Monday, June 23, 2014

Butterfly Over the Waters

—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Robert Lee Haycock, Antioch, CA


Bees, bees,
everywhere a buzz
in Central Park
birds birds
leaving a mark
and a mess,
and as the rappers say, man
in their own words
call in the fuzz,
a lad named Tommy
is trying to clean up
the bench before going
to worship
at mass or the temple
trying to keep the Big Apple
nice for the tourists,
a local reporter spies the kid
even takes his picture
for the Times and Post
and guess what,
in this reality time
he receives a scholarship
for school and is on T.V.
from Coast to Coast
and Tommy becomes
an instant celebrity
and eventually in his life
a famous talk host
but rarely remembers
the birds and bees,
except that he's married
and now boasts his own
extended fans and family.



He's a football twink
and she in a blood-red dress
thinking of summer romance
spread their legs
under the classroom seats
maybe trying
to turn each other on
not wearing socks or shoes
pass love letters
and signs
the guy writes his paper
on navy tattoos
and she about vampires
I test them on Keats
and they both fail
neglecting the ode's text
but ask me
for an intervention
to help their memory
but they admit
that they told
their math professor
next door
that they were on meth,
and here I am silent
but ask them to go
and seek help
needing breathing space
I'm being re-educated
for another generation.



The young student
all in black garb
named Nora
driving a bicycle
carries hyacinth
in her full arms
unlaces her shoe
tells me
she is late for class
because she broke up
with her boyfriend
after two weeks,
now she is pregnant
from another guy
who moved to Vermont
to start a maple syrup business
in her term paper
she writes her philosophy
is like the birds and bees
here during summer school
opening her green eyes
as a ripple of grackles
pass by us.


By a public park bench
in a cellophane tent
a poor soul of a guy
maybe twenty
overgrown with anxiety
in an ex-army uniform
with big pockets
stands by a revolutionary statue
on the Common, stares at me
a poet with writer's block
tells me he's Billy the Kid
takes out a broken radio
fixed for his daily routine
and attempts to play
some rock tunes
on the KISS station,
his left leg seems wooden
like a neglected doll,
holding mouthfuls of rags
and pawning things
like dishes and coffee cups,
tells me he's originally from
Los Angeles
who wants to play soccer,
proceeds to take out a ball
he carries in a suitcase,
now brushes his sandals
with the tyrant of hornet
checking me out
for a stash of food
or cash on delivery
asks me for a ten-spot
wanting a pizza slice,
Billy has not shaved
for over a year
tells me he lives by our river
under the Charles St. Bridge
like the birds and bees
and here I am alone
preparing for my lecture
reading Wordsworth
who once said that nature
should be our guide.



Insomniac at Boston's
in the South End
near the jazz clubs
the Hi Hat, Scullers
and Walley's Cafe
where Ella and Sarah
created a sensation,
sleeping on this poem
at my friend's space
needing a month's rest
and watching
post-war German
movies by Fassbinder
in black and white,
and Hitchcock's
expressionist film noirs
like Vertigo or Detour
listening to Marlene Dietrich
sing "falling in love again"
putting on Armstrong's, "When
the saints go marching in"
catching some action
after drinking brandy
from my buddy's wrestling
with me for another match,
prepping up on Arthur Miller
in Death of a Salesman
for my week-end audition
never missing a chance
at a good line or wine.



In dad's old Navy shirt

with a lost memory fever

very concerned at my loss

on board with vistas

from new sunglasses

bought for a song

by a Rockport fishing port

as you recall on your kayak

the great winds

and aromatic waves

blowing that hurricane,

my life flirting with death

by deserted islands

at an unexpected storm
your logs

still detailed

in your mind's eye

as you take

one more voyage

from beachhead squalls

feeling like Melville

with his tidal journal

seeing five dimensions

by every seacoast harbor

swallowing my conscience 

in recollection and remorse.     

 New Sac


The earth and the sea are one
with the sound of color
here on an open boat
as I read
from my own tongue
my Russian poems
mouths widen on deck
on board the SS Pushkin
we claw on deck
for first light
as sunflowers
are presented to me
in the scattered dusk
on the open deck
of the Siberian home harbor
with early birdsong,
now a hearty kvas
in a long glass
is drunk
with a youth's energy.



I wish I were King David
composing psalms
and singing poems
on his harp
dancing naked
before the Lord of Zion
not embarrassed
being a muscle guy
yet loving his cousin Jonathan
more than any woman
he had yet known
killing the bully Goliath
and any bears or lions
around Israel's parched desert
known as the Negev,
taking on the Philistines
and hiding from Saul
who knew that David
had received an oil anointing
from Samuel the prophet
to become king.


Today's LittleNip:


A butterfly over the waters
on the first day of summer
now on the slate roofs
on the daughter islands
its neon-colored wings rise
without unconscious hesitation
soon its gestures and shadow
cover the transit of the sky
like a poet passing
a love song's own soliloquy
by a third heaven window,
yet how we quickly forget her
over the seashore dunes.