Monday, December 02, 2013

Don't Let The Cat Out...

—Photo by Michelle Kunert


I supposedly woke with poems written upon my body,
   erotic love-poem passages superglued as pages to my
   arms' skin
   and I didn't know how any of it got there.
When I couldn't remove or peel it all off,
   I went into a doctor's office to complain
   but the doc there was mixing up fudge with comedian
   Ellen Degeneres
   and both laughed and joked about me...

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


—Katy Brown, Davis

No one else seemed to notice the shadows
gathered around the table this year—
the youngsters, too busy showing-off
their skills with naming vegetables;
the adults, matching work-stories
like Icelandic bards after a monster-hunt.
No one else seemed to hear whispers
in the other room; fragments of conversation
about how alive we all seemed;
how good all the food looked this year.
Each of us around the full table
brought a dozen more to dinner—
those tag-alongs from remembered times;
unseated guests from old Thanksgivings.


—Caschwa, Sacramento

The escape from brutal rulers
Took us across an unforgiving
Sea and left us ashore on a new
Continent with cravings for the
Experience of food and liberty
That was fresher than any that
We had left behind us

Our bad fortune was soon to
Turn better when a small band
Of native Indians treated us to
A culinary delight of several
Tasty and colorful menu items
Harvested from the surrounding
Forest land

Being hardy folk who created
Their own good fortune, we had
The foresight to treat the Indians
As if they were our servants
So that we could take full ownership
Of their land, crops, and methods
To benefit our own trading

But we gave to the Indians too, yes
Indeed gambling casinos offered
Measure for measure an equal variety
Of temptations and colors to satisfy
Any patron’s appetite; if one is looking
For sustenance, what more could one
Ask for?

Nowadays we celebrate Black Friday,
Duly named to honor those who turn a
Profit selling various items harvested
From the surrounding forest land. HURRY! 
The beautifully carved turkey is not going
Anywhere.  Go out right now and chase
That discount!


(Why I buy lotto tickets)

I have worked all my adult life
Some of it very hard work
Sometimes holding down
Two jobs at once

Just to barely scrape by

Always a pawn
At the mercy of
Big money movers

Lust for crumbs to fall my way

My conscience is totally free
To win some money
Really, really big money
To be terribly, filthy rich

Must have more each minute of the day

And I would fit right in
With other rich folk
Who are presumed to be
Successful in all avenues of life

Trust the opinion of the one with the money

Forget that I am not particularly well informed
About topical matters of the day,
If you pay me for my thoughts
I would be happy to speak in public

Bust out of the shell and have lots to say

So what are we waiting for?
Line up those odds
And deal me my cards
I am more than ready to start

Dust of gold means mother lode not far away

—Photo by Michelle Kunert

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

Store Santa says
on the public address system
"Shop until you drop,"
but Elizabeth Bishop
taught us to rest in words,
on life's experiences of nature
in reverie, in dances
from Brazil,
here on a lonely hill
in a Cambridge classroom
my friends remember your reading
yet I'm the only one
who asked her a question
mapping my early traffic
of this convalescent student
sick of being overwhelmed
by the November dread
of an outnumbered universe
wishing for more than
an adolescent loneliness,
as I walk in her footsteps
wishing to get out my voice
and no stranger to stars
denied by inns and a manger,
I'm pushing back the crowds
in the din of the mall
with my double-crossed gloves
to hide out on Black Friday
wishing today's Santa
would admit he was once
Saint Nicholas
delivering gifts to children.


—B.Z. Niditch

Snowflakes cover
a New York's island face
hardly changed on the steps
as a midnight poet
expanding a sigh of silence
on a cold sober sidewalk,
up town from the alley
hears a sideman
playing riffs of jazz
from the top floor
and you, Frank O'Hara
walking home
from the Cedar Bar
sleepless, as long nights
tear into your month-old shirt
turning a trope
in dour expressions
toward the mirror
on your unmade bed
weeding the dictionary
in a sign of mourning
to find an obituary
for yourself
here on the sill
with snow kisses
by the window shutters
filled with dying flowers
wishing life
could enervate you
like your peers
without a venture
outside the words
weighing down
your shortened body
in the caught fire
of your younger days.


—B.Z. Niditch

Nerves in perpetual motion
with an alto sax player
leaving the city
on his motorcycle
in the Big Apple
with a friendless lipsyncher
standing by the bus stop
dressed in black leather
now sitting on my lap
going to the club area
suddenly tiptoes away
in the middle of happy hour
I'm getting heat from other drivers
as she goes into the red convertible
next to mine,
my memory still returns
overwhelmed by fear
and loose tongue,
feeling like an unsung traveler
with a grievous sadness
alone with his topographic map.


—B.Z. Niditch

with ex-family talk
of which cousin
smokes or gets high
or just gets by or not
or who is always late
or will never marry
or who is always in overdrive,
who is a A positive
or A.D.H.D.
or who never changes
his or her glasses in public
who is this or that object
of affection
or subject of affectation
said without any artifice
laying in waiting
for gossip,
the noise saturates me
as I eat a Turkey leg
ready to beg for silence.


—B.Z. Niditch

Like young sorrowful Keats
short-winded yet amazed
at these English gardens
when others give short notice
to the splendor of silver birches
by bright apple and pear spills
under this morning light-year
we walk by your shadowy grave
of a Fall evanescent sun
with these wing-beat birds
fading echoes of voices
from grey herons
calling us from blue rocks
by once hidden waters
on a coastal island dawn
covering mesmerized waves
on this woodland shore
by burning imagination
your first love never fading
in a forlorn restlessness
drifting into melancholic letters
you compose for your girlfriend
in the tall green sawgrass
too shy for a cottage house visit
not minding the pale duration
from the coming red moons
just wishing for another day
to explore and embrace.


Today's LittleNip:


Simple Simon metaphor
Square Knot on his way
To the Fair Trade

Said Simple Simon to the
Square Knot let me taste

Said Square Knot to
Simple Simon
Show me first your Euro

Said Simple Simon to
Square Knot, read this
2001 Green Paper on
Corporate Social Responsibility



—Photo by Michelle Kunert