as commonly used, consisted, however, of only five notes, which were called koung, chang, kio, tché, and yu, and which corresponded to our F, G, A, C, D; koung or F being considered to be the normal key.” (from cambridge.org)

NaPoWriMo

Prompt: high praise to your pet

PAD Challenge

Prompt: Total (Blank)

#NaPoWriMo Day 28: When there is nothing but memories

Screenshot_2020-04-28 'In one ear and out the other' Poster by marialberg

In One Ear and Out the Other print from photograph of fabric glass by Maria L. Berg staged by Redbubble

The poem

The Best Rooms Are Too X-rated

Thinking through the bedrooms
so many bedrooms
moving and moving
trying to make something mine
I tried to settle on one
to mentally linger, loiter
describe in detail
like a capsule through time

I wanted it to be a happy place
full of growth and creative industry
accomplishment or at least good dreams
and for a moment I settled on your room
that first room
with only a mattress on the floor
we sat together in the chair
and blew bubbles through the fan
That room didn’t need anything else
for a few weeks

Then I thought of our room
before the storm
the tall ceilings and

I realized that all of the best rooms
the very best rooms
are too X-rated
to describe in this public space
for prying eyes
to savor
and embrace

The prompts

A to Z Challenge

X bracing – a constructional characteristic of a steel-string flat-top guitar established as standard by Martin around 1850.

𝄪  the symbol for a “double sharp” which means to play the note 2 half-steps higher

NaPoWriMo

Prompt: write a poem about an old bedroom

PAD Challenge

Prompt:

  1. Write a look back poem and/or…
  2. Write a don’t look back poem. Because some folks just want to keep their eyes on the road ahead.

Reena’s Exploration Challenge

This morning, I found another prompt that I found inspiring. Over at Reena Saxena’s site, prompt # 131 is a quote that I could really relate to.

He had lost everything of value to him. There was an empty canvas on the easel, his colors and tools. What would he paint?

After Hurricane Katrina, when I had lost everything, I used fabric as my canvas. I had been working on an original technique of sewing layers and cutting that, when finished, looks like stained glass, thus “fabric glass.” The image at the top of the post “In One Ear and Out The Other” symbolizes trying to take all the bad and turn it into good.

My original pieces are all one of a kind, but I took pictures of them and loaded them onto Redbubble.com where they make them into prints, cards, clothing, pillows and other products.

 

#NaPoWriMo Day 27: Massive Wonderment

Gigantomachy

Massive Wonderment (2018) photograph by Maria L. Berg

The poem

A Review of Wonderment

At first glance, it can be confusing
and a little bit scary
the rush of heightened perception
opening the senses to floods of emotion
when facing the tremendous unknown

The impressive beauty of discovery
sparking the creative mind to
sort through the behemoth array
of memories and form
new associations
each texture astronomical
each smell pythonic

In moments of wonderment
it becomes easy to sit peacefully
without imposing hurry
and enjoy each herculean sight

I applaud wonderment its mighty perseverance
its elephantine stubborness
and ability to always stay in front
of the latest trends and fads

If I must find fault
it would be that sometimes
a sense of wonder can be too massive
overwhelming, even exhausting
but that is a warbly criticism
for sleep brings recovery
So bring on the wonderment
gigantic and colossal
Highly recommended

A to Z Challenge

whole step – interval of major 2nd, two half-steps between

wah-wah – is an imitative word (or onomatopoeia) for the sound of altering the resonance of musical notes.

warble – (of a bird) sing softly and with a succession of constantly changing notes.

NaPoWriMo

Prompt: a poetic review of something not usually reviewed

PAD Challenge

Prompt: write a massive poem

#NaPoWriMo Day 26: A Day Can Change So Quickly

the mountain's fickle hats

The poem

The Changing Days

A day can change so quickly
the sun slips behind the clouds
limbs break in the wind
becoming glass-shattering projectiles
the house floods, or burns, or burns while flooding
families shrink or grow
chairs are shifted around the table

Change will always happen
childhood dreams fleeting
take a lifetime to achieve
and once achieved warp and grow gargantuan
like Carl Jung discovering the matrix–
the simulation is now a garden snake
chasing its tail

How do we value change?
as dear as flying horses to fairy tales
or garbage to seagulls
as feared as homelessness
or a leader’s dangerous idiocy?

A day can change like
the whims of Mt. Rainier’s cloud hats
or a stain finds satin on a walk to school.
The cardio-glide found on the roadside
pairs well with cheese and wine,
so it does not produce change,
not this day
however, the vinyl records and books
do well to lighten the mood
because a day can change so quickly

 

The prompts

NaPoWriMo

Prompt: “Almanac Questionnaire”

PAD Challenge

Prompt: Write a change poem