along these lines of disbelief

suspend disbelief

along these lines of disbelief
I shall admit brief yearning to be
somewhere else not here…some other
time not now… for the momentary
suspend of my willing mind
to be a pretend instrument of art

so…I would be umbrella…opened
on a sound stage into pouring
rain…waltzed centrifugal
in circles…or…be coat rack
on Atlantic ocean liner…to be
twirled and whirled and edged
to horizontal… perpendicular,
master dancer improvised

or a D string…Stradivarius
pitched true and resonant
within spruce willow maple
to bow ethereal…
or whittled reed for oboe,
toned by embouchure and
authentic to remind me of
a primal ancestry…

or soot ponce arching visions
frescoed for a holy ceiling…
or a hammer ringing marble
from mountains in Carrara …
or a chisel… precise angled,
swimming surface… splashing dust…
sculpting whiteness to sublime

yet…here and now
I’ll wish and yearn…
suspend to minimal
to blue-black pen on paper…
pretend letters into words

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Duy Huynh

en plein air descants

en plein air

Surf Woman, Edward’s Beach

She stepped Pacific sand
barefoot  leaving  prints
feeling alien…moody
edging worlds with
solemn purpose
to seem appropriate
in case the artist
on the dune included
her human interest
in his plein air art.

Perhaps he’d single her,
choose her for immortal…
“Woman, Edward’s Beach”
holding sun hat…
ankle-deep in ocean…
beach dress edging foam…
gravely solitary.

For the moment’s drama
she faced away from land
posed…closed her eyes
to set memory…then
rogue waves Triton pushed
abrupt… unpinned her
to founder in their chaos.
Grasping sand and gasping,
laughing in the soak,
she wrapped herself in kelp
to off-balance stagger
in more ocean surge.

That’s how he painted her…
“Surf Woman, Edward’s Beach”

Bonnie Marshall

Photography by Bryan Mark Taylor

naked time!

some nights then…
the three year girl twins
would freeze in place
for countdown
then…naked time!
to rowdy monkeyness…
throw play clothes on the floor
bounce trampoline the couch
whoop laughter in the hall
slow tumble carpet steps
tag “germs!”…foot tickle
hair pull…sneaky pinch
rain shower tears…all better
ice cream dribble on their toes
to bubble bath…pajamas…bed

sometimes now…
they’re in their eighties…
one will call the other
of an evening…before bed
…shout…naked time!
then hang up listening to
the other’s merriment

Bonnie Marshall
Art by Wenceslas Hollar


cattails lake

en plein air

for a lark she tacks butcher paper,
arms’ reach horizon stretch,
to boathouse plywood siding…
view of the lake’s west shore

with sketching charcoal
she arches mountains shoulder thrust
a blur of shore…wrist smudged
all barefoot energy…and then
with edges incomplete…
she stops
lured to the shore
spiked with water dials
of sable seeded cattails
that track a downing sun

then across the gap-planked dock,
past cleated runabouts
that rock to water slap…
she sits cross-legged
on day warmed wood…
to hold in memory
the lonesome croons
of grebes and loons…
and chart a spreading set
that slides to lie gold burst
behind black charcoal mountains

Bonnie Marshall
October, 2013



she’s lost her balance

She balances his love
a curious attention
as if it were commodity
to equate on a scale…

she scientific measures
annoyance in his voice
and calibrates declension
at corners of his mouth…

trips mental thermostats
for coolness in his manner
marks chill in attitude,
or stillness in his mood…

takes daily passion readings
as if it were diabetic,
adjusts her love drip insulin
to sweetness or to sour…

notes pro and con
in two uneven lengths
that some place in her brain
charts equilibrium,
yet nowhere in the notice
heeds her instability.


Bonnie Marshall

Art by Jan Vermeer

Hexing with Joy Bugs

hex child

She rolled armored sow bugs
in her five-year wild child
rebellion hellion hand…
flicked them at flowers
against  implication
boys were better suited
to go on quests, look under rocks,
and seek the wonder there…
false logic to her thinking.

So… she mounted expeditions
armed with trowel and jelly jar
to track forest insects,
some with one hundred legs
where they swarmed in rotted logs
or the damp of black leaf mold.

Once she jarred four hundred ladybugs
…they tickled in her ears…
…she loved it.
With her parents safely dozing
she tiptoed through the house
hexing ladybugs to corners
across tables under chairs.
Bug joy showed up in the pantry,
sloshed with the daily laundry,
oozed from beneath couch cushions,
and crawled on all the windows.
Her mother knew…and frowned.
Her daddy called her Ladybug.

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Franz Hals

tick tock smolder woman


(for Aggie)

old woman floats the

putting of an order in

the day…tick tock… no

aspirin for two hours…

while toxic juice leaks

from defrosting chicken

and cat sleeps in-different

upon floored Bargello

pillows…stitch in time…when

Eddie was in high school…

hear his music tin-tinnitus

dry rot the wallboards in

her ears to muffle pumping

metronome…tick tock…flutter

somewhere in her ribs on

tree limb bones wrapped

cotton bark to tingle fire

of roots in woolen socks on

old… tick tock…smolder woman


Bonnie Marshall
Art by Pablo Picasso