when townies go to ground…

J. Wyeth black spruce

 

when weather moods go strange
the townies look a certain distant look

watch storm clouds scudding from a silvered north,
scry wind sweep litter’s moveable graffiti
across their streets and walks

they orient to steeples
and listen for the Angelus,
sweep cushions from the porch,
plan indoor birthday parties
and consult the almanac

the townies think in omens
when black swans glide to shelter
under weeping willow boughs

and when a wedge of geese
disintegrates to strands of
frantic clamor…townies
gaze unfocused at the chaos
for already they have gone to ground

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Jamie Wyeth

Dear Reader: If already you have purchased your copy of The Taste of Bees in Honey, then I wish to thank you,  and I hope you have the time to write a brief review of it on its Amazon site.

The revised poem you read here will appear in the next volume of my work and it will appear for sale sometime near this coming December.  Smile … I’ve been a busy poet.

 

dream docked Portland man

james-mcneill-whistler

I know a Portland man…
his salt pepper beard taps and shakes
upon his breast bone; dun trousers sag
enfold his shanks…are ragged hemmed;
with dimmed eyes he squints to calibrate
chill coastal skies

some time long past he plunder jousted trees
hewed pines and  hemlock  for a living;
on instinct now with street grimed hands
he strokes wood fences benches…searches for
the grain, caresses for the plane, encounters splinters

once virile muscles dwindle atrophy
diminish neck chest arm thigh shoulder;
once limber feet no longer spring his stride
on timber loam sod bedded deep within
a forest edged with sea storm drench
that steamed his manhood

today he vagrants oil tarred wharves
where freighter…ship…and liners rock;
he…soiled…fastened as he is with old
breathes in a rank dank ocean where
he will…dream docked…age locked
intrigue my memory

 

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by James McNeill Whistler

soul I tear

dali-cadaques

 

these days my brain
is incessant solitaire…
it flips present moment
into bits and pieces
through a shuffled time

no matter…luck of the draw…
my flimsy card slip apprehension
plays sequential consequence of now
with all time wasted…scattered to a table
where a three dimensioned plane
is littered with distraction

oh…there is no damnation…none

somewhere beyond this sphere
that pulls upon me…holds me down
spreads immensity of space
where stars collapse and recombine
in chaos of a deep design
I cannot think to think

 

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Salvador Dali

death watch

The abandoned Palace Theater in Gary, Indiana closed in the 1970s and has stood vacant ever since.

Bijou…in afternoon is amniotic hatchery
dried parsley and old women’s shoes…
then evening steeps it to bean soup
sour laundry soap and moldy windowsills

Bijou…where rats…twitch…scurry birth
each way over under through…attentive
to faint hiss of cockroach mouthing glue
beneath pale skin wallpaper peel

Bijou…where brown bats sweep through
broken panes…strike insect flick…and smoke
white doves coo guttural on ledges…and night
shrinks wood to incremental creak

Bijou…copper stripped…stage rain warped,
house curtain velvet torn…all potent with decay
though I shall not gravely mourn for knowing
how previous gives way to new

and…I shall not be present for the wrecking
smash and crash, nor shall I recall its marquee
silhouette against an empty sky without seeing
as in dusty mirrors…my own exiting

 

Bonnie Marshall

Photography by Joey B. Lax-Salinas

 

Hamlet and the Piraha

dali flight

“There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he leaves, what is’t to leave betimes?” William Shakespeare   (Hamlet, 5.2.214)

To live as Brazilian Pirahã
is to be wholly in the present
where mists of past and future
are intangibles of time.

To live with Pirahã worldview
is to have no word for worry.
Dreamtime is the same as waketime…
seamless experience.

To live on the Meici River
is to flow one with the moment
where death is observation
eyes close…breath stops…
and readiness is all.

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Salvador Dali