"dazzle gradually"

"Dazzle Gradually" 2016 poems, paintings, new art & photography--a diary, a discipline, a delight. Read over my shoulder as I post my unedited poetry ---you can see it in the raw. Check out my other blog "Letters from Polly" to read my letters to friends-- incredible and routine; into the past and the still living.


Polly Alice McCann

Friday, April 29, 2016

Dream House

Working on adding some of my favorite poems to artwork.

Here is one from a dream. I've done a lot of dreamwork on this dream, but writing a poem was my favorite part. Then when I made the painting I had so much input on the dreams meaning for my life at this time I was overwhelmed. I still like the dream because of it's imagery. I've learned since then that the house is the dream symbol for the self, the ego. The poem can also be a metaphor for dreaming itself. Dreams within dreams.



Here is the poem: Paper House

My house is humming,
fans are running,
I think it will take flight--
lift silently its honeycomb walls
and float away into the night.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

thistle say what you want

I'm embarrassed to even
write the word thistle in a poem
it rhymes with whistle--
it's a weed...

Shouldn't poetry be about
big things. Things
that would break your heart.
Big save-the-world-things, political
things and noteworthy events we've
all heard about--

Shouldn't poetry suggest
an answer, to all the
questions in the world, the
cries of those enslaved,
the sick, the lost?

Shouldn't poetry have something
to say to them, a word, a rally cry for
us to shout in the cities,
a bit of banter for us
to quote as we pass one another
on the street?

Or is poetry more like a thistle--
growing by the side of the road--
numerous, slightly pretty, but
only useful to birds and jackasses
who eat it happily thinking
it tastes somewhat of pepper
and the dusky sun they
go on and on about each morning
as if they'd never seen it before.

Is poetry that annoying thing, that sticks
to your shoe lace, your sock, the back of your
legs. It won't let go. That overabundance
that fills pages of your journal
and the notebooks of old ladies, ministers,
punked out teens, lovers, and
angry girls dressed in goth?

Is poetry more like a thistle, something
that looks beautiful from afar, but
don't get to close-- it stings. It's
hard to grab ahold of. It's local, regional,
personal, stubborn, impossible, even
dangerous.

Someone told me I would be able
say whatever the heck
I want --if only I'd
accept mediocrity and the
fact that nothing lasts forever.

Maybe that is what a thistle is.
It's mediocre for a flower, surely--
it only lasts the summer,
but it says something loud
and sure with it's purple pop
of coif and it's spikes from
head to root.

How humble is a flower
who cannot be picked or
plucked, will not join
a bouquet--but feeds the
yellow chickadees
day after day, from fall
to winter, she stores a germ
of sunshine in her hidden
hand. When they sing--
she reveals her secret
beauty, a song.


lay out a fleece

when i fold the wool comforter
done with it's afternoon sun--hung
on the back porch to dry
it smells like fresh rain, ivy, no like
ivory linens in the old chest--
saved for a special occasion.

safe like when we all came
here, each running from
something we couldn't name.
you, you couldn't remember
who you were sometimes.
you had seven names, friends
as light as air, friends
i didn't want to see and couldn't
save you from.

the old comforter we
pulled out the closet. we lay it
out like a fleece, over you.
you slept for days, days and
weeks and even months. good
sleep I hoped would wash those
waking night mares away--
your sleeping face wore a small smile

rock away lttle baby in the cradle,
when they first brought
you home i stood by staring
in at your sleeping face--then
never took the time to find
out who you really were inside

No comfort to me when you were
missing. But this comforter-- it's four
inches thick.-red like grandma's chimney
red like the apples she used to bake,
red like love on a faded paper heart
hung in the window. heavy
like those real hugs she used to give
when we'd been gone away too long--

you were gone for too long
when we found you and
brought you home--
we laid that fleece
laid it out over you and
prayed to God for a miracle.

grandma she told me once--
when she was a girl she had a lamb.
a real honest to god lamb. It wasn't
going to make it on its own so
she raised it on milk
from a bottle warmed in the oven.

that lamb she took it in. and
there was nothing i wanted more
than to see you raise up like that
lamb,  like Lazarus, laughing and saying
"got you" i'm fine.

a fine girl on the farm with flashing
brown eyes like yours. hard to think
of grandma, just a girl
who wouldn't take crap from
no one. that little lamb
grew up--it's wool saved each spring
guess who kept the wool,
carded it clean and straight,
and made the soft comforter.

i don't know how often she used
it in that little house with gabled roof.
sent it to me one winter when I was
cold and far away from home--
probably saved my life then too--

i guess i'd like to think that
fabric over time could hold
the weft of a story, hold the love
of a small girl who wanted to
save something lost--

maybe because I'm not a doctor
nor ever could be. I'm just a maker
of small cloths. someone who wants
to share comfort--
someone who was lost but is
slowly being reshaped day by
day in this safe place
with a warm kitchen
where you get up and make
coffee and go study
calculus and the fabled
path of warm suns.

as I fold
up the comforter and put it
away for the summer
I smell rain coming




Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ground Hog Question

7 am, driving past the park
off Broadway
before Midtown, the stone wall
swopes ready for an egg
or someone to sit.

But there is a ground hog.
perched
hands in his lap, nose
quivering happily
at sun's pink light.

The green tossed
out before him like
a croquet lawn.

At the gallery
wearing suits
they drink caterpillars
and comment
Yes, I did see a
fox the other day
really

On the way to church
on Easter, frost
glistens, slush
slides under the tires
hushing us
to silence as a flock
of wild Turkeys
promenades toward
the highway, the
Lead's feathers
spread out-a red cape.

Forget, Forgot
sidewalks
buses,
taxi cabs,
cigarette butts
smoke shops

life still exists
in the city like
the single stalk of
basil and the thyme
that survived the
mild winter
outside the bar--
on the patio

where I pass
to climb the
stairs to the art
studio.

I will watch the
sunrise, I will sneak
up on artists,
I will stroll like
a king. I will
point my nose
toward sun's
first pink light

and what
will I see then?
What will
I see

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Little

I'd like to write a little poem
as little as a baby acorn
as little as a sunflower seed
as little as a grain of grass
then watch it bloom
with imagination until
It's as tall as the tree
sail on the wind
until it's across the sea
and land in a your
garden, a message
that reads--
to you,
from me. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Sweetness 2016

It's Easter again
and I fill eggs
with cotton candy-
flavored candy corn.

Life is like that. You
expect something airy
that melts in your mouth
something astounding
enough for a circus
conductor to annouce
and all you get is
hard pellets-from a day
you'd rather forget.

This morning I made
myself an Easter basket.
Why not?
It has raw vegan cookies
and two cadburry eggs
plus a little bunny that's
pretty well a granny
at eight years.

Today we will hear
songs in Swahili at the
Methodist Church
at UMKC. Granmda Twinkie
will sing an anthem in
her red choir robe and
probably tear up uder
that rose window glory.

The cousins are coming
because my kids and theirs
both have Easter
at their moms this year.

Life is like that. Divided.
Full of sorrow, and then
suddenly the good days
are like a winning lottery
ticket and you wonder
if everyone hears the
fight song sound-track
for every small
victory.

I guess Jesus did too.
Received hardness where he
expected love as light as air.
Received sorrow and divorce
where he expected family.

I imagine his best day
had a victory soundtrack so
that he would remember
who he was fighting for.
 I expect he smiled --when
he broke death open like a
cadbury egg.

Now we can all choose
sweetness.

I know I am.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

ADD Poetry Net- 10,000 Views

So I started this blog six years ago in 2010. During that year I was tested for ADHD with an 8 minute test. I failed it. Badly. Though I was goofing off during the test reading the doctors sticky notes and I didn't understand the rules of the test very well until afterwards.  And I was pregnant, and getting my Masters Degree, and I had a toddler. So I was very tired and thinking back, the results were slightly debatable.

Three years later after a million kinds of treatments I was retested with a 21 minute test and passed with flying colors except for one thing. They said my rates or time variables in the test were a little too variable so that made me iffy. Well I was counting so I could pass. You see the random test isn't that random. So by counting the little dots and beeps and spaces or what have you, I was able to anticipate the timing of some of the test while other bits were a surprise. So I may just be too smart or too weird for the ADD test. Anyway I was declared ADD free. So after three years and about a dozen professionals later and a very expensive test that said I didn't have any memory or focus problems or Alzheimers or Autism or anything else I thought I might have-- I finally just asked, "Then can you explain why I have trouble with my memory and trouble focusing?" The answer: Stress.

Yes it was just stress. I could have saved three years of my life and a lot of side effects to meds and all kinds of money and appointments and tests if they would have told me that the first day. Stress causes many things, sometimes stress causes memory loss or attention problems.
All this to say that I'm about to hit 10,000 hits on this blog. Maybe not a lot to some people. But I'm happy about it, even though a lot of those hits may be search engines or spammers or accidental views somewhere.  However,  in about a dozen countries, my poems had at least their titles read before the page was closed. I'll take that as a victory.

Why do I mention all this (Yes ADD symptoms will make you write things out of order). Why? Because my ADD poems are my top all time poems on this blog. People seem to like those a lot. Or else they look at them a lot. And why would anyone read a poem about ADD?  Well I think all poets are a bit ADD. I know the struggle is real for many people. However I know there is somewhat of a scale. I think, it's unfair to call something that has so much potential as a gift-- a disorder. I was even told I had a disability. Which I just don't think being a poet and getting distracted a bit by toddlers, life, and a masters thesis should be called disability. I was even turned away by several counselors because I was an artist. They said I should find someone who caters to artists. Odd. I say again, being an artist or a poet is not a disability. If a poet didn't lose focus to see something or notice a random connection between images and words, or feelings and metaphors-- well there wouldn't be any poetry. Poetry I think happens when we lose our attention a bit. At least our attention on the more banal things of life or on what we are "supposed" to be doing.  Poetry comes by accident. When we lose focus-- or change focus to something new-- Something we need to remember, to play with, to make tangible. That's what poetry is. It comes from our subconscious and our imagination, the place where we used to play, but tend to forget.

So yes, my focus has been off lately. I've been stressed. I've forgotten a few things, or a lot of things. And poetry, I believe, heals my inattention. At least for me. (I also take fish oil). I highly reccommend poetry for everyone out there who feels ADD or has any version of the condition for any reason as the case may be. Sometimes I think my attention issues are exactly because there seems to be millions of poems trying to get out of my brain. Well at least a dozen. Poems are like butterflies.... Ugh. Let me try to write a poem about it or this will take all year:

ADD Poetry Net

I've got ADHD
I'm Absolutely A
Dreamer-- Hard-core
Dreamer.

My rice crispies in
a bowl of milk-
are fish in the sea.

My shoes symbolize
the places I want to
go where I want to be.

I've got ADHD
I'm A little obsessed
with Dreaming &
Hula Dancing.

Pineapple takes me
back to my fourth grade
project on Hawaii.

I'm a little
nonsensery. Forgive me
I've got ADHD.

Okay that was ridiculous, terrible, and not the poem I meant to write at all. I just wanted to say that when I feel unfocused I write a poem and all these random thoughts fly into my little poetry net and there they stay,neatly laid out in lines and stanzas. They start to make sense and I feel like all is right again. Or at least the random thoughts fly away and are at peace somewhere on the page.

So why was that so hard to get to that paragraph. Oh well. Thanks for helping me get to 10,000 views everyone. Let's get a little unfocused together.