"dazzle gradually"

"Dazzle Gradually" 2015 poems, paintings, new art & photography--a diary, a discipline, a delight. Read over my shoulder as I post

my unedited poetry before it's cleaned up and sent off to publishers ---you can see it in the raw.

Polly McCann

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Love Stamp

This weekend, I enjoyed my first art opening in a decade. I love to play with word and image. I'd like to think I just brilliantly think of metaphors, but I don't. I simply am drawn to an image and then over time I notice the idioms, the parallels and finally the metaphor-- the layers of a symbol that seemed to chose me rather than the other way around. One of the best ways to think about a symbol is to paint it. The other way I love, of course, is poetry. Here in my blog I hammer out a rough version. Then later I revise them, after they have a chance to sit and age awhile.

Love Stamp

I'm torn
out of a book of squares
just like me
I'm licked
pressed down
thrown into
a cavernous hole

I'm lifted out
by hands with wings
I'm signed
specially delivered.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dear Edmund (2003)

Dear Edmund,

Blue-eyed Edmund, we loved you so-- each and every freckle!
Poor, middle child, we understand you
wanted attention, but why did you ever enter that sleigh?
Why eat her poison, no matter the lure of pink delight?

You missed Mother didn't you? That's what you really wanted.
Poor, blind boy, needing more love than we could give.
You swallowed poison to carry your tortured mind to
sleep and dream. Ah, you thought you were dreaming, didn't you?
You went to Death's table but a lion-maned son cut
a deal for your life- one body given for you.

Funny how you became King, all forgotten and forgiven-- But back
in the real world. How are you really doing? How do you live every
day a traitor-king, a Judas forgiven?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Color Haiku 2002

Firecracker, silks
and the blush of young girls cheeks
honor mighty Red

When time is fleshed out
what is the price of labor
work is distance squared

Music without rests
clamorous cacophony
beauty, being still

An ode to the square
each corner of earth salutes
you are perfection

Those parking lot birds
worship oceans of pavement
unforgiving sea

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Dragons 2002

Last week I read a picture book to my little one about a dragon who wants to make friends. Afterwards we couldn't help rewriting a sequel about what we would do if we actually had a dragon. Dragons are something I didn't know I loved until my best friend from college came to visit and challenged me to an all night debate on whether dragons exist. Since then I've started a whole fantasy series of novels about dragons and what they mean and what they are. Something so deep of course, I've only begun to scratch the surface and -- only completed half of the first novel. Regardless, I secretly type out conversations with dragons in my novel folder and have spent the five years or so since then researching dragons (only a few more years to go).

Here is an old snippet I found from 2002 in my poetry journal during my "feminist" period that proves I loved dragons before I even knew it...

Sometimes even the clouds look like dragons 
which smoke filled nostrils and wispy tails
and even the stars frown
at what I say against God & Man

Lie to me now

At the art studio, I'm working on a collection of paintings I'm calling the Love Stamp series. They commemorate important occasions in our life, we want to remember. Whether bad or good, I think how we remember something is what makes us human and what forms who we are. Sometimes we need to commemorate an occasion to forget it and move on; to reopen our calendar, wash it clean from past traumatic events. Here is a quote from my poem called, Archive,

Some insist memories stick to our subconscious 
like stamps on a postcard with Jungian script--
Dear Ego, . . . . Love Id . . . . 

So three years after this poem,  one of my paintings commemorates the journey of love, with a series of stamps. Stamps are a great symbol for the subconscious message, the dream, the idea, the window to the soul. In looking through my love poetry to help with my love letter pairing,  I found it lacking. Here is my poem with some of those thoughts in the subtext as I keep processing. Poetry is healing they say and so is art. I'm hoping to do both together.

Lie to me now

They say liars don't use metaphors,
can't use metaphors because
how would they know?
You can't describe something
poetically that never happened
that you've never felt.
So liars are not poets
or poetry can't lie?

They say metaphors
and rapid eye movement can
heal you 96% of the way
to wholeness from Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder.
So the doctor will let you
fill in the blank with
metaphors. Metaphors
with a blue screen behind
their white helvetica font.
You'll stare at a white dot. Run
your eyes from left to right
while metaphors bloom
in your mind like
sunflowers after a late
summer rain. Metaphors
that heals all your cracks
bring back to life your dry
dead stalks. With a little
green in your heart again.
You can breath. It's
really just writing poetry.
Running your eyes from
left to right over and over
writing and rewriting
metaphors like working
out a knot in the yellow ball of
yarn that your darn cat unraveled
on the floor. Yellow for
fear of course, because that's
a metaphor too.
Metaphors inhibit lying, or
maybe they are more true
than regular truth. It's safe
to say-- you can't lie and write
poetry at the same time.
The truth comes out whether
you want it to or not. Whether
you can see or it or not.
I mean, please-- No one write
love poems using plastic flowers
and radishes as their metaphors.
You've got work to do.
Metaphors can heal you
96% they say. So Love,
go for the other four.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Puss 'N Boots

So this letter is just to say that 
you think you've lost everything
but you haven't.
Here I am
just look at me. 
I'm the girl you've overlooked
from the start.
So what if you don't
have a great education, I never
went to school.
So you don't have any assets, 
or a farthing to your name.
I'm not allowed to own anything. 
So your rat of a brother kicked
you out of your Dad's old place.
So you've got
only the shirt on your back.
You haven't had breakfast.
Look down. I'm skin and
bones. I never get fed.
I'm barefoot. Now.
Look --
at your boots. Yes, 
boots. And boots make 
the man. Are you a man
or aren't you? You can go
anywhere, do anything,
talk to anyone. If I were
a man I'd have this all
fixed in a jiffy. I'd have
a new job, a new name,
and a wardrobe to match.
I'd have people offering

Give me your boots. That's
right. Give me your boots
and I'll fix everything.
Just make me a promise.

Don't forget who 
saved your skin.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Love, Morning Glory

Last week I entered some poems about motherhood in answer to a call for poems. I edited my rhyming poem about Morning Glories into something I think is stronger, doesn't rhyme, and fits better with my new mode as a single mother. In writing this poem I dug into the famed Greek myth of a certain flower and found it belonged to the daffodil family. I also discovered the following flower was also called a paperwhite. Funny as I had been wanting to use the image "white as paper." This happens a lot in poetry. Turns out the poem is already half written and you just research to give yourself permission to go ahead and write. Here's how one of them turned out. 

Dear Narcissus,

You think because
I’m transparent--
because I let the light
through in verity,
that I’m not important.

You guess from the tight
twirl of my skirt.
the curl in my tendrils,
that I’m fragile
can’t take the heat.

You’ve missed me from
the very beginning. You
prefer your own reflection,
Paperwhite. You doze

through my gray dawn—
while I drink the musky sun
shower in the dew.
With violet eyes,
I bloom to
kiss each jaded wing.

My strength, my maze
of vines. My love,
my packets of
dark pearls-- like firecrackers,
ready to let go.

Try to erase me,
a hundred more bloom.
You can’t banish me
or cut me down--
can’t wash me away
or burn me out.

For just
the least touch
my seeds give way--
All that I am
inscribed in each heart.