For Fifteen Abalone

 

My Pacific litters debris upon a windy beach
where I scry for chance of incidental grace
of a foulish lump of black white ambergris
or a bottle message from some far off place.

I watch children plunder tidal pools,
watch them pocket sandy bi-valves…stones
‘till their pockets sag and mothers warn them
to beware of seal-ed test tubes…stray syringes.

Here, I sense no sermons in a Chambered Nautilus
nor a sea polished globe from a trawler’s float,
nor do I find significance in gray twisted wood.

Though, over years I’ve nailed upon my redwood fence
fifteen barnacled and radiant shells of abalone.
Some are cast off from the divers seeking flesh.
Some are ones to which the otters beat them.

Perhaps I augur with a magic fifteen square
or with aquatic hex signs ward off demons;
I think none of this, for they simply please me.

Now, however, I am angry pensive restless
as my best five have overnight gone missing;
I should check the neighbors’ lawns,
post a notice…inspect the market stalls.

Though, I’ll do none of this.  No.
Yet I wonder why I prize sea dregs
And I wonder why I should wonder why at all.

 

Bonnie Marshall

Artist: Derek Bond

 

 

bison rumble

bison fight

 

oh, their bravado
instinctual…now…
their purple tongues flick
catching cow must…
the older and younger bull
paw one ton challenges
as their white eye craze
infects the herd
warning distance…
let the play out start

then the muscle set
sharp horns shake
rake air then shoulders
broad heads batter low
hips twist…twist…
hooves stab leverage
to center gravity
gain advantage
on the line

they heave acrid breath
and deep wet rumble growls
strength butted… joined
forehead to forehead
for the final roundings
and earth poundings
and the edge of giving
and more giving
and it is over

abrupt…
one canters to prairie hills
one to waiting cows
it was all in the lasting
death was unnecessary

Bonnie Marshall

 

Art by Debbie Doble

 

wilderness in women

balthasar-denner-woman

 

I’m old…
I can tell you this

women need wilderness
…especially when they’re young

for in wilderness they learn
not to trust old maps;
and they swim in icy streams
if bridges are washed down

in wilderness…
they hear honest sounds,
and know when nestlings
rasp for raw sustaining flesh
they hear healthiness…
not the noise of whining

and on the day they die
women raised in wilderness
sing to themselves…remembered
songs to float with them from
this world to the next

 

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork Balthazar Denner

 

sky pilots

 

sky pilot marc chagal

where alpine oxygen is scarce
blue phlox taproots through the talus
for nourishment… a bare existence;
the air is iced and once ached my breathing
of the urine stink of dense flower bloom
no matter…its common name is sky pilot

and chaplains who pray over airmen flying
frightened into battle are tagged…the same
along with  those…you’ll have stars in your crown
pie in the sky holy men preaching more in poverty

and Greek sophists…if ever there were sky pilots
rarefied…planting pure idea…insinuating soul seed
piercing blue sky fancy through rifts in adamantine…
oh…implications of a nothingness chill me to the bone

 

Bonnie Marshall

Painting by Marc Chagall
“Le Ciel Bleu”

tango romance

silhouette man ray 1016 02

I watch a scorpion feed on dusty moths
trapped in a ceiling light… before I douse the sight;
before I pillow down…I follow capture as arachnid
silhouette flips ‘round a shallow globe

I dream scorpions tango in my mind
there in the moonlight of dim consciousness where
he…she…they… tangle claw to claw to sway push;
they ripple mouthings…leg wrap twist and drag
to swing spin…tilt rock…glide swirl to silent rhythm
of relentless no enchantment loveless mating

through a night dark…restless…through intimations
of an ego sting implied there  in the edges of my sleep
I awake to fading constellations….somewhere Scorpio
slips and drips though space…its constellation silhouette
implying shape to nothingness

some ancient entomologist drew it on the universe…
some inventive charter for celestial navigation

I shall erase the sky
I shall take my chances against now
I shall embrace my history in the moment
I shall tango with my love

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Man Ray