Monday, July 07, 2014

Two Stray Cats & A Prayer

—Photo by Caschwa, Sacramento

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

Anything could happen
in the Sixties
engulfed by creativity
I would just check out
what was wanted
on theater bulletins
in the Big Apple
and I could get at least
a call for an audition
and a possible part
as good as in any start
of being an actor
would occur as "Happenings"
in the neighborhood underground,
with so many small theaters
of playhouses off-off-Broadway
the same occurred
in the jazz world
and with the little magazines
making you feel
wanted and in participation
in a resilient transparent time
you were more
than a category
or being ordinary
wishing to be fearless
to be cast as a character
who could share,
his own history
and even when my folks
saw Cabaret or Hair
they were not unaware
of the age of Aquarius
even though they preferred
to watch Spartacus
or Ben Hur as Jesus appears
as a hero who heals
a leprous mother and daughter
or enjoying Quo Vadis
with that monster Nero
played by Peter Ustinov
get it in his languid death
from his sonorous speech
of his last breath.

 —Photo by Caschwa

—B.Z. Niditch

With a cargo
of vulnerable letters
by Mellarme in my lap
dazzled by my own chivalry
and a withered fragrance
along the Seine,
primal fears
speed toward me
over the gorselight waves
my play is to be performed
from English
to my helpless French
the sky seems dead
awaiting rain clouds
as in a half-completed
painting by Monet
in endless blue
but I believe my play
A Day in Vichy
about the liberation
of France from fascism
by American
and Allied troops
will rescue memory
among friends
from a damaged time
of a poisoned occupation
and my three acts
will bring about
a metamorphosis
of love, reconciliation
and new-found peace.

 —Photo by Caschwa

—B.Z. Niditch

In acts of poetry
every confidence card
in Paris
by thirty,
having transgressed
the straight and narrow
with opium
in an suspected voice
from ironic spontaneity
the press exposes you
from personal innuendo
over worm-eaten pages
of extraordinary diaries
having explored
words through illustrations
of many foreign bodies
and tongues,
you recheck auras
to envision palm readers
with an alchemy
of a new age bard
in artistic engagements
with the films Orpheus
and Beauty and the Beast
for the avant garde.

 —Photo by Caschwa

—B.Z. Niditch

         (for Wislawa Szymborska, July 2)

Warsaw's first light
transmits the silence
of death by a thousand
rumors during the war
from your first words
of how our experiences
pick and choose us
for what is aesthetically right
or who will survive
the night
only language gives us
an epiphany
of a startled lexicon
you compose in the tone
of augmented notes
which lead to song.

—Photo by Caschwa

—Tom Goff, Carmichael    
What is bred in the bone will not go out of the flesh.
                                                —old English proverb

What’s bled into the bone won’t darken the flesh.
There in the narrow marrow, the blood once reddened.
Rilke, trapped in a red and white and yellow mesh,
the weaving of many roses, knows what has deadened,
leached away poetry: he can’t get too involved
with women, children, or dogs. He’s long moved on
from terminus to terminus, unresolved,
still revolving, indeed dissolving; diminished and gone
spiraling beelike into the rose-interiors

of rooms; danced cotillions in those pavilion bowls
where scents commingle. These grandees know no superiors
among blooms. They’re aristocrats, they charm lost souls.
A thornclad bouquet should sweeten the Cairo sand
but siphons red-rose liqueur straight from his hand.

He repulses all doctors’ names for that which ensues.
Decline to consult Brother Body? He cannot refuse.
He’ll die at the marrow, white rose-petals ousting red blood:
the rosé in his veins the wind-scoured color of driftwood. 

—Tom Goff

Tonight Nora and I went to the river parkway,
William B. Pond Park, one of the best
with its genuine pond, more a genuine lake
than, say, Smith Lake up high in the Sierra Alps.
And what did we do there? Paced our
vigorous-lazy rounds around the summer twilight pond:
seized & ate blackberries where the tall grasses
and uncertain footings above water admitted
us to the riches of bramble. Binoculars on,
we collected as many birds & other species as
our eyebags (a bit latenight bleary) would hold:
two egrets, two great blue herons (one sang
his sour disgruntled keck-note complete with
startle-and-leap-up), a kestrel, numberless ducks
and geese, up-springing surface-piercing tiny
fishes tormenting the gnats and mosquitos to star-dance,
here and there a speeding cormorant,
two American Bluebirds mate and mate,
and, oblivious to our tread, one male quail
bobbing his bobblehead topknot. Ah, what
is American poetry without such inventories:
proof that Whitman is Whitman and everybody
else is too, plus or minus paycheck for the words.
We came back laden without Teddy Roosevelt
horn-heads and tawny once-tensile torsos
to stuff and mount.


Today's LittleNip:

—B.Z. Niditch

Hurricane Arthur
has gone away
the windy rain on the Cape
has washed into the Bay

Everyone helped to assure
us in their own way
even a poet had a rescue
of two stray cats and to pray.



B.Z. Niditch, book-buying