in this migration

April 19, 2014


not for the herd, I
sit at the back of rooms
gaze through windows
during lecture
in auditoriums
sit near exits
or lean against the wall
knowing center
is for safety…
that on the edge
is vulnerable
for the weaker…older
of the species
who trail the herd
breathing dust
sensing hungry lions
hearing distant thunder
yet, it is enough…
where I have been
in this migration
for one last gathering
to uncertainty

Photographer: Bonnie Cheung


April 17, 2014



salt shaker…saliera  
she says it slowly
tasting salt upon her tongue
Italian words…phrases
on adhesive paper
she sticks on concrete nouns
in her silent house
to speak new language to her

an empty copper bowl..
citola di rame    
a crystal vase in shadow…
un vaso di cristallo nelle ombre   

as air grows stale
she wanders to a garden
snips lavender…lavanda
and lilacs…lilla     
to place on a table set for one
tavolo da pranzo per uno

thinks of an abstract noun
tear drops…gocce di lacrima
she says it slowly
tasting salt upon her lips

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork Unknown
Revised March, 2013

Fine Precious Things

April 12, 2014

precious things

She distills him from remembrance
as costly feeling shades
from their essential palate,
reduced in the immediate
to fine precious things
refined like lead to gold
in airy dreams of alchemists.

She pinches red strands
of saffron…moist to harvest
from crocus blooming acres
to cram in glass retorts
for a scarlet savor.

From ‘round cacti spines
she plucks enameled insects,
mere parasites sipping dew,
to mix salt crystalline
in a mortar pestle crush
to bright carmine redness.

Then from Tyrian seas
she fishes lucent snails
whose dye bearing veins
she slits…opens intense
concentrate into tin vessels
for a density of purple.

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Carol Nelson



Lincoln Descants

April 9, 2014

lincoln sign

Smolder in the Marble

his hands
at the memorial
are rumored signing
his initials…how crass
how uncomprehending
is his sculptor to imply
such conceited vanity

so out of touch
with that great man
who smolders in the marble
gaunt framed, grim,
with those famous hands
tense primed to intent,
hard work knuckled…swollen
from a thousand signings
and the wrestling
with a nation
* * * * *


There is a gray quilted lining
for his black wool greatcoat
where an emblematic eagle
spreads defensive wings
as from its beak furl two banners:
“One Country”…”One Destiny.”

Yes…it is that greatcoat
the one he wore that night…
that awful night.

As he occasionally laughed
at the comedy below,
he became distracted
by a sudden chill.

He retrieved that greatcoat
to chase the cold away,
wrapping his tall spare frame
in the eagle and the banners.

Then oblivion of mind
while his strong heart kept beating
beneath the useless warmth
where an eagle spread its wings
above one country…one destiny.

* * * * *

lincoln  5 65

The Gaze

the gaze…
the penetrating awareness
the importance of the moment
for he still held his glasses…a pencil
to stay his body for a camera shot
just as if he knew…he knew
this picture would be the forever
look at us…at us…years to future
as if to say… this… is who I am


Bonnie Marshall

Photo Credits:
The Gaze: Photographer, Alexander Gardner, February 5, 1865
Greatcoat: National Park Services, Ford’s Theater Lincoln Museum
Smolder in the Marble: Sculptor/Designer, Alexander Chester French



quilting stitches

April 6, 2014

log cabin life

she quilts marriage on her lap
each rocking stitch
a mantra repetition
stitched in cotton…
of salvaged patterns
from his work shirts
from her dresses,
from linen on their bed
for a softer backing

she quilts time upon her lap
log cabin squares in layers
like decades ’round a hearth
or geologic strata
surround of molten core
to accumulate…adjust
she sews whole hours
from her memory

she quilts endurance on her lap
to needle pierces…notice
through cloth to skin
that once sensed tender
tiny bleed on fingertips
now lightly callused to the touch

Art by Sandy Meyer

old soul eyes

April 3, 2014


Young Mozart

Oh, yes, Mozart has them
‘though he’s not past twelve
old soul eyes…
there in Greuze’s portrait
for he looked
through windows
in a music room
where he lived
no matter where
his father traveled him,
and about his pursed lips
a pout of insolence
he knew…he knew
as do young old souls,
he was unbounded…
save for a weighty sensing
of invincible in time

old…old souls know them
note assurance in a swagger
lifted chin…impatient hands
see fire behind the glance
olds allow risks…provide space
for evolving lodestars,
stand back and wait…
anticipate the blaze

Bonnie Marshall

please yourself

March 30, 2014


as she waited for her intro
in that one-act play,
she breathed dust mote air,
watched suspended particles
drift in a floodlight glare

all around her sound diminished
to footnotes…sidebars…
blurred her mind to panic
for she couldn’t think her lines

she felt more than saw
her audience expecting
presence on that stage,
yet she summoned only
to her fading memory…
shredded straw, dried flowers
biscuits left too long upon a shelf
past…past…nothing for the present

yet…she parted curtains
slipped private into public
and sang remembered lullabies
and hymns and lyrics from an album
she once played upon a summer porch…
that you can’t please everyone
so you just gotta please yourself

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Philippe Fernandez


Rio Del Nieve Gansos

March 29, 2014

Bonnie Marshall:

This magnificent early poem by K. A. Brace shows why he is a master poet. Please direct any “like” or comments to his blog. Bonnie



Originally posted on The Mirror Obscura:

Rio Del Nieve Gansos

At high tide the Mexican gulf salt water pushes
Through the open mouth of the river. Against
The downward current of its fresh water breath
The sea stirs the clay silt bottom into cirrus
And cumulus, clouds the languid movement with eddies
And overflows its white sand banks into groves
Of wild rhododendron, loblolly pine and palms
Laced with beards of Spanish moss—Conquistadores,
Glinted with sun off their green leaf-plates
Of armor, bowing before the westerlies.

Here naked in the gray clay mud and sand of the estuary,
Footprints smooth the track of gull and pelican.
The skin and nipples remain erect in the chilled air,
The testicles tight in their sack against the groin.
Overhead, the liquid V of a snow geese flock
Flows inland from the sea to silent marshes,
Beating their wings to the dances of their mattings,
Calling to one another in…

View original 39 more words

air descants

March 27, 2014


warm thermals lift the condor
to swing his perfect wings
above a steep surround
his raptor head and dagger claws
attentive to his hunt
to fill his craw with carrion’s
sweet tang like apricots
and sweep fresh currents
through invisibles of air

* * * *

swirling air currents surge
over prairie mounds to break
along sides…create confusion
in tall grass and brown-eyed Susans

nimbus clouds…bruise gray
shroud storm cells…
and flicking lightning tongues
predict tornado visits

homesteaders fearing madness
of space infinity…scarcity of talk
cling to one another…whisper prayers

* * * *

fly with me
cirque du soleil,
a body lightness
through airy space
above jade meadows
with scarlet poppies scarved…
’til we emerge to hillsides
where clowns with floppy shoes
whistle, hoot and gesture…
we pass them by
to drift above the azure sea
where dark shapes undulate,
swim arbitrary…ominous
in sunlight shattered twilight,
’til they surface…dolphins
bewitched with speed…
we’ll ride their silver transport
spring forward with their rush
and with arms upraised through air
we’ll embrace their haste,
then, flipping we shall tumble
laughing…gasping breath,
reconnecting with the earth,
mere driftwood on the sand

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Deborah Richardson

fire descants

March 25, 2014


how tenuous is fire
when first it lifts
to heat and light
on swift igniting breeze…
before consuming blaze
sweeps skyward with its gold
to drive vast conflagration
to incandescent pitch…
then take care…lover
if you covet with a gaze…
mere seconds will suffice,
rush tempests through the brain,
addict like alcohol

*        *        *        *        *        *

when Prometheus,
that rebellious, wily Titan,
caught sparks of fire
from Apollo’s
circling Sun cart,
and carried flame
in fennel stalks
to Earth’s shivering mortals,
‘twas nothing more
than a simple gifting
born of a trickster mischief…
heedless of consequence

*        *        *        *        *        *

there is comfort in candlelight
like flickering prayers in naves
not frenzy of a Pentecost…
there is soothe in phosphorescent trails
behind sailboats in safe harbors
not St. Elmo’s fire ablaze from every mast
on Ahab’s doomed “Pequod”
so,  I’ll  dream with softer lumens
of pine scented candles round my bed

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Nancy Eckels


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