‘nother beer here


his first reading word
loud, distinct,
learned from seeing
Iron City billboards
everywhere in Pittsburgh…
his proud family
steel mill generations
with beer bellies…
men and women,
hang out on stoops
with Pirates’ baseball
on plugged in radios
and never miss a score
on those hilly streets

until the layoffs
and empty family porches
and women hiding bruises
from sour smelling men
who slept late restless
swearing in their dreams
at hellish glowing rivers
and masters of the universe
who built skyscrapers
poured from pig iron
fed by “coke monkeys”
into fiery crucibles

now he slurs it
beer…’nother beer here
in a slag heap sports bar
strange neighborhood
where Pirates’ hits,
runs and errors…
and men left on base
blur to meaningless

Bonnie Marshall

Artist: Edouard Manet


Life in a Fast Lane

sailboat-racing-marc-laytarLife in a Fast Lane

It’s taking chances
that pumps adrenaline
and quickens heartbeat…
I’m alive!

It’s a need to be seen
that inflates ego
and gathers  glances…
Look at me!

It’s prospect of failure
that builds tension
and causes  headaches…
You’ll burn out.

Yes… life in a fast lane
is gamble and hazard
and freedom and feeling
and fine.

Bonnie Marshall

Revised from August 2, 2012

Lost and Won

A Little League baseball player squares around...

Lost and Won

Close calls. Errors.
So they lost the game.
Brave smiles. Hand bumps.
“Good game,” down the line.

Parents know the drill.
“Get ’em next time, Tiger.”
“So, are you hungry?”
“That play at third was close.”

Coaches know the odds.
“We need taller pitchers.”
“Not bad for ten-year olds.”
“Fifth inning was a killer.”
“God, those kids have heart.”

Yet, they played more than baseball…
they played timidity and risk
indifference and commitment,
and cowardice and courage.

Kids…parents…coaches… knew
there was an incremental lost and won
that wasn’t on the scoreboard.

Bonnie Marshall

Old as Testosterone

Artist: Malcolm Farley

Old as Testosterone

Old as testosterone
is a desire to score…
fist pumps and high fives
for baseballs hit beyond a fence
or pucks into a net.
Old as testosterone
is a desire to bond…
where players hug
or belly bump…butt smack
or win team smash.
Old as testosterone
is that desire to win
with degree that terrifies… 
street games to gangs
or computer games to drones
or football games to war.

Bonnie Marshall