Monday, April 01, 2013

Like a Seasoned Exile

Dinosaur, Half Moon Bay (April Fool!)
—Photo by Kathy Kieth, Diamond Springs

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

A cool hello
in crazy March
prolongs your day
makes Portuguese bread
taste even sweeter
with a shot of old wine
look brighter
than any vase's rose
over this granite outdoor
grey restaurant table
overlooking the Cape,
this breathless wind
whips by the ocean flats
gives out an aimless dawn
in a patchwork of sunlight
you never expect,
yesterday I was here
making up a crossword
acrostic puzzle
on my swirling
bicycle parked
by the gazebo
hearing that Mama's
and Papa's song,
the title
I can never recall
hearing it again on the A.M.
short wave at the beach
which stays in my head,
I have had it with you
crazy March
needing at least
a glimpse of sun from
an amazing April fool.


—B.Z. Niditch

It was no ordinary April,
colder that life edges
us by
cleared from dying
of winter's prophecies
or fantasies
of an early spring
wishing would melt
all solitude's emptiness
from our family's nest
when we separated
like stones on the icy pond.

Like a seasoned exile
from the Redwoods
the wind like sunshine
witnesses in grey
in those hiding places
through walks of silence
voiceless premonitions
by an empty day
which grow numberless
and numb.

Daring existence
to speak of love,
childhood returns
away from the mirror
and calendar
zero April,
hear me out
in this seasonal
early-time song
as birds cling
to the branches feeder
and a poet attempts
to teach the child
the first reader.

—B.Z. Niditch

In Jerusalem
after visiting
where History 101
met religion
in the common era
once in the year of 00
here on the bus
in the 20th century
a group of gorgeous
lambs wanting
to join us pilgrims
came up to us
in a veiled sunrise
spiraling between
our timid legs
with joyful bleating
visiting us
in a timeless land
the poet shouts out
"I am really here,"
when one lamb leaped
over and rested
and a voice was near.

Sunset, Santa Cruz
—Photo by Kathy Kieth

Three poems in the manner of Stephen Crane:

—Abigail Faisal, Davis

I came upon a man in the forest
Dressed in rags, green and torn
Who, taking me by the hand
Told me he knew the way out
Round and round
Through trees we twisted until
As twilight set in
And the dark set out
We were back
To the beginning again


—Abigail Faisal

Sunlight fell
Across hot sand
And burnt the bellies of the snakes
And across dry river beds
It cracked the water's path
Fish were trapped
Puddle by puddle
With the snakes avoiding the sand


—Abigail Faisal

There was a man who couldn’t swim
I saw him careful round the lake
Until one day he tripped
Rocks slid against, sands shifted slight
Roots came loose, and gravel crumbled
Splashing and yelling his echoing cry
I replied Stand up, it's but knee deep
He cried back It's not
I walked to meet him
But he was drowned at my feet
In water I stood, my clothes still dry


Our thanks to today's contributors (did you catch my April Fool's joke about the illusion of a dinosaur?), including B.Z. Niditch who celebrates Easter and Passover for us, and newcomer Abigail Faisal. Abigail is one of D.R. Wagner's students at UCD; recently D.R. gave them the assignment of writing in the style of a famous poet, and she chose Stephen Crane. During the next couple of weeks, we shall be posting the other examples that D.R. sent us. They are mighty fine, indeed!

Speaking of mighty fine poetry, the new issue of Ekphrasis is out; order yours at See also the Spring issue of the Bay Area environmental poetry journal, Canary, at  

April is Poetry Month! Get your poem a day at  Watch Medusa's Kitchen for more about the Poetry Month Celebrations here and elsewhere.

And, in addition to the local readings this week, get yourself ready for lots of poetry events the week of April 8. Scroll down to our blue box at the right of this column and check out all the happenings, including the MIND Institute's Autism Benefit, the CSUS Arts Festival, Dana Gioia at Folsom Lake College, the WTF Art Exhibition and Reading at the Vox, the Sac. Poetry Center Conference, and various other readings here and there besides. Lots coming up for Poetry Month!


Today's LittleNip:


A town beggar
wants food
but does not speak
he looks hungry
wandering and weak,
with a thorn on his head
and a long beard
yet mute,
it is said
he was the most good
not even born in a bed
and wrote parables
few understood.



—Photo by Kathy Kieth
[Don't forget to check out Medusa's latest Facebook album:
Southside Park by Annie Menebroker, Katy Brown
and Kathy Kieth]