Thursday, February 19, 2015

Like a Forest Brown Bear

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


In winter's solitude 

even trees shiver,

empty of birds

once half in flight

a red-scarfed poet 

with little language

left in a dark book, 
guesses that silence

listens closely

to the absent world

along aspen and elm,

when snow showers

collaborate with bells

from the town square,

a lazy sunlight pours

quiet silhouettes 

over an earth-wise vane

near seaweed reefs  

with an ocean mouth,

an ease of shadow

opens whirlwinds

from the home harbor

along tiny shore waves

now flake-speckled,

frozen without speech.


Between slices
of untoasted bread
and hearing
a Bach cantata
from a radio
unknown to have
tuned in,
and the cat
from next door
arriving early
for a second 
correcting the proofs
of flash fiction
in another tongue,
talking to myself
about the last nightmare
of an insomniac poet,
wishing for
the unsunken day's
unripened fruits
to be consumed
by the brightest sun.



On a February morning
browsing with students
on Newbury Street
thinking of Victor Hugo's
birthday on the twenty-sixth
and all he endured
for novels and poetry
his love of liberty
my ruddy face
here in refreshed air
by the Charles River
a few sparrows and grackles
piercing the quiet roads
take my French bread
by this bench
hoping my playing gig
at a jazz violin night
will not be stolen
by an upturned blizzard
roaring in from the Atlantic.


Bruised conversation
on a local talk show
of this poet years ago
on a stolen dawn
at a Valentine's Day
bz is at last here
in his polished boots
with his heart on his sleeve
among camera lights
a heavy silence
of reverie takes me over
mesmerized by camera
with Laddie his sheepdog
having his media debut,
I take out my early collection
of poems, Freedom Trails
about revolutionary Boston
and speak, sigh free
hopefully grounded
by questions and answers.



In a void
from cabin fever
unable to venture out
and seeing the green fir trees
among the shadow
of pure white drifts of snow
hiding my body
disclosing my eyes
like a forest brown bear
hibernating by a mirror
a poet in a faithful minimalism
of animal magnetism
trying to save the earth
and the overflowing oceans
from man's pollution
while hardly saving myself
from a child's confidential time
as my shadow stretches
for a once-mile run,
it seems like a miracle
just to eye the sun
this St. Valentine's Day
from my absent green eyes
against the seasonal pull
pleading for any harbinger
like a Canadian robin
on my dark corner sill
where a few geraniums
still survive
in my soundproof studio
aching for first light
of spring to take a picture
of bird watchers or ice fishermen
at the slippery edge of the dock.



A cold but free museum day
at the Fine Arts
dawn flashes by
my memory's back
remembering Renoir's
birth on the twenty-fifth
and how he painted
the startling La Esmeralda
to honor Hugo
in his Notre Dame de Paris
a poet passes the snowy fields
near Fenway's Victory Gardens
watching ducks and turtles
in the pond by taxis
as someone calls
out to me by name,
and my memory crystallizes
in that twinkling of a moment
and it is Andrea
who teaches
in the museum school
where sister attended
and I'm invited for brunch
and feeling like a baked Alaska
with a carefree visit to her studio
to listen to her morning lecture
on Renoir's Dianna.


Uprooted in the Alps
by mushrooming
pockets of dreams
yet redeemed by sunshine
on blankets of snow
of stolen nights and dawns
wearing animal skins
amid a stunning sun
in a collapsing coat
and carefree hood,
trying my hand
at a mystery play
with blue-penciled verse
now disfeatured in photos
of a distant mutineer
near my cousin in Grenoble
with his St. Bernard
and my recusant energy
cold-shouldered for now
yet up for a ski jaunt
with a heart scratch
among riotous wolves
in sheep's clothing
among macho sports reporters
from the Alps' make-believers
who tell me in French
to climb up, not to worry
have adventure with expectations,
yet with a comme il faut graciousness,
I'm hoping to survive
these huge white mountains
out here before me
with a poetic coup d'etat
as we finally arrive downhill
my new play is in my mind
in a metaphorical way
ready for the amenities and reviews
of Paris, San Francisco, Manhattan.



Reading Bukowski's
new poetry and short story
collection, Betting on the Muse,
his kisses on once-rippling skin lie
over California's street-cred roads
uncovered from pallid nights of love
making out with the expressed mouths
on sleepless trains of bodies
spirited in piercing passes
of time-out tattoos
and you, Charles Bukowski
thinking you are number one
more than any slumbering fugitive
with energies into vein passages
of symbols and bloody retreats
in solitary brooding nights,
dropping your weights on boards
of splintered circled floors
resembling Dante's Hell
with liquid beer in one hand
falling off the scales
in cheap-rent motel rooms
surprising a welcome
from lodging houses
nourishing your punk syllables
of male malevolent tales
to overwhelm us
with your literary output.



It's the twenty-first
and Segovia's birthday
and Igor plays guitar for us
to honor him
in his jocularity of music
here under the gazebo of stars
there is an innocence
and friendliness of snow
as Christmas wreaths
are taken down
from the benign doors
we have a glass of tea
Russian style
from an Old Believers samovar
and hear the winding notes
of a unmasked guitar.


Today's LittleNip:


This Valentine's Day loss
but not of a poet's influence
in Fresno to factories in Detroit
as Phillip Levine passes on
in an assembly line
where exploited workers
in auto plants move along
with burning voices of writers
and other sisters and brothers
to take up
his cause of social justice
in the grit and sweat
of mill and song.


—Medusa, with thanks to B.Z. Niditch, who remains buried under snow in Massachusetts—and whose plants keep him holding onto the promise of spring, he says...