"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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Mother Envy

Mother Envy

I think I would make a good man.
If I were a man I’d shave every morning,
and get a shower too. I’d wear Old Spice and
always smell good in a blue collared shirt
I’d wear my pants with a smart leather belt.
My socks would pull clean to my calf and I’d wear size
10 1/2 shoes that always fit.
I’d drink coffee and eat oatmeal with wheat germ.
I’d ride my car to work, an old beat up one.
I’d fill up the car with gas, staring at the other customers
under my thick heavy eyebrows. 
I’d frown at the cashier and say “pump number five”
in a deep gruff voice.
I’d work all day and when I took pit breaks I’d never
have to wait for the bathroom. I’d never have PMS, MS,
or post MS.
People would do what I say if the buck stopped
at my metal desk.
I’d walk to lunch, and eat something out of a bag.
I’d go home to a hot dinner on the table. 
I’d say grace.  My napkin would always be clean.
I’d tickle the kids, then watch television
and drink a light beer.  My pajamas would
be where I left them, my bed would be made.

While my car is modeled on my figure,
with a big trunk for strollers,
While my tiny eyebrows make every statement
into a question? And my tiny voice is too high
to register.  While no day begins or ends
the same as another.  I am a mother.
I can at least promise I will speak softly
and carry a big purse.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Secret Recipe

I serve the angel hair pasta
layered in portabella and cream
with bruschetta caprese.  Their glee
shakes my "garden of eden" chandelier
like so much sprinkled cheese.
Noodles spin and twirl a dance
while children laugh, and no one cares
if the "artisan sour dough" came from Wal-mart
in the far back corner-- on the stale shelf--
where I rescued it for $1.09 from
two ladies thinking about day-old
powdered doughnuts.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Things They Carried

I haven't read Tim O'Brian's book yet--which is titled the same as this post, but I like the idea.  I think their are at least three kinds of writers or at least ways we lay the foundation of our writing.  I am an object person.  Objects begin my stories, guide me through the process, and save the day: a medallion, a paintbrush, a loaf of bread, a basket.  And what better to admire an object than to write a poem.  I may avoid literal clutter by my magpie tendency to hoard fictional objects in my own private nest.  To me these objects say more about the characters and the action than anything else.  I'm not sure this is a common attribute.  I image most best-selling writers are either action or plot driven, but Alexander McCall Smith has a series that inspires me deeply-- and it is object driven.  Yes, Mma Ramotswe is the main character, but she is defined by her love for her "tiny white van," and the tea pot in which she makes bush tea.  Her assistant is defined by her large glasses, and her shoes sometimes speak aloud to her in a Hans-Christian-Anderson-type of way. 

To me objects are full of emotion, they inspire actions, hold back story, hint at destiny, and serve in place for boring adjectives or verbs.  Objects can by archetypes and can be understood by anyone and convey their own unique connotation for every reader.  Possibly this is why I've been sticking with list poems lately.  Or possibly because sorting items into groups is my way of cataloging a world in which my feet rarely have ever touched down.

Things they carried
1.  An old drum and flute we donated to a high school student in NW Minneapolis.  Her mother cried when we gave it to them. 
2.  Your kingergarten report card, a flawless record on yellow brittle paper.
3.  The newspaper article about when you won the kite contest in gradeschool, and the kite I bought at the beach when I was seventeen.
4.  The old Morgana the Sorceress costume from the 70's which I somehow turned into a peacock blue prom dress.
5.  A tiny blue and white porcelain tea set from China, cracked by my brother when he was three and reglued with my pink glue.
6.  The wind chimes you bought me on Main street promising that one day we would have a porch to hang them from.
7.  The watch held inside a glasses case.  Spectacles bought in Seattle by my grandmother bought before sailing to Japan in 1947.
8.  Tiny pointed shoes from India marked with the year 1972 given to me in a box from Aunt Polly, as she emptied all her treasures one at a time.
9.  The snapshot of our wedding flowers inside my wallet, still bright and true because it was before digital photography and the onset of fading photos.
10.  A tiny ivory quill with a carved elephant on top no bigger than my pinky nail.  Something I found when I was four years old, in a sand pile on the edge of the forest by my neighbors huge back yard under a barb wire fence.
These things we carried from place to place.  Some through twelve moves, and twelve schools on my part and a handful of each on yours.  We carried them in boxes and bags, in the back of trucks, moving vans, trucks, and cars, over at least three moves in February over the ice and some in the heat of June and we saved them and saved them.  And they are still here with us and may yet prove to be of some important purpose.  And we may wrap them up again and move them over mountains or an ocean or two, but some things we carry with us,
 I guess that is just what we must do.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

List #333

When we had little, I learned
how to take flour and water and add:

oil, 
to make tortillas in the brown glazed
bowl I made on the potter's wheel.

egg,
to make spring roll wraps
for bowling ball cabbage
which never fits in the vegetable drawer.

yeast,
to make pizza dough on those Sabbath
Friday nights, each a year apart

butter,
to make pie crust on Thanksgiving
from the Cinderella pumpkin
in the garden.

soda,
to make angel biscuits
light and fluffy, large and
whiter than air with the recipe
from the traveling truck show.

sugar,
to make cookies
to roll and cut into hearts
with the cookie cutters you
gave me in the silver tin.

drippings,
to make gravy for biscuits
or chicken pot pie with
leftovers.

milk,
to make white sauce for
seafood pasta casserole without the
seafood.

coriander,
to make manna cakes
when there is nothing else.

sustenance from nothing
blossoms to bread

with a bowl
we can accomplish anything.