much like a hermit crab

wyeth her room detail

she enters backward…
much like a hermit crab entrances
a vacant shell encumbered…though
she not with balance angling claws

instead, she drags luggage through the door,
opens window sashes to wash sea brine air
and distant breaker thrash into quiet rooms
of her one week hideaway

eases by degree from the tangled tiny things
of her city life into linear big thing simple of a
sea horizon…and shelves stocked with olives,
coffee…bread…a tin of biscuits…apples…cheese

while at night the bareness of unpainted walls
soothes her to uncluttered drifting dreams,
and day’s cool warm cool ritual comes unseamed
for her knowing when to wake and stretch and
walk the beach, eat and sleep

she hums a descant to wind chimes
answering a breeze,
and strokes the yellow cat
slumming on her porch,
and ventures with Homer and Odysseus
away from…home to Ithaca
until primed…renewed with wanderlust
she closes windows, gathers encumbrances
exits backward from the growing space


Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Andrew Wyeth
“Her Room” (detail) 1963

consequence for tourists


ecce homo

so…it remains Church art…enshrined
not vandalized… this well-intentioned
restoration oiled on Martinez’ fresco
when she, Gimenez, a Good Samaritan…slipped
sanctuary doors without due diligence
of those who saw her, hourly, painting there…
curious duality of care and carelessness

she despaired long decades depredations…
of blessings touch…of humid prayers and
incense smoke…disfigurement of mold
compelled her rash redemptive mission
her vision of a holy incarnation

her Christ has matted fur for hair…
His head’s no longer crowned with thorns,
His newly Greek masked mouth…a smudge
His Heaven gaze turned vacant now to viewer stare

opinions still abrade her brash interpretation
with bluster fury admiration wonder ridicule despair
for it’s now famous infamous to paying curious crowds
who flock the tourist shrine and facemail selfies yet…
there are a few who simply think and smile and kneel
and sigh and pray

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Elias Garcia Martinez, 1930
and Cecilia Gimenez, 2012
Sanctuary of Mercy Church
Borja, Spain

clouds store my sun away

diebenkorn figure on porch

when clouds store my sun away
behind high restlessness…and chill
sweeps vexation through my green intent
of tender blading hills and fields,
I turn to settling of accounts remaining
here upon the desking of my days

for I owe myself more now than anytime…
I brush away the bees…plate honeycomb
upon the wedding Sevres…break sweet gold
to my mouth with a family sterling spoon
new polished…bloom Chinese silver needle
tea-leaves bundled ‘round a pink carnation
special occasion…guarded by a golden dragon
coiled imperial on the red of its rusting tin

I shall bask upon my porch and breathe brewed
fragrance with astringent ozone of approaching storm
for I am wrapped in complex luxury of a precious time

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Richard Diebenkorn

oh poets…sing to me

autumn-maples-with-poem-slips tosa mitsuoki

oh poets…sing to me

nourish me with words

my soul…that is

my mind

for I crave authentic

even vinegar and rust…

drench me with images

full strength

rain showers of amethysts and pearls

north wind pulsing prairie grass

glass shards reflecting light…

sing syllables to me

in harmonies

and heartbeats

that resonate

to my marrow bones

Bonnie Marshall

Panels Artist: Tosa Mitsuoki

I can only take one star

vg star close up

it’s the brush stroke

that matters

for a star like no other

in this…

oh, no…been there

Vincent van Gogh


“I see moon infinity.”

“That cyprus pierces earth and sky.”

“The sky is ocean drowning…”


too much…too much

I can only take one star

that one

just three brush swirls

sopping yellow ocher

to rough portrait canvas

Bonnie Marshall

Artist: Vincent van Gogh