Hamlet and the Piraha

dali flight

“There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he leaves, what is’t to leave betimes?” William Shakespeare   (Hamlet, 5.2.214)

To live as Brazilian Pirahã
is to be wholly in the present
where mists of past and future
are intangibles of time.

To live with Pirahã worldview
is to have no word for worry.
Dreamtime is the same as waketime…
seamless experience.

To live on the Meici River
is to flow one with the moment
where death is observation
eyes close…breath stops…
and readiness is all.

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Salvador Dali

surreal by the sea



shell robert smithson

milky news pods
drip from data clouds
to clamshell i-Things
memory erased
on a waveless beach
where tongues twitter whisper
and facemask photo shards
disperse to glitter litter
across infinite sand

Bonnie Marshall

Photo: Robert Smithson

green grazing pastures

Diebenkorn 1

keep silent…silent…and listen
listen…to these words…sieve
for wisdom like your need for breathing air,
then, when you speak…sing arias of words
with silver clarity like the ringing of a coin

dance meaning with your hands arms shoulders
for they’re the angels of your mind…they’re the
touching and the pinching and the caressing reach
for a human amplitude

pace the walking of your days for new risk
to follow comfort paths to exploration
where stepping is tentative to bold with
the going and the coming of a rich intent

bless the beating of your heart…touch
its stroking in your pulse…note its rippling
under the dear marvel of your skin

engage more life aware…splash cool water
on your face…your arms…your neck…
from the kitchen faucet, from the garden hose,
from the river, from the lake, from the sea…
to feel brisk…awake

Bonnie Marshall

Poem Reading: Permission of Kenneth Brauchler

Artwork by Richard Diebenkorn

in the buttery

cassatt child drinking milk

his mother calls it the buttery,
their root cellar in the cave…
where raw milk awaits cleavage
of acidic watermilk beneath
ascending cream

son enters…flames a match
to stub candles on a barrel…
along walls are bins of apples
carrots squash potatoes all
arrested…chilled in the dark;
a shiver sweats across his back

he skims sweet milk…thickened
to his mouth…across his tongue
in cool solitary…needs its satin
satisfaction after haying swelter
monotonous with row and row;
straw prickles on his arms…his legs

then…in a summer barn with cows
full uddered warm above his hand
his fingers stroke a rhythm…milking;
and he is drawn to memory of breast


Bonnie Marshall

Art by Mary Cassatt


gatherings for the ceremony

feast andrea kowch

come to the feast…
and drink clear water
seeped through stone
from cliffside springs
onto your tongue…
taste eras there…sip
country pheasant broth
strained enough to hint
of flight within its essence…
bite through the flesh
of warm-ed figs
to taste the green first
sprung through earthy loam
upon a rocky hill…
gnaw wild deer ribs
fire pit turned, spine cracked
to portions of hot muscle…
we throw the bones to darkness
in the corners of the room

and know…

it’s a mead hall time of year for me
with cravings for smoked shadows
salt crystalled cod and clove mulled wine
crisp partridge and roast deer
the heart strong wild of bear…
for I must taste strong flavors
touch sweat from sharp stone walls
smooth splinters roughed in pine
drip tallow on my palm
watch dust motes drift in shafts of light
hear sighs of sea-born rain
gnaw shreds of happiness
from bones of memory.


I shall feed you flowers…
not as Oberon…tactician
strategist of magical intent;
I’ll find no tinctured potion
of Love-in-idleness to wake
you to a baseless passion

I need no Puck to gather
marigolds… petals I would
scatter on a dark green bed
of watercress to be garnish
peppery…for your wakening
of desire

I shall gather orange nasturtium
in the morning when chill night
has dew filled its tiny cups with
drops of sweet clear nectar I
shall offer to the wakening
of your sleep parched lips

and I shall place carnation petals
on your tongue for cinnamon and
nutmeg…and one violet for cleansing
to prepare you for my kisses


Bonnie Marshall

Art by Andrea Kowch