Thursday, October 23, 2014

An Astonishment of Words

Toward Darkness
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA


The rain, the sun
the roots from bulbs
have already dried out
yet playing the blues on sax
to survive the coming winter
plants us blindly in the night
of our own hermetic habitat
that stays its resin and radiance
as in a jazz violin's luminosity
far from the city's deepest waters
playing in nature's hands
from cool air night's darkness
here by the blue lake's mouth
by my Rockport's childhood
at the early morning home harbor.



Thursdays at noon
as gentlemen and ladies
at Boston's Durgin Park
have their boiled dinners
with choice Chinese tea leaves
baked beans and Apple Betty
facing the waterfront docks
as runaways board ships
with their flower children
off to San Francisco
by uneasy Autumn sleep
to outlast every fortune teller
predicting we will meet
a foreign soul and body
in our future lives
by a last summer rose dooryard
hearing old fairy tales
from our French teacher
wanting to search
with our outstretched hands
by expressive city lights
beneath unknown addresses
of telephone directories
to find our extended families
reminiscing about our childhoods
from frazzled northeast winds
when October becomes absurd
on a cross-country road
and every good intention
lacks eligibility
by a tin-roofed setting dusk
lures us from the Atlantic
to the Pacific's breeze
from fluent lunar hours
in new blood-moon shadows
moving every unseasoned traveler
to make us somnambulists
under Nob Hill's red eyes.

 Figuerine in Pine Cones


By the hotel elevator
on an impalpable holiday
is the loneliest scene
as sleepwalking suitcased
yet tranquilized survivors
sandwiched between
bar and lobby
provide and divide space
to these seasoned travelers
reaching for teapots
and glasses of white wine
doled out with napkins
under doubled chins
from slow kitchen helpers
because it is always
a long trip and cold
from another's hands
looking up to the balcony
in the latest fashion show
losing yourself in mirrors
of soft lights moving you
away from Mozart's muzak
stumbling up the steps
to your inner sanctum
to celebrate sounds
of your lost appearance
sauntering in lost thoughts
by habitable towels
undressed by the sink
your mind not intact
or awakened by the rush
of blinded window last light.



"I'm your game," she said
waiting for the try-out
of her audition
checking out her lines
trying to be on point
in a whole-toned instruction
telling us she expired
in her last four plays
off-off Broadway
as the artistic director
sleepwalks in the studio
from the subway curb
ankle deep in water
from his bicycled venture
in the middle of October rain
to interview actors
being under advisement
from his fugitive doctor
over in Denmark
not to be double-minded
or vain
in his quest for his roots.



More of Seferis' shadow
in a nameless fire
among the docks
swerving against the sea
spaced clear what blows
in a light wind's fragrance
breathing in the tide
with two friends
who cannot decide
their assured fate
under a haunted sun
or desire to move
from the voice of rocks
in a rooted but vanished time
along the Corinthian canal
chanting in a blind light
an astonishment of words
you put down on paper
by a glass mountain
of sea birds.



In so many rooms
of quiet pianissimo
in rainy unknown villages
or Canadian concert halls
there is a glowing expression
on the spellbound faces
that Bach is momentarily agreed
to be uniquely yours and ours
without a jealous melancholy
from the music critics bench
whether in German, Spanish
in roots of English or French
he speaks to us again.



In a rude awakening
from the Middle Ages
of knight and king
sounding from Arthur's
round table box
opening to Chaucer's pages
of a Chanticleer and fox,
passing in an anthology
of Spenser and Shakespeare
we all fear for Hamlet
King Henry and Lear
then onto the Romantics
and a new environment
Keats, Shelley, Byron,
until the Gothics of Weir
like Edgar Allen Poe,
then we are modern
in a verbal engagement
from roots of Eliot to Auden,
now everything is posted
with a click of the wrist
in a blanket arrangement
we twist from our pillow.


Your language
follows all time pieces
up the watching stair
of verses you share
in hollow coffee houses
of the 1950's cafes
like the Red Drum
where your grief fills
huge mugs joined
in the sublime jazz
with your notes
like landscapes
remain open seas
of our likely correspondence
offering uneasy poems
when your shirt
is taken off on the road
between life and departure
remaining the same bodies
from the century's dust
as visionary flavors
crowd forty candles.

My Hudson Commodore 6 on H St., Sac.
by Ed Carillo


Passing by your street
this October
by ephemeral chrysanthemums
swept by the darkness
in dusk's night air
at 2 Washington Square
your New York life
in harmony of patient stones
staring at brick-faced houses
at sundown's hiding places
seeing through fine shadows
from neatly dressed windows
with a reluctance of pleasures
the fears of inheritance
the minor pains and destinies
on these Fall serene hours
for your time of novel writing.


Today's LittleNip:


Raging war,
ethnic cleansing
final solutions,
smothering victims
in the perpetual saga
of the ineffable.



—B.Z. Niditch with piano