Bravado Hour

Campfire 02

we four around a desert campfire
with Kayenta Chinle Wingate distant
strata set to black on navy blue
and August brandy in our veins
were quiet…quiet…then William,
our William, offered Coleridge to our
thinking themed as it seemed there
and then to sparks and dark and cold

he voiced from memory an ancient
mariner…he lay before us staging
of a burning copper sky and chill
emerald of ice floating ominous
in far storm distant, lonely seas…
he flew an albatross above us, and
wrapped consequence around
the neck of our…imaginings

he recited to the now as in days
when he and his buddies…Mike and
Tony…sometimes Jeff…on afternoons
on park benches, lawns, basements
a park somewhere in Oklahoma…those
men… almost… brimmed with word lust
and just because they could memorize,
went forth with Whitman from a harbor
somewhere near Brooklyn where the
bard mind fucked them all…all again with
his ingraining…or one of them would
line out Homer…daze their bravado hour
when they escaped Cerberus’ mouths and
dreamed of melody that Sirens sang

Occasionally, memory fading, our William
struggled for a word or with his hand
waved off a sequence…yet…we were
spell-bound in the night around the dying
embers glow of words…imagining

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Berto Artego

water descants

09-Path-to-the-Path-1024x436 Lynda Lowe

lovers are vessels
drifting buoyant
on the brink of drown
quenched in kissing rains…
with laughter brimming
on waves of cresting….
rhythm rocking in currents of
giving and sustaining…
and floating in each other

*        *        *        *        *        *        *

Whitman is a fish
swimming life and
breathing words
through sharp red
transcendental gills
flowing in and of his
intercourse with universe

*        *        *        *        *        *        *

music is liquid sound
immersing us
in moody waves
as voices sing to us
like mermaids from a shore

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Lynda Lowe

in the margin

Ferry Boat

she forgot she’d written mind melt
…only it wasn’t that prim…
in the textbook’s margin
for Walt Whitman’s poem
“Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”
she’d flashed that page
on a classroom screen
tenth graders…
got their attention
and a parent’s call

she wrote on all her books…
ones she paid for…ones she kept
ones she hoped someone
would find some day…
interpret her handwriting,
read some comments
from the margins of her mind
engage enough to disagree
or think…right on…you nailed it girl
make that connection
mind melt…time and space

bonnie marshall

Whitman’s Child in Pitttsburgh

pinke1.jpgWhitman’s Child in Pittsburgh

Outside a Pittsburgh window
coal’s sour smokiness
rose from chimneys
to lay gray strata bands
on drifts of whitish snow.

Inside, the child’s mother
boiled cabbage and potatoes
that steamed glass windows,
dewed cold walls damp,
interfered with breath.
The child raised a window sash.
“Shut it. You’ll catch your death.”
Hesitation. She balanced negatives…
tested them for strength
and locked the window closed.

Then…she inhaled faint purple fragrance
where African violets bloomed
on the window ledge.
She pinched their fleshy leaves
with forefinger and thumb…
stroked their dark green velvet…
imagined herself flowering in Africa
deep-rooted in loam beneath a baobab…
imagined Mount Kilimanjaro
cloud-topped across vast savanna…
then…willed herself
a snow leopard in the yard.

Bonnie Marshall