Friday, October 18, 2013

A Wandering Life

Mandalay Restaurant, San Francisco
—Photo by Cynthia Linville, Sacramento

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

A minute is too short
when the phone rings
to settle an unloved moment
or make an appointment
for another date
or avoid a homeless hour
at a disappointment when you
are not out with me
we promise each other
not to hang up
but to hangout together
yet we are only a phone call
away from home
without your loss of face
we need to appear
to be what we are
to each other
hearing the old tapes
at midnight
remembering you
by what you called
your lip gloss mirror
beside the space heater
bought in the yard sale
or sitting on that cold pawned sofa
when we were by the fire
on your birthday
to watch the first snow,
an old sorrow still murmurs
with a prison and prism
of presumed thoughts
that will not overtake us
without a life sentence
in many poems and songs
I composed for you
not for another soul or body
thinking in our both heads
of making resolutions
at the same time
just when the phone rings.


—B.Z. Niditch

My cell phone
is here by the sand
the ocean stirs
below my shadow's sun
on the dock
basked in a few Bay leaves
trembling and parched
by the sea-blue pier
waiting for a return call
if you will go out with me
at the harvest festival,
a pug at my side
with a Van Gogh sadness
because of my broken sunglasses,
the phone finally rings out
along the beach
and I'm ready for a hay ride
forgetting my allergy,
now with cupped hands
throwing pebbles
along the shore,
as a local fortune teller
watches me painting in oils
in the home harbor
as a swelling East wind
makes friends with a sparrow.


—B.Z. Niditch

Hating the cafeteria
with its noise
and egg-faced odor
with its delicious delivery
of humus and spices
where we practice for my gig
when a studio soundproof
room is available for us
and you, Lana, sing smooth jazz
by an Aladin lamp
of a thousand secrets
with no remorse,
my smart phone rings
but it's not a windfall
from the lottery
you dreamed about in numbers
numbering 10 17 2013
but my mother is on the line
offering us gingerbread;
from the holiday windows
we watch early Druid masks
on two twins
near the Santa Claus store,
then a guy in lederhosen
for an early Octoberfest
the beer is always on time,
but it's my bygone hours
at these rehearsals I regret
at least my mom
never forgets.


—B.Z. Niditch

The runaway along the beach
asks to use my android
with a keen pirate earring
a chest full of tattoos
claims he's a spy
for the underground,
asks to borrow my sax
but I refuse
looking at his threatening lips
yet he is playing street devil
house angel,
tells me he hasn't eaten
for a week,
name is Robinson
that he's been shipwrecked
living in cemeteries,
I tell him to call home
before the sky admits
him to a wandering life.

 Musee Mechanique, San Francisco
—Photo by Cynthia Linville

—B.Z. Niditch

Go West, in 1968
to the congenial air
of communal San Francisco
without a Kennedy half dollar
in my pocket
playing improvisation
and etudes on uncertain notes
bed clothed with losses
in the bleakest horoscopes
spoons, a diary, crosses
in transit of human memory
from dust baths in solitary rooms
away from Plath, Lowell, Sextant
and Bishop,
filling my desk with dominoes
my voice quivers on the guitar
from vertical roads
and rainy Bay windowpanes,
to horizontal cable visions
of a better alive poetry.


L.A. 1968
—B.Z. Niditch

A motel room
on the outskirts
of the City of Angels
by a Gideon, Playboy
and a Free Press
with torn covers
next to an emerging poet
for a believer in art
but not a puritan
meeting a disbarred shrink
and his belly dancer lover
in the lobby
and asking me
to swap identities
as an arm wrestler
and piano bar guy
wanted to trade stories
at midnight
and murdering a Mars Bar,
that first night
I hid crosswise
with nana's rosary
by my side
wanting to move
back to childhood.


—B.Z. Niditch

Not doubting, Thomas,
there would be a vacancy
at the inn and retreat
with expected recognition
of your poems
and lectures
wrapped in my boxes
at the prayer house
shadowing us
in the consumed sun
you accepted my words
as everlasting song.


—B.Z. Niditch

When I drink in
your words
a flame envelops
a numinous of spirit
from rabbinic lore
in a Spanish robe
to wound the night
we are intertwined
in the same vision
sharing gestures
in the Carmelite sun
extending a wounded love
from Castille
to the new world
and all who dream
of a witness of dawn
imprisoned by
fortune or the void
of night
those without bread
or coin
dispersed without
house or shelter
will as angels
in the mansion
and castle of earth
in a non-excluded sky.


Today's LittleNip:

Language defines us but does not confine us.

—B.Z. Niditch



Musee Mechanique, San Francisco
—Photo by Cynthia Linville