A Dominance of Lines



Snap_the_Whip_1872_Winslow_Homer (1)

In Spring, when Aeolus breathes
across their farms, girls boys lift
diamond butcher paper balsa wood
tied kites into his breath to feel out
currents, pull and sway…to test for
dominance of distance draft and lift.

Should such taunting pastime flag…
especially when Zeus streaks bolts
of lightning from his distant clouds…
their sporting turns to trouting with
live worms on hooks on lines on fish
poles by Naiades’ stream, in wordless
rivalry for the longest rainbow…best
tussle with a catch…finesse in reeling
out a gasping fish onto the grass.

When distant shouts bell whistle,
or the slant of shadow from a tree,
summon them to home, they end
camaraderie for one last sport…
these young contenders on a field.

They grasp hands tight slippery
with dirt spit sweat…link a ragged
crack-the-whip-snap for one last
quick elbow jab, foot trip, arm jerk,
stubbed toe, let go, fall dizzy to the
ground…as they play out their mythic
childhood of no tears, first middle last,
win lose…high tension…limit testing
dominance of lines.


Bonnie Marshall

Art by Winslow Homer, 1872


as at a birthing

john singer sargent bedroom window

spread day clean within your mind…
unfold it into waves of knowing
from first waking to the geometry
of room…of so many rectangles
predictable in place behind the clutter

rouse day with frequency of sounds
of wind in trees…of traffic motor rub;
enact the pretense it is waves abrading
shore…a white noise wash irregular
as driftwood of first thoughts

smooth initial moments…lift
them…easy…to shower warmth
then rough cotton them to life
as at a birthing


Bonnie Marshall
Art by John Singer Sargent

The Arsenic Hour


Go draw the window curtains,
for it’s the arsenic hour
when sad memories make visits,
and wait for us to answer
their knocks upon the door.

They mustn’t know we’re home,
so click off all the music…
turn pictures to the wall…
sit motionless with cushions.

For they will test the door locks,
peer through the window shades,
and listen for the sounds
of footsteps on the stairs.

Bonnie Marshall


Artwork by Louis le Brocquy

resistance of water


09-Path-to-the-Path-1024x436 Lynda Lowe

lovers are vessels
drifting buoyant
on the brink of drown
drenched in kissing rains…
with laughter brimming
waves of cresting
rhythm rocking currents
giving and sustaining…

floating in each other

Bonnie Marshall
Request to Republish
March, 2014

Artwork by Lynda Lowe

the complex easy

diebenkorn 1968 seated woman

he sketched her…soft grounded her dark
to pale from his pen…from his spider brain…
and I procured a  numbered print of her
to hang spot lit in the downstairs hall…

his face turned slouching woman… awkward
back stretch angled on rectangles of chair

I recess lit her stark frameless to
a cream white wall…and for a month
or two we lived together…amiably
and then began disquiet for I
no longer studied her…no longer
lit or looked at her

I could not hum mutter whistle her
being present simple in my complexities
of wrinkled cotton islands on wood dusty
floors, my mismatched shoes upon the
stairs…my stale racked stacked emails
my listless voice-ed messages cued
faceless in my cell

she haunted me…and then epiphany…
I turned her almost upside down…
spilled her comfortable into the complex
easy of my life

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Richard Diebenkorn