Thursday, July 09, 2015

By The Frog Pond

—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


Morning as an open door
of a post office of red eyes
in a poem's acceptance
like a love letter
embracing the sounds
of an all-night taxi
with the driver
reciting my Beat poem
traversing a dead-end street
consoled by daydreams
in the pulse of the neon city
wishing to walk with butterflies
under the Japanese lanterns
by the Frog Pond
eating almonds
near a quiet peace garden
hearing the smooth notes
sounding out its alto sax jazz
of my once-owned whistled tunes
sharing my spinach croissant
on the park bench
with a mourning dove
awaiting a good wash of rain.



When vast clouds waver
before the raindrops
and the wind moves the sea
you realize a day's velocity
crashes when your city shrouds
its sudden thunder to move you
by the gazebo's bandstand
to a magnetic memory
of the mountain's path
and every bird is a turtledove
in the giant sky
when the landscape painting
of Van Gogh is nebulous
yet visible in a flick of daylight
only seen on an absent canvas
remembering the last reading
you gave on the stage
was Hamlet in a foreign tongue
words rise between worlds
like your Pyrrhic victory in chess
before the last act
behind the curtains
only weighed you down
as a theatrical pawn,
recalling you played Bach
in a smooth jazz version
wholly from despair
shivering between shadows
impressed in the cathedral
by raising up
your middle finger
to catch the grasshopper
who appears on the keyboard.


The scales of ambushed notes
wail from a lost blown horn
higher than any shout-outs
augmented on celestial memory
after a night dream of the planets
as a poet sleeps on blue grass
by adolescent arms
on nameless hands
now under a leafy Evergreen
wishing for jazz music
from his burning sax
beside the park bench
in the windy countryside
suddenly a rain shower drops
on his weathered horizon
in a presence of lightning
reflected by shoots of flowers
the storm's shadows rise
underneath a sunrise
near a musician's notes
the dawn enlightens us
with a presence of thunder
heard above the clover.



Keyboard whispers
a smooth jazz
bewilders and reminisces
on a string of roses
over riffs of fever petals
in language of desert flowers
rising again on funerals
of celebrating a poet's birth
on morning glories of doves
in the crowns of Evergreens
by silent memory of sixty wounds
on a long round table
of a child who was different
than the others
and lived for clumsy art
silk pastels and made-up comedy
yet we still hear four cathedral bells
struck by the lights of city square
waiting for someone to match
its eternal saving candles
now gone out on empty ravines
of the wounded and wandered
in the hunger of the desert
when the night wind gathers
prayers of unknown incense
on a deserted astonishing grave
where wild roses suddenly grow
as handfuls of ash are scattered
over unwavering sand
at first light of day that gives
us peace by a labyrinth
of branches in a hyacinth warmth
at the name of the sea
which gazes at us
reaching for a shell
at a shadow of stone
birds climb the hill
at noon in a quandary
when life is at a standstill.


When our one still life
of Vermeer
we still long for
is no longer there
on the walls
of the museum
gone for repairs
hidden from our view
or moved
by fears
or taken away
the colors matter
on such a day
the space is empty
though we walk
side to side
there's no time
to decide
at a limited
walking tour
so I do not ask
but mask my eyes
as the crowd scatters
or we bask
by another exhibit
in the open-window air
to compose these lines
with a quick passing
poetic prayer.



Outside the squirrels
hide in the leaves
of Evergreen branches
on the hillside
a solitary singer
offers her blue Monday
tune in a raindrop
moistened by the language
planted from her tongue,
it is a time of morning silence
when our initials
are hung over
by the summer rosebushes
on a rubbed-out signature
in pure gestured breathless fire
the wind rushes to the memory
of a young poet's nature
in the wilderness woods
dressed by a motionless hour
near passer-by processions
of soccer stars on summer floats
along the corner
as a child with a new compass
wishes to be easily assured
to live in tourist pictures
from a pretense and charade
on a cash in Hollywood
and Vine lines delivered by
finely dressed actors for hire
on Los Angeles admired time.


It was a sunny July day
Harry was missing
surely Harry was at the pier
everyone first said
fly fishing at the bay,
but his rod was there
but not him,
surely Harry was out
for a swim,
we went to the dock
every hour on the clock
and it was dark
had Harry been eaten
by a shark
we all tried not to panic
but to comfort one another
to everyone in town
Harry indeed was a brother,
was it a latent sadness
from a parental storm
or hapless form of madness
that let him not conform,
whatever common gossip
on every busybody's lip
perhaps Harry
was simply on an acid trip
or just a blip
on the T.V. screen
when Harry wins
a writer's international prize
monetary award
and life-long sinecure
what a surprise in town
as Harry returns to fly fish
down on the shore,
he treats me for a meal
at The Fried Dish next door.



Sally told me,
as mom and dad
social worker,
the school shrink
reminded her,
"We cannot get
inside her head
so in other words
do not drink
or make your own bed
or you'll wind up in the clink",
this does happen,
received a call
from a locked unit
on this writer and poet
who was a fighter
for others' human rights
to live and perhaps
in her collapse, to live,
she was taken away
one day in June
without her fellow
she as an actor Desdemona
in a graduation play
who loved an Othello,
now made into a loner
in her tiny room
could not cut her nails,
others worry
if all should fail
she could forgive herself
at least,
and now after therapy
would be released.


With maps
to many city streets
on the Atlantic dock
by four oceanic gulls
who seem to rise
by a motorboat rig
on their webbed feet
to laugh on the East wind
screaming in swelling echoes
a musician in sailing boots
country straw hat
and an old searsucker suit
watches the tourist ships
under open-air sheets
not yet aware of the clock
or the time to play
a smooth jazz on sax
not in a panic
but remaining suspended
on a sleepwalker's box
with melon fruit drinks
having a late-night picnic
rehearses in a retreat
before his summertime gig
after four days of hiking
or bicycling
on tall grass
over mountains
or on the long pass
for an excavation of art
and artifacts summoning us
for a path of adventure
with Eddy our tour guide
covering common grounds
too luminous in the sun
by caves where we hide
for a rest as we run into
a visiting chorus
by the side of a fountain
near the cactus
offering to sing arias
of Aïda for us
remembering how
Verdi's opera
changed our vacation
into a new metamorphosis.


Here at the north shore
the ultimate wild rosebush
embraces dark blue waters
as a jazz musician's rave
spills out a voice of phrases
near the white sand
covered by a sea wind
spraying us on our blanket
with brooding waves
welcomed on our bodies
with a greeting to sister sun
between summertime friendships
and the splashing gulls
morning waits
for the young poet
on the coast to dive
from a solitary dock
on the home harbor
waiting for his kayak
to take him on a voyage
settled in his last word.


Today's LittleNip:


Unknown words
seep in your ears
but like Van Gogh
a painter's shapes
his thimble of fears
a poet is often unaware
of hieroglyphics
until his symbols
of his enigma
became the grammar
of his poem's lyrics.


—Medusa, with thanks to B.Z. Niditch for his lively poems and his patience with these anonymous Internet photos of champion swimmers as we continue to celebrate our Seed of the Week: The Art of Swimming.