Thursday, March 19, 2015

March Music

Indian Paintbrush and Swallowtail
—Photos by Stacie Sherman, Orangevale, CA
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


Shadows fall
near the mirror, coat
and once-soiled banner
held on a marathon run
in March
from another time,
wanting to play sax
as my notes dance
in a good mood
vibrating a curious scaling
from our chilled-out tones
to sway smooth jazz.



March is an absurdity
of an absent self
at last admitting to sunny skies
wishing for an eternal peace
here on my writing chair
venturing outside one's studio
after being alone
with the chaos of one's mind
choosing to play solitaire
or jazz encores with new passages
perhaps to read in French
a verse of Baudelaire,
or speaking long-distance
to an ailing Cynthia in Colorado
sitting on a park bench in Denver
who briefly collapsed
amid the packed powder
in the ski slopes of Vail
now better and full of hopes
telling me she received my letter
at Christmas time,
speaking of her adventures
with doubtful voyagers
between earth and sky
as we once sailed together
by Alpine Meadows
in a shadow of snow showers,
how she suddenly remembered
this poet's words
in a walled dining room
eating fresh oysters in Morro Bay
from a timeless California space
we speak of my shadowed existence
of a now-cabin-fevered scribe
during this new beginning
starting to hear bird voices sing
along the edge of the sea
viewing neon butterflies
their bright astonishing wings
collecting their own nomenclature
in the early spring
we are near the spiders' webbing
but none of us even in laughter
ever outsmarting clever nature,
as we attend to connect the past
to our wish for an enduring ease
after winter's bafflement
of restlessness and loss
from vast sleepless nights
of reverie in sleep
at last taking red russet leaves
from our deep river beds
camped along the Charles
or at Carlsbad lagoon
she giving me her recipe
of freshly rooted mushroom medicine
with an herbal and verbal tease
recalling we once listened to vespers
at St. John's seminary
and hear prayers for the dead
we suddenly awakened to new life
near Easter's cross on a field
in the hyacinth lawn
on a cool Cambridge afternoon
visiting the newborn or graves
and Revolutionary War cemetery
we speak of what cannot be said,
there is no sin in the beauty
within each one
which saves our memory
after every new moon.



Playing Handel
in my mind and head
playing you
for a month at a time
on one small corner
of the universe
in soundproof studios
on the ball infields
or by the ocean sands
under a beautiful foreign sun
washed bodies of water
with you swimming out,
your notes not lost in visiting
to honor those under Asian ashes
or in European concentration camps,
when you feel
like a thousand days
of long suffering,
we can always hear you.



I played the Hungarian dances
for you over scrubby fields
on my bated breathless violin
our limpid eyes
trailing a Bosnian ship
off the quiet Adriatic coast
and you read to me lyrics
of the poet Endre Ady
who lived in Paris
to escape his fate,
a city which alone embarrasses
us to love
speaks to painters in trembling blue
along the Seine
Cynthia, we still remember
the cat that never left us that March
we called Leda
to remember the poet Ady
who wrote about her
that you oil-painted
with Leda on my lap
you used an almost-dried-up brush
and framed for me
is still in my kitchen garden
of my solid reverie
above the door
no matter what world
upon renewed memory
is born from these few words
we lived out our lives
apart by continents
of an ocean of visionary mirrors
with our high, full or low pictures
you created
or in anthologies I wrote for,
my portrait with all its wounds
still stands up
over the shadows of many years
on its usual chosen wall
centered in my moments of light
which remains as my identity
of an epiphany's brief chapter
over a sun-washed visual window
now unfrozen from icicles' snow.



The bow's strange
story as it turns
on Bach
for inspiration
on the Hatch Shell
the wind glimmers
on the Boston Esplanade
under the Charles St. bridge
by lovers' bones
like the other night's
swaggering inchworms
on stretched-out hours
by once-iced sheets
blanketing our flakes of memory
under the hundred-year evergreen
where my childhood music stands.



Someone is whispering to me
about the chaos
of intangible memory
our shadows hidden
by Marcel Proust's library
near a lemony canary in its cage
as seen in the sunshine
at the edge of a wine glass
left to me by Nana Mendes
my guitar standing in silence
near the serene reading room
waiting to be played
by a visiting exiled poet who
full of suspicion
murmurs at his own fate.



The sun disquiets
our memory
as a surrealist poet
signs autographs
against the elm
after his urban read
then after a party
in his honor
plays his alto sax
from chapped blinded lips
addressing the eager crowd
on the riverbed zen peace garden
recounting my double life
as a poet and musician
asking only
that millstones be created
from language into bread
on a hungry street of fountains
for a surrogate future
making even a lily blush.

 Oak Millegrain


Say to the clouds
give up your rain
to the scaffold
give up your poets
who want to live,
to the grassland
stay back for March
for soccer games
to the dunes
crush the sap of Maple
for your morning pancakes,
by the marshes
have a cup of Bourbon
from Paris
to remember me by
who will always
be back to the edges
of nature.


Today's LittleNip:

Have you ever felt
like an outsider,
others making sure
that our world's nature
is not real
that we are not of it
like a spider on the vine
we cannot always choose
our path,
but like the poet
go line by line.

—Medusa, with thanks to today's fine contributors!

Gotta Go!