Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Meeting Marilyn on the Bus

—Photo by D.R. Wagner, Locke

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
With my BZ notebook
in tense form
on my lap
in my high school weekends
waiting for the bus
going from Boston
to the Big Apple
for star-struck afternoons
at the opera, jazz recitals,
modern museum galleries
with great spaces
for the abstracts
or at tiny attic lofts,
meeting at the Factory
Andy Warhol, Ultra Violet
HollyWoodlawn, Edie Sedgewick
and a host of celebrities,
hunting for antiques
and rarities in used book stores
going to the New York
Public library
to meet a Cuban friend
who writes samba music
glittering up the dance floor,
as when dusk comes on
the city displays
its own national metamorphosis
and sleeping late
after the clubs' lights-out
in Greenwich Village,
a mean time for some
but with the Statue of Liberty
still in her glory
and eager want-to-be Americans
getting to Ellis Island
I return on the bus,
notebook with poems in hand.


—B.Z. Niditch

In those hot L.A. days
with my Uncle Sonny
at Twentieth Century Fox
having my first real summer job,
tells me to watch the film
Bus Stop with Marilyn Monroe,
an Inge play,
it would open up
a new lovemaking drama day
for you,
little did I know
that on the bus to San Francisco
to audition for a small part
I would meet
a genuine Marilyn interpreter
touching me
with a new perspective
for dialog,
this new Marilyn had it all,
the charm, looks of the other
all her vital organs compacted
in one amorous mirror
within her shimmering red dress
her cool spirit and flesh
overflowing with enthusiasm
yet with the movie realm
of romanticism
and social realism of pain
wanting to live humanly
is a show girl's second nature,
I went to see her act
waiting for the applause
to cease and sent a bouquet
of roses to her dressing room
made a promise to myself
to write a play about her,
called up my uncle
to tell him
"In art there is only imagination"
with a feeling of gratitude.

 A Clockwork Orange Surfer
—Photo by D.R. Wagner

—B.Z. Niditch

Losing my sax leather case
at the bus stop crossing
just at the moment
when dusk sun hits
the red brick house
with the new year revelry
by my soundproof studio
the latent fog dissipates
its rain pouring no tears
at a last memory
of 2013 from off the Bay
a runaway finds my case
on the sidewalk
and soon a jazz player
stands by an open window
on the basement floor
in the dim electric lights
for a time such as this
between two flat notes,
seasons, hours, moons
humming with ignominy
the same exercises
always with the repeated
sinking sadness of an E flat
with his new reed
dreaming up verses
from a palpitating night
to open up at my gig
beyond the city limits.


—B.Z. Niditch

Standing in line for hours
to get to the Metropolitan
to see Max Ernst
a painter who opens paths
for the earth's share
under gestural art
of a century's phantoms
in hermetic circles
from cyborg jazz studios
modulated by conceptual
performances in your paintings
born from starry fragments
not yet known to urban space
that speaks to the luminous
by a wordsmith of fissions
over the Orphic fire
from ironic pastels
covering an impromptu canvas
drawn from the abstract
with prints of purest 
conflagration's visions
in future action paintings
and you, Max Ernst
exiled to your basement
in half quartered mirrors
framed in brush stroke motion
when light touches us
in modernity's silence
reaching over ink dream waters
to clutch the ephemeral mobility
as your brush whispers
all human myths surface
and fathomless splashes swell
new dada colors dazzle
at animated logic.


—B.Z. Niditch

On January 8
(to all friends and poets)

If it just happens
with a wave of the sea
or hand of fact or fiction
inside time or in the space
of your fingertip computer
that between life's pages
you suddenly became a poet
or ripened into a Homer,
Hesiod, Sappho or Dickinson
a lover of words, nature
redwoods, the bay side,
wearing new love beads
or red flowers in your hair
double earrings or blue tattoos,
if you search for stones
or oyster shells at the beach
or jawbones at a dig
or play sax at a gig,
collect stamps
for postage or food
between tears and laughter
we beat all unbalanced odds
with our war wounds
or playing a stringed guitar
at peace rallies
surviving in solitude
at our melancholy routines
with impatient loneliness,
caring for another lost soul
with fraternal confidence
for a pubescent student
high as a flying kite
on his first day
back to work or school,
getting over a rejection
from a one-time friend
who now plays the field,
losing a ball game
or a prize trophy,
having an unlucky meal
with tableware
that keeps breaking,
having recurring dreams
for freedom
like Poe, Whitman, Desnos,
Pasternak or Akhmatova,
in banishment or exile,
it doesn't matter,
my poet of a hundred names
if you write it all down
or rap it in song,
another sister and brother
speaking in a foreign body
in a local tongue
somewhere on the planet,
will understand and wish me
a happy birthday.


Our thanks to today's contributors: B.Z. Niditch is celebrating his birthday! Check out his blog at D.R. Wagner sent us these seaside photos after a recent trip to Bolinas. And we have a new photo album by Michelle Kunert on Medusa's Facebook page—pictures of some of the poets at last Monday night's Sac. Poetry Center reading. Thanks, Michelle!

And don't forget to send us poems about our current Seed of the Week: At the Bus Stop. What happened there? Who was waiting? Who was leaving? What kind of surprises were arriving—or failed to arrive, dashing hopes and expectations? Send your poems, photos, artwork on this (or any other) subject to


Today's LittleNip:

I watched James Franco play Allen Ginsberg in a movie about "Howl"
     But I'm screaming inside that I can't seem to write right now
     —seem to be stuck in a winter of a big blank zombie funk
     Maybe the Spring will bring my sensibilities around
     and maybe I won't have to write about my pains after all
—Michelle Kunert



—Photo by D.R. Wagner
[Happy Birthday, BeeZee! 
May the barnacles that grow on ye
be few and far between!]