Thursday, December 25, 2014

December Treats

Lobster-Trap Tree
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Denise Flanigan


Clinging onto a town's lottery ticket
a poet finds on the road
which gets him into
"The Gingerbread House"
for a wonderful contented
meal of fish chowder
red wine and filet of lemon sole
the hot ginger Chinese tea
now between my fingers
and after a hearty meal
feeling as a French troubadour
play my sax by the Bay's mouth
against the woodland birches
talking to the ferryman
on the dock who oil paints
now drawing horse hoof prints
the light over the Bay
with an old fashioned carriage
having the snow fringe on top.



What renews a poet
and sax player
is playing riffs by the window
in a sprawling life forever
by sand, dock, shell of the sea
ever-changing as an echo
from the home harbor
snowflakes on the crossroad elm
outside my walled-in rooms
of a sound-proof studio
in a December dawn
wishing for contentment
by this elephant lamp
that I built by hand
in woodworking class
seasons ago
taken from an album photo
of a Mumbai, India's tent
that time makes clearer
in a wrapped-up memory,
outside, a few last sparrows
are at last in their feeder
where sunshine may arise
birds wishing to sing
over the moors and birches
by the fearless sparkles
and white sprinkles
of tiny snowflakes
off the dark rainy Bay
losing myself in laughter,
now leaving my rooms
to run down green hills
in bated breath
after spying the fabulous turtle
looming on muddy stones
by newly eaten tall grass
culled from the watery dunes
mirrored by the ocean
who needs rescue
in a simple life of nature
from phrases held back
until now
in my Thursday diary
at 10 A.M.


The chess bums
as they call themselves
yet very literate
ask me to play a game
on the park lunch bench
where they hang out
listening to jazz radio
wanting contentment here
even as lightning flashes
by the lighthouse and tower
here is Rapunzel, with long hair
with a shrubby Christmas tree
in her Volvo
who leads the house, ice,
round and barn
town's dance company,
offering us the best coffee
on this cold morning,
jelly donuts, Danish
or her oatmeal cookies
for the others
and a croissant for the poet
she knowing of my diet
and opens a new dream vision
of blending tasty words
with a cordial
for my fans and friends.



In a feverish home town tour
of Christmas choirs
singing "Hark, the Angels Sing"
to Hanukkah in the Temple
by a Chagall painting
with angels, rabbis, lovers, beggars
in the blue and white of Vitebsk
your hometown of the poor
in Russia's village pale
an Armenian with a Greek cross
sells her radiant perfumes
and necklaces from Yerevan,
as Chinese dance on sidewalks
with so much ancient love
and contented reassurance
near a tambourine band of scouts
in the bluster of December.

 The Road to Giverny in Winter 
—Painting by Claude Monet, 1885


Chilled by the pink sunset
the silence of the snow
that slides down
the obscure leaves and branches
of trees nestled near us,
that watches us
reassured and contented
by still life and art
even on nippy noon days
in cold impenetrable embankments
face to nature's breath of winter
fading in white.


STUART DAVIS (1892-1964):

The shortest roads
by Cape houses,
everyone wants rest,
sleep and contentment
as gulls fly upward,
a poet wants
to release bread on wings
intertwined in a cloudy sky
over black roofs,
living joy is everywhere
an artist paints it
by the rain's slippery
doorways and windows
which once held
geraniums and wild roses.

 —Sketch by Stuart Davis, 1932

KENNETH PATCHEN (1911-1972):

Jazz poet
shine your light
on another Beat
with your whisper
coming alive
without pretension
we are tasting your Blakean-
Whitman chords of love
smashing false images,
icons in your horizon
breaking all tablets
and raging conventions
in the tension of our age
with your sensational words
and underground lines
for the subterranean
survivors of literary wars
from your visionary dreams.


KENNETH REXROTH (1905-1882):

Though Time called
you Father of the Beats
and you were of the San Francisco
your love poems helped
this wayfaring smooth jazz guy
in his travels and reflections
those silent days of his existence
in his pea jacket
by the snowy white shadows
of city life
always returning to you
Kenneth Rexroth
for the elemental music
in your lyrics
from my tiny wounds
healed in wrapped cloth
from your descendants
all original, some marginal,
mineral, animal or aboriginal
embracing the transcendent peace
as a pacifist will word
and encircle the world.


MODIGLIANI (1884-1920)

Here are your prints
in my old trunk
from France
poor and tubercular
with no place to settle
yet you draw portraits
of Picasso and Soutine
reading the poet Baudelaire,
Carducci, Nietzsche
or the wild prose poet
Comte de Lautreamont
needing to breathe a radiance
of the sea air port of Capri
devouring a can of sardines
with little support
when art from sorrows,
your gaunt yet cool face
rapt lids for eyes
a sad smile by overcast stress
has given us a space
striking us with a way
to know ourselves.


Today's LittleNip:

Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't come from a store.

—Dr. Seuss


—Medusa, wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas!

B.Z. Niditch