Thursday, October 09, 2014

Starting Points

Steve Marsh Glass Electrical Insulators Collection
—Photos from Folsom Historical Museum, Folsom, CA
by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


We have a starting point
in life shaped for us
like a geometric sculpture
of Giacometti,
climbing up hills
like Sisyphus
but forced down
by stones and rubble
that give us trouble,
we have darkened sea
with a lark's cry at noon
but we weigh diving
into a day's just surviving,
you make a run
on the starting line
in your life's marathon
but time may run out
even here on the lawn.



The possibility
that the street
you walk on
collapses in a sink hole
or a meteorite hits
like a glacier
on your noonday
and you miss work
in the inferno,
or "Death in Venice"
becomes a reality show
from the riverbed flood,
or your old wounds
of your expressive words
open up as you meet
your ex-lover
by the city walls
running for your lives.



Rained out on Sunday
for your
official performance
but still the numbers
of patrons arrive
and you do not care
what the media
or your manager says
and you open the hall
with extra keys
find an electrician to do
lights and a friend
to pass out the programs
call up the critics
get up on stage
until the initial dawn
and blast your sax.

 from Charity George Collection


In "Little Italy"
watching the film
Il Sorpasso
after the cast party
having orange pasta
at 3 A.M.
with two guys
disputing Nietzsche
and Che
waiting for the Sunday
papered-over reviews
of my play,
expecting to rise
up and jog in Central Park
on my belladonna weekend
from your nightshade
in a better mood.



Beyond the home harbor
you hear the morning call
of birdsong reaching high
over the sound barrier
by reefs on the ocean,
a ship's noted passenger
hears the brief melody
and composes
a jazz sonata for oboe
in b flat major
attends its premiere
in Paris,
also listening on board
a poet writes his lyrical epic
based on that one-note
theme in his word play,
a Polish artist washes
the canvas of modernism
after hearing
the airborne winged singer
in the impalpable wind,
yet what of the canary
who escaped its cage.



Why do words
fall on my countenance
just as the dancer
of Swan Lake
awakens her feet
at her nightly performance
reaching a Russian
surreal painter of light
like the Dutch Vermeer
mastering his brush strokes
on a canvas
he must complete,
like a jazz musician
Benny Goodman
or Louis Armstrong
words fall on me
as a Beat
every day of the year,
the poet-like bird song
as a spirit breathes
with such ease belongs
as a prophetic seer.

 from Melissa Lauritzen Collection


Move your arms
said the French director
like the Renaissance statue
of David by Michelangelo
let your voice resound
in the range of an Italian tenor,
your body
like a lion, stud or stallion,
your earthy eyes
like Valentino
every nuanced expression
as in Eisenstein's Potemkin
with romantic poetry lines
understudied by Wordsworth
Byron, Shelley and Pushkin.


(Oct. 7, 1849, Poe's passing)

In a pawn shop
in New Orleans
among famous named
and unread Poe volumes
and library antiques
when you unashamedly
need a leak
waiting for the auction
to begin
your weak nerves begin
to be in shreds
as Poe begins to speak
in heady whispers
and then out loud
in the midst
of a Gothic horror
of the boisterous crowd
and what if critics think
that my accent
is like his
as the business starts
my breath swirls
and my heart beats
a million times
as if there was my rhyme
with a raspy verse
of his reciting in time,
none leave the premises
or want to think
of an arbitrary curse
or a detective's crime
this being the anniversary
of Poe's death
as an old inspector
in a raincoat
from the basement
holds up the first book
of his to sell
and all goes well
for a hour or two
as the room empties
its traffic of retinue
yet here is Poe
or a facsimile
resting in an armchair
by me.

Hippo in Cup
Charity George Collection

(712 -770)

Reading to himself
in the flying wind
as absent air
releases snowflakes
on the bittersweet earth
to find his own body
in a soft glance
captured as first light
between passages
in slow traveled lines
of pleading verse.


Today's LittleNip:


Our lives
in gestures of rivers
make their eternity
only through words.



Clare Ellis Pin Back Collection