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

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!

#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

#NaPoWriMo Day 22: Fun With Idioms

netherlandish-proverbs

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

NaPoWriMo

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 21: International Love with Wordplay

a collage of Starry Night by Van Gogh and cut outs from Arabian Nights illustrations by Virginia Frances Sterrett (1900–1931)

Starry Art Deco Arabian Nights (2020) collage and photo by Maria L. Berg

When Maya and I first started Artifact Puzzles, she had the idea of creating a series of smaller puzzles that went together into a large puzzle. She made prints of these beautiful illustrations to Arabian Nights, but even as small puzzles, the dpi of the images wasn’t high enough, so we moved on to other ideas.

As a person who loves stickers and art, I still have those original prints and found a fun use for them today. Since my sister and mother both recently did my Starry Night puzzle (and both complimented the difficulty and the shapes); I had it on my mind.

The prompts

A to Z Challenge

rallentando – gradually getting slower
ritard – gradually get slower
rubato – (robbed) flexibility in the speed of certain parts of composition

NaPoWriMo

Prompt: Find a poem in a language that you don’t know, and perform a “homophonic translation” on it.

Today’s resource Poetry International

I would like to visit Indonesia, so I chose an Indonesian poem called Winter Festival by Afrizal Malna

I didn’t get through the whole Winter Festival poem (not even half), but I got a lot out of it. This prompt

is a great creative challenge and gave me a lot to work with.

PAD Challenge

Prompt:

  1. Write a love poem and/or…
  2. Write an anti-love poem. Because some folks just aren’t that into love poems.

The poem

inspired by Winter Festival by Afrizal Malna from the Indonesian

Cooping Picasso

Peck away, bank men are ye
took her away, lock and key
took her away, lock and key
Man, a sorry thank you?
not coos (or woos)?

Oh rang, Oh rang Berg auntie – muddy
kept a lock to tear us up
or talk the alarm
bang a gong raw
Maui, purge ye

Hen, draw many a moo
can cooping Picasso
Ya ain’t been cock of the museum, Ludwig
Ma can, Peeling Polly
Take knee gear, Ia

Hit ham separately
language, dull lamb, multitudes
separate language, dull lamb
multitudes celibate
take one, borrow

Edith and Emily utopian
took a knock at the mantle
Oh rang, Oh rang, member @ruintoomoody_coffeecoffee
car you tell upon
dandelion-lion go home.

 

Have fun today!

 

 

#NaPoWriMo Day 20: Homemade Gifts in Isolation

homemade scarf

The poem

Warm Fuzzy Thoughts of You

I pulled the scarf you made
from the cubby in the closet
something sticky found its way
onto its knits and pearls
so I gave it a cool rinse
before rubbing it to my cheek
like a pastel kiss of greeting
then wrapped its curling edges
around my neck and shoulders
like a warm, soft hug
its melange of bright colors
like hours of smiles
and fun conversation
memories of you to
comfort my isolation

The prompts

A to Z Challenge

quartet – A performing group involving four voices or instruments. A string quartet, consisting of two violins, a viola and a cello, is the most common.

quantize – Quantization is a process used in the production of digital music. To quantize, simply put, is the process by which notes performed by a human are made by the computer to more closely match the tempo and beat of the composition.

NaPoWriMo

Prompt: write a poem about a homemade gift

PAD Challenge

Prompt: write an isolation poem

#NaPoWriMo Day 19: Sound Collecting

This morning, the prompts inspired me to go out for a walk. I wore gloves with the full intention to collect small things I encountered along the way, but once out there, I didn’t want to bring home little bits of plastic or the weird broken vial. The little flowers and squirrels didn’t want to come home with me either, so I collected these pictures and memories of all the sounds.

The poem

The Sound Collector

It starts with the dogs running to the fence barking
they don’t stop after I have passed
as if I was the on button and someone lost the remote

then the squirrels skitter up the pole
one settles at the very top and peers down
while the other chitters at me from over the cylindrical transformer

a couple passes me on the other side of the street
we all say “Good Morning”
the first words I’ve heard today

a large dog’s deep bark echos
its own response
a stimulating conversation

I hear a car coming,
but it never passes me
I am half way around my walking loop

ahead I am surprised by
the beeping of a truck backing up
the prime truck delivers

to my right, a woman clearly says
“Not right now”
from inside her house

she is interrupted by the prime truck backing up
the click of crows feet landing on a roof
and someone opening and closing a door

a cyclist changing gears
speeds by leaning forward in full regalia
the wheels whir

the prime truck beeps, rolling out of another driveway
it drives the short distance across the street
clicks and clacks as the van doors open and close

small birds sing in counterpoint
the prime truck beeps
the gruff neighbor says, “good morning”

the morning dove calls like a sick goose
guggle-guggle–wow, guggle-guggle–wow
the prime truck beeps and beeps and beeps

The prompts

NaPoWriMo

Prompt: create a walking archive

PAD Challenge

Prompt: use these words

  • bump
  • embrace
  • fixture
  • howl
  • lonely
  • resolve

#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)

NaPoWriMo

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
spend-your-last-penny-on
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 16: Effusive Praise for The Last Swim of the Summer

In you go

Last Swim of Summer (2014)                                      photograph by Maria L. Berg

A to Z Challenge

natural – The natural symbol alters the pitch of the note to which it is attached as well as any subsequent occurrence of the same note (identical line or space) in the same measure. A symbol placed by a note signifying that the note should be played unaltered as opposed to the sharp or flat of the note. This symbol is usually seen only where an accidental such as a sharp or flat is expected.

ninth – an interval consisting of an octave plus a second

Nocturne – A composition, usually a serenade, to be played at night in the open air. The name “nocturne” has been used by composers for piano and orchestral pieces that suggest some aspect of the night and are usually solemn and contemplative. The first nocturnes were written for piano by John Field in the early 19th-century.

NaPoWriMo

Prompt: “write a poem of over-the-top compliments. Pick a person, place, or thing you love, and praise it in the most effusive way you can.”

PAD Challenge

Prompt: The Last (Blank)

The poem

The Last Swim of Summer

Brisk and cool with a lingering chill
the last swim of summer, I cling to your thrill
all winter long and into the spring
until I can dive into the water again

You are the joy in the song of the bird I keep hearing
a packed house at my show when they are dancing and cheering
like the scent of night jasmine or orange blossoms by the window
a warm soft blanket and a brand new pillow

You are sequins and glitter, crystals and fringe
the seconds before a Stranger Things binge
like rays of sunshine breaking through clouds
and all of the words not said aloud

You are the smile on an old golden retriever
and that guy who said when he looked at me, he heard Dream Weaver
like an exotic delicious taste for the first time
and the rhythmic combination of a great rhyme

You are miso and vinegar on anything
reading aloud from the Lord of the Rings
like finally getting a record player that works
and spending the day playing in dirt

You are a brand new camera technique
and finding an answer that I seek
like heightened senses during foreign travel
or fixing stitches before they unravel

All of this my highest praise
as I wait, perhaps, only a matter of days
for the water to rise and the temperature too
to begin the swims of summer, the journey to you.

 

Post your favorite poem

It’s open link night at the dVerse Poets Pub, so head over and share a link to your favorite poem you wrote this week. I look forward to reading it.

 

Happy Reading and Writing!