To Love Like Alchemists



They … love like alchemists
choosing costly feeling shades
from their essential palate
reduced in the immediate
to rare precious elements
they refine like lead to gold.

She … pinches saffron pistils
in cool morning harvests
their moist crimson threads
she finger tips from crocus
to distill a golden savor
to increase their passion.

He …  plucks iridescent beetles
from arid desert cacti
choice dew sipping jewels
he pestles in a mortar
with salt and oil to scarlet
for their lips and kisses.

They … from Grecian cliffs
pick spiny snails
to milk for Tyrian dye.

They … stain purple love knots
upon each other’s wrists
and a place upon the neck
to reify lacunae.


Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Peter Lee

protest song eternal

shane cotton the plant

I would say… oh, my friend
where’s your passion…
I would say… oh, my friend
where’s your risking…of
fortune and muscle and time

for the warnings are there
outside windows… and the
signage is there on your street
at your gate…on your steps;
hear the throwing of dice
at your wall…hear their rattle
of bones at your door

the cadence of marching
the clanging of symbols
the striking of bells in the air


Bonnie Marshall

Art by Shane Cotton

saints marching in

parade nola

beat death drummers…tap
a cadence rat a tat…
to strike the mourner’s gait
of step step shuffle step…

twirl death dancers spin
with eclipsing turns…
for our sun shadow washes,
our moon spreads red as blood…

blow horn man…blast
notes Gabriel would crave
to penetrate our gauzy dread
of a mournful dirge

march passion… into joy
with trumpet, drum and dance
to sublimate despair…
to seconds life aware
against apocalypse


Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by J. Guilliame

Fine Precious Things

precious things

She distills him from remembrance
as costly feeling shades
from their essential palate,
reduced in the immediate
to fine precious things
refined like lead to gold
in airy dreams of alchemists.

She pinches red strands
of saffron…moist to harvest
from crocus blooming acres
to cram in glass retorts
for a scarlet savor.

From ‘round cacti spines
she plucks enameled insects,
mere parasites sipping dew,
to mix salt crystalline
in a mortar pestle crush
to bright carmine redness.

Then from Tyrian seas
she fishes lucent snails
whose dye bearing veins
she slits…opens intense
concentrate into tin vessels
for a density of purple.

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Carol Nelson



Addict Like Alcohol


Addict Like Alcohol

How tenuous is flame
when first it lifts
to heat and light
on brief incautious breeze…
before consuming blaze
sweeps skyward with its gold
to drive vast conflagrations
to incandescent pitch.
Then take care…lover…
if you covet with a gaze
mere seconds will suffice…
rush tempestuous through the brain
and addict like alcohol.

Bonnie Marshall