Wednesday, December 18, 2013

When Time Falls On You

Kaylynn Parkinson, one of the featured readers
at Sac. Poetry Center last Monday night, Dec. 16
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
If this poet only had
invisible wings,
to hide in buttressed nest
reflexive as a sparrow
on this season's edge,
these cold breaths of love
meant years of Latin training
reading Ovid and Virgil
and the Saints,
yet always running for his life
as a scalloped shadow
along snow stretches
on fifty-mile marches
to escape his real love
wanting to be in a retreat
as a mystic
with a backfire of memory
of his hidden words
on note papers
at St. John's Abbey
in his thin coat
under the sky breaking
the echoes in the last
lines of his poems
a century's wounds
in love's absence
belief will complete him.


—B.Z. Niditch

Waiting for magnetic sunshine
on deck to play
in my first jazz band
yet feeling like
a joker in my hand
meditates under
the sound system
when a sudden rain
like pawns
on the chessboard
of my life invades
like liquid solitude
sings its vaporous solo
over a wave of sensation
at our trio's recital,
jazz opens up for me
in an open space
and my flesh murmurs,
the sax is ready
a firestorm of song
dissolves conversations.

Caroline Swanson, one of the featured readers
at Sac. Poetry Center last Monday night
—Photo by Michelle Kunert

—B.Z. Niditch

Trying to write
a hit rock-and-roll song
but down on his luck
(this being off the record)
with only this one hit
played at local clubs
teenage years ago,
called "Chic"
the poet wrote
it on a jagged napkin
over a paper plate
this hot vanilla tune
created a local sensation
on the local radio station
for a whole December,
but the big shot executives
from the Big Apple
said I was too hungry
for an easy success
because I would not change
the unfaltering words
of the tune
about someone close to me,
and was literally beaten up
like an omelet
in a New York minute,
yet "Chic"
was on local charts
for a frenzied season
which my classmates
danced to at proms
on windy street corners,
yet this emerging poet
was poor-mouthed in subways
old coins put onto his eyes
waiting to die for a song,
"When there was time to live
and love,"
it spoke to some in my lyrics,
when no one watches me
at this lame adolescence
red-eyed and out there
as a four-seasoned refugee
no one recognizes for a Beat.


—B.Z. Niditch

Catching questions even on days

when I was school-silent

all sentences

were convictions

now in disbelief

after courting poetry,

astonished, you ask

with a fixed stare

lingering on

my once loveless words

divorced of reason

that lead to writer's block

and unbearable answers

of public opinion,

to split proverbs apart

and run for cover

when time falls on you

leaving you hanging out

in the salty air, seasick

and feeling alone.

 Sandy Wasserman reading at SPC open mic last Monday night
—Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Michael Cluff, Corona, CA

Paprika on raspberries
singing Elmer Fudd style
Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"
drinking real wine
on stage
to equate method acting
in Fontana or Moreno Valley.

Washing three day's dirty dishes
in an old machine
without soap
jumping from the second-story roof with wings
done the exact same forty minutes later
without wings
trying to remember Katherine's face
that first love
after thirty, nearly forty years ago.  


—Michael Cluff

Trying to be a three-piece
accountant who always had
to keep his tie tight against
the white shirt collar
his wingtips on
even at three in the morning
during tax week.

Reporting on Chamber of Commerce
in republican-run mountain communities
on shaky earthquake fault lines.
Following foolish
and self-centered bosses
claiming the public good
over their own
in theory only.
Being happy with the status
others are always
trying to lay marmalade-thick
upon my ersatz busy soul.


—Michael Cluff

Ivy, holly
and mistletoe
my near-orthodox
Great Grandmother Mina's
in 1961.


Today's LittleNip:


—B.Z. Niditch

Hiding under a woolen blanket

this young once budding poet 

is asked to play a tune

on his first violin,
A song breathes on him.