Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wings, Winds and Arpeggios

Nubble Lighthouse, Maine
—Photo by Denise Flanagan
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MI


We're reading the Amherst poet
in her finest words
from an old edition
as blurred threads in a shawl
worn by Emily Dickinson
along an academic hall,
after my semester break
in a morning brick of space
a tiny windowless room
staring at a Van Gogh painting
of a Dutch landscape
shining at the thick edge
of the museum's back wall,
now the sun briefly shines
through Central Park
after the watery dark rain,
we are under umbrellas
on the park bandstand's edge
by a city street's drain,
a chorus of small birds intones
each in their own voices
along a dusty road's ledge
remembering the Cape
every Father's Day in June
draped with ivy
along the river beds and dunes
in summer squalls of thunder
as my lyrical laughing ear
expects to share my lecture,
now he suddenly prepares
for the next swimmer's race
with clocks in half-time
over the dock
trying to save face
takes the plunge
and lunges into the pool
glad to take an hour
from teaching summer school
playing by the gazebo
all the highest musical notes
of Coltrane's saxophone's wonder.



Outside it is raining
intimacy is only a bar away
on my sax notes
sinking a sound B-flat
over my left arm
in the underground
riverbed off the ports
of a breathless recital
swimming by
an aimless fate
by fleeing a night
of parental storms
muffling my weekend
waking up matching faces
to break up in pieces
of a musician's life
caught like a spider
in a web of others
supported by an outsider's mess
of song and dance
in a fortress on the coast
from solitary rooms
we cannot host
nine to five
in a routine like this
of my metamorphosis
by piled records
near a broken sofa
a prodigal son gnashed
in his own wilderness
reaching on the beach
for seashells and stones
emerges with a musical wave
abandoned at the sea's edge
by his sightless sore hands
he stumbles as his bones
smashed by wine glasses
love is an incoherent echo
of unintended smooth jazz
abstracted as an hour passes
as unforgiving as his rights
to an extended shore gig.



Summer's silence
only a Bach solo
plays from my hands
in a radiant bow
of the Mediterranean carob
and the Evergreen,
sounds of water move me
at the windows
a few cardinals suddenly fly
along the Cape's shore
overlapping dunes and trees
by the Bay's shore
a few sailing boats journey by,
all is quiet and tranquil
in the azure June breeze,
my still life hangs
on the drawing board
leaves its eternal image
walled in my own world
Bach swells to flood
the sound-proof studio
as sun offers warmth
now sitting by the piano
shadowed as muted light
on a welcomed new bookcase
and awakened threshold
discloses my musical memory
as mirrors of a childhood dawn
emerges by summer bird voices
by the beach whale watchers
tourists board
a sea sail of ships
as illusions of innocence
travel to the deck and port
near the voices of songbirds
attached to Jacob's ladders
growing in the back yard
near the pale phlox
by burdock and hemlocks
surround our rock garden
near Acacia's thorny trees
which seem to burgeon
as green leaves
newly born to blossom
by the swing's cool breeze
waken to my lyrical arpeggios.



There is a moment
in some forgotten
fragment of time
anchored on the sea
making a chapter
of collecting rhythms
in a standstill of drums
that break out of silence
a thunder making us
in a defenseless mood
circling out uncertain steps
to recapture our past
involved in art's interlude
through a labyrinth
of my diary's investigation
two thumbs down
all over our expressions
in different European tongues
in a cosmic log of memory
without a noted trace
of a mercenary disappearance
drummed out of a vacancy
or any place to live
among wandering stars
or calling on St. Jude
closing the good book
curled up in dreamed-
of still life's miracles
remembering madrigals
grandmother taught you
on the piano in her voice
now lost to oblivion
with 1940's absent nails
to even cross your mind
that not even a bird on the deck
or a card shark hears us
distressed from the four winds
in a cloudy map of navigation
lost as any exile
with gentle waves to anyone
on the satin blue high sea
who will rescue us
in exile on a flag ship
as any Odysseus or Jonah
of the stateless wind
keeping a vigil for our history
or just reading a memorized Virgil
as a guide in Latin script
translated on ink-stained words
of the original scribe
with passages lost in the fog
boarded up on the St. Louis
bound for a far-city off shore.

 Ogunquit Bay, Maine
—Photo by Denise Flanagan


Eight stories
below my heights
feeling like a songbird
constantly above buildings
on skydived flights
needing water on occasion
nature accommodates
even in high elevation
by electric wires
providing for a city
during a fasting's duration
in feast or whitened famine
exploring every sensation
to examine each night
a poetic novel's sensation
reaching from his sheet
and scenic proofs
at his sleepless sedation
keeping a business watch
outside of space and time
offering us a narration
of verse as an angel
in a planetary separation
as we race like astronauts
through the spider-webbed air
in exaltation gliding
over fourteen metro stations
recovering our life's salvation
with a bright cloud
on a blurred longitude
mapping out our lyrics
overlooking knots of stars
as invoice for our trios
as night falls and follows
the wings, winds and arpeggios
to play along on scales
and encircle through moons
over music notes and high bars
not to mimic our mood mimes
over the timeless tunes of Pillar
with her Spanish guitar
from a June's passer-by, Joe,
an entrepreneur and impresario,
who discovers her arias
and makes her dreams a reality
in Paradise, California
then vanishes behind her eyes.



Like James Joyce
in the city night
sheets to a kindled fireplace
of unwarranted imagination
collapsed into pitiless thought
for a guest in languor of a liquor
from an old bottle of brandy's
unbridled sweetness
in a bandy of winding phrases
at the ultimate pettifog night air
being in a repast of memory
yet wholly aware as any bird
lost like him in a forest's nest
in an exile's surroundings
hanging on the banister
you jest in low-voiced riddles
here in Trieste
among unbridled knapsacks
of oboes, clarinet and fiddles
by lasting vittles on the stove
for a moratorium of survival
exhausted from lacuna's
banter of Irish drama's verse
squandered in a selfish meal
exploding on a quarrel's trauma
of disentangled mindfulness
turned loose in informality
in a modicum of a traveler's wit
and a reveler's lonely music
in valid congeniality
hidden in magic Gaelic tongues
without a balanced sheet
of dwindled cash
from debit and debt
in a magnetic potpourri
under a future laurel wreath
a hidden stash of words
beneath the snowy rungs
of a painter's ladder
you wonder
if it will matter
when Ulysses becomes
a classic.



It is not possible
for two to have
the same dream
on the same night
in the same bed
and to dread
waking up
to the waning sun
as the sea weaves
its rushing waves
from live South winds
fading as a gull in the dawn
over the veranda
as new-born songsters
from the port call out
to other shivering sparrows
wrapped in weekend sheets
of musical notes
living in a murmur of harmony
with the resonance in words
of moving alive in the breeze
in a dance of your choice
hearing sounds of a bee hive
and birds floating on trees
each in their own voice.


(In memory of Sylvia Plath,

Near the narrow bird bath
feeding the sparrow
who takes a scented bath
as an adolescent poet
returns from his jazz lesson
to the sun of the Esplanade
reads the words of Sylvia Plath.



Songbirds over the train
by wellsprings of memory
from darkness to light
sleepless for ages
stopping my insomnia
from a long night
trembling on winding roads
with dusky eyelids
of thirst and hunger
simmering with nerves
ending in afterthoughts
for the past ventures
a late poet emerges
wishing to laugh again
after a lifetime
of reaching for justice
in a spring's lassitude
of setting aside
my second lapidary thoughts
brushing on stones
as we pass by wisteria bushes
wishing for a visionary nature
fortified by an insightful lens
among polished colorful words
connected in a day break
bridge near sea and sky
in watch for the morning
waves enlightening toward me
by a forgiving sunshine
the birds fly over winds
near a waterfall of voices
blanket the welcome dunes.


Today's LittleNip:

(In Memory of T.S Eliot,

On St. Louis's stones
a visionary
will follow his calling
in a flame of grace
initialed on rose wood
by greensward grass
the Evergreen trees rustle
in the neighborhood wind
his voice atones
and sways in the breeze
speaking to us
between poetry, prose
plays and hymns.


—Medusa, with thanks to B.Z. Niditch and Denise Flanagan for today's poems and pix!

Perkins Cove Bridge, Maine
—Photo by Denise Flanagan