the taste of bees in honey

diebenkorn ocean park 82

I inherited a palimpsest
that once upon a time
was flayed and limed
into a golden parchment

now it has only cursive traces
here and there of iron gall ink,
for over time abrading pumice
has smoothed away intent
and fogged identity

a single word  uncensored
however perseveres…caprice
a tease…a hint… the quill strokes
of a perhaps wording…luve

I think its romance…
its silky cooing sound…oh
I think Burns’ sweeting poem
my luve is like a red, red rose…

I think velvet petal crimson
and aphid mildew thorn…oh
I think the taste…of bees…in honey


Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Richard Diebenkorn
“Ocean Park, 82”

sky pilots


sky pilot marc chagal

where alpine oxygen is scarce
blue phlox taproots through the talus
for nourishment… a bare existence;
the air is iced and once ached my breathing
of the urine stink of dense flower bloom
no matter…its common name is sky pilot

and chaplains who pray over airmen flying
frightened into battle are tagged…the same
along with  those…you’ll have stars in your crown
pie in the sky holy men preaching more in poverty

and Greek sophists…if ever there were sky pilots
rarefied…planting pure idea…insinuating soul seed
piercing blue sky fancy through rifts in adamantine…
oh…implications of a nothingness chill me to the bone


Bonnie Marshall

Painting by Marc Chagall
“Le Ciel Bleu”

tango romance

silhouette man ray 1016 02

I watch a scorpion feed on dusty moths
trapped in a ceiling light… before I douse the sight;
before I pillow down…I follow capture as arachnid
silhouette flips ‘round a shallow globe

I dream scorpions tango in my mind
there in the moonlight of dim consciousness where
he…she…they… tangle claw to claw to sway push;
they ripple mouthings…leg wrap twist and drag
to swing spin…tilt rock…glide swirl to silent rhythm
of relentless no enchantment loveless mating

through a night dark…restless…through intimations
of an ego sting implied there  in the edges of my sleep
I awake to fading constellations….somewhere Scorpio
slips and drips though space…its constellation silhouette
implying shape to nothingness

some ancient entomologist drew it on the universe…
some inventive charter for celestial navigation

I shall erase the sky
I shall take my chances against now
I shall embrace my history in the moment
I shall tango with my love

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Man Ray




to congregate with maskers

Apache Mountain Spirit Mask John Farnsworth

I shall congregate with maskers
circle dance their holy ground…
lift its soft warm dust to clouding
with my bare…bare tender feet

ki-tana-po, ki-tana-po, ki-tana-po
ai-na, ki-na-wchi, ki-na-weh

take up chants…petition spirit
croon a cadence rise and fall…
imbrue thought…and bear the
weight of a vast imagining

chi-li-li-cha, chi-li-li-cha
don-ka-va-ki, mas-i-ki-va-ki

stretch my arms to the horizon
caress air with open palms…
shoulder weave above the plaining
and think locus to the earth

kive, kive-na-meh, kive-na-meh
kive, kive-na-meh, kive-na-meh

for I’ve access…if I wish it
to a universal voice…I’ll overlay
significance…I’ll imagine wisdom
in its ancient keening howl or…
its whispering syllables

ki-tana-po, ki-tana-po, hopet*


Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by John Farnsworth

“Apache Mountain Spirit Mask

*The ancient Hopi words of this chant have lost their English equivalent.


The Berkeley Descants

60's wave

way out

they were hosed
down marble steps
on their rumps,
clubbed and pulled,
and flushed from City Hall,
that ornate civic womb,
to San Francisco streets
on a thirteenth day in May
in 1960

and they were preppies…
in peter pan round collars,
polo shirts with chinos,
dark suits and narrow ties…
and all a little pregnant
with one idea…political
free speech

and they made local news…
and sixty-four were booked,
important number, sixty-four,
and despite their rude arrival
they lived to shout
and whine and cry,
and sing their way out
to revolution

Bonnie Marshall

Art by xmonau

On May 13, 1960, mostly Berkeley students attempted to find seats at a House Sub-Committee on Un-American Activities Hearing. After being denied access, they created a sit-in at the second floor of San Francisco City Hall.

Huck Stoned at People’s Park

Shit. Park don’t belong to me
no more than any else
‘cept maybe God…
not sure of that,
but Country Joe sings true…
tear gas don’t smell like napalm.

Shit. Stuff don’t belong to me
my blanket…tote for stash
says made in Asia…someplace.
What’s mine is yours…
but Country Joe sings true…
tear gas don’t smell like napalm.

Shit. This don’t belong to me
this state I hitched… to
get free love and drugs
and way… out… music…
Heard…cops comin’ in the vans.
Tonight they’re bringin’ horses
and stuff to dig up sod…
and Country Joe sings true…
gimme tear gas to napalm.

Country Joe refers to “Country Joe and the Fish,” especially their Anti Vietnam War “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag” that Joe McDonald sang in 1969 at Woodstock . 

Art by M. Zimmerman

Bonnie Marshall

Maze Design

private exit

he searched for self
with incremental care
through incremental years…

he’d filled in Johari windows
with peer counselors at Big Sur…
drank peyote tea
in a tipi with a shaman…
sought nirvana in a sweat lodge
on a high Montana range…
floated sensory deprived
in a tank in Berkeley’s hills…

entered testing mazes
to find the person
he thought he should be…
Kuder Preference – scientist
Myers-Briggs –  I N T J
Enneagram – Type 5 Wing 4,
prescribed his life precisely
with self-fulfilling prophecy

until he found…self
within a labyrinth
with no private exit
from those incremental walls

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Unknown