Limehouse Blues


Diebenkorn blue

There has to be fog in Limehouse
soft as whispers
trailing grayness
misting storefront windows
where old men sit at tables
still as crickets
when the mating season’s passed.

There have to be mirrors in Limehouse
above unnumbered doorways
so that restless evil spirits
drift unknowing by.

There must be a woman in Limehouse
gazing at a dresser top
where there’s an unlit lamp…
pink shade…red fringe.
She considers implications
of a single fortune cookie
upon a thin white saucer.


Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Richard Diebenkorn

winter solitaire

once upon a zero day
bluster ice slick
secluded him inside
an introspective mood…
indecisive as the rain
to be sleet or snow…

he cursed everything
to numb his mind
from thinking…
hot chocolate burned his tongue
wool slippers ate his socks
a lock of gray hair kept falling in his eyes

then as he paced his limits
he surrendered…chose Gershwin
…Rhapsody in Blue…
brought a clasped journal
from it’s shelved hiding place
then…he browsed for her
searching with his fingers
for her words’ fragrance
to lift from paper sheets

Bonnie Marshall

Photographer: Albert Mohler

Cold Cereal at Midnight



for Yvonne…

Cold Cereal at Midnight

After the cook left his shift
of grilling on a stove
what used to graze in fields…
and of frying in hot oil
what used to swim in seas…
he walked New Orleans districts
in a steady misty rain
that inked the streets to black.

Sour purchased gaiety
drifted from the bars
in alcoholic muddles
of beer whiskey wine.

Thin women stood in doorways
where neon spilled its smears
red green yellow pink
on the glistening  sidewalk.

At home he sat coatless
eating cold cereal at midnight
by an open window
where he could breathe the solace
of star jasmine  in the garden.

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Pino Dangelico


In the Weeds

the Great Piece of Turf
Great Piece of Turf
Albrecht Durer, 1503

In the Weeds

Let your mind slip to his painting
and breathe rank earthiness of bog
to contemplate the chaos
of Durer’s grand anatomy
of a humble clod.
yarrow…hound’s tongue…
heath rush…pimpernel…

Note the absence of earthworms
of beetles or of bees,
for this exclusion is perplexing
from a detail-loving master,
though perhaps it was on purpose.
germander speedwell…dandelion…
creeping bent…burnet saxifrage…

Roots knocked of mud
beneath this plant profusion
he exposed for closer viewing,
though perhaps it was on purpose
for our understanding
of nature’s worth and balance,
or…interrelation of our own humanity.
greater plantain…cock’s foot…
smooth meadow grass…daisy…

Bonnie Marshall