In Living Color

boomerang conroy maddox

He…rotates hours in tractor green
rust red…bruise purple…cow black,
and slogs mud brown to harvest gold;
he stretches days to months of acre
farmland distance smudged to dusty
lilac edged pale orange to sunset.

She…stacks rainbow cotton into strata
on her closet shelves… pink yellow rose
denim blue…and she turns flower print
calico to fat quarters for quilts’ necessity;
she cuts pale pastel lengths for day clothes,
crisp white curtains for their bedroom,
layette laces, a black mourning shift.

They…jar garden colors…inter them dated
deep to cellar racks…their summer bounty
of intense prairie heat…tomato bean beet
corn plum dimmed…cooled in basement
gloom until kitchen resurrected to the
palette of their plates…for lives lived
cumulus against a cloud fog mist canvas
of blue white graying years.

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Conroy Maddox

Bravado Hour

Campfire 02

we four around a desert campfire
with Kayenta Chinle Wingate distant
strata set to black on navy blue
and August brandy in our veins
were quiet…quiet…then William,
our William, offered Coleridge to our
thinking themed as it seemed there
and then to sparks and dark and cold

he voiced from memory an ancient
mariner…he lay before us staging
of a burning copper sky and chill
emerald of ice floating ominous
in far storm distant, lonely seas…
he flew an albatross above us, and
wrapped consequence around
the neck of our…imaginings

he recited to the now as in days
when he and his buddies…Mike and
Tony…sometimes Jeff…on afternoons
on park benches, lawns, basements
a park somewhere in Oklahoma…those
men… almost… brimmed with word lust
and just because they could memorize,
went forth with Whitman from a harbor
somewhere near Brooklyn where the
bard mind fucked them all…all again with
his ingraining…or one of them would
line out Homer…daze their bravado hour
when they escaped Cerberus’ mouths and
dreamed of melody that Sirens sang

Occasionally, memory fading, our William
struggled for a word or with his hand
waved off a sequence…yet…we were
spell-bound in the night around the dying
embers glow of words…imagining

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Berto Artego




I was gently wilded here…Maxada Woodlands School. It’s where I boarded…or…they boarded me…some years in grade school. Not like Hogwarts, though it was hidden deeply…no one near to hear our shouting and our laughter in those Appalachian woods.

Most afternoons,  for morning was for schooling,  adults seemed to vanish…Topper broke an arm sledding on ice-snow downhill…through forest into a tree.  Joanie discovered nitric acid vials while we scavenged treasure for our forts…drops smoked the leather of her shoes. We took glorious risks.

Oh…we acted plays on Saturdays…revised plots from myths…legends…fairy tales.  Weekdays we improvised rehearsals, scavenged props…poison apples, magic dust, Medusa’s head.

That last year, Headmistress entered my dorm room…returned a one page story that I’d written…something about cats and cans of paint. She told me, “Keep writing, Bonnie. It will make you happy.”

So…maxada…and thank you for your visit…valued Reader.


Photo: Maxada Woodlands Boarding School