"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, October 31, 2010

Spirits and Ghosts, Steam and Vapors

In the midst of two or three
It's the mist that I can't see
It's not the white shift floating by
It is a shift in the reason and why--
It's light for dark sight
It's light for dark loads
It's the real milk I need the most.
Give me a teaspoon of truth
each day, no more,
sticky syrup filling out my shadow, bit by bit
and all the lies won't stay and sit.
I'll fill and fill and fill up to the top.
Then Halleluja I won't stop.
I'll be ready for the truth
and the truth will see me free!
No more shadows, no more duals.
I'll see the one is more real than real.
Fill me up and pour me out.
When I'm ready, hear me shout.


Sometimes it's like we've killed a unicorn--
I push the stroller up the root-knocked sidewalk the neighbors grumble to their dogs and look away
I slouch in the corner booth with the steak menu over my head so they won't recognize me
the mailbox is always empty though it goes out full at least once a month
my messages fly into space every day, but there's a force field which makes them invisible

Sometimes it's like we've killed a unicorn--
the house goes ablaze and everyone watches it go down, who comes to see it back up?
a pantry party is thrown for those with food, while we have ketchup
the grass grows weeds and mushy crops, where is all the fruit?

Sometimes it's like we've killed a unicorn
and we're just asking for a chance
to prove we're pure in heart.

Sometimes it's like we've killed a unicorn
and we're just want to prove
we've been innocent from the start.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hot Cocoa...

Hot Chocolate
A sweet cup of cocoa is
what I want ....
the cocoa is almost gone!
I'll measure out some
brownies first and then...

A sweet cup of cocoa is
what I want....
Brownies too I'll
measure first...
The flour is almost gone!
I'll measure out some
pizza dough and then...

A sweet cup of cocoa is
what I want...
Brownies too I'll
measure first...
Pizza then
I'll sift the flour...

A sweet cup of cocoa is
what I want...
The Brownies they
are measured.
The dough it
is just raising.
The milk is getting hot!

Ah, the milk
is just now hot.
The cocoa I'll stir in.
Sugar, salt, butter, milk...
A cup and marshmallows
in...The marshmallows are
almost gone!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dear Steam Punk

Warning:  Don't read this note if you want to guess what the poem is about from reading it---

Steam Punk seems to becoming a popular genre of fiction today.  I see "steam punk" and the continued love for the Victorian era as a wish to regain something lost. The great experiment of the modern age was not the beautiful new world science envisioned. Science hoped to conquer time travel, poverty, energy and every pain or inconvenience in life. Instead science seemed to be another way to have larger Holocausts and Hiroshimas. In some ways, Postmodernism feels like a constant revisiting of old calculations to find what we've missed-- where we went wrong. My theory is that we missed each other; missed seeing people as the first most important thing. This letter is an allegory for that missed relationship. Here I compare the explosive death of a loving relationship between a beautiful Victorian woman with her inventor-fiancĂ© as an allegory about the nuclear holocaust. 

Dear Steam Punk,
You were breathtaking, a star in your universe
the genius who knew his own duty:
To take science, beauty and justice,
solder them together into a new universe. 
We were going to make it.

I held your dream in gloved hands in the
tea stained light of the afternoon sun.  I too,
in that slanting half light full of a promise,
thought you had a made all things new--
a world where the laws of man were honorable
and the laws of physics were meant to be humbled
under the leathers of our good intentions.

We admired it too long, I guess, under the open
window.  Who knew the weight would break just then,
and the casing come crashing down?  Who could
have told us the world would slip out of my fingers,
drop two stories down, and disappear into the black
hole of a common gutter?  We couldn't know who found
it and altered our victory for dark purposes while
we fought each other over bruised fingers?
Who knew I leave through the door of your curses,
and you, romantic to the end, would burn my letters on
the coals of our most recent love?

A century we've run in place, recalculating
each tick.  Watching the replay on years beginning
with nineteen.  Reliving the horrors our hopes produced
on the back of our eyelids-- every blink
a yellow light surrounded by red.  I still see that
infernal cloud.  I can admit, alone to myself, we misfired.  
I was sure beauty and science were the gods who would
prove perfection came from muscled minds
and creative technology.  How was I to know
that we lost the world the moment we forgot
each other?  When my hand left yours
to see in a better light?

Spare me

Babies are born unable to walk, so they will
stay close to their mothers; learn love over adventure
and so they won't be so excited at the wide world they
might forget to eat and so to grow up.

Babies are born without teeth to spare their mothers who
gently teach them to nurse sweet milk, and with coos and love
pats, what humankind is about. Some say teething with
all its night terrors build tolerance to pain.

Babies are born unable to speak to spare everyone
seventeen odes a day on the wonders of  breast milk, blankets,
and sunshine, every single day for the first three hundred
and sixty five days of their lives.

and most importantly, to spare us their constant
amazement at the complexities of the human
digestive system with all its gas bubbles and
dozens of kinds of spillage out each end.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


A circle is just a circle, until you draw rays then it's a sun.
A circle is just a circle, until you draw a smile then it's a face.
A rectangle is just a rectangle until you add birds then it's the sky.
A rectangle is just a rectangle until you add a knob then it's a door.
A square is just a square until you add wheels then it's a wagon.
A square is just a square until you add a Christmas tree, then it's a present.
A triangle is just a triangle until you draw a square then it's a house.
A triangle is just a triangle until you draw a family then it's a home.

This poem is inspired by my daughter's school project she brought home yesterday.  These are mostly direct quotes from her classmates.

Trash Day

The Poky Little Puppy
I love trash day!
No, I hate trash day.
But not today!
Today I'm free.
I'm roaming about.
I can sniff every bag
inside and out!
I run down this street
and now that street.
And if I find a rib or two
I'm not going
to share with you!
I love trash day,
boy, I do.
I love trash day
and the whole
world too!



Little violet handkerchief folded on the ground,
too shy to even show your face.
I remember the brave tip of your chin over
your bare shoulder.  And here your timid visage
darkens a nipped golden wednesday at the edge
of winter.

I know you've come to ease my heart, so
dry of all that is green, so dark from the strange
angle of the distant white globe in the sky.
To calm my sleep filled with the frost-ache,
and dreams of crackled leaves on black ground.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Grandma inside the wolf

Mother Dear,

I don't understand growing old.
What is it? Your ears grow jangling, your
cheeks sag down, your eyes get droopy and frown,
your hands turn clawed like an old gray bear,
and your teeth fall in or stick out. Does age
consume you, or is it a disguise,
Can anyone bail you out? If we cut off the outer
layers could her youth jump up and run about?

Red Riding Girl,
Run along quick. Don't
ask silly questions when
Grandmother is sick. 
Take this wine and bread
past the three Oaks, and
call before opening the latch.
You'll find her there
as she always was.  Go
now and stay on the path.

What's eating you?

Hansel and Gretel (Picture Puffins)

What's eating you, Hansel?
   I'm bothered, that's all, Gretel.

About what?
   It's her and her constant nibbling,
    nagging and snickering.  She's roasting me alive!

You mean the witch, or step mother?
   What's the difference? 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Eden Diary 2- part two

      Well... I can answer you question by telling you a little more about the first world war.  This was, of course, between the people of Able and the people of Cain.  Cain wanted to use all the land for livestock and Able wanted to have vineyards and orchards and farms.  They couldn't agree to divide it up in any way that suited both of them, because of the access to the rivers.  It didn't rain very often then.  There was a "rainy season" as we called it, but it was more of a damp season that anything to worry about.
     Now, in Eden, -- no it is not a myth-- it never rained.  It misted.  That was so annoying, and it was one of the main reasons we left.  You can imagine living in a place that is so hot you can't wear any clothes, then on top of that it mists all the time.  I was constantly damp and miserable.  Since it was a kind of nature reserve, and we were there to study the animals; to learn their languages, killing them was frowned upon.  We couldn't make clothes, bedding, or tents without animal skins.  Also that forced into becoming vegetarian.  Eve used to make the most terrible fruit soup all the time.  I could hardly eat.  Where was I?
     Oh yes, the war.  Well we all left Eden because we really needed a change.  And were were very happy to be able to make our own clothes, get settled in homes, even cook proper food.  I remember I went out and butchered a large bull that very first day and made the most wonderful steaks.  We'd never been so happy.
Well, yes.  Now that you mention it, there was that incident with out teeth.  Now I told everyone what to expect, but no one listened.  There was a serious uproar for a few weeks, but it petered out.  Well, yes, our teeth did grow.  See these sharp teeth I have in the front?  Well none of had these incisor teeth for eating flesh back in Eden, we had very straight teeth like horses do.  I explained to everyone our genes had been repressed for the special life style we were forced to live there.  Once we left Eden, our meat eating teeth were allowed to grow just as they are supposed to be.  This didn't go over well.  Our schools then weren't as sophisticated as they are now.  No one understood science.  Many people woke up that first morning with new sharp teeth and fell over dead from fright.  Some ran off into the wilderness and we heard rumors of tribes of Cannibals warring and eating each other.  Eve of course used the wonder of it all to reinforce her snake cult.  Some people were afraid to sleep in case they might wake up with other changes or be bitten by an insane person in the night.  I called it Vampire Syndrome. 
     I counseled most of the young ones until they were able to see their new teeth as natural and necessary.  I set apart the most qualified as cattle ranchers and sheep and goat herders.  I taught them how to butcher meat into cuts.  Eve set about training many in cooking stew with vegetables and teaching farming and gardening.  It was all going so well. 
     I guess I really don't remember how the war started at all.  One day we were fairly evenly divided into two tribes and the next there was an all out war.  People from Abel began sharpening their shovels and hoes into spears.  People from Cain made whips, arrows, and armor.  The war lasted only a few days I should say.  We weren't many then.  The survivors from Abel stole all my writings on philosophy and religion.  They ran off to the North.  I and whoever remained from Cain settled here in Babble.  We branded ourselves with special tattoos on our foreheads to make sure no one from Abel could infiltrate our city unnoticed.
     We like the arid climate, and the vast amounts of clay in the soil have developed new trades of pottery, art, and brick making.  We are building a city.  Our best project is top secret, I can't tell you about it yet.  But you will be so impressed when I do.  Yes we are really the strongest people on earth--we must be-- because we overthrew Abel and its traitors, and rebuilt here the biggest city on Earth.  It's truly magnificent.  Have I shown you my thrown room?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dear Mrs. Giant

Dear Mrs. Giant,
     Thank you for giving me a hot meal the other night.  I know I gave you a start at first, I'm sorry.  I didn't
think Giants existed before either, so I was taken aback myself.  I had no idea there was a whole another world so far above ours.  For we live down below, you see, on the earth.  Most of us don't have castles either I'm afraid.  And unlike Mr. Giant we don't eat a meal of a dozen cows or so because we are each smaller than one full grown cow.  I'm writing to you to ask you another favor.  I'd like to borrow some of your planting seeds: pumpkin, cabbage, tomatoes and the like. 
     You see, our land has had a famine for quiet some time.  We are so very small that what you eat in
one meal for two people would feed our whole town for a week.  The way your bean seeds took to our soil makes me think that I can grow some more super-sized produce and save the whole village, maybe several villages.  And of course, it will be easy to return as many seeds as I take from the crop I produce.
I'm not sure what started our famine here.  We used to be such a happy people.  Every night we'd gather in the square to tell stories, sing songs, dance.  It was wonderful.  People knew us as the town with the saddest songs and the happiest stories.  We had a golden harp painted on every door.  When the land stopped producing we stopped singing.  Though some say it was the other way around.  Others blame the disappearance of our jolliest children, mostly boys.
     A small sack of seeds is all I'm asking, and I can come when Mr. Giant is asleep.  Please send your reply by this same carrier pigeon.  He is very tame and will not bite you.  I hope you can read this for I've written as large as I can.
Yours Truly,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Alzheimer Words on Grandm'a 88th Birthday

Hello Grandma!

Why hello there!
It's been so long that...I seen you...on the airplane?

Yes, I haven't been able to come up for a while,
but here we are.  Me and the baby.  We don't have to come
on the plane anymore.

She's .... She's.... She's and she's so... and isn't it....

Yes, you're right he's getting big.  But this isn't my daughter, she's in school now.  She couldn't come today.  This is my son and he looks just like his sister.  You're right.  Can you say hi to Grandma?

....Oh, he's being.... and he's... look at him....he he hmmm.

Yes, he's being shy.  Oh he's playing peek-a-boo with you.

Look at Grandma's doll.  What a great doll and look at her nice dress.

Of course, I just knew you wuz comin' and so I.... set her... just lek that... just so.

And you got her all dressed up real nice too.  And you look nice too.

Well this is... is.... and its not....

I can fix it for you, the button is in the wrong place?  Let's start over.  There.  How's is that?

.....uh huh....hmm.

Do you want me to read your cards to you?

Well sure... if....

Happy Birthday Aunt Eleanor...

Yes, I and there... Happy Birthday..... I see it.... right there....

And I only got one card....

I'm sorry I didn't bring you one.  I didn't think you'd be able to read it.
But we came anyway.  Let's sing Grandma a song...

How is.... How is?  And what is she.... and what......?
Mom is doing fine.  She got a new job and she likes it very much.

Oh, that's so nice.  She likes it huh?
Yes.  She does.

That's nice.  And.....And....
S is in school and my sister is getting married to a very tall doctor.

Awe.  I remember when she was....

Yeah, now she's all grown up and she loves to make cakes.
I bet you'll have cake today for your birthday.

Well now, I don't know.  I don't......  ...n,er know.
Well hopefully. 

And we've gotta go get the baby some lunch and a nap.
But we'll come back soon.

Next time.... Next time... .... ... under ... and then.... under...

Yes, that would be nice.  We could take the baby to the park like
we used to do with his sister.  That would be nice and he could climb
under everything and over everything.  On a nice day we'll do it.


Good bye, Grandma.  We love you. 

Bye, Hon...


Dear Phebe and Cyrus

Dear Phebe and Cyrus,
Behind the theatre is where I usually find them, 
where people place their cast off things:
broken sandals, rags, rubbish, and the like.
This one was even further back, close to the high
road.  I wouldn't have seen it if a gray pigeon
hadn't rustled about beside the bundle of cloth
making so much noise.  PTL.

Some are cast off because something is wrong--
often blindness, disease or a deformity of some kind.
We blame the cause of so many infants born this way
to the wide array of abortificants and poisons
taken by the wives or mistresses of rich governors.
They reject any heir breaking up inherited property. 
The phrarmacies in Rome grow increasingly rich
from the sales of these items.  Often the ones
we can save are like little Teran here--
from the poorest of the poor. 

You are very blessed, for I have promised
the very next child would be yours, "no matter
his health or nature."  And you see he is perfect.
You were meant to have this child. We called him
Teran until you were able to give him a proper name.

Many now know we X-tians in Rome are
copying the methods of those in Antioch.
They know we make daily rounds of the dumps
behind the theatres and open markets.  The poor
hide the infants they cannot care for from those
looking for free slaves, yet they also try to make them
easy for us to find by a small sign of some kind.
This one was swaddled in clean feed sacks,
and our secret sign was drawn in the dirt nearby. 

Joanna, a wife of one of the richest Lords in the
South of Rome, has recently discussed
with me a better way to handle the orphans.  We
think an orphanage might be set up to receive
the children without risk of slavery or exposure.
Please pray that we can find a building and enough patronage for this cause.  I tell you this, so as you find more families in your area willing to take children, you may contact me,
and I will send more.  There are always plenty.

Blessings ITNOLJC,
Dionae daughter of Thesson
of Rome
10th day of August
282 Anno Domini

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Sorry everyone, I can't seem to stop rhyming.  It annoys me too.  I don't mind if you skip the rhymed ones.
Hopefully it will pass, or at least get better.  I promised to write what each poem was about and I'm very behind.  This one was inspired by opening my car door while I had the keys in the ignition and my seat belt was off.  Why does my car tell me what to do?  Don't I have any choices left in life?  I hope I will never let my car decide when to parallel park or to brake.  What if it is wrong?  I'd rather be responsible for my own actions with my own errors, if it means I still have some responsibility left.  And who decided that everything in my house must beep?  The coffee pot beeps twice when its ready and twice when its done. There is no off switch.  I have no choice to but hear a loud grating noise.  My dryer beeps, and there is no choice about it.  My microwave beeps.  They are all loud ugly noises.  Surely advanced technology could solve this.  Why not no sound at all?  I can tell when the coffee is done.  Well, now you see why poems are better than prose.  My prose is just whining and angst.  Hopefully the poems have something else instead of that.  I mean there's the rhyme, that has to sound better than beeping.

Remember Bells?

I remember them, we called them bells.
Ring, shake, or strike-- then came a sound
which started softly then grew loud.
Bells were what called us to wake, or to pray
they even chimed the time of day.
Musical as birds, they pealed into arcs
of shouts or murmurs, hymns, or larks.
They were nothing like a beep, a bop, or a bark
they didn't make you grit your teeth like a shark.
They didn't nag you to buckle up
or shriek when the door wasn't shut.
They didn't wake you with a grinding roar,
or spike as the microwave door was ajar.
Bells were nice, gentle and sweet
low, proudly murmuring, or deep.
I wish that bells were coming back into style,
I'd take those loud beeps-- they'd be quickly filed
right in the recycler with all of the cans--
Beeps and bops would forever be banned.
I'd happily whistle all day long,
maybe I'd even have room for a song.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Eve's Apples

How unfeeling you are
when you lose them,
rotting on the ground.

You gave yourself
in every bloom,
each rosy petaled down.

Now your labors
are russet mush,
vinegar for the soil.

The bees are drunk,
the flies are sunk,
from fruit that's gone to spoil.

How do you stand then,
old apple tree,
and see them fall to waste?

For unlike us,
your seeds will grow,
a star in every taste.

We can't plant
a tree of fruit when
our seed return to dust.

For when our labors
sleep beneath the earth
it's the end of us.

But you old sinner,
we can imitate
your heavy hopefulness.

If we sow our
dreams like fingered seeds
in those around our table.

We'll see love bloom
and root our hope to say
that He is able.


In the tree, a squawk
a squeal, a cawing,
crowing quack.

Perched above
the Johnny reds
he lies there on his back.

His groans belie
in his russet voice
how many he did take.

Too many apples
and too many acorns
gave him a belly ache.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


My life is like a diaper
and you an smell the crap
for a mile, that is why
I'm just trying to get it out
get it out, get it out.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Eden Diaries 2

Well, you know, way back
and I mean way way back,
Eve and I were married.  That
was over eight hundred years ago
now.  People say she never existed,
she was just a myth-- a goddess.
Well they were never married to
her.  Seemed like we were born
married somehow.  I don't
remember my childhood at all.

I was president of Eden.  It
was one of the most wonderful
organizations, if not the most
wonderful organization, I've
ever belonged to.  I was the
president and it was my job
to name or catalogue...
well everything.

I mastered every language
of every animal species and
through their descriptions about
themselves I was able to
give them names according to
a specific cross referencing system.

Of course, there was that honeymoon
period where Even and I spent
days by the sea, or finding
new edible fruit trees in the
valleys.  She was so beautiful
and there really was nothing
else like her.  It seems
to me now that she sort of
glowed at times, she was
almost more like a plant
than a human.  She would
sprout flowers from her hair,

Oh, then there were the children.
I never did figure out where
she got them all.  Hundreds
would turn up and she would take
them all in.  I hired some
nannies to take care of them
and teach them human language.

Funny, in my memory
children grew up in about a
year back then, full grown.
They seem to take about sixty now,
don't even get married til sixty-five.
You probably think I've gone
"kid" in the head.  But I'm
very sure of it.

Well you know most everything
was destroyed in the first world war
and my memory was never the same
That was after Eve started her
snake cult.  Funny there weren't any
snakes in Eden, I remember.  We did
have lizards with little legs, but not snakes.
Now there are thousand, you can't go
one day without the newspaper telling
about another deadly bite on some
poor farmer...

Where was I?  Oh, Eden...well
we had resettled then to another
area right after I had been getting
wrapped up more and more
into writing a book of ethical codes
based on my long walks in the garden
at night reflecting on the teachings
of nature.  Well after we moved, we
hardly saw each other
for a hundred years.  I had taken
a few other wives and Eve thankfully
stopped bringing out those batches of
infants from the forest. 

All the familes in the area
had pretty much settled into two tribes,
hunters and gatherers.  The hunters called
themselves Cain, and the gatherers, Able.
The farming techniques in Able were
coming along,so that we has almost as much
as we did in Eden.  --Of course Eden
had been so advanced, everything grew
without our help...

I remember there were no weeds or thorns,
not one.
I never was stung by a bee.  Oh, and my
favorite pet was this lion I named Garett.  I
felt closer to him than anyone on Earth. 
He understood everything I said, and
I fancied I understood him as well.
Funny, he never bothered the sheep
or the children.
Now days we have hunting parties,
we are trying to make them extinct.  I
wonder what happened to the animals.
They aren't friendly like they were once.

Eden was purely vegetarian, but now
I don't feel bad eating venison or lamb
now and then...  Animals here
are really so dumb, they have to
be completely taken care of in every way
and they never understand a word you
say....Oh, what was I saying....

In Able, yes, there was some kind of
feud out in the fields, I don't know what
happened.  The war lasted for years.
We called that valley 'field of blood'
and everyone left alive settled in

Now, Babble... Babble is
the best organization I've ever belonged to.
They have vision.

Eden Diary #1

It used to be easy.  I had everything.
My grandkids think Eden was when we
walked around with goosebumps, eating
berries and nuts-- and had twigs in our hair.
God, Where do they get that?  Sometimes,

I think it was all a dream,
but how would I explain eight hundred years
of nightmares and one night of bliss? 
You would not have believed those trees. 
They aren't like the ones here.  My favorites--
the yellow pears-- twice as large as those
bitter little things we call pears now.  Ours
tasted like cinnamon.  No core,only carmel inside,
the seeds were so small you could eat the whole thing. 
I'd cut down the largest and cook fruit soup
every Saturday.

Yes, we had fire.  God, we weren't primitive.

It was too hot to wear clothes, and they
would have been a bother, because
we were always swimming
up waterfalls or going down
to talk to the fish and the merpeople.
They had such wonderful recipes for
hair cream-- the merpeople I mean.

Don't even give me that look...

Anyway, I had the most wonderful hair. 
Flowing all the way down to my ankles. 
It was silvery blue, almost purple.  God,
back then...Back then Adam has
only to run his fingers through my
hair and I felt like a double
rainbow.  Little feathers would fly
right out of my head and float
on the breeze-- kind of like dandelion
fluff you would call it.

That's how we had so many children.
No, we weren't like the animals back then.
Everything was always so... comfortable.
The wind would carry the seeds around
plant them somewhere in the garden and
we'd find them...babies popping up like weeds
in the cabbage bed.  If they landed too far,
the storks would bring them back when
they were ripe.  Adam had
trouble finding names for them all, we
had to start asking the monkey's to help us
come up with new ideas.  Of course their was
a big riot because the birds wanted to
help too.  But we couldn't pronounce
what they came up with, let alone
spell it.

God, yes we could read.  Who have
you been listening to?

Babies were so much easier back then.
They could walk a few hours after birth.
They loved to drink milk weed.  They
played with the animals.  We had several
nanny goats to heard them all until
they were full grown at the end
of each summer.  They made fresh
cheese and butter for all of them.  The goats
taught them to talk, called them their kids...

God, yes animals could talk.  Who has
been telling you animals never talked.
I heard them myself.  Who do you think
taught me to talk? 

If you can't believe your poor granny
at her age, this conversation is over!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

River Of Words

River of Words: Young Poets and Artists on the Nature of Things
I was completely undone by this book River of Words.  I opened to page twenty-five to find the most wonderful spare poem I could use to teach anyone to write poetry.  Looking down at the bottom of the page, I see it's written by two nine-year-olds.  Even the artwork is phenomenal.  I could have cried for an hour.  I may never write poetry or create art as satisfying as the work in this collection made by young people under the age of nineteen.
Pamela Michael and Robert Hass are the cofounders of this non-profit organization which runs this amazing annual contest for children.  With its themes of "watershed" and caring for the earth-- the poetry is to die for.  There publisher http://www.milkweed.org/ is awsome too.  Every teacher could benefit from the curriculum written by this poet laureate/ professor team.  The poem below printed as a winner in the 2008 edition.  It is in spanish and I've typed in the English translation paired with it.  It is written by Michelle Diaz Garza and Rosa Baum, both age 9.

"There is a Dark River

There is a dark river
In the gutter of the street
In front of my school.
It was born in the rain
And isn't flowing anymore.
It's sort of sad
With drops of gasoline
And a red wrapper
Some kid tossed
After eating a candy.
But although it's sad and filthy
It carries the shadow of my face
The tattered clouds
And in white and black
The whole sky."


Sure, maybe I'm
fine with being an oyster, but
I hate living here in the muck, and you
 know what is worse?  I hate sand
I do . . .
Bubbles! There is
another piece, and I will have to
suck it in and take it.  I have this special
technique.  I talk to it . . . Or. . . give it a name, I
make up a story about its life before
it was trapped here, try to make it
more bearable. Then it

Friday, October 1, 2010

Owl Dream



My great grandmother was Lenape
married to a blue-eyed Irishman.
She loved him despite herself.

She woke up each morning, cooked baccon,
knew every chant, star and legend,
but she mostly kept them to herself.

He slept with a gun under his mattress, cried every Sunday,
and could dance and drink as well as a Native--
when he was happy.

Their dark haired children and grandchildren
wore turquoise jewelry, turned brown in the summer,
never suffered from poison ivy.

She blessed them on her deathbed with
her guardian, the Owl.
He appeared in their dreams, forgotten
by morning.  Deer and Bear danced
in their memories, but they thought nothing.
Visions of warriors appeared
during their Rosary, they dismissed them.

There was a Cherokee
in our family, or Algonquin once
a ways back...  Something
about Leni or tears...

When I was a boy, just eleven years
old.  The her last Owl found us.  He soared
under the full moon, past the old quarry,
around the mountain by St. Therese's steeple.  He
flew over the Blue Route and into the suburbs
hidden in trees, past the court house,
down town, the lawyers' mansions,
and onto our street. 

He perched on the eaves
of our front porch-- weary, faded,
The sun's first light rose from the floor,
slid over our front door, up his talons,
his feathered chest, haggard beak, and tired
eyes.  He died in a blink.

We found him there after school looking
like a stuffed thing from a museum.  My brother took
great grandmother's sacred Owl to school
for a science experiment, because
of course we had long forgotten
where we came from.  And no one
could remember what a sacred guardian
was anymore.