Thursday, December 04, 2014

The Fog We Live In

Tall Pine
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Katy Brown, Davis, CA


I'm that kid next door again
as the morning fog
along the daytime
still holds me in empty spaces
along the once luminous Bay
in my motorcycle jacket
thinking he's still James Dean
for an hour's highway drive
seeing unfamiliar tourist faces
hitching rides
in wonder of the season
with only the emerald lights
from wreathes and Christmas trees
attracting the new ruddy faces
of Black Friday shoppers
traveling to strip malls
this uncomplaining Beat poet
having finished reading the news
plays word games and solitaire
on the once-pawned card table
as his sneakers are covered
with patchy dew
after a very brief jog
silently passes cottages, capes
and farms with cranberry bogs
with sounds of gulls approaching
along the docks of the shore
where his refurbished kayak
is sleeping
out for the winter's hibernation,
the harsh winds quickly carrying him
past the hyacinth woods
with a few red leaves weeping
for the abandoned branches
on swaying elm trees,
now he's hunkered down
like the brown bear
neighbors call "Brownie"
sighted last weekend
following the soupy mist
and needing some laughter
watches the comic movie
The Muppets Take Manhattan
with Joan Rivers
making a great cameo appearance
playing a comical Big Apple
perfume sales woman
and Linda Lavin as Kermit's doctor,
then determined to be creative
composes smooth jazz on sax
on the open porch
now grateful having a doggy bag
of left-overs from Thanksgiving
grateful for being alive.

 Pink Tree


My neighbor Igor's father
seems to be in a stupor
sways in religious devotion
crossing himself
again and again
after he speaks
his gestures are animated
after his prayer walk
tells me of what he endured
far away in a memory
of long suffering
with the pleats showing
from his woolen pants
far too big for him
opening his Tolstoy novel
gives me a blessing
with a siren's sound
like a gull's cry flying south
above his roof
his wife Galina baking shortbread
resembling Russian tea cakes
eaten around Christmas tables
by an old samovar
with red beet borscht
in huge bottles for me
lodged in the freezer
during the long winter days
Galina sings me
an Old Believer's hymn
in her busy pantry
amid a light-headed noon
all wishing me a time for peace
health and double miracles
from my creative juices.

 Old Wood


In a spurt of fog
from first light
my sax waits for me
wishing to be part
of a new world
jazz symphony,
like any fresh violet
snuggling up
from the earth,
already missing
Andy and Edie
from the Factory
whose gates
have closed,
wanting to again
believe in art
and not commercials,
traveling to the Metropolitan
to enjoy the Expressionists
and to be undisturbed
on a wall
in my old brownstone apartment
full of my city's graffiti
by a back alley
in the Big Apple
on a November misty day
I'm driving in a taxi
blowing sax riffs
in the key of "E"
as rain showers
like dusty shadows
fall on the windshield
and in my green poncho
full of poetry notes
I lost at J.F.K.
fed up with no energy drinks
left in my travel,
my head stuck down
away from the cops
in traffic lanes
of so many hours
with uneasy streets
picking up my friend Jan
who sings the blues
by a dark doorway
of the club
with dying red flowers
intoxicated by the night.



Still with all coolness
in the fog we live in
this poet is always
in a new home
once as an exiled sax player
feeling the blind sunshine
on another's back,
just at this Fall dawn
among red turning leaves
fresh from giving an urban read
from playing riffs
all night at my gig
as the Persian cat "Babr"
suddenly visits us,
now living along the beach erosion
I'm lifting my camera's gaze
with a sliver of liver in a lovely dish
once carrying cherry blossoms
sent from a Tokyo film maker
who enjoys reading
my surreal peace poems
with her better translation.



In the doubtful fog
from the grey windy shutters
of open country air
awash with rain
of youthful memory
in an international time
of hope for peace
your voice attached to words
through outside bird sounds
which soon become lyrical
as Mozart's piano musical notes
you hear by the windows
yearning to write sonnets
by the burning fireplace,
outside is the Fall orange foliage
blushing of earthly language
amid your love letters
clutching a book of verse
from Maria Tsvetaeva
on your green sofa
as birthday candles on an angel
and sponge cake are lit,
drawing a short breath
as you hear the whistle
of a train in the distance
when you will soon
have a chance to meet
Tolstoy and Rodin.


Our thanks to today's super-chefs in the Kitchen, and a note about two deadlines you might want to look into: 

•••The sixth annual New Year's Poetry Challenge, featuring a poetry prompt each day, begins this Saturday, Dec. 6 and runs through Jan. 4. If you're interested in participating, contact Gillian Wegener at 

•••Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust offers 3 online classes each year. The first for 2015 is "Showing vs. Telling in Fantastic Fiction" and begins Jan. 1; Dec. 6 is the deadline for applications. See


Today's LittleNip:

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
—Rainer Maria Rilke