please yourself


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


air descants


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


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

earth descants

earth bones


rice field terraces
shape to hillsides
with tiny blades
in shallow water…
and there lift
earth mounds
of body burial
strewn with
daisies, lilies, iris,
though Emerson
once wrote that flowers
are merely evidence
of earth’s most giddy laughter
*       *        *       *       *

earth spills
from grinding plates…
slides hissing to the sea
spawning islands…
belching ash…
and though I’m awed
I’ll not personify
a raging reason
to its underworld
as if a god
spews temperament
on flecks of flecks of dust
*       *       *       *       *

a Kao-Ling potter wets his fingers
slips white submissive clay…
breathes in its earthy smell of
faint silicates and feldspar
then, eyes closed…experienced,
presses form into the yield

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Don Pentz