Thursday, March 05, 2015

Drink On!

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


Facing a Boston marathon
in memory
of your friend's passing
days fool you
like an embrace
of spring's procession
on a canvas of belts and jackets
lining up
by your running shoes
as a seagull cries and sings out
overhead for you
in a sun's hostage
resting for a moment
to tie your open laces.



The tombstone of a friend
in an image of the wounded
whispers breath
of the wind
with words returning back
a thousand years
in the sun's glances
of lamentation
the spring disquiets
dazzling the waters
of our tears.



Poor and threadbare
a poet turns youthful
reading Baudelaire
with French lyrics and quatrains
by the back benches of Paris
Charles was not embarrassed
to be eccentric or debonair
wishing for signs and wonders
that his God is there,
for him in a universal force
needing rain and thunder
for all our own good,
even as a Narcissus haunts him
in his baroque mirror
of a flaneur
when life dismisses him
as a lonely author of Fleurs du Mal
or merely an art connoisseur,
he believes divine fate has designs
as he watches busy chorus lines,
even though his life
is unfair
he watches the magic music airs
as in Manet's painting
of a lighted aria's glare
in Masked Ball at the Opera
with all its bright flairs,
his history marked out
on a monument
for us to bare,
that we all have singing parts
in our sister- and brotherhood
from our clever descendant and heir,
Charles knew never to share
(except in poetry)
his sorrows yet secrets
for tomorrow's bacchanals
down here on back streets
or rowing by earth's canals
annoyed for knowing
what we are worth
by Satan's River Styx,
he tries to flow and avoid
the Roman gods Pluto or Dis,
yet in your third heavenly verse
we still read your words
as something inside leaves us
from the original sin's curse,
freely in your poetic aristocracy,
whether in joyous mornings
or a mourning's bereavement,
even when we cannot pay the rent
nor expect a pension
from any government's democracy
this writer along graffiti walls
by his hallway
will cry out on rose paper mâché
rending his garment always proposes
to repent yet he too has to pay
after Easter surpasses over Lent
for a better omen, amen or remnant
somewhere in Purgatory,
Baudelaire tries to dance all night
with a gay Mardi Gras costume
seen in a painting of Delacroix
round a circle of the decadent
encircled a freely spirited midnight
we think of Charles
like Dante
in all his long-suffering story
and twenty-four-hour search
for a dandy's truth
in his rueful disciplines
trying to uncover phrases
which in glory will live forever
knowing your shortcomings
the Church calls a mortal sin
others call merely clever lines
with all its proclivities,
until your risen corpse
will rise over the bourse
and divines all mystery
for the city's reactionary press
reviled Oscar Wilde also
calling him a solo diabolist too,
whom you knew at his door
of an artist's shame
to view another burnished poet
and burnt-out English gentleman
reviled and humiliated
with a burlesque of names
who shares your fame
and frame of reference
offering a love as his morality
whatever penalties of preference.


In front of a warming sun
the smooth Seine
breathes out open words
and a river's illustration sigh
in generous mist of nature
soon a spring will draw us in
by daylight lamps
staying on longer
along an acrostic post
marked by birdsong signs
with wide wings
tucked on branches
two of art's ripe companions
murmur by visible light.



When we hear a song
a sonata, a solo on a sax
or tunes from an accordion
or whistling calliope
the recorded voice of Sinatra
or Peggy Lee
singing of San Francisco
become alive in their notes
for us alone,
the day becomes a memory
and all-night thoughts
for the first time in years
begin anew, full of retraced
echoes of good times
on a city park bench
with a bunch
of fresh chrysanthemums,
remembering those journeys
between two continents
with undulated sails on an ocean
that once briefly capsized
on our return as Odysseus
returns from Helena for Penelope
of our once at table
possessing grape leaves
surrounded by an absence
in being parted from a partner
not forgetting any exile's
loving evocation's
of skin and bones
near a favorite Greek cafe
drinking ouzo with lamb
and honey and almonds,
yet just as I am here
in a slack season
without many vacation tourists
amid a February rain spell
to review past loves
amid the empty frozen stiff days
by a candlestick table
familiar music seizes me
to alter my own chastisement
over five reclusive dimensions
of my most transparent days
whose once-forgetting echoes
has turned my life around
hearing out distant these traces
of what tears apart our past
on the departed faces
with those who hear the piano notes
assured we are loved
and dreamed about to compensate
in a jazz piece or devoted poem.


On a graffiti wall, 1970
by the city's shelter
near the sea board canal
after Valentine's Day
passed me by
taking this scrawled message
as a sign and high water mark
for that day's urban read
resolving not to think about it
as any poet is burnished
by his rubbed-out eyes
and runaway desire
to forget all burnt-out
old relationships and affairs
which, like forget-me- nots
in a bright blue and white herb
or burrs on a bitter fruit
always seasonally resurface
like a bad nightmare
evinces my memory
by evocative flash-points
on my motor scooter
and wouldn't you know,
Budd with his endless
love conquest reports
sees me and waves
near my anchored kayak
wounded by February's storms
after his seagoing eyes
make out with intimations
of adventure in gestures
in his black magical
and anti-verse lines
saying in sexist fashion,
with his strong arm humor
in his patriot football jacket,
"There are more fish in the sea"
yet he graciously offers to help me
with the chains on my boat
by the edge of the dock
in this breakable noon low tide
and treats me to a lobster roll
in the local restaurant
where he waits on tables
and gets his lovesick dates
from the weekend tourists
by the town's lighthouse.


At the lionized lighthouse
we still look up to
from deeply grey distant days
by the edge of the sea
when the early Seventies
should have been fun time,
yet from my midnight diary
I wrote music and plays
in the furrowed zen garden
of hedging concerns
when there was a rumor of war
coming at our back
we were expecting anything
with the constant rush
of adventurous tourists
with their vacation maps
in hand,
a golf club cart rolls by
the footsteps of kickball
thinking in memory of friends
by the wisteria walls
now covered with graffiti
in the shivered ash trees
hearing a fawn who returns
like a siren's sign of sorrow
by the frozen riverbank.


A reading lamplight burns
by my rough-cast play
and I'm driving tomorrow
the turn of the motorcycle
to the Big Apple
with no companion
caressed by the grace
of a Dear John letter
sent to my friend in 'Nam
and then sent out to me
with his belongings
to be delivered to his ex
but benumbed by so much
and hating soap opera endings
and coveting peace of mind
from every missed opportunity
of an exiled loquacious poet
now impressed by fear and tired
admitting no guilt
and unable to talk
decide not to visit anyone
by balancing my time
in creativity
and not anyone's past remorse.


Today's LittleNip:


No more forced sausages
in language
landing on the ages
as Villon knew
the earth is messed up
already with two cups
of porridge's few dishes
with man's selfish wishes
of eating salmon
instead of tuna fish
sandwiched on toast
forget the food inspector
we have their own director
and lie detector,
my troubadour poet,
let's just drink on!


Our thanks to B.Z. Niditch for today's poems, he who is stuck in cold weather and lots of snow where he lives in Massachusetts. We thought we'd tease him a little by posting some of Katy Brown's photos of spring flowers—it's coming, B.Z., it really is! About his poem, "Baudelaire's Circle", he writes:
This new poem, "Baudelaire's Circle", was inspired by Tom Goff's recent poem, "Fleurs du Mal", after Baudelaire (see Medusa's Feb. 23 post). 

Speaking of photos, please note that there is a new album on Medusa's Facebook page, this one courtesy of Michelle Kunert, featuring the women poets who read women poets last Monday at Sac. Poetry Center. Check it out!