Friday, December 14, 2012

Celebrating Delmore & The End of the World

—Photo by Richard Hansen, Sacramento

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Do the best gifts come with a lash or a lesson?
When you first walked in, I didn’t know what to make of you.
When you left, you left me guessing:
my eyes ached just staring hard at the daybreak of you.

You are the vessel of gods, not for questioning:
come, ask your own questions, and I’ll try to answer.
Bless me now, priestess, with beestings,
for blessings are beestings, if death is a dancer.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

It's 12-12-12, a rare, symbolic date.
But will our earthly world end, as some claim?
My dogs and I are on the trail to fate,
or Fleming Meadow—maybe they're the same.
What countdown? Two-one-null, and here's a game-
trail—seven dainty deer prints as a clue.
Who says, “there's nothing here to see”? A lame
excuse for tedium. Sky's rainy-blue.
This present world, each morning wonderously new.


—Taylor Graham

What I want is a surprise—
I want an old-fashioned iron spigot
that spurts exploding seed-pods
like a bomb-test scattering sprouts I never
heard of; royal-purple thistle, pasture-
grass. I want orange crates full of hope
not theology. I want another form
to fiddle with, and a piece of string long
enough to net the next idea.
I want the neglected geranium to bloom
in honor of midwinter. I want a code
to read the script stars write
in their crossings. I want an empty
box that might hold anything. 

—Photo by Taylor Graham

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

Uncle Al,
more than an intellectual
pal, a critic of his day
would explain the difference
between Monet and Manet,
Eliot, Bishop or Auden,
who was in and not
bon mot or modern,
we followed him
on Sunday afternoon
where we kids
were not to go,
we wondered if
he sought a text or sex
it was neither learning
or a heavy breather
but a cowboy movie
starring Tom Mix,
Al was full of jokes
of the trade and tricks
on the chess board
or with the rope,
always gave us hope
rather than any dope,
once in Yugoslavia,
(now without borders)
where the cows
were so thin
and girls so pretty
in their gym blouses,
Al read us Wittgenstein
and Einstein on a train
he has a brilliant brain
and could ill afford us,
but we learned so much,
in French, German and Dutch,
now that as we are older
and ruminate on the arts,
we thank Al for the years
when you taught us
Rousseau, Hume and Descartes.


—B.Z. Niditich

Speaking with CC
my Chinese neighbor
of her father-professor
who lost his glasses
in a pig pen
with a dunce cap on
during the Cultural
I took my blue Mao suit
(too tight-fitting now
and Little Red Book
an enamored kid
handed to
me in the Sixties
after his labyrinth
of Poly-Sci memories
restored his health
from a crazy strain
of a dialectical diagnosis
and nervous neurosis
now welcomed back
to rationality,
and with cigarette lighter
with an incredible gesture
of defiance,
and soon
all the props of a preppy
of a man about town
or budding flaneur
like Baudelaire
were in flames.


(In Memory 1913-1967)
—B.Z. Niditch

Over New York's
island face
hardly changed
on the steps
of midnight
expanding a sigh
on a sober sidewalk
up from the alley
hearing a sideman
playing jazz
from the top floor
and you, Delmore
now undressed
sleepless, as long
in your month old shirt
turn a trope
in dour expressions
toward the mirror
on your unmade bed
weeding the dictionary
in a sign of mourning
to find an obituary
for yourself
here on December 8
wanting fame
to enervate you
like your peers
without a venture
outside the words
weighing down
your shortened body
in the caught fire
of your younger days.


—B.Z. Niditch

a serenade of mourning doves

from our window sill

in our secret music chamber

a litany of satiny birds

resounding from a violet sky

in plainsong shrouds

from orange groves

along the sea and mount

transfigures butterflies

fluttering to a flirtatious sun

combing a fiery warm dawn

on green trees and waves

amid the slow incoming tide

and we unknown

except to fate

and lamentation

cling to reflect on the day

awake to the soundings

of another.


Today's LittleNip:

—Olga Blu Browne, Sacramento

How beautiful these last hours
that lie beyond yesterday.

Where whispered webs are spun
in silence.

And thoughts of uncertainty echo


—Medusa, with thanks to today's poets for helping us celebrate The Best Gifts!

—Photo by Richard Hansen