"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

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bob Ross in the Bag

It's Father's Day. I pull into the driveway
next to the paper Birch. What's in my purse?
A sealed, brand-new DVD of Bob Ross, the PBS wonder,
master Oil Painter, not to mention, snazzy dresser.
His big hair reminds me of my Dad's 80s curls
so much like Ronald McDonald, the clown.
Everyone the same back then.

Who started it?
The curls I mean? What were they thinking?
But Bob Ross pulled it off. It's like he
had a halo that said, "I love painting. And
I don't mind letting you copy everything
I do. And guess what? You can make
the trees any color you like." I like that
about Bob.

Why was he so incredibly soothing?
What made all of just sit and stare as
he placed small pale marks on the base
of "happy little trees"? And why did he use
so much Alizarin Crimson? Everything was
maroon? Everything Titanium White? Why?

The other thing in my purse? A small bit
of communion wafer, a cube really--
I'm allergic to the wheat in the bread.
Oh, and an empty plastic cup, small enough
for a large gnome to drink out of.
The cup isn't half empty. It's really empty--
all sipped out.

I remember Dad had asked for communion
the week before he died. I told him,
I can never eat it anymore.
I'll take it, if you still have it, he said,
trying to sound as if he didn't care. But he knew.
He knew he wouldn't make it very many more
days. I did too. I knew that's why
he was so peaceful. We knew.

It wasn't long now.
But that Sunday, like most others,
I had crumbled up the small crust in lieu
of chewing it. My purse empty.
Not one crumb
left. And I suddenly hated

being Protestant, because I knew if there
had been a priest somewhere handy, he
or she would appear with wafers
and a cup right then and there--
they have kits, you know, to take to the
bedridden-- Fast food communion.
The wafers slide out like quarters from a silver
tube. The wine in a thermos, a white
linen napkin-- all hidden inside
a small leather box--- a happy meal.

Then again, to even say we wanted
such a thing was so un-Protestant.
Because last rights are just a formality, un-
So we just shrugged.
Our meal, imaginary.
Our religion, un-

Looking back,
I can imagine it differently.
Who would pop through the door, but
Bob Ross! And he'd tell us that
with a few small strokes here and there
he could paint us any meal we wanted.
He'd create a loaf of bread so beautiful
that no one could be allergic to it. He'd
cover it with little dots of sesame. Then
a crystal goblet shining in pure white.
Of course, an easy choice for the wine,
dark red, so much poured out, somehow
always enough.

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