Friday, July 12, 2013

Poems and Pawn-Phernalia

Big Gold Fish
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

As a shy teen
I whispered "sax"
at the pawnshop
along the Bay
a pigtailed soul
said to me,
"I'm between
two beds myself
I live between
two towns,
in two projects,
do two jobs
at once
had two Johns,
am selling two lamps
from two countries."
I said "sax
not sex,"
took my sax
out of my case
and blew the pawnshop
people away
with the blues
and decided to keep
my instrument in tact
and when I got home
I had a gig waiting for me
that benign night.


—B.Z. Niditch

Having to pawn away
an old glass decanter
that tasted red wine
a Christmas gift
from your ex-neighbor
who taught you to swim
in the home harbor
gnawed at me
until I got it back
and when we serve
grapes in July at table
the memory replies
to me,
remembering the fellow
who gave me my fins
feeling like a dolphin
diving over
my voyages on the Bay
and the still morning
when my tongue
at the pawn shop
with a ticket in hand
and walking away.


—B.Z. Niditch

They are selling
used gas masks
in July
at a flea market
along the Cape
for a dollar
reminding me
of how we had to hide
under our desks
in the Cold War
when the Russians
were coming,
how can we survive
any nukes
with these treatments,
expressing incredulity
take out my sax
from my case
and played out
some cool improvisations
for the tourists
one of whom
passed the hat
and had a great lunch
along the heated waters.


—B.Z. Niditch

From his base
after Jack enlisted
he changed his mind
to be war resistant
trying to forget
the sand in his breath
and a thousand images
in a state of death.
What am I here for
he would ask
feeling out of breath
as Jack was handed
his appalling gas mask,
pulling his own weight
now hidden with his friend
Jackie in a trench
watching for an enemy
to what fateful end,
yet they became grateful
here on this park bench
when T.V. interviewed;
even when AWOL
they called for peace,
their mind was renewed
and the world made sense
when all wars could cease
and they would make
a difference.

 Big Ant
—Photo by Katy Brown

—B.Z. Niditch

Uncle Al once said
to us in the lobby
at the St. Francis,
if we were a money
we would have
instead of brains,
he was proud
of my first play
off off Broadway
had made the papers
even in Boston,
he joked about
a once-in-a-life
stock market deal
in the Clinton years,
encircled by time
uprooted from bitterness
of his screenwriter's
plans, a Hollywood tale
of its own,
he collected his memory
with much interest
to help me out
with no one else
he put free advice
into my account.


—B.Z. Niditch

In a country pawnshop
near a horse farm
we peered through
the window
and walked in
looking over
a hundred glasses
yellow and green
from age,
old '78's
from Louis Armstrong
and Mingus
at the Newport Jazz
Mama Cass
and the Platters,
pawned violins, sax's,
trombones, a French horn,
a DVD of Garland
in A Star is Born,
checker and chess sets
Monopoly games
tennis rackets
and assorted
even marble eyes,
a grandfather's clock
which watches you,
shelves of cook books
self-help and guide books,
and "Freedom Trail"
once autographed by bz.


—B.Z. Niditch

Your first holiday

with no love letter

falling into strangeness

out of hand

barefoot by dunes

on the warm shore

after summer school

once seeming immortal

in sober exercises

and lesson plans

that never go into effect

making up for laziness

and lost time

in those marred days

of false disciplines

down heated corridors

with hospice odors

and sorry lunches

on wooden tables

by questioning voices

who occupied our world.


—B.Z. Niditch

Under strobe lights
roped off by one another
trying to appear calm
after an all-night
in an insomniac winter
feeling ashen
with long lines
of curiosity
reading my thoughts
and the barometer
down to zero
in this sun parlor
of a studio
with a bilingual ensemble
now pinned down
to go over
the upbeat spoof     
of a comedy
as the second interview
dwindles in a muffled sound
of motionless air
on the cold pavement
a gentleman in shorts
handing out coffee cups
gives me a thumbs up.


—B.Z. Niditch

We met
in the mezzanine
at Nabucco
a foreign body
weighing in
at an operatic pole
a stranger
opposite me
near the stage
of prophetic words,
her hand emerges
from an Italian suit
to shake mine
at a well-appointed
adolescent time,
as we began
our weekly trek
to the Met
in a wonder-struck way
with attraction
for stormy voices
attuning themselves
with a diffused melody
which echoes
never leaving me
like any other love
to this day.


Today's LittleNip:

Poets often live in a miniaturized time, using a minimum of form and on a minimalist income.

—B.Z. Niditch

         * * *

—B.Z. Niditch

Why bother to be here
early in the pawn shop
by the first light corner
trying to recover
the past stubs and snubs
of apprehensive sad times
undertaking what's now
disappeared like fit words
from your diary,
grave clothes in your closet,
carnival dishes
from the cupboard,
boxing gloves
you never put on
with a heavy hand,
fishing rods
which came back empty,
antiques from friends
who were not your friends
or were not antiques.


—Medusa, with thanks to Katy for the Big Stuff and BZ for the poems and pawn-phernalia!

Yes, this giant "coconut" crab is real!
But it could be a tribute to Ray Harryhausen, who
passed away last May and whose films were featured on
TCM last night (see
Our thanks to Sam the Snake Man for
finding this unsettling photo on the 'Net—
for all the gi-normous crab fax.
(And please—no jokes about Giant Crabs...)