Monday, March 24, 2014

Covered by Bird Song

Summer Garden Spirit
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA and 
Artwork by Jennifer O'Neill Pickering, Sacramento


Staring at Warhol prints
on my branch of a calendar
purchased from the Village
on spring's first day
kids with hoops
have an off-Broadway brunch
of kosher hot dogs
with Easter bunny chocolates
in Central Park,
others slip behind the trees
to be locked together
from a stranded winter,
even the first light
featuring my one-act
has stuck out its tongue
for the matinee,
it's still too cold
in the Big Apple
to play alto sax
or do a cool routine
of stand-up on this bench
even for lunch money,
anyway two buttons
on my old navy jacket
have fallen
like white pigeons
on the moldy pavement,
near passerby tourists
holding magnolias
from a wedding
run by my bicycle
and a mumbling soul
named "Cat" on her coat
with a foreign tongue
and worn-out sneakers
holding a first-aid kit
on her shoulder
takes out a needle
from her backpack
offers to put on my buttons
and suddenly laughs
with a new-found joy
at my Warhol prints
telling me she escaped
a half-hour ago
from a stern lecture
and parental storm
takes us in a taxi uptown.



A melody alarms me
from an iconic
glass bird clock
and it is first light
with an early
maternal sun
visiting to take away
the pollen chill
at the open window
my transitory memory
erodes my running time
hearing the practice
in a breathless march
of marathon runners
embrace onto a field
of sky angel kites
unexpectedly floating by
over a transparent Bay
my hands reach out
to an aviary of sparrows
with water and bread
on this insurgent dawn.

Miller Park, Sacramento


On Bay road to the water
meeting two runners
practicing for the marathon
a woman in immortal optimism
wearing a leg brace
tells me she is in recovery
from last year's tragedy
the man is silent
on the hostile dunes
his arm in a cast
a tiny cross on his chest
in an anemic accent
asks me for the time
hands in his pocket
with little emotion
as if a shore bird
plucked at his right eye
rests on the woman,
then with a shortened wind
and not a little trepidation
visit my orange kayak
with a homeless runaway
dozing in the open boat
at first light,
undo the few ropes
by the turbid streams
near recondite flasks
of a cheap wine
near his sweatshirt
feeling the dawn air
nestled like a grackle
near my skin
and embrace landscapes
on my living tongue.



You want to take
your Harley
out to the Coast,
feeling vertigo
yet hypnotized
by new affection
and scented
by jocund laughter
for the new century
rolling rock tunes
over your keyboard
after supplanting
yourself by the ocean's
kayak store guys
wanting to check out
any wintry damages
to your boat
from the home harbor's
northeastern storms
only rightly armed
with a deposit
of fresh verse
covered by bird song.

Georgia, Freda, Emily and Me


Teen hysteria in the light
of bottled-up wintry voices
in the ripened part
of a sporting life's noonday
taking their free hours
with whirlwind resonances
longing for attentive love
losing themselves
in green sleeves
along the riverbeds
outlining their bodies
first sighting
cool acquaintances
taking their shapeless leaves
on tender harvest pillows
by the new vineyards
in the frosty sunlight
like Adam and Eve.



Hearing myself say
in whispers "earthquake"
to my Russian geology friend
through his frequented
sunbelt moves
on his cold wrestling mat
knocking down worries
of all climate changes
in a threatened earth
but giving it no mind
a hyperactive minute later
trying to hold on to
my own mind body problems
on this solstice noon
punching out
my own worries
ready for another round
of nature's unrevealed
left-out surprises.

 Three Faces

Today's LittleNip:


Taking a piggy bank
by the river
above our woodland,
a couple of runaways
with new tattoos
and eyes like blue fish
pack their belongings
as sunshine trembles
at the edge's shore,
as a gutsy jogger
not losing much time
eager for spring's
whispers some advice
yet gets into his cop car.


—Medusa, with thanks to B.Z. Niditch for today's poems, and to Jennifer O'Neill Pickering for today's artwork!

Mandala from St. Jean de Luz
—Jennifer O'Neill Pickering