Thursday, February 12, 2015

Island-Floating Dreams

80" of Snow in Brookline, MA!
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Denise Flanigan


Winter waves on
in a school inkwell's bottle
sent away on the Pacific
with easy footwork
by my uncle's side
getting into his boat
and out to sea
when I was nine
and to the Atlantic
found by a Greek sailor
riddled with tattoos
and yellow-gold neck chains
and given to a speechless poet
in a no-man's island
gone missing off
the pale blue shore
while salmon fishing
as the air is cleaner
in the early yellow dawn
the sailor all in navy telling me
of his grim exile
and confiscated passport
from the military coup
waiting for his own son
upon his Athenian return
and reciting to him
my poems on Yannis Ritsos,
offering him melons and tea
as time stands still
to embrace us,
says to call him "Ulysses".



Outside the wind will whistle
at us on the dock
chilling out with my sax
my shaded
black-and-blue elbow better
after a run, gymnastics
and musical scale exercises
by the snow-white flaked hill
at a wintry daybreak
by the gazebo
reading my Spanish acceptance
of a now dead letter
from my Phoenix friend
who now is translated himself,
the very pale sun descending
to consent for a fair sky
away from a Thursday band
of rain showers
outflanking a poet's latitude
as he maps out his day
along the white sand shore
hearing a hip hop singer
signaling to you
greetings in high fives
with spasmodic cool echoes
of loose notes
walking in a slush fund of water
my pug forging and foraging ahead
along the abject lonely shore
with nothing to spare
except for a tiny breakfast
wishing everything today were
not short-changed
by dimmed windows
near the airy bus stop
wishing to be a year younger
grateful for a new life season
as sea gulls flying overhead eye
my pumpkin muffin repast
watching coffee vendors
from my illuminated selfie
of my dog-walking pug
finding morsels of food
by the deep lagoon.

 —Photo by B.Z. Niditch


Sleepless by the library
doorway holding
a Victorian postcard
from nana
of two cats by Louis Wain
jolted by a winter thaw
of sunlight
between two bookshelves
in visible remainders
of local poets
on your thin arms
waiting for another runaway
you met last night under the stars
to rescue you
or at least wave to you
out from landfall
in an adolescent dispersion
of fears
having spent the night
by a shelter's wood stove
devouring a blood orange
unable to yet erase
the memory of being
without socks and shoes
on the Cape's bright sand
grateful for a cup of water,
not venturing outside
when the very vagrant sun
will stare you down.



Tired out by a brief run
by the weeds and dunes
in my blue beret
yet pleased for the invitation
for a brie omelette
and pancakes,
a minor bird
will not answer
even my poet's notebook rings
have fallen
by the nosebleed news
of yet another war and tragedy
in breathtaking headlines,
yet I will soon visit
another hamlet nearby
happy at least to be skilled
in language to communicate
energized by riffs of song
watching gulls on pieces of sky
devouring their own kaleidoscopes
knowing the heavens follow nature
as my more mature companion
revives my music-shadow hopes
now composing in my head
it starts to rain
hearing erratic thunder storms
or fireworks
as noonday lights up
touching the new earth
writing Thursday in my diary
feeling dawn sinking as memory
knowing Galina and Igor
who are rehearsing for recital
expect me to take off my boots
hearing a Glinka opera chorus
vocalized in their east village
cottage house.

 Old Gas Station
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis, CA


Under burning strobe lights
asleep on sheets
of writing or note paper
and playing out
your riffs
hoping Elizabeth Bishop
on her February eighth birthday
will drop by a Cambridge club
or by the unpaved Victory gardens
in Boston's Fenway
to hear me soar
by her silent lips
having returned from Brazil
and me tuned up
reading or playing alto sax
on a salubrious night.



Trembling on quarter notes
from your piano quintet
masks the sun lover
shivering from the wind
near a solitude's fireplace
after freezing from the sidewalk
when cornering memories
of celebrating Auden's
February's 21 birthday
folding eternity under covers
of a native American blanket
you move to ask out loud
what modern signs will unfold
from your island-floating dreams
for a future blank verse.

Paper Mill Logs, Maine
—Photo by Katy Brown


Black-and-white lined
from my large eyes
you draw me in, Frank O'Hara
from the Cedar Bar
into a vertigo wind
at Central Park
as whistle sounds from my sax
break in our breath
and out to me at the museum's
window of a slanting sun,
your poem and art
open up to me in an expanse
a sky admittance of dawn
a cool wind motions again to me
in spaciousness of first light
as though a traveler searches
for a dream's first light chants
here in the snow of sunless dawn
night time falls on us with open riffs
in February in those Sixties
as my sax of a Beat poet
streams its smooth jazz
outside of ourselves.



Wake up
man up guy
go downtown for your gig
get out of your trance
Morpheus calls you
out of your London Fog
to be in a real movie
with the reel
for an original film reality
the time is now
of avenging yourself
in your soundproof studio
from your aboriginal nightmare
forget your pains
of injustice collecting
put them in your coat pocket
of newly laundered dreams
about a subterranean hip Calypso
and slap dance with Penelope
by jealous Ulysses
and just humor yourself
with a piece of gouda cheese
you survive as a Beat
once walking with a cane
and cadence on Venice Beach
in your cool elegance
looking for someone
to love and interpret your life
in a chance of reaching out
to hear the sirens
for those unwanted runaways
from parental storms.


Today's LittleNips:

A poem should have spontaneity, originality and finality as the last spoken word.

A poet must have a lasting spirit and wit.

—B.Z. Niditch



—Photo by B.Z. Niditch