my soul is dressed in motley

Clown akzhana abdali

with blasphemy of thought inside to out
I shall wear motley on my soul to hide fool
there in my brain, where absorbed in vanity
it is a clown…my soul…a jester…marionette
or a mime awareness hiding there…intangible

my soul is acrobat through air caparisoned
in skin-tight diamante…soft leather shoes
to better grip the line…hands limed to grasp
a constant swinging bar

my soul is tissue white…as pierrot pirouette,
its friend the moon, it pines for solitude…or as
marionette attached to life, it mimics amplitude,
though sometimes it fades diaphanous to smoke

my soul is mime…its whiteface mirrors moment me
in living archetype, and I sense poseur mystery in
the knowing there behind its stoic mask

my soul is clown…floppy shoes and baggy pants
as immature it pedals circles on a tiny trike
playing slapstick to the crowd…it is costumed
yellow black orange white…big red nose and
smiling mouth kept simple by design all for
distance viewing…not to be seen up close
as that might frighten children

though…perhaps my soul is merely scabbed birth
tear…and such memory itches to be scratched…yet
I’ll not peel the motley, for scarring might take place


Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Akzhana Abdali

Money Mecca in the Desert

vegas-LeRoy Neiman

Money mecca first is glow behind dark hills
then flames to razzle-dazzle boulevards of sidewalked
believers seeing visions…offering flashing idols
metal paper plastic…handing chips and cards to proxies
in temples where prayers of the faithful…please god please
rise to heaven through tobacco incense haze toward
all seeing watchers over them.

Where devotion…caffeine stoked…blurs lines
of day and night as acolytes peak intensity
with alcohol and speed, and where testosterone
sifts in city air to blend with auto fumes.
Where dulled disciples receive comfort
at the altars of buffet, and toss trample
paper icons of nude gods and goddesses
offered from street stationed church of
Eros zealots.

Where each Monday, delegated deacons
follow morning rites, bag chips left in
collection plates at Sunday’s mecca churches,
appear at the temples’ gates for a ritual
of redemption.

Bonnie Marshall


Artwork by Leroy Neiman

I Know Him Like He Knows His Name


When I hear e nerve its sting in needle
the power of my thinking in the margin
makes skin prick on my scalp
there just behind my ears…
and I feel the tiniest annoyance
in my brain corners as I read of births
where mere Roman numerals confer lineage
prestige and preferment nearly royal
to a new born son…and I sense resentment dash
my female mind, for it is rarely daughter true.

There’s mystic power in a name…
shades of understanding that a Debbie
is not Deborah, and a Jimmie is not James.
And, when I asked Sam if he liked his name
or would ever change it…he looked away,
eyes hooded like a lizard in the sun,
and took long slow breaths and smiled.

“I’m glad they named me Sam…ever since
some green egg story Mother read me
when I learned that Sams know how
to question and to listen…take notice
how people change their mind and it’s
no matter…not like a Theophilus…although
a Theo might stay to hear you for a while.”

Then I remember…thinking just behind my ears
and in nether margins of my brain how amply
absolutely fits his name no sham am is Sam.

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Anastasia Tversky


chanting arid windsong

drought fred williams


straw dry …drought crack

riverbed flakes skin…darkens

rain forced to fresh mud wash


skyed sparks stream static trace

north poled…arched by fingertips

and… moss gleams phosphorescent


geometric moonbeams drift listless

up and down and left and right,

scrape pockets in the night


islands slip their moorings…form

new continents of Latin mass for

chanting arid windsong


Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Fred Williams

we do frame life on nails

canvas back r c

ah…well we do frame life on nails
with show to the world…side out
rough selvage toward the wall

our moments are breath canvas
pressed and framed and stressed
to fit expectations… dreams

ah… what a world is on the flip side
of the portrait we present beneath
lip tighten frown kiss smile

our senses…watercolor oil pastel ink
brushed and blended…varnished
against fading even in a darkened room


Bonnie Marshall