There Is a Tipping Place

dream slip 03

There is a tipping place
in sleep’s dark symphony…
a dream proscenium through night
where actors enter…exit
to execute a scene–develop plot
with swift tangling images…

A felucca sweeps Nile’s noon
where on its desert shore
a Sanddorn shaman
clear chants Gregorian
to nest palm fronds
on one eagle feather…

Against the hull waves lap adagio
to rock a queen there standing
crowned with empty oyster shells,
naked, jeweled with scarabs
necklaced on her breasts.

Antler crowned…in leather,
her drunk king mumbles
that to be king is nothing…nothing…
but to be safely thus.

She picks three corn husks
from deep inside her mouth,
spits teeth into her hand
to cast them to the shore
where they turn crocodile.

The thrashing of their tails’
crescendo ripples Nile
to torrents…flips the tossing craft;
its sails dip horizontal…
it slips beneath the surge.

Upon the shore the shaman,
to storm’s allegro heedless,
lifts the last palm spine;
it hovers…spelled in air
diminuendo against nothing
but span of eagle feather.

Photo Credit: Sorella


Ancient Wind Chant

fire rock

Old Hopi lies prostrate upon a deep-red sandstone mesa,
while under him the ground remembers noontime heat.
His rib cage barely lifts with narrow breaths of chanting.
His voice is hushed and reedy.
Ki-tana-po, ki-tana-po, ki-tana-po.*

As his words become more halting, raven caws.
He and raven are old friends.
He kneels, and with trembling fingers
sifts two-million-year old sand into a gentle breeze.
Ai-na, ki-na-weh, ki-na-weh

He feels sensations of his body are not balanced.
Vistas of escarpment, of river and of mesa
swirl slightly in his sight.
In his shaman’s pouch is honeycomb
wrapped in a beaded bag.
He lifts it toward the sky as if in offering.
Chi-li-li-cha, chi-li-li-cha.

Honey is precious in the homeland of the Hopi.
Its dense fragrance hints of amaranth and clover.
Its syrup glows deep gold in bright sunlight.
Blessed, healing sweetness.
Don-ka-va-ki, mas-i-ki-va-ki.

There is presence in the wind now.
It has voice and stealthy movement.
There before him a dust devil
swerves and dances with abandon
then dissolves into oblivion.
Kive, kive-na-meh.

Lavender mesas turn magenta and dark sapphire.
Old Hopi is not sensitive to day turned into night.
He dances…swerving, turning…
’round the flaming of his campfire,
a silhouette upon the face of cliff side petroglyphs.

Bonnie Marshall
Republished from December, 2013

* The ancient Hopi words of this chant have lost their English equivalent.

Photo Credit: Imageshack

Dreaming Portals


Dreaming Portals

Strong indian tobacco.
Shamans’ visions…
  entoptic eyesight blurs,
     diamond sliding rattlesnakes,
        spoke radiating circles
          and morphing wombs in mazes.
Shamans’ visions…
   paint on pale stone canvas,
    blood-red, clay white and charcoal
      illusion memories
        inside dreaming portals.
Shamans’ visions…
  shape-shifter bighorn sheep 
    incised on blue-black basalt cliffs
     with granite hammerstones.
 Shamans’ visions…
   time-space suspended
     through eras of earth spinning
        spell cast in holy spaces…sacred places.

Bonnie Marshall