Thursday, October 16, 2014

Watching Bette Davis

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


Here lies the ocean
always hungry
for another sailor or poet
any Ulysses
staggering after time
in the late darkness
to show up hungry
in a Poseidon watch
of a sun's return
on the beach
with a South wind
three notches below
the boat once grounded
with a ravaged survivor
in the sorry sightings
and breezing sail of winds
running toward land
eager to escape Troy,
and war, tombs, escapes
with an earth-wise poet
greeting you
from his window blinds
remembering your story
full of births and departures
misfortune and ventures
out on the sea's distance
now from his epic verse.

 145-year-old Wisteria, Japan

(or "Nana's Advice")

The index
rejects sex
or what is wrong,
Midnight Cowboy
or King Kong,
check and balance
if you get the chance
for Quo Vadis or Ben Hur
or to MGM musicals' demur
in a dance to a lyrical song,
always take out a rental
that doesn't make you mental,
forget the Snake Pit,
try a film with wit,
always be a lady or gent,
That's Entertainment,
Nana's advice,
Think twice!

 Angel Oak, John's Island, S. Carolina


Tonight October's car mirror
outside lover's lane
night shadows
presses bachelor buttons
in a Freudian book
saved from burners
pushing our century back
on its blood trails
of fully loaded trains
for whitewashed sentences
carried out with no convictions
by death squads
all over the European theater,
as the Hollywood
actress next door
kills echoes
of daily nightmares
and will not forget
her starvation diet
on the refrigerator door.

 Anarctic Beech with Moss, Oregon


Admitted to the lab
of science,
she then attends a seance
of metaphoric prophecies,
swallowing words
in variations,
which lets you slip up
on your hard-nosed homework,
feigning an exhaustion
of a bruised thesis
then deciding
helter-skelter to attend
a lecture on the gestures
of film deconstruction,
forgetting the charms
that delight in you.

 Cherry, Germany


Watching the Spanish movie
La Venganza,
taking a chance
to voice the oppression
and censorship
of those who suffered
under dictatorship,
and a love story
of wounded passion;
knowing history
lances and renounces
our human screen
to sustenance confession,
and opens our eyes
to a hard-breathing film
of treachery, solace
and inconstancy.

 Dragonblood Tree, Yemen


Watching Bette Davis
in The Letter
as a star in torment
from dramatic necessity
when at last love became
unfaithful in cold flesh
and a jury did not decide
rightly for justice
on the injured party's side
because he was departed,
coquetry and jealousy
blinds the actors
in this killer movie
with a pleading case
pulling in our critic's power
with a chance warning
to our cool minds
even at our age
for any character's flaw
from the law's chance
of palpable innocence
when in a fury of rage
steams out of control
to unwind the silence
in the conscience
of a thriller film
about a lost soul.

 Slope Point trees, New Zealand


An October rainstorm
below high windows
overlooking Boston Common
a sax is heard
by the bandstand gazebo
a sunrise bleaches us
below the blinds
playing Boston,
our cards held in check
never expecting jokers
in jazz clubs
on a faded smoke-filtered
newly seasoned dawn,
we decide to leave the table
to walk on the Public Gardens
near the swan boats,
aristocratic twigs fall
near Frog Pond acorns
by thousand-year elms
tugging on yellow jackets
now passing
revolutionary graves
dealt by an old hand.

Third-largest tree
in the world,


From your secret location
in a glance's view
of new information
as yet unknown
yet may be true,
from any vetted apology
yet unspoken to atone
in any regretted vocation
or out of the blue pardon
among the wood's rock garden
there is a moonstone,
as in Stravinsky's Firebird
many elocution's force
before a dancer's outside call
in full curtained voice
with blinding secret wonder
a ballerina emerges in a theater
among nature's belladonna
on steps of connections,
out of rain and thunder
in a poetic word's
language's ballet
by answers and questions
to the critics' directions
at night and every day.

 Japanese Maple, Oregon

(Nobel Prize winner, 2014)

In the Parisian sun
with a hopeful sun
through my French
jealousy window
reading your novel
Missing Person
about the Occupation
nervously alone
awakened by these lives
in thanking your words
by furtive corners
transfixed by your images
from my naked eyes
melted by loneliness
about informers and heroes
as echoes of the Resistance
now from your geography
where humanity spills
its locution
from a grieving time
you bring memory to life.

(Novelist and French screenwriter Patrick Modiano 
recently won the Nobel Prize for literature.)


Today's LittleNip:


When we lose someone
it's as if the earth
of our inland soul
moves an indifferent time
to an open space of grief
from an insensate pity
here under tinder woods
of Fall clouds that resemble
a nervous sky alphabet
which leaves us alone
from late aspen buds
being quiet to our hands
as we are recounting
rain showers
by the Blue Hill's lake.



B.Z. Niditch
—Photo by Denise Flanigan