Monday, September 08, 2014

Sea Shadows

—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Denise Flanigan


to listen
to silence,
among shells
and stone
in reverie;
at the beach
brushes dunes
by the edge
of the shore,
wild roses
and our first
dead leaves.


the muted library
thirtieth of august
the sea shadows
sunday by the sea
weekend by the road
sleeping late


Suddenly the runaway
was put in a brown van
his squirrel eyes wrinkled up
like crows' feet in the mirror
on Route 66
yet luckily he snaps open
the door and escapes
as he finds a used bicycle
yet suddenly
his sense of adventure
is lost for a while
all his thrilling
comic book words
the T.V. interrogation
of superman wonder
kite gliding,
ice skating,
and the reality of innocence
mingle in sweaty palms,
even an unclassified excitement
in the annual school play,
his dream plan of traveling
up in outer space to the moon,
his whistles, recitals, marbles
put aside for now,
with friendly names signed
over fractures from ball games,
the crossword puzzles
left on the dining table
under the grandfather clock
which stopped at 4 A.M.
all his rankings of sports
figures by team and league,
the cosmic and cosmetic ads
and scenes from his household
visionary books of knowledge
in his optic memory,
wishes of visiting the sunshine
at Malibu beach
with its huge Fall waves
after this school vacation
his wish to visit polar bears
at the San Diego zoo
and his desire to be a poet
or play cowboy and outlaw
and meet the Hollywood stars
with uncle at the Bowl
or swim in a water bed
is smothered now in whispers
even of learning the passages
from the Odyssey
Canterbury Tales,
Pilgrim's Progress,
Treasure Island
as crows overreach the sky
and a blue beret falls off
his shaking head.


To render
the day a refuge
for honor
as a circle of crows
on the Cape rises above me
in my outline
between sky and earth
the foliage turning out
before me
in red and yellow coats
on this Pigeon Cove shore
this Beat poet
puts himself out
in the rain
by a luncheon patio
on the shadowed waterfront
thumbing his hand out
at his loneliness
as I'm asked to judge
a swimming contest
at the Argentine Club.


Columbus orders a meal
from Native Americans
on the New World menu,
Walt Whitman returns
on T.V. reruns
riding a rosebud rodeo horse,
Lorca refuses to get a pass
for the Factory,
Nathaniel West coughs up
his lines on an anonymous
graffiti wall near the stars
on a Hollywood and Vine
locust ceiling,
Night robs Man Ray
of his lipstick portrait
by the Daughters
of Zion National Park in Utah,
as we remember Virgil
in Latin class
where he loses us
in many Roman passages,
Hockney posters his heaven
by Billie Holiday
in the Harlem renaissance,
we hear the sea lilacs
of Tiresias' singing
over the Brooklyn Bridge
we spy Hart Crane,
the headlines turning us
out of Babylon, New York,
yet art hangs out
in a flashback camera
as late morning crows flee
with Hitchcock's birds
from any acid rain fallout
enveloping Nevada
drifting over the nation's
climate-changed supermarket
to the new world.


An echo of volumes
an open book
of Emerson
and Hawthorne
vibrates from
easy eyes
of fourth glances
from chapters
in remembrance
of Proust
and Baudelaire
in belles lettres
garnished aside
James and Wharton
who thrive
in margins
sustaining memory
of effaced shadows.


Even within
the Georgian tea cup
by this half-empty corner
my memory
of these mirrors is clear
under a marbled-eyed ceiling
in this lighted cafe
unlike the scratched graffiti
we noticed
near the old walled ruins
of another era
spaced along countryside,
getting out of my car
by the bell-tolling church
keeping a quiet vigil
along tall landscaped dunes
along the transparent sea
overlooking an ancient bridge
under puffy gray clouds
on an August Sunday
an exhaling young swimmer
in an orange towel dances
with a radio sounding rap
by children along the sand
over a wizened road.


On the road
drinking in first light
three days
into the season
and in a rushed flurry
of holiday traffic
when my heart
suddenly beats me up
and raises the pitch
of traveling noise
by a huge moving jam
filling each lane
near the toll booth
as neon lights
kick me off the highway
running into car trouble
yet I'm still playing sax
in a Van Gogh daydream
safe in a field of sunflowers
when totally refreshed
yet famished
near an all-night diner
and gas station
under green apple trees
as my tire is fixed
by the dirt side road
of a wide strip.


No grief group
or shining language
will efface secrets
in undelivered letters
or your once-repented chance
meeting last year,
you surmise
that your fate was set
in a mirage of fallen flesh
now spirited away
by a series of mum voices,
yet your daydream recurs
and spills over a coverlet
of blank verse
from proverbial winds
which will not leave you
by the windowpane
filled with a dying pulse
of a short-lived
morning glory,
yet you need to exchange
a bent inclination
to surprise your own words
of all faux pas of speech
and get over
a lover's third glance
toward your inscribed
unsettled body language
on similar shapeless days.


Is it not time
to let go
the backyard
dead leaves
as fallen ashes
by the last summer mum
of the rock garden
you remember at a glance
the knowing eyes
of the mourning dove
now grown pale
once wildly forsaken
on the oak branches
under the slate roof
of our attic windows
by frosted gleams
of green sand birds
who will be back soon
in the ruddy sunlight.


Sleeping late
in your sweatshirt
hearing quarter notes
from woodwinds
smarten up rhythms
near your music stand
yet wanting to hang out
in quiet flat holds
and smooth moves
of your alto clarinet
until tonight's recital
at the island's gig.


An astonishment
of surrealism
in your pacifism
a longing gesture
as you traveled the globe
with quest of radiance
in your good nature
with poetic ideas
for sister and brotherhood
that is yours and mine,
in your nomenclature
discreet yet divine.

Today's LittleNip:


The sea shadows
the two of us
bracing our bodies
for the ocean air
my oars tremble
from a starting sound
moving in the high tide
as crew contestants
wave to nearby surfers
on a dawn of first light
round the Pacific Coast
harboring green waters.