Friday, September 20, 2013

New-Seasoned Air

Full Harvest Moon
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

It don't mean a thing
if it ain't got that swing  

—Duke Ellington


Buzzing along the Big Apple
on my rented bicycle
waiting for the Duke record
in the store by early sunset
with the paradoxes
of the Autumnal equinox
composing between sounds
from the chilled-out night
my weatherbeaten head
takes out all matter of facts
make my way by my map
by city graffiti
on decrepit dark carpets
still alive with alibis
of how I am alive with music.


—B.Z. Niditch

You knew summer was over
in California, 2005
after dad played
Kreisler's Caprice
on his own German violin
in the early sunset
on the porch
and the hour grew
shorter along the Bay
with our watery breath
would have its own wave
like the rhythm
and movement
of the equinox
at the last moment
when the applause died
from each family member
he tried to believe
it was a mirage
that summer would go on,
but a pool of eyelid tears
like in a disaster film
filled the hall
and everyone knew
Autumn was coming.


—B.Z. Niditch

On the set no one complains
of watching
the blazing idleness
on early Sunset Boulevard
flanked by crowds 
still card calling
on Norma Desmond
when things get rough
and we need a touch
of your silent screen magic
to touch up our lines
when it's hard to remember
the summer days,
here our stopwatch stops
in the Autumnal equinox
along the West Coast
forgetting all caterpillars
and moth wings
in our past life
to the raucous roll
in sound and color
of your moving picture,
all the pop culture notes
affirmative mischief
as flaming nettles of fame
still flicker knowing
we will not lose you, Norma
just let us eavesdrop on you
striking the midnight hour
of a withering pursuit
in this new-seasoned air.

 Moon and Tree
—Photo by Katy Brown

—B.Z. Niditch

After your reading
you told us of finding
a diamond stud
in Frisco
under a bed
of a flop house
where Kerouac slept
after doing imitations
with a bounty hunter
floored by the piano
at door stop time
playing Ravel
for the left hand
after the last war
punch drunk
in the fever
by a no exit sign
which shaped you
in your loss
catching a chill
from the Bay rains
in your sleeping bag
half opened
with the hands
of a blanket angel
wanting a juice
from every bar
of brawling justice
on the other side
of sunlight's road.


—B.Z. Niditch

Weighed down by first light
of the sun on the sister river
flowing its scales on waves
the sea whirred on winds
along the weeds and dunes
and dawn's helpless waters
and here on my roped kayak
by crags enigmas
anchored for my early voyage
amid orange's tall trees
finding a shell is pleasure
to kneel and gather it
from one 's wet fingers
for a moment's perfection
without worry yet feeling
like Melville
on his meanderings
without a history, only exile.


—B.Z. Niditch

wild bird calls
along a black sun
in grey flight
neon sky drapes
above dark water
earth-wise at dawn
along the burnt 
coast of Port Lligat
rooted in pensive
memory purges
its nocturnal absence
on verdant rocks
sad aging twilight
is desolate absence
that pales all arbor
in liquid solitude.

Moon in Tree
 —Photo by Katy Brown

—B.Z. Niditch

morning opens umbrellas in windows

other still rains when hearing resounding

drums from the fifth-floor attic with more

meaning than the quartet on the radio

all momentum and coagulating festival

prose poems that you showed an elderly man

in the perimeter of budding flashes

when the sky is absent in early dawn

when the jazz flashed from my fiddle head

wounding you when my history

was abolished in the Sixties

on my peace armband quivering from hiding

my insulating translatable voice of chancing

survival and moving eyes of tradition.


—B.Z. Niditch

One-timed, then two
by love and music
where competition
is everywhere
in shadowless words
played out in these boxes
with frozen-out regrets
in the big city
but I will let my poems
created out of sunshine
and my sax made of rain
dissolve into whirlwinds
of cool resolve
to rip my passions out
of my being
pushing away these boxes
of unspoken clean lines
and have my fling
not to wound
but to be a free spirit
with a riff of melodies
unspoken or unchained
rocking between
a vagabond and sky
beyond reach
of the underworld.


Today's LittleNip(s):

—Caschwa, Sacramento

We are going to need
Everyone’s help on this:

We need to gaze into the
Heavens and tell our
Higher power

That He forgot to turn off
The lights at night.

          * * *

You've got to find some way of saying it without saying it.

—Duke Ellington


—Medusa, with thanks to today's contributors: Carl Schwartz (Caschwa), for his delicate little nocturne; to B.Z. Niditch for riffs on music and the seasons; and to Katy Brown, who reminds us that September is the Moon Festival in Taiwan—see or for more about the Moon (Mid-Autumn) Festival.

 Moon Flare
—Photo by Katy Brown