"dazzle gradually"

"Dazzle Gradually" 2017 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 or get my first book and see how the work evolves with new books rolling out next year.

Polly Alice

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Daddy is an Airplane

Daddy is an airplane
Daddy is a car
Daddy is a horsey
though he won’t go far

Daddy is a Kangaroo
Daddy is a cart
Daddy is a swimming pool
when I take a running start

I dive onto his belly
I turn and kick about
Really, he’s the best swimming pool
when it’s snowing out.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Things I Have Stolen

These are the things I stole:
the frozen chicken out of Barb’s freezer,
blueberries for Emma,
Nanna’s and Gramp’s old tools,
your mother’s samples from the jeweler,
blue jeans, but I gave them away again,
a photo of my Native American ancestor,
an entire train,
great-grandma's jewels out of a coffee can,
odds and ends from strangers who chain-smoked,
a brown paper sack,
and when I looked for the bag
it had evaporated, because I may be the only
kleptomaniac who steals in my sleep.
As for the things I stole while awake,
they are too many to mention.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mittens We Have Lost

Mittens we have lost

Grandma always changed
with her back toward me.
Now, she folds into her chair bare-chested,
innocent as clover. I pull her dress over
hair white as weeds, eyes blind as ebony.

Next week grandmother turns ninety-eight.
This is the first year of my life she won’t
remember our birthday is the same.
I’m not surprised, she’s near a century.

Light showers the open bloom of our book
I sit with my head on her arm;
I caress her skin
like a worn map of her secrets.

“Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin!”

The hair on her chin, kitten-white whiskers.
Her voice scratchy like their strawberry tongues.

“Mother Dear, see here, see here,
we have lost our mittens.”

Her voice damp like the kiss of those kittens.

All words from the lost world sailed toward me
on the ship of her low tremulous voice.

 Read it to me again. I’ve never heard this one.
I answer

we have lost our mittens

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

To my daughter

When you hold your baby dolls

tandem to your chest to


you keep the past.

When you bury a dark stick

in the yard-- totem up

to compost it,

you keep the future.

When you tell the window to

Go up!,

waiting for it to move,

and you scorn my cell phone

for its inability to Skype,

you live an age

I thought fiction.

When you play house with me

-- the kid too scared to go to school,

you stroke my face saying,

Don’t be scared. It’s okay.

You become my mother,

I become your child.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Seven Days-- part V Why Are We Always Leaving Kansas

V.  Why Are We Always Leaving Kansas?

Why are we always leaving Kansas,

mounting broomsticks to fly away fast?

Why are we always leaving;

riding the first twister bareback

that comes along the path?

Maybe we should’ve never settled here,

but left the plains to its people

and the buffalo; they knew its songs.

We said we could conquer it

with plows, sweat, and earthblood,

but we choke silently

our mouth full of dust.

Maybe we should’v never settled here,

but left the plains to its people and the buffalo;

they knew its power.

Even the locusts fly away on the perpetual wind;

the cicadas bury themselves to forget they live here.

Farm houses give in--

their weather-beaten doors and eyeless windows

hang low in the burning sun.

Maybe we should’ve never settled here,

but left the plains to its people

and the buffalo

now caged and unafraid.

As Kansas City spreads her arms,

she leaves a gaping hole in her chest;

the city hallows a ring of sleepy showboats,

silent malls, and empty lots.

Through the cracks an audible hum:

the sound of roots scraping through concrete—

Nothing here will last.