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’45’, ‘104’, and poems for Burning Man 2016.

Underfoot Poetry – thanks to guest editor Daniel Paul Marshall (no relation!) – has been kind enough to publish three of my poems, or rather one poem and two clusters. None of them match precisely what I’m writing at the moment, but they have never seen the light of day until now – I had been holding them back, for a reason I can’t now remember. ‘104’ and ’45’ belong to the numbered poems I was writing in 2017. The ‘Potty Poetry’ cluster contains some of the pieces I dashed off at the request of an attender at the 2016 ‘Burning Man’ festival – “Write me some poems I can leave in the bathrooms,” she said. So I did. Thank you, Underfoot, Tim, and Daniel, for doing me the honour of allowing me to share my work. Please visit, and please (if you like!) ‘like’ them both here and there. Thank you.

Underfoot Poetry


The river’s in constant re-set mode,
sighting by its hand against the banks
what’s up and what’s down. It has
the tattoo of the sky in its eye. Two
girls, leaning against the wall, ignore
it, choosing instead to contemplate
hills and the warmth of each other’s
shoulder, but each has plashed puddles
that have (since) closed up, that eye
winking out. The river’s voice is
understated, catch some in a bucket
and it’s abated. Call by to see brother
Perch in his green-and-silver suit, to
maintain a plastic pot for washing
your brushes, to extract and filter.
Renew! The sun turns you to molten
copper. The river’s dare is born of
hills and ephemeral daymare tails.

from Potty Poetry
(a handful of poems printed on cards and left in the toilets at Burning Man 2016 )

We met right here,
but this is no sleazy…

View original post 1,219 more words



“The fair’s often so merry I
..dance it up (on the spot, of
..course!) lifting foot after

..foot, careless of my long-
..forgotten rhythms; strange
..how I could strip an assault

..rifle still, micrometer finger
..nipping every precise piece,
..but such is the blind riddle!”


..Day again, another lie, a sick
..dog crawling from its bed, a
..dawn being the Styx, the curse
..of light being death, cars that
..creep the hill, each thinking to
..be salmon against the flood are
..the lice that plague their backs,
..our food a paste of dust, tears,
..our voices songless lamenting.


If you can’t deliver love to its
bullseye, pull back, hold it so,
and simply shift yourself; hire

a mute mahout to flit to the new
premises with the elephant – no
one will peek from the windows,

everyone will turn their backs,
only Bill Bloodwhiskers stalks
the walls, keeps a severe watch.


jupiter©Marie Marshall


‘s.’ – the latest in my current series – is the daily poem over at Angélique Jamail’s excellent blog site, as part of her April Poem-a-day series. Please visit, and please do two ‘likes’, one here and one there, if you do happen to like the poem. Thank you. 🙂

Sappho's Torque

I always want to post a poem in April by Scotland-based Marie Marshall because she does such wonderful and thought-provoking work. She also defies description — as in she literally defies it, which you may glean from her unconventional bio below. Her poetry and poetic style evolve and seek to push formal boundaries. She also writes fiction and posts it at her blog from time to time and has a few books out.

Probably the less I say the better. I think she would appreciate your having the chance to parse out her work for yourself.


Today’s poem

“I was sevened and all
willowed-out, left and
bereft, reeling, punch-

loved; take an honest
hour to tour me; thumb
my spine, read what’s

implied by the rises &
falls, find where scars
crisscross to deviate.”

High over Spitzbergen
it moved from aurora to
real morning, the song
of dying stars…

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“Blindness overstated, I can
..judge you by your mouth’s
..taste when we kiss; it’s like

..the cap of a baby’s head, or
..the milky breath of calves;
..I take your tread even when

..you creep; believe no bullshit
..about acuity, just (for God’s
..sake) learn to read the signs.”


..Being somewhere where the
..sun isn’t seen but more heard,
..bringing a blinding triumph of
..trumpets to the old Magdalen
..Green; yesterday was the richt
..hure of a city’s mourning white
..while today’s brah verdant is
..every inch gladrags, handbags,
..and Halleluiah hoorah reeling.


Break a pane of church glass
and whisper your vows in the
dark, witnessed only by the

elephant in the transept, old
Bloodwhiskers on the tiles, &
the poor, covert mice; do not

steal, but rearrange the silver,
reverse the pews, leave in chalk
suggestions to dancing heresy.


jupiter©Marie Marshall


“Eternity and expectation: one does
..not need to have seen the other side
..of the river; one boards the boat in

..expectation of arriving, no matter
..that one is borne downstream; we
..are all blind in the future; we were

..all sighted in the past; so your sister
..lied – she would have needed a new
..language for everything dreamed.”


Immense, the great Aleutian light,
the same illumination here creeps,
thieves peace, reveals the mountain
that is, douses the conundrum; what
the goal is no bugger can say; every
law is bound in falsehood, is kith to
its crime, calls to its wedded whip,
bespeaks its punishment – even the
statute of the photon has no escape


Grandmother Eve birthed the city,
the smartphone, the sodium light that
days the snowed night, the pads and

pawprints of vixens, the poems drawn
at stickpoint, old shoon, roadkill, the
whisper of still sea on gabions, moved

from room to room in an inspection,
observing, recording, stopping by the
sudden, urban trees, and marveling.


jupiter©Marie Marshall


“My sister, she’s blind from birth,
..has dreams in colour, but no word
..for each until she made her own –

..kokol, mariganzo, fhey – limiting
..the shades by her own subtle mean,
..and shapes by changes, directions,

..the length of time they last; all this,
..the genius of her baby self, ruined
..when they gave her a norm to hold.”


..what does the damned wind mean
..by it all, the conversation that rolls
..stones, the scars, marks, and whorls
..in the dust, the drive and batter of
..rain defeating aluminium window-
..bars; rain, poverty, the desperate
..fingernails of beggars chapping at
..your glass, taunting you outside to
..come and feel their drench directly.


A destruction of foxes – you have
never known hunger, you take only
what is necessary for the day; if you

had known what it’s like to bite paws
and suck blood for the sham of a meal,
then you’d know why, when he comes

across two cock pheasants, he murders
both and knows he’ll be right for two
nights; he’ll not stop; why would he?


jupiter©Marie Marshall


“Psalms out of Africa,
..sung sotto; compel me
..to make plane places

..rough, and I’ll rebel;
..one more god dragged
..across the stage in a

..basket, the fake sound
..of thunder – read what’s
..on my board, life here!”


..The profanity we call light
..sauces our thin bread, the
..top of all we see, the land
..we eat, the river we drink,
..the salt on the air such a
..taste on our breath; click
..– on with the cold kitchen
..spotlights! – our light does
..not meld, shows our faces!


You hear the angelus bell,
a muscle memory stronger
than piety reaches for the

rosary; a near miss, chaos
overtakes the ritual; this is
the moment of life – yes! –

now you know that reason
is brutal, that chance turns,
twists, leads a million steps.


jupiter©Marie Marshall


“We live in the land of Nod, east
..of Eden, all of us, amongst the
..debris of murder, looking at the

..dream-images, forced to admit
..that they are examples of extreme
..control and no conversations with

..ourselves; we are armed, but only
..with false swords and wooden rifles,
..the cards we carry identify only sex.”


..Day paralysed, a holding pattern, a
..patteran skywards to tell us how the
..unfriendly live here, a coast, a tide,
..a come-and-go on the hissing shingle
..but only in our own minds, in that
..debatable ear, a knock on the door,
..and a request for alms not honoured,
..there’s bugger-all comfort but only
..cold, it might as well not have come.


Section by section (so you say, not
room by room) you comb and plan
the house, giving hue, image, sign

to the thought-play; today – coffee;
‘oversight’ can show diligence or
neglect, but seldom simultaneously,

each sits – a ghost – in a corner of
the room, each has his lure or trap,
you are to say what their section is.


jupiter©Marie Marshall


“True, I haven’t said I love you lately
..– some are struck blind, I mute and
..shipped away one night leaving only

..a hand and foot severed on the stoop
..of your monument; but the sentiment
..continues, you may say it endures as

..well; I pause to eat, reflect on the day
..being cold, before a spoon of breakfast
..I have a taste of your skin on my lips.”


Night’s slaughter, half the world dead
by gravity, stacked slaves, shelved to
raw dreams, wreckage, prone, prey; a
lone poet hunches, stealthing her lover
into verse, a desklamp sole against the
dark but nothing counters her madness;
she is fear of day, starting, reluctant to
the sun (such as it briefly is) who’ll no
more than squat till dark comes again.


Your mind’s a hoarder’s house – credit
that! – with only sidled ways angling the
junk; you curate; there is a sure order to

pattern the space and the fill, but to say
it is fraught, to isolate one hallmarked
item is a danger, the whole mnemonic;

the exterior gives no hint; tell us what is
cyan, what vermillion, what umber, what
ochre, momentary before they’re refaced.


©Marie Marshall


“I was asked where I wandered when
..there’s no fair, and I indicated with a
..sweep of my hand and, re-indexing my

..wooden résumé, held it at such a level
..that they’d have to bow to read it; thus
..I forced a deference, saying the fool’s

..a king and the king’s a fool, but secretly,
..meanwhile mouthing today’s salutation:
..have pity on a poor, old, blind beggar!”


..Fair day or not, you await the insinuation
..of dawn, to pick out the shape of the obelisk,
..the chimney, the satellite dish, the roosting
..urban birds, to gauge the moment to visit
..the early-opening bar – that little, yellow
..sea of hope – where day and night are both
..equally guarded against; but the grey wash
..follows you (oh a day-dog it is that fawns
..and won’t leave you be!) to dim the lamps.


Our Cossack, our Kickapoo, neither falls
easily into stereotype, each wears a skinny
suit with an open-necked shirt, each checks

his device for texts, neither messages in any
lingo save the universal, each has shoes that
are shined but still speak dull, the wristwatch

they wear is the same brand but tells different
time; one, I see, has cufflinks, and they play a
music against his coffee cup, sip, sip of happy.


jupiter@ Marie Marshall.

I have been a little quiet of late, at least as regards my poetry. But I have recently posted an atmospheric short story for you to read – please visit. Also, I reignited my weirdest blog, which you may also like to visit.