Friday, June 07, 2013

Before I Got Lost

—Photo by Richard Hansen, Sacramento

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

Often we choose a book
by its off color
like "Sons and Lovers"
perused for its cover,

Here to browse
for what is élan vital
or we are roused
solely by its grand title,

Here on a wall
called "Mathematics"
next to a muscled guy
cruising for "Gymnastics"

Then the stall features
ballet and dance
straight or gay novels
Detectives or Romance

I'll take my chance
with a bio of Yeats
then go to Eliot, Auden
and the modern "Greats."


—B.Z. Niditch

Eyes on a small used
lined with Voltaire,
Poe and Baudelaire
by condos and rooms
of once boardinghouses
my desire to read
to feed on the greats
takes me in,
giving up a cream sickle
for the top shelves
past twin volumes
of Gibbon, Gogol, Dickinson
wading in another world
at cosmic decline
snatching belles letters
and verdant memoirs
on tables of cool hours
by remainders of poets,
explorers of the Word,
as craning students
serious as lions
out of nowhere
from every continent
and the semi-classic
faces of those seeking
the self-taught,
future historians
amateur shrinks
with long blue hair,
and the overwrought,
as a black sun settles
on the concrete walls
of the building
and a slight rain
patters on many hands
pages and watches
as all people of the book
in a long memory
which returns to us
even as the basement door
closes on the bookstore
here we learnt on chapters
at our readings, evermore.


—B.Z. Niditch

While browsing
through brittle books
with stiff upstanding
at twelve,
the youngest of ages
here getting looks
that I was carousing
just by chance
by reading D.H. Lawrence
or Phillip Roth
since I was not
a man of the cloth
yet I chose Thomas Merton
dropped from the sky
of the top shelf
near the high curtain
of the store
and meditated on his poems
which I checked out
more and more.

 —Photo by Richard Hansen

—B.Z. Niditch

In major acts of witnessing
these cynical times
as a minor clerk reporter
from the bench,
at a system which passes
out sentences
by corrupt judges
acting like cave dwellers
in soap opera's
having transgressed
any real time
searching for truth
here on back benches
without irony, only rumor
or any sense of humor
by exploiting motives
of personal innuendo.
Over beaten-up pages
of records
at a hearing
a thousand lines' long
these long-robed guys
having explored
words through cases
of evidence
with dull domestic faces
looking like tombstones
in a Dickensian world
to judge and give injury
saying in a straight face
who is guilty or not.


—B.Z. Niditch

His landlord
separated by
a wall of speech
lets the kid
named Billy
have a room
working out
with dumbbells
crossword puzzles
or his video games
hands over
his rent
as he takes out
the owner's trash
his laundry
does the lawn
fixes a t.v.
washes his car,
until an escape
from the kid's
water pistol,
Billy goes
to his appointed
shrink, Dr. G
to a half way house
up the street
in the middle of dawn.


—B.Z. Niditch

Half asleep

on the day bed

passing terrestrial

express trains of thought

from rented films

by house mirrors

or revealing your closed

omens and wounds

you may count on

a surreal glimpse

of Hiroshima, mon amour

of first light

from past echoes,

losing flesh and eyes

to enable voices

and surprise words.


Today's LittleNip:

now, where was i
before i got lost?
no wait…damn it!

—charles mariano, sacramento



—Photo by Richard Hansen