Friday, January 17, 2014

Made For Walkin'

A Pair of Shoes
—Drawing by Vincent van Gogh

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

Van Gogh had four drawing
of shoe boots
all green-black in the 1880's
and Andy Warhol's Factory
turned out in the 1980's
advertisements of boots
hoping for satisfaction
for his "Diamond Dust Shoes"
in his consumer paintings
and what a reaction!


—B.Z. Niditch

A Beat takes off his boots
on the grounds of peace
not yet liking
or licking the boots
of the officer ill at ease
for sending raw recruits
to an undeclared war in 1966
says to me at my physical
"He would rather dance
to Nancy Sinatra's 
'Boots Were Made for Walkin'
than go abroad,"
he was soon in newsprint
for taking off his helmet
black boots
and burning his own draft card
along with other A.W.O.L.'s,
telling me he was going
out to San Francisco
with flowers in his long hair
was put in a brig
for his offense,
but I took out my bric-a-brac
of images graven
not for Moloch's war machines
but to shoeshine my life
for the peace of understanding,
while I breathe out my sex
and alto sax on the street corner
like Walt Whitman
who visited the Civil War Vets
in their hospital rooms,
here in my cleaned-up boots,
knowing the joy and comrades
in an army of peace
of a walking Beat
making me an instrument
to save lives.


—B.Z. Niditch

Trying to be as composed
as is in this gig
crowded with jazz lovers
I take my Christmas boots off
and write out a sax piece
at the piano
and suddenly opposite me
is a singer with boots on,
so calm and orderly
who starts humming my tune
we remained together
for a half-hour and became
a duo Barry and Mary
with a musical love
the night Mary recorded us
playing and dancing
as we step outside
in our winter boots
we cannot leave
till three A.M.
promising to each other
to come back the next weekend
sober with our boots on.

 Birds Like Music
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—B.Z. Niditch

Asked by a theater company
at a local university
who consulted me
for a frenzied script
on a student film
to be made in 55 minutes
being a city slicker,
the art director
urged me briefly
to get on a horse
riding with my boots on
worrying about
a hairline fracture
getting on this colt
but I was safely slouched,
admiring this animal's life
for his traveling nobility
imagining if this were
a real Western on the screen
and this poet was lodged
on a covered wagon
going out West
centuries ago
and somehow I survive
the first showing
of the film At Risk
and got a new pair of boots
at the graduation's awards day.


—B.Z. Niditch

Reviewing the film
The Hurt Locker
about the Iraq War
during this winter vacation
and all the suffering
involved with IED'S
and their identities
from all nations
and stations crossing
the globe
I recall
those in the film
the moving screens
with hardly anyone left
in their poor villages
locked in hiding
with injured feet
others missing their footing
on the killing fields
and those brave medics
who won't let
sisters and brothers die
like the slaughtered lambs
without knowing
the good in themselves,
and not licking the boots
of those who grasp nothing
as they pass by
a sick woman's face
stretched out on
a makeshift country bed,
or shivering hungry souls
in their own deliriums,
a few guys on either side
looking tough and hard
being oblivious to suffering,
and others helping
even the enemy's wounded
at this world's sad inferno,
when the lights go off
in the movie theater
and I put my new boots on,
outside in Cape's parking lot
a blue bird passes up
miraculously before our eyes
to the blue sky heaven,
wanting a haven of rest
like us.


—B.Z. Niditch

His house was a misnomer
maybe a cape
hard to describe
with ill-conceived
huge curved planks
a turned-around weather vane
and wooden cupboards
for a kitchen cabinet
living all by himself
on this higher-up open boat
covering the bay side,
the only tenant
on the ocean surrounded
with seal skins to keep
warm all winter
dragged in all by himself
his cave boat inscribed
with tall letters "AGFL"
of an "Absent guy from life"
painted with shoe polish
and shellack from his boots,
a small light gleams
from his salt watery window
as the sun and moon
visit in daylight or nocturnally
on the sound of four bells
a ship of solid fishermen
would travel crosswise
and offer him salmon
or some catch for the day
before the seaside restaurant
opens its doors,
one well-known novelist
even bringing in used books
no longer in use
from the library bin
but to "AGFL"
he was the center of the earth
living under the stars.


Today's LittleNip:

—B.Z. Niditch

There is a theory
that the world is war weary,
we are merely asking
to take off our army suits
and remove all desert boots,
enough of excuses to kill
for macho juices to spill
and not to harm or thrill us
it's time for a balm of peace
before we are over the hill.



—Photo by Katy Brown