Thursday, December 11, 2014

Happy Birthday, Emily!

Hygeia Detail from "Medicine", 1901
—Painting by Gustav Klimt
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


It's noon Thursday
in Central Park
when my lungs fill
along the footsteps
of dog walkers
in their slick yellow jackets
with a Fall chill
piercing the wide wind
as the last leaves on trees
weep along orange foliage
from the sauntering solitude
knowing the overcast skies
will cast writers indoors
as words from my past
shadow me on landscapes
hoping my blue beret
may erase the November rain
apprenticed here in adolescence
to a tempest of memories
carrying my movie poster
bought for two dollars
of Bogart In a Lonely Place
carrying an armful of scripts
of my one-act plays
and audition announcements
bereft of conversation.

 Portrait of Sonja Knips, 1898
 —Painting by Gustav Klimt


Once on a sidewalk
taking hold of my sax
playing out loud
by a park bench
hungry, yet not indifferent
to a sprayed red leaves bonfire
of wild gusty breezes
yet almost sold out
to an achieved sadness
amid the continued Fall rain
of discouragement
with only a pure prayer
from childhood
in my jacket pocket
a large figure appears
as a passer-by
in a four-piece suit
smoking a pipe
before me in a puddle
near a muddy frog pond
and asks me to play
in a gig on Friday night.

 Portrait of Helene Klimt, 1898
—Painting by Gustav Klimt


Music bathes
us for a week
I'm in a workshop
of the arts
sitting by the piano
with lonely footnotes
and costumes on tables
having only Hamlet
to keep this poet company
yet meeting an animated
guy named Saul
a stranger from Sacramento
who was AWOL before
the war in Vietnam
who liked Van Gogh,
Hockney and Andy Warhol,
a pacifist who refused
all fisticuffs of a fight
yet could recite Blake
Donne, Marvel or Dickinson
as we sight read past midnight
until the morning's wake-up call
took hold of our space.



Here I am
putting away books
on wide shelves
of a college library
as enlightened sociology students
take out The Lonely Crowd
confident of a porous dialogue
with a few fatigued readers
staring at the text
bewildered by sleepless nights
before December's final exams
delving into an understanding
of American society
deciding to ask someone out
hoping there will be dancing
and a variety of sexy music.
for the next Friday eve.

 Schubert at the Piano, 1899
—Painting by Gustav Klimt


Blushing animals
in my abstract art
on my poster poems
for fresh canvas
growing slowly pale
in a waning corner
at the window tall stacks
in a used bookstore,
reading Emily Dickinson
here on her
birthday on December tenth
and deciding to visit
her in Amherst
it was a lonely motorcycle ride
in the open cool air
with pumpkin and cranberry bogs
over the rain pelting our countryside
yet meeting four earthy hands
of others here to honor her
or offering a flower
we took turns to read memorable lines
even a few visiting souls
at this early hour
have their hands lined with fur.


Today's LittleNip:

—B.Z. Niditch

That warm gesture
of eye shut loneliness
would not surprise us
forgotten and unbowed by
runways on the bus
traveling to San Francisco
as tripping flower children
shadow us in our furtive dreams
coming alive in adolescence
with Joan Baez voice sounding
with a meditative alto song
on the radio
with a vision between sky
and the earth of a world at peace.



Portrait of a Lady With Cape and Hat, 1897-98
—Painting by Gustav Klimt