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

 

Doing Risky


John-Singer-Sargent-Young-boy-by-river-

Eat raw cookie dough for vanilla
butter salty sweet with a chip
of chocolate melting finish the way
I do…I know…I know the egg and
the salmonella…what the hell…
just do it.

My six-year self loved raw beef;
ate bright red hamburger with
my dad with lots of pepper salt
god…that was glorious…though
don’t relish it as much since he…
the missing is still fresh.

Mom and I lounged on a porch to
watch storms…great gashes of bright
lightning and chest thump thunder;
we’d ooh and aaw at strikes as if
they were fireworks.

And…oh they gave me freedom
to be dusty trail stream woodland
wilded fisher child talkative…curious
with gypsies gathering dandelions for
bitter tonic…in our pastureland with
me acres and acres away from home
me…their only child…my folks they
just did it.

I know…I know the dangers…and
they raised me their way…then;
damn-ed outcomes seem to hover
closer now for solo children…for
we’re used to expect danger…not
as much do risky…not to think weigh
teach caution  balance breathe and
then just…let…them…do it.

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by John Singer Sargent

 

Money Mecca in the Desert

vegas-LeRoy Neiman

Money mecca first is glow behind dark hills
then flames to razzle-dazzle boulevards of sidewalked
believers seeing visions…offering flashing idols
metal paper plastic…handing chips and cards to proxies
in temples where prayers of the faithful…please god please
rise to heaven through tobacco incense haze toward
all seeing watchers over them.

Where devotion…caffeine stoked…blurs lines
of day and night as acolytes peak intensity
with alcohol and speed, and where testosterone
sifts in city air to blend with auto fumes.
Where dulled disciples receive comfort
at the altars of buffet, and toss trample
paper icons of nude gods and goddesses
offered from street stationed church of
Eros zealots.

Where each Monday, delegated deacons
follow morning rites, bag chips left in
collection plates at Sunday’s mecca churches,
appear at the temples’ gates for a ritual
of redemption.

Bonnie Marshall

 

Artwork by Leroy Neiman

territory of a raging thought

handpr[nt

somewhere in a cave
forty thousand years ago
in Borneo… a man…

and why do I think a man
and not a woman in my mind
would lay his arm upon the wall
to spit paint’s outline defining
moment claiming hand spread
of  an existential touch

must be I think women
by and large are not
so graffiti prone …
would not even spray aerosol
to claim a fence or wall
to defend the territory
of a raging thought

would not cast life drawn large
across vast imagined space
to sprawl idea… as when
Michelangelo Buonarroti
scraped and frescoed God
upon a Sistine ceiling

 

Bonnie Marshall

The Women Descants

balance Maeve-Harris

After Her Divorce

After her divorce…
she lived with paintings
rented month to month…
much like borrowed books
or casual acquaintance.
She bought flowers freshly cut,
not plants…for she would stay
distant from commitment.

Leased one vaguely abstract
yellow peach green blue
March to June…still with
no long-term contract,
and no binding promise…
she placed it on a bedroom
wall to cover gouges there.

March…day and day after,
all seeming arbitrary,
drew her in the night to
Rorschach introspection
of that painting’s certitude,

until one April morning
when sunshine lit it golden…
she sensed tumblers fall
within assurance locks.

She patched the bedroom wall in May,
moved that painting to her den
to hang it where it would not fade.
In June she bought the thing.

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Maeve Harris

 

banksy cave painting

not graffiti prone

handprints on fresh paint
impetuous gesture
my handprints on fresh paint…
why not use aerosol
to claim that wall…
then I reflect
that women are not
graffiti prone

where is their fire
to cast life drawn large
across imagined space
like Michelangelo’s
naked…sacred homilies
scraped and frescoed
on a Sistine dome

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by banksy

balthasar denner woman

 A Wilderness in Women

I’m old…
I can tell you this.
Women need wilderness
…especially when they’re young.
For in wilderness they learn
not to trust worn maps;
and to swim cold streams
when bridges are down.

In wilderness…
they hear honest sounds,
know when nestlings cry
for raw, sustaining flesh
they’re healthy calls,
…not the noise of whining.
And on the day they die,
women raised in wilderness
whisper remembered songs
to take them from this world
to the next.

Bonnie Marshall
Revised September, 2013

Artwork by Balthasar Denner

Galatea Childe Hassam

Down from the Pedestal

Grief showers
chilled her
to immobility
there in the middle
of a crowded city sidewalk.
I’m lost without him.
Don’t know where I’m going.

No medical emergency,
it was a sorrow spell
where street sounds
turned to hissing
a static in the senses.
I cannot move…
I’m statue…

Now, for this living Galatea
there was no longer
a Pygmalion
to smooth her into life
with his strong, warm hands.
Is this what dying is?
Am I invisible?

“WATCH WHERE YOU’RE GOING, LADY!”

The rough jostle
shook her mind
back to awareness,
and city sounds and colors
merged to coherency.

She resumed walking.
Steps…just steps.
I’m taking steps…
down from the pedestal.

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Childe Hassam