Thursday, December 18, 2014

Immutable Latitudes

Snow in Massachusetts
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Denise Flanigan

Hoping after the weekend rains
for a respite filled with expression
daydreaming of the Swiss painter
Jean-Etienne Liotard's
"Still life" of tea time
in disarray, with tongs
vase, bowls, butter plates,
for our December holiday's
wish list but it is early
for effortless premonitions
under the tree, wreathes, lights
on our freshly showered
Cape windows
bathed over Saturday's respite
as blue jays head skyward
as magic dishes
from my neighbor Galina
are left for a weekend
on the back screened-in porch,
fresh-baked New England Cod
spinach quiche Lorraine
and for dessert
a Finnish bread called "Pulla"
with honey raisin
and almond cookies,
yet always starved for words
I've closed up a few framed poems
as my gift to my friend Igor
next door
who sends his Labrador Retriever
in his big yellow coat
to keep a language poet
from being lonely
watching the last Poplar leaves
clumsily fall to the woodland field.

 B.Z. Niditch, missing his summer kayaking


These who are young, athletic
radiant as snow birds
upward in the grey sky
sneak away
before the holidays,
we watch them
through coffee house windows
carrying their gear
and sleepwear
some already in their cars,
here on the deck
there by the tourist traps
to gab or grab a latte
promising us all postcards
or a quick email
or out-of-pocket calls
as they head up North
in a hundred directions,
praying for their safety nets
in the dark and cold resorts.


Deciding to travel
cross country in skis
choosing their naps
and maps of silences
to set out
on a departure date
to climb the peaks
with excitement
of flailing and climbing
out of their crisscrossed paths
which are out of the slough
of invisible borders
without poster beds
and to embrace nature
watch inaudible stars
wander though wind gusts
explore the sunsets
unnoticed except
by the others
wrapped in arms.


An encircled crowd in a gig
as the piano player
behind the bartender
helps the checkroom guy
to open the last unbroken
frozen glass stained window
in a rainy wind
hearing me play alto sax
as icy G-major riffs arm
me with tuned-up
turned-around courage
after a rough, numbing season
from my patched-up vest
trying to fight through this life
discarding resigned expectations
all downcast attitudes
sleepless nights
forgotten explanations
which may burn out memories
and to look with favor
at tonight's floorboards to rock
regardless of the rain
swimming away in my boots.


Getting through
is not a speakeasy
time for a Beat poet
or a jazz violinist
in his denim jeans
given by a store owner
in a random act of kindness
working all night
in the factory's western mills
near the Dakota Hills
living under window sills
in unfriendly cities and towns
with a history of cold chills
yet he with smooth jazz
soothes his world
with love, nibbles on a cracker
here at the free tar bar's
red wine tasting night
in a green light survival
of a motorcycled Ulysses
expecting the barefoot dancers
to explode on the floorboards
with his movie revival posters
of James Dean put up on the wall
and even expecting Penelope
to show up.


Hearing a love song
from Salazar the cook
checking menu and payroll
who makes each passerby
hungry to enter into his cafe
and try his gazpacho
as the doors shut
and a former weight lifter
named "big-eyed Rob"
having just returned
from his agent in San Francisco
is back here,
having moved on
from being in soap operas
the time almost hidden away
four seasons ago
with his once trendy winter
silver blue tapered fitting jacket
from the local thrift store
says hello to a newspaper reporter
whose camera man takes a picture
motioning to Rob, this once
all-American high school athlete,
great star quality expected
from his 1970 yearbook photo
now in a snapshot visual
almost levitates his girlfriend
Donna sandwiched to the counter
with her piano hands
tucked in behind her back
after strolling by the ocean
showing off his own swan pictures.


At the Cape Ann Museum
enjoying the Stuart Davis
ink drawing
Dock, Still Life
my breath is enlightened
by the stretched-out four winds
and again passionate for the sea
as in a depth of stymied wish
to travel on the ocean
as of twenty seasons ago
as you, Stuart Davis,
pop artist of jazz and ashcan
bring me back again
to anointed sailboats
over the bluest waves
in your travel landscapes
brushing world-wide archives
of my imagination
suggesting ports of call
over the sounds of gulls
from long distances
in a now-remembered language
of immutable latitudes.

Today's LittleNip:


Nobody but scholars
and critics
wants rough drafts
of paintings and poems
or music compositions
yet we are renewed
as the skyward birds
retracing their skyward
wintry routes South
flying past islands
and the mouths of home harbors
as their voices disappear
for new expanded locations
in a clearance of season
all needy for a winter vacation
within an essence of daylight time
in a newly translated
reason for creation.


—Medusa, thanking B.Z. Niditch for his poems today and for these photos of his East Coast winter and his trip to the museum, and also reminding you to check out the new photo album on Medusa's Facebook page: Twisted Holidays at SPC by Michelle Kunert.

B.Z. and his snowy East Coast Christmas