"dazzle gradually"

"Dazzle Gradually" 2015 poems, paintings, new art & photography--a diary, a discipline, a delight.

Polly McCann

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What's in the Bag?

It's Father's Day. I pull into the driveway
next to the paper Birch. What's in my purse?
A sealed, brand-new DVD of Bob Ross, the PBS wonder,
master Oil Painter, not to mention, snazzy dresser.
His big hair reminds me of my Dad's 80s curls
so much like Ronald McDonald, the clown.
Everyone the same back then.

Who started it?
The curls I mean? What were they thinking?
But Bob Ross pulled it off. It's like he
had a halo that said, "I love painting. And
I don't mind letting you copy everything
I do. And guess what? You can make
the trees any color you like." I like that
about Bob.

Why was he so incredibly soothing?
What made all of just sit and stare as
he placed small pale marks on the base
of "happy little trees"? And why did he use
so much Alizarin Crimson? Everything was
maroon? Everything Titanium White? Why?

The other thing in my purse? A small bit
of communion wafer, a cube really--
I'm allergic to the wheat in the bread.
Oh, and an empty plastic cup, small enough
for a large gnome to drink out of.
The cup isn't half empty. It's really empty--
all sipped out.

I remember Dad had asked for communion
the week before he died. I told him,
I can never eat it anymore.
I'll take it, if you still have it, he said,
trying to sound as if he didn't care. But he knew.
He knew he wouldn't make it very many more
days. I did too. I knew that's why
he was so peaceful. We knew.

It wasn't long now.
But that Sunday, like most others,
I had crumbled up the small crust in lieu
of chewing it. My purse empty.
Not one crumb
left. And I suddenly hated

being Protestant, because I knew if there
had been a priest somewhere handy, he
or she would appear with wafers
and a cup right then and there--
they have kits, you know, to take to the
bedridden-- Fast food communion.
The wafers slide out like quarters from a silver
tube. The wine in a thermos, a white
linen napkin-- all hidden inside
a small leather box--- a happy meal.

Then again, to even say we wanted
such a thing was so un-Protestant.
Because last rights are just a formality, un-
So we just shrugged.
Our meal, imaginary.
Our religion, un-

Looking back,
I can imagine it differently.
Who would pop through the door, but
Bob Ross! And he'd tell us that
with a few small strokes here and there
he could paint us any meal we wanted.
He'd create a loaf of bread so beautiful
that no one could be allergic to it. He'd
cover it with little dots of sesame. Then
a crystal goblet shining in pure white.
Of course, an easy choice for the wine,
dark red, so much poured out, somehow
always enough.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Singular Question

What if the Galaxy was
a tiny thing. Well sort of
small. What if it were
like a garden? A quilt?
A pin ball machine?
What if the singular
sensation was how the
Galaxy sings as it
dances it's waltz around
a Universe Bear in a
Three Ring Circus of
possible universes?
And what makes it spin?
What holds the axis?
What powers it? What if
it were a small black
pearl? A pearl of
great price? What if,
a long time ago, someone
found it somewhere,
in a shallow pool
of milk and vapor.
And buried it here,
right here. What if
that someone
sold everything
to get it?
Someone who
knew it could
serve as the dark
heart of a very
bright universe?
Someone who
isn't sorry
they now
own a bit
of nothing.
Someone who
is forever
invested in

Water is too heavy

Sometimes there's a flood--
Water is too heavy to drink--
air is fluid-- cat fish fly!--
the drains drip rainbows--
an' the iron plate
over the manhole
tells you where everything
ends up-- in capital letters--
That's when--
that's when you know
it's time-- to put your oar
in-- and sing like there's
no tomorrow-- Sing like
the Blue Jay never
stole a dime from you--
Sing like the sun were butter
spread on white toast-- Sing
like the clouds were spun
sugar--  Sing, like radiators
hissed hot coffee. Sing,

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Doe

The moon waxes
outside the movie theater
couples stroll to their
cars. A pair of bats
hover over the AMC.
They chirp and swoop
for moths caught by
the buttery light.
Roses flash in
the headlights
of turning cars.
In the back of
David's Bridal,
now dark,
there is a side lot
in front of an empty
field. There under
the street light,
a small doe-- still
behind the tall grass.
Her white tail
a comma,
her ears glow
pink. She's
made it through
winter, escaped
every hunter.
We stare at
each other for
a long time.
The stars smell
like summer.
I wonder
what she will
do next.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Grandma's attic smelled
like 400 books baked into
dust motes. Just breathing
could make you smarter there.
Feather pillows in jailhouse
mattress ticking, bars from
which birds have already
escaped, but left you
a few feathers to sleep on.
Sheets ironed smooth
and heavy enough to keep
nightmares away, white
enough to starch your dreams.
Pink woolen blankets minus
holes for some nice
welcome mat for mice.
Floor boards stronger
than Jonah's boat. The
ironing board heaped
with clothes from 1968.
The moth balls have steeped
the air into syrupy camphor--
a match might make
the whole place blow, but
no it already feels like ashes
on the back of the sun.
So many words,
so many feathers,
so many tears

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

International Association for the Study of Dreams in VA Beach this summer

The IASD Conference is happening soon!  Join me and 120 other presenters from 60 countries at the Annual IASD Dream Conference, June 5-9,2015.  For details about this amazing conference:  www.asdreams.org/2015
I'll be presenting "Doorway to Dreams," a fun interactive workshop on why dreamwork helps deepen your writing for both authors and readers.
Click on my "dream poems" tab to the left to read some of my peoms about dreaming.  

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Under the Rainbow

Driving home from work
signs glide by
trees float
grass hovers like a sheet
when we make the bed
children's faces in the rearview mirror
smile or gaze out seeing nothing
seeing everything
sometimes I wonder
how can I keep doing this
living each day without
I heard once that trees
do not fly by.
They stand still.
I can't remember
the last time
I spoke to a tree.
Kids think trees
can talk, or they
used to. Do my kids
know what a tree is.
Do they really know?
Have they ever sat under
one for long enough
to hear it breathe?
Here is my exit.
I take it every day.
and as I turn
up and up
and around
I pretend I'm holding still
I remember the day
we drove under a rainbow at this
exit. Under and through.
And I knew that when the
rainbow was gone,
it was my job to