Friday, November 15, 2013

Spiral Seas

Clouds as Waves
—Photo by D.R. Wagner, Locke

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

A mad dash to the shoreline
after picking blackberries
row by row by dewy fields
and with the tips
of your fingers
find jelly beans
in a baseball jacket
the stillness was kind
in daylight's affirmation
stopping for a drowsy rest
and beachcomber's meditation
on the cloudy grey breakers
near the slippery stairs
of the waterfront docks
by a hive of bees
along the muted home harbor
except for sea bird voices
near their new bath lighthouse
by several crags and trees
a poet is shaking a tambourine
he finds at the gazebo
by geranium flower pots
wishing to plunge
in the vast coral ocean
if only to believe water sings
out his deeply aired breaths.


—B.Z. Niditch

San Francisco hears
and watches a young poet
since he was a charitable saint
helping the lost,
here in the sunshine, 1988
from my open windows
in transit at this motel
restored from a poised light
of the sun's
flickering along the walls
of the faded Corot prints
casting shadows
on this safe house wall
by my soundproof studio
ready for music and body
exercises here in the attic
to get in shape
for an intense gig
trying to feel alive
from muffled sax notes
in an Autumnal welcome
covering a shrill-voiced night
of tiny birds in their feeder
from the frothy sea air
reading Davis' poem
on jelly beans
near the backyard aspens
unlocking my eyelids
fiercely waking me
in a familiar tone
after a brass sounding dream
wakens my passages from sleep.


—B.Z. Niditch

It was an exciting day
when I bought it
for practically a song
from a retired lobster man
when he heard me play sax
at the seacoast gig,
asking me if he could
ride aboard my maiden voyage,
which put our legs through oars
teaching me at my first attempt
all the wistful hints at rowing
on cold waves of starriest escape
with his suave cool invitation
seeming younger than his age
quoting Whitman
through spiral seas
with his indomitable optimism
never quenched with worry
and offering me
out of his tattooed arms
Boston baked and jelly beans
from discreet darkness into noon
as a whispered wind
by a tufted wondrous Bay
alights on the long island sound
with an encore of lighthouse birds
by the largest shore around
scampering by us with tiny voices
now a seagull calls out to us
over grey clouds floating
we are now in a subdued speed
so a poet can spy on
all of dawn's creations,
an owl on an elm at shore's edge
a love letter in a green bottle
washed on the white sand
a lost red birthday balloon
caught in the tall Cape dunes,
a fish-hawk emerges
in ditch waters of a remote island,
as my new Greek sailor's cap
my once old navy friend gave me
almost falls off by the skiff
near the roller coaster waters,
amazed at the curving harbor
in the luminous soundings
drawing breath by the lighthouse
of being in adolescent wonder.

 Fall Morning Glories
—Photo by D.R. Wagner

—B.Z. Niditch

Deep down
at the crag's edge
the leaves tumble across
the great blue hills
as portents of your solitude
knowing the path to climb
up the shadowy mountain
and deserted peaks
will be clear
for a lone traveler
with his backpack
full of pure poems
walnuts and jelly beans
the shadows blush
at first light
expecting the woodwinds
to sound near the saxifrage
with blackberries all around
as I spy a mapped trail
shielding me
from the quivering trees
a birdsong in the distance
with an echo of capturing
a passage from this moment.


—B.Z. Niditch

Surprised by the anonymity
of a veteran hunger
digging for clams
trembling by the frozen shore
in the shameful staring eyes
of distracted tourists
eager for a ride on duck boats
who toss pocket money
and jelly beans
for good luck in the ocean
watching for Leda
the last swan
who must have known
my visits and not kept away
since we are childhood friends
dripping with memory's exposure
now wrapped up in a jacket
with pocket poems
of my last collection of words
on breathless wind swept air
I'm always carrying notes,
new and sundry on my sleeve.


—B.Z. Niditch

Through veiled mirrors
and ancient candelabras
here in Los Angeles
old white statues
littered with enlightened
bric a brac, dark urns
object d'art
paintings of knights,
ladies of the royal realm
plastic faded flowers
jars of jelly beans,
costumed pins and hats
pirated goods off the ocean
on silvery magic carpets
acquired, acquiesced
and accessed with price tags
some written in Creole French
by green embossed string
easy for the touch
under satin less fragrant
covers a sill of cloth
feeling I'm in a hollow world
of a dizzying Poe universe
wondering why my friend
brought me here
to view with suspicion
the long-unknown past
by these shells of the baroque
when the proprietor
in a solemn whisper
spoke in his domain
as if in a shipwreck
we're feeling motionless
as in a nightmare
or grade b movie
as if time disappeared
by these dark doors
wishing for the salt air
along the Pacific
telling the connoisseur
to take it easy
when the earth rattled
for a second
and we escaped.

John Deere
—Photo by D.R. Wagner

—B.Z. Niditch

Without having much
of an employment résumé
slumped out all day
eating jelly beans
on the sun shined city bench
and as yet not yet shaving,
red-eyed at the moment
in the uncertain noon,
hearing of a male model job
and an actor's workshop
both in the same building
on a flattering part
of a San Francisco street
and when you are a teen
not knowing much
of the world's vague talk
linger with open hope
and observing gestures
as your soul beats wildly
for any work with words
eager to stumble
on a seaside conversation
leading to changing roles
from this fast-pacing student
and going to the address
with a heavy suitcase
yet willing to try anything
within reason of expectation
as I meet the director,
looking consumptive
at the pool table
asking me with book in hand
to do him a favor
by reading the lines of Coriolanus
and he tells me
he also runs the model agency
and I would be a perfect fit
for his new tennis ware
if I would walk the plank
where nature is my own mirror
along the red carpet
and offering me a salary
yet wondering
if there was something
to all this rumor
not reported
by the third person.


—B.Z. Niditch

When walking in Frisco
eating a fortune cookie
and jelly beans
in blighted khakis
and a torn cowboy hat
with a pitch of torment
every moment
as any young thespian
trying out for a part
lugging my alto sax
and a lost golden retriever
encased with a hangover
from an actor's sheen
trying to remember his lines
and to wear boots
and that kooky white frock
for the bummed-out rehearsal
at nine P.M.
and hearing a random squall
and the earth move
in a crosswise rumble
here in a solid shady shadow
a poet's traveling delirium
entangles me by heated pavements
away from storefront mannequins
glimpsing the airy Bay
dusk waves and departs
with a loner's insomnia
over a cable car sleep
wanting to sing
on musical chairs
to electrify my acting roll
on stage all in lights
yet I'm reticent
as there are so many stars
and starlets above me
here by the metal rails
that only life's hammer
may strike any rock of ages
motioning the fireworks
of a rekindled existence.


Today's LittleNip:

Life is like jelly beans, and sometimes you get your favorite color.




Michelle Kunert reading at Shine last Wednesday, Nov. 13
[Michelle has a new photo album on
Medusa's Facebook Page, featuring the readers
at this week's Poetry With Legs reading at Shine Cafe. 
Check it out!]