Thursday, October 08, 2015

Spilling Out Dream Words

—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Denise Flanagan, Newton, MA


After an October walk
in Central Park
impressed with the flushed
fresh air of the dark city
enjoying Magritte's
The Meaning of Night
standing at the art wall
moving with a neat guide
an actor and singer,
named Rafe
with a sense of laughter
like Virgil to Dante
keeping a safe vigil for us
moving through enlightened halls
by tall tapestries
following your ageless eyelids
here in sight read galleries
of Warhol, Braque, Oblinski
exciting my still life's memory
keeping watch for hours
with my opera glasses in hand
for a more musical adventure
opening by the strong wind
at the Met's door
this is the day of lyrical art
we had been looking for
and then my urban read
with a sax riff at a club
in a vibrating crowded space
signing autographs
even offered a part in a play
and given bright sunflowers.



The cat on my Baudelaire
jumps and purrs at me
on my sofa chair
she then ignores me
curled up by the fireplace
near ingot fringed blinds
of French unhinged doors
when Bach plays me
on the harpsichord
then the cat sways
in her wood-covered spot
near the open welcome mat
by bench blankets
near my learning library draw
of Rimbaud, Valery, Verlaine
and De Mello Sophia Breyner,
always alone in the morning
as a moody Autumn sun
by my university neighborhood
welcomes us in corridors
through hallways and stairs
before my Charles River run
is held up in rainy hub breaths
over the Longfellow Bridge
by cool bones of Rob Creeley
at Mt. Auburn Cemetery
through a chorus of songbirds
feeding and drinking by fountains
near the birdwatchers’ club
along a melodious forest
in visions not to be forgotten
before my return to rest up
as images race before me
for my reading commentaries
near my backgammon table
where there are cards
for a game of solitaire
as a city bard out of Zion
takes up a wine cup and bread
over a solitude of words
alone from a tower of Babel
living like an exiled Daniel
among lions in Babylon
in this millennia.


Since I do not rise
until my motionless hour
moves me to my chair
heaven and earth are wise
to my behavior
not abandoned elsewhere
from my sleep eye dream
of exile from Toledo
picturing El Greco's Savior
he seems to share
my wine and bread
on my knees
when any form of despondency
or despair brings me back
from my printed galleys,
to look out from my window
at moving bocce, hockey
and soccer players
sharing the field
by the Charles River's breeze
along the dawn's sky voices
shielding over the sea's edge
by trembling branches
over the Longfellow Bridge
hearing familiar birdsong
at this very moment
with shadows of visitors
on the balcony fearing the rain
as mourning doves appear
outside my studio at eleven
when listening to Verdi's
recording of the opera, Nabucco
my mind is racing
by a lending library of Esperanto
waiting on my desire
in memory of the pastimes
of my reading Proust
outside the Paris Tuileries
for there is life's love in art
where time flees
what it disposes in youth
will never depart
since there is forgiving
for the living and the dead
we exist ala carte.



In a welter of waves
a chorus of birds
nestled on green waters
sheltering on a raft of rocks
where my kayak rests
near fallen branches
at the northeaster wind's
spoken woolly dawn
here a poet's open door
closes for an outside read
by a tree-trunk of words
my spirit catches up
after a thousand-mile run
as an oak looses acorns
on crimson leaves
for a trial marathon.


Playing Schubert
at my first violin recital
drinking a chocolate milkshake
that my teacher Uncle Scriven
and Aunt Sarah
brought to me at rehearsal
for an energetic appearance
in the museum courtyard
when Myron my piano accompanist
makes his way on stage,
I'm in my fresh white short pants
taking my animated fiddle
into my muted hands
motioning my body language
at this moment of living out
Schubert's fantasy
as the audience falls silent
and my notes play out
until the applause still echoes
in an orchestrated  harmony
of my audible still life
under the Picasso.



We spilled out dream words
on the white sands of love
hearing the gull voices
as budding shadows
and Greek columns of castles
rise by birdsong at noonday
by the gazebo of geraniums
remaking our blanket images
on our canvas of yellow mums
clouds dance above us
in a chorus of eraser darkness
we have our lunchtime
of choice blood oranges
answering in a witness
to nature of "No and Yes."


Among my passing on friends
by the earth-wise open books
of C.K. Williams
from overclouded mornings
you understood the reality
as the long-suffering bends
in knowledge of being human
at an age and edge of longing
for answers to our Muse
you taught us by the Charles
near the river run of the dawn
hearing the songbirds
in the woods near the museum
of the Back Bay Fens
from academic open windows
as we view sails below us
in cruise races
from the Longfellow Bridge
and grey brick shadows
locating new languages
from unstamped student maps
in winters harsh as ruddy faces
who come to learn of Virgil
Dante, Milton and Donne
as our lamps still enlighten
the dorm rooms
and boarding houses
of Brighton
and out to Cambridge.



His eyes are still on us
not embittered
like an onion or radish
for a Russian son not selfish
but with good humor
even now his wise voice
at the door sill is heard
not since Pushkin
in the graying air
of our neighborhood
there is a choice songbird
also along the Neva
who hears of a lyric poet
at his last duel in death
near the paradise riverbed
under the blond light
your memory is borne
on an October dawn,
for a fool rarely knows a poet
until through the night
an emerging sunshine appears
as we eye the moving length
and breadth of a sailing swan
of many gazing years
who passes though waves
taking its slavish wading toll
yet still has her wings
we remember and love you
Lermontov on your birthday
within every rainbow shade,
our soul faces your spirit
which sings in a chorus
to us of a poet's way
writing The Hero of Our Time
with brave embracing words
sharing your tears in rhyme.

(Oct. 2, 1879)

October, as red leaves
expire on the fields
under oak tree rings
by a chorus of songbirds
along a bus route
over Hartford's roads singing
we remember your spoken words
by an open border of woods
in classic crystal breezy moods
shielding us with an expanse
on a translucent nimbus light
in a number of sky clouds
raining down with winds
on tendril green meadows
in rows of wild flowers
at our own solitude
when you spoke to us
Wallace Stevens of beauty
in our storms
by open wells glittered
and ready for the sunshine
by riverbeds
to keep us in winter forms
over a long devotion of poetry
under snow-blanketed sentences
knowing of you in our dorms
from your reading gestures
at our slumbers to be warm
as your surely fruitful phrases
allow us each day to be reborn.



You had been
to public and private
confessional school
not only as a visitor
throwing your papers
from the artist's ashcan
and opening the draw
to the tight daydreams
in your dry-eyed ruminations
of erasing lines and rules
off white blackboards
in your own uniqueness
minding your own business
on the first-hand shelf
of your personal darkness
to expose a current
of rolled-up electric light
preparing the land way
for footsteps of the Beats
who hide in the corner
not hoarding words
by long lines in the day
not buckled in an armchair
but rushing to own
an oral profession of oracles
washing their feet
in a miracle of words.


To free a poet
is to instruct our nature's lore
like an Emerson or Thoreau
we may even explore
the craggy conduits
in a lunar exploration of Mars
or an eclipse of a red moon
on a relaxed night out
like this
with a September passerby,
when the breeze rises
on your back
to remember the lost stars
and then tomorrow
as in a metamorphosis
take a noonday walk
here over the wheat fields
of Van Gogh
remembering his eye and ear
of the potato eaters,
that in a quick repast
only life's passport matters
to be stamped
when we hear or witness
the early peal of bells
before the snows arrive
on Palermo's Mount Etna
and there is intimacy
by the riverbeds near cats
on blankets which vanish
without any forgiven death
on the Spanish steps
when a few leaves turn crimson
and the twigs and acorns
fall on the sunflower grounds
of visitors to the museum
there on the marquee
is the poet Pasolini's film
The Gospel According
to St. Matthew
playing this Sunday,
"Let’s go."


Today’s LittleNip:


The informers
were in his dorm
he said,
in a speechless night
torturing him
socially, economically
even politically
trying to steal
his engagement ring
now out of sight
by jalousie windows
of blinding rain
he wrote a poem
on his bicycle
of his love in a quatrain.


Many thanks to B.Z. Niditch for today’s poems, and to Denise Flanagan for her photos of Fall in New Hampshire! Denise also sends us a link to a group of poster illustrations by the Polish artist Rafal Oblinski, who now teaches in New York City. To see some of his posters, go to