"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

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Peter Pan

Peter Pan

I dreamt all night about flying.
You were giving me a lecture
about how it should be done.
In the morning I picked up
the landry basket, and
Peter Pan lept off the shelf
onto the hard wood floor.
Now he stares at me
with his little red lips
and his leaf tip hat
frowning as if to say
I didn't get the message.

Dear Louisa

Happy October to my gentle readers.  How sorry I am that the year is closing.  I feel like I just started my poem a day.  I still don't feel like I've gotten past the drivel to the great poems underneath yet.  I may have to do another year.  In honor of All Saints Day approaching, I think I will write to my favorite authors long gone...

Dear Louisa,
You know your like an older sister to me,
and the best I could ever ask for.
Whenever I miss you, I read some
of your stories while I soak
a pot of beans and then
I cook them to smithereens--
Boston style, with dark brown bread.
You were the one
who taught me how to get
by on imagination and a thread.
You let me know what
beauty looks like when it is
If only you were here we
could have some together,


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fence Post

Here is a poem from my grandfather's point of view from a story I think I heard once...but I don't remember where.

I remember the spot exactly.
It was by the old east gate.
It was the Spring of 1930.
I was leaning on a fence post,
looking out at the dusk
and I heard God's voice
as clear as if he was standing
right next to me.
George, he said.  I want
you to be a minister.
I didn't ask any questions.
The very next day I
asked to speak at my
high school commencement.
When the time came, I spoke
as loudly and clearly as I could
about what I intended to do with my life--
How I wanted to serve the Lord.
Of course, they were all very surprised.
Everyone thought I was such a shy,
quiet kind of boy.  No one
knew I could speak publicly.
At home that afternoon
for Dinner, my sisters
said they couldn't be happier.
It had been Mother's dying
wish, they said.
They seemed uncertain how to
treat me, as if I'd become a man
overnight.  Vi asked me
to carve the roast.  I held
the knife in my hand steadily
and cut to the sound of the meat
separating and gently falling to the platter.
Then I passed out the slices
with a joke for everyone.
They laughed more loudly
that day than I ever remember.
I guess everyone was relieved
to know I was still my
old self.

Dear Sari

8th Maize, 2810

Dear Sari,

Dune took me up on top of one of the Maize SkyReacher's last night.  He stole a pass card from his brother whose been promoted to top janitor.  I didn't think we'd make it past the scanners, but Dune knew some trick and then we were in the elevators going up thousands of floors.  This was one of the old ones.  It was so tall, all the lights from the city were below us.  Did you know that the sky is sort of an inky blue at night?  I had no idea.  I guess they don't mention those kinds of things in youth school.  I was hoping he'd finally talk to me about whether he's going away after this season.  But we forgot everything else when this huge circle of light rose up out of the floor of the glass elevator...
I'm writing to tell you that it really is true.  I've seen if for myself.  There is such a thing as a "moon", and the night sky is full of tiny little lights called stars.  They are nothing to the city lights.  But they remind me of your freckles. 
Remember when we were girls and you said you loved me so much, you'd follow me to the moon and back?  You told me the moon was in a small Maize station in South America.  Silly.  Its not.  Its a big--We'll it's a big glowing ball in the sky.  Dune says its like a little planet I guess-- like a small garage next to a house-- if Earth were a house that is. 
I don't know if we'll ever go back there again to see it.  It might be too dangerous to steal the pass card again.  But now I wish I could go back and tell that batty old teacher we had in fourth grade that he forgot to mention something as huge as A MOON in our Earth Science class.  Well we really only learned about growing corn that year, right?  And every year since...  But just think of it, Sari.  This explains tons of things that we do and say every day.  Remember great granny always used to refer to her mooncyle.  You always thought she had some sort of special two wheeler until I told you what "that time of the month" meant.  Then there's those Moom Calendars everyone uses to predict the weather.  I bet that used to refer to the moon, until everyone forgot it was there.  I mean that SkyReacher must have been over five hundred years old.  I really have no one else to tell.  I don't think anyone would believe me.  Most people think stars are a myth, what would they say to a moon?
Well that's life here on this side of the River.  Write me back when Con City's Harvest is over and tell me all the news.
your cousin,

Saturday, September 25, 2010


My love for you is like garlic salt,
just a sprinkle changes the dry old every day
into a hot Mediterranean night
under the Parmesan sky
dancing to robust music--
and a little wine and olive oil
never hurt either.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ode to Cast Iron

Cast iron pots are indescructable,
there handles never fall off.
I've gone through five sets of pots n' pans
in ten years, but Great Grannies, cast
iron still holds out.
There's no toxic Teflon to scrape into your
scrambled eggs--
just iron, which you need anyway.
Cast iron pots are black, and invitingly
shiny, if you grease them with with olive oil
and let it season in the oven.
They work well for bacon,
they make good deep dish pizza or bread.
Cast iron pots can never let you down
they will never wear out.
Use them over a fire,
on an electric range, or
even a weapon against the deranged.
Cast iron pots are a wonder of an ancient
age.  What would I do if
everything were as useful
as a cast iron pot?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Gentle Reader,
I know the point of a poetry blog, instead of poetry, is so that you can read what the poems are about, and not have to guess what I am really trying to say, because a poetry blog should have an explanation above each poem, so that you know what you are going to be reading about before you read it.  I'm sorry.  I promise to start doing that, after this one...

writing this poem
standing on an iceburg
It's rather hard balancing on
one toe standing on an iceburg using
this gentle penguin for my desk and this pen
so carefully scratching these words on a frozen codfish
that I will mail by throwing it back into the ocean hoping that
you will find it and ask me for my autograph.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Pass over me
Pass over you
Pass over all I've done

Pass over me
Pass over you
We'll be safe and then

We'll fly from here
and go far away
to where we were
meant to be

Our home is there
so far away
I'll race you if you dare

Pass over me
Pass over you
Pass over all I've done

We'll start again
Where all is new
Darkness it will end

We'll fly from here
fly away
where sunlight never ends

Let's hold hands
run all the way
Enter into the land

Pass over me


I'm beginning to think I don't'exist
I'm beginning to think I'm gone.
I sat in you chair for an hour now
and still I am all alone.
Three inches between your cuff
and mine. Our notebooks
are a pair.  I'm beginning to
think I don't exist, that I'm
not here or there.  I'm
beginning to think I don't exist
because you don't seem to care.

The dogs were barking

The dogs were barking

I went for a walk and
the dogs were barking.

The houses were silent but,
the dogs were barking.

The street was empty except
the dogs were barking.

I was alone but for
the dogs were barking.

The yards were vacant
but the dogs were barking.

And I was all alone.

Paper House

The odd poem I worked on last time was about the "three sisters."  I better mention that phrase is comes from the Delaware Indian Tribe's description of how to grow maize, or corn, with beans and pumpkin.  I tried to link the idea with the Trinity to see how it worked. 
The poem below is based on my love for the sound of the fan running in the window during warm weather and a dream I had once.  I never sleep better or wake happier than when there's an open window with the fan blowing morning ideas into my window.

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.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Revising "The Shack"

The Shack (Special Hardcover Edition)
    Okay, I'm sure I'm not the only one who didn't like, The ShackBut I heard rave reviews like, "This was the most amazing book I ever read, it changed my life."  Apart from the grisly abduction/ murder situation which prompts the main character's journey, there is an interesting fantasy element to the way he "meets God."  He spends a day or two with the Trinity; God is suddenly made up of two women and Jesus helps out around the house. 
      I've mediated on the idea of God as a woman, even the Holy Spirit as a woman, but I never thought of them as a two mom family with a son.  I guess it's more scientifically accurate to see God as the Mother and the Holy Spirit as the Father with Jesus as the son?  Anyway, apart from a lovely pie making scene, this fantasy has no fantasy.  Everything is very literal.  The man and the three parts of the godhead sit around a cozy cabin to discuss systematic theology.  There are no flights of fancy, feasts, angels or anything else to sink your teeth into.
    Now that I've bashed the form of the novel to pieces, I'd like to say that I have problems being creative too.  Hopefully I"ll have an editor that says something like, "Keep the pie scene, and scratch the rest."  There's something wonderful about revising that gets us to the good sentence, then cracks it open to reveal a whole new world or two just lying there in the white space around the letters.
     Thankfully there was one part of this book that wasn't thrown out.  What I keep from this book is something I can't forget about the author's description of love.  Something about the love between,, in and among the Trinity itself is something I've never thought about before.  That kernel of an idea has grown so large in my mind that, most times, before I open my mouth to say something to my family I ask myself, "Is that loving?"  If what I'm planning to say is what I'd say to an enemy rather than a friend then I stop to find a way that is loving.  Because why would I want anyone to doubt how much I do love them over something like cherry pie on the floor?

Three Sisters

I'm the spiky sister who keeps everyone else out. 
Sure I start small, but then I spread out.  No one
will get by me and my hazard.  I keep things
from getting too dry around here. 
I would  sacrifice to save them.

I'm the quick one.  I race to the top.
I'm the second layer of defence, and I feed the other
two.  If it weren't for me, they'd be scrawny, skinny,
and lonely too.  Without me, they'd be done for. 
I'd give everything to make sure they had enough.

I'm the darling, the sweet one.  I take my time. 
I'm golden.  I last forever.  I stay strong
to support the others.  I come last,
so they will be first.

Get along little doggie- a folk song

This is my alternate version of Streets of Laredo, the Cowboy's Lament.  Feel free to print, sing, or perform this version, but please remember to put my name on it--Thanks. 

One older form of this song is about a dying cowboy who wished he'd lived his life differently.  Most children's versions, however, contain the chorus by Woodie Guthrie 'get along little dogie.'  His version is about a cowboy taking the orphaned calfs on the trail to Wyoming. 
Maybe a song that makes you cry is a lost art in mainstream music, but in folk music I think this is still an honored quality. 

I don't believe children mind singing terribly sad songs either -- there's something in making your parents cry when they come to hear your school concert :) 

You'll have to read below to find out if this one is sad.  (The artwork is by one of my preschool art students from 2007).

As I was a walking one morning for pleasure
I spied a young cowboy a-walking along.
His dog were a with him an' the leash it were hanging.
And as they approached, he was singing this song.

Hey, Hey!
Get along little doggie.
We've taken our turn; we're all on our own.
Hey, Hey!
Get along little doggie.
You know that it's time to get along home.

"Early each morning I take out the doggie:
he barks, he jumps, he wags his fair tail.
But then when I leave him to go on my journey,
he circles the yard and wears in the trail.


As I was a walking one morning for pleasure,
I spied the young cowboy a-walking alone.
His eyes were a red, like he had been crying,
"My dog he did die, and now he is gone."


Hey, Hey!
Get along little doggie.
We've taken our turn.  I'm all on my own.
Hey, Hey!
Get along little doggie.
I know it's your time to get along home.

"Let's take him together and lay the sod o'er him,
and then, I told him, we'll have a good cry.
You'll sit down beside me and tell your sad story,
of how that sweet pup so sadly did die."


Hey, Hey!
Get along little doggie.
You've taken your turn. We're all on our own.
Hey, Hey!
Get along little doggie.
Now it's your time to get along home.

I spied the young cowboy early next morning.
He looked a sight sorrowful and he couldn't sing his song.
"Your dog, I told him, runs in a green valley,
so let's walk together even tho' he is gone."


Hey, Hey!
Get along little doggie.
You've taken your turn. We're all on our own.
Hey, Hey!
Get along little doggie.
Now it's our time to get along home.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Stephanie Plum Day

In honor of William Carlos William's birthday and his famous poem about plums in the icebox, I'm writing another "plum" poem.  This poem is dedicated to all my friends in the Zonerhood.

     My name is P. Plum.  I'm a stay-at-home-mom, aka an unemployed artist,
and I'm thinking about starting a career in bond enforcement. Today is Friday.
I get up and toss some Oaty O's into kiddie bowls for the children.
After they ride away in the big cheese, aka the school bus, I jog home and take a
shower.  After a shuffle through the sort-of-clean laundry, I grab an old stretchy black t-shirt
and black jeans.  Five mintues later, in lip gloss, quick pony tale, and lucky earrings, I angle
out of the driveway and head past the Pizza Shop. 
     I meet Mac at the Mid-Con hub, also known as, Urban Branch.  He's wearing
scuffed up jeans and a blue cotton shirt with the sleeves rolled up above the elbow.
I can tell it's a rough day from the way he grips the scanner gun.  I'm getting the feeling
he wishes it shot something besides a harmless red light. In the back room,
he tells me about the loonies of the day: Can-Opener Man is the newest--
Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum Novels)but then they are still looking for the guy who hid all those empty video cases 
in the ceiling tiles.  Lona rolls her eyes and shakes her hands at me. I
 know without one word, she is just thankful she didn't have to get out the
rubber gloves today.      
     Mac puts the gray Volvo in first, and we pull out of the lot-- deeper
into the Zonerhood.  Across the street from the hospital squats the the Baked Chicken place.  The smell of transfat on underdone veggies attracts a lot of health nuts.  I'm planning on sneaking over to the Wiseguy's Bagel and Dime next door while Mac is eating his rubber chicken.  While I'm trying to decide whether I'll get a tub of veggie cream cheese, or strawberry, or maybe both, Mac rams the brakes.
A guy dressed like the Statue of Liberty waves an Oreo pie under my nose through the passenger side window.  "Five Dollars!"  he shouts.  We both shrug. 
Mac rolls the Volvo forward a little to scare him off.  The pie slams into my face. 
"Nice day to have the windows open," I say plucking crust out of my hair.  An Oreo sticks
to my eye like an eye patch.  "Babe, you look like a really old pirate."
Mac smiles and sides the Volvo up the Chicken/ Bagel complex. I get out 
then I shout, "I'm getting a dozen!"  and storm off to my cream cheese haven. 
Sometimes the Zonerhood really gets to me.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sphinx Moth

Little fizzy hummingbird
you are so fairy strange
you wiggle two antennae, 
and zizzle with you sip
juice from each flower
for their nectar focus-
power.  Little hummingbird
you are so fairy strange
with your tiny moth-like
feathers and your
zebra-stripped fame.
Please tell me what you
are, I can't take it or I'll
bust--you're the winged
chariot for the fairy
queen.... you're just

Back of the Wind

Oh, it's you.
You're back again.
Busting through for a
day or two, knocking
down branches
on my door, making
cicada skins rattle
on the fence, poking
under things that ain't
your business.  Sure,
I liked you last year.
So invigorating, so
fresh.  Whatever.
You can just go back
where you came from.
I know who's right
behind your back.
Get on out of here
y'old wind--
and don't y'ever
come back.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Vine Vine Vine

I found three tomatoes on the vine vine vine.
I poured myself a glass of wine wine wine.
I asked them why they were red red red.
I'll never tell you what they said said said.

Broke Day

Wake up on your mattress sitting on the floor.
Add water to their milk, send the kids out the door.
Buy some gas for the car on your credit card,
Make rice for lunch and dinner, season it with lard.
Wash your laundry cold-- use less soap to save a dime.
Clean the sink with salt, the tub with alcohol,
Put leftover coffee in the fridge, you'd hate to waste it all.
Save up the rubber bands, the ziplocks, and the string.
Pinch your penny's till you make them sing.
Dream about a bagel, but you only eat some toast.
Why do all the cheap things, now cost the most?

The Summer Window

Enter Wind.
Hello World.
Sky is my chimney.
Stars are my pearls. 
Street lamps make snow
every day of the year,
but I wait, naked,
for the breeze
to get here.

The Turtle & The Square

I'm round like the sun
and yellow as the moon.
My shell is a puzzle
of squares all in rune.
Read me or see me,
and hope to find
the last hidden fruit
but only the rind--

Ones and zeros,
Bethsaida's ruins.
silicon chips with
gold running through 'm,
Heaven's gold ring.
and Earth's rusty square
Seek me.
Find me.
I live there.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Miss. Sneaky McSneakity

Miss. Sneaky McSneakalot
fell behind the sky
Miss. Sneaky McSneakalot
doesn't say why
Miss. Sneaky McSneakalot
swept through the crowd
Miss. Sneaky McSneakalot
hid in a cloud.
Miss Sneaky McSneakalot
she makes me tremble
Miss Sneaky McSneakalot
fit into a thimble.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sound of rain

I like the sound of the rain on the leaves
an orchestra tuning for the storm.