Scarecrow Travels (after Robert Okaji)

i wrote this relatively quick, i saw the scarecrow pictured & a sort of surreal narrative took shape. i’d like to do more of these after poets-i-know-poems. i’ll be keeping my good eye open.



Scarecrow Travels (after Robert Okaji)

i see you with my own eyes—mid-crucifixion

edge of an onion field dressed in tartan & flowers,
the sleeve of its handkerchief hiding a face;
a greedy magpie readying its beak to pick
out that face, i lob a brick to scare it off
& found the face to be but an imagined thing,
a tool, appendage to comfort us— no scars or burns.

How come you’re so far from Okaji’s poems, why leave them?
The stammer of your silence still your own.
We’ll flip a coin & if i win the toss
you must promise to return to those poems;
i’ll hear none of the usual excuses, no best out of 3.

i flip the coin, it somersaults (ping of sun)
& clamp it on the reverse of my palm


33 Comments Add yours

  1. robert okaji says:

    For a being who spends his time affixed to a pole, Scarecrow certainly gets around!

    1. Portals probably. You can see by my opening line how surprised i was. Wonder where it went after the coin toss?

  2. robert okaji says:

    Swamp Angel, Kansas, or perhaps Western Australia, Fremantle, near Perth.

    1. We still don’t know the results of the coin toss, i told it to get back in your poems.

  3. kvennarad says:

    I like scarecrows that are erected to protect nothing at all; they provoke questions. Something(s) else I like – the kind of O’Hara-esque “I do this… I do that…” of this poem, and that speculative conversation bracketed by it.

    1. Cheers. Do you know Okaji’s Scarecrow poems. If not you can find them at

      1. kvennarad says:

        I’ll give them a coat of looking-at.

  4. Can one do an after marshall, after okaji? How many degrees of separation are permitted? 😊

    1. i think you may have just made your self the target of your own proposition— get to work. haha

      1. Haha you just never know, I might 😉

      2. We’ll be aftering everyone who afters, it’ll be a revolution like Alice’s Restaurant.

      3. Alice’s restaurant…had to look that up before I could get your joke- yes, great idea- see how long we could make it go for and how many scarecrows we can gather along the way…

      4. robert okaji says:

        You can get anything you want…

      1. Haha not sure…maybe- it will definitely be fun! But you and Paul might want to distance yourselves from it haha.

      2. robert okaji says:

        We can always run and hide!

      3. You won’t find me.

      4. robert okaji says:

        But Scarecrow might.

      5. Oh. Didn’t think of that.

      6. I guess you could but I’d link the hell out of the post and you’d be found 😂😂😂

  5. robert okaji says:

    Reblogged this on O at the Edges and commented:
    Scarecrow visits Daniel Paul Marshall…

  6. Love this tribute, Daniel!

    I’ve so often thought about trying my own versions of “after Okaji” poems, but haven’t ever felt up to filling that tall order! I can’t wait to find out whether Scarecrow, or his alter-ego newly asserting itself, has won the toss!

    1. robert okaji says:

      It’s more like a short, squat order. Kinda round, in fact.

    2. Thanks Stephanie. i took the idea of Robert’s Shutters Poems & did my own Singing Bowl Poems too. That was a short while back. i can’t follow most of his work, as in respond to it, it is a style unique to him, but sometimes it is a choice of focus or in Scarecrow’s case an object or symbol, which i can do something with.
      I’m anticipating Scarecrow’s next move too.

  7. Love the open end!
    Also the photo!

    1. Thank you. The open end was for provoking a response in Okaji. Haha.

  8. I am sincerely sorry – I’ve called you Paul AGAIN! Trouble is, it’s stuck in my head that yout name is Paul. Like the word in front doesn’t register.

    1. Paul’s my dad. I forgive you…but scarecrow probably doesn’t. He’s taken quite a shine to me of late & is very defensive of me. If you see him, best explain yourself & say you’re in my good books.

      1. Nothing that a ‘hay there’ and a chat can’t fix…

      2. Punny you are. Haha.

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