Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fragrant Sunlit Days

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


In the clearing
a breath of summer
on the sand castle
by a sleep house to rest
bonded on living hands
in blankets of prayers
by a shivering eventide
away from the boardwalk
near a landscaped watering hole
listening to the gulls cry
searching for bread
in the high tide surfaces
of wandering souls
near a hospital ship
docking for a rescue at shore
asking for wisdom
without complaint
as unhooked runaways
cruise waves like blue fish
expecting a twice-lived time
of a surfer's endearing love
amid the shadowy sea
between deck chairs
on the vagrant gazebo
and a still caressed sky
full of songbirds
by fragrant sunlight days
as a poet dives in between
the docks of passing boats
with good sound approaches
and weighed from memory
from jazz notes floating
in scales and in these words.



Reaching out on my pad
when everyone is sleeping
hearing a few birds
in the alley way
of my old Manhattan building
it's July's restless fleeing
of star dust out to the suburbs
in a whistled pace of time
chance handing me
an Indian summer shirt,
towel and snorkel
as an angel neighbor, Gertrude
puts me in a better mood
lets me borrow Stan's telescope
questioned in an all-night hope
of a Beat poet
heading for the gazebo
to hear the steamships dock
on trained ears Staten Island gulls
circling over rocking waves
flying by tree branches
in the hummingbird morning
my pea jacket shadow leans
over an uncertain kayak
in the silhouetted wind
embracing dawn's flight
of open city grackles
trail me in the water’s bush
near the outback rivers
to sway to smooth jazz
playing as my collected words
always return alive
in these hallways
from a rush to my memory.

 Still Life with Flowers and Fruit
—Painting by Claude Monet


After hours of work
in the ossuary
he offered to her life
a water lily a day
though being a romantic
he preferred the impressionistic
Claude Monet
this Beat assured
this flower child
of San Francisco
named Lily
that he loved her
even though carnation,
rose, orchid was hid
in his suit pocket
he gave only to Lily
a worthy picture of her
engraved in her locket,
when sent to the military
he acted contrary
without a rod for war
not wanting to offend God
he remembered Lily's soul
more than her body
and sent her from overseas
more flowers and rich teas
and cried on his knees
at the clod-planted earth
on Frisco's grave cemetery
chanted prayers for his Lily
hourly in her memory.



With an assumption
of finding an invocation
in exquisite strands
of her mind's clarity
in the mystery of love
unveiled in charity
by the swaying souls
on the oak pews
of tribulation and trial
as good news is spoken
from Gentiles and Jews
in a refuge from exile
when wars have broken out
when there is disparity
or hunger in neighborhoods
among the very poor
Simone Weil sits hidden
on a back chair
in her confessional altar
with a blessing to share
as fans sway in the warm air
hearing the chanting chorus
amid more Pentecostal shouts
in the choir's sung words
not doubting miracles
above the rung of Jacob's ladders
in the diaspora for all of us.


He painted daylong
in the ash can school
flicking his dotty cigarettes
by the yard
where we play bocce
in the fresh air
kicking the ball
and he not being cynical
to children at all
but cool when I was ten
one afternoon
he was doing a red pattern
with geometric shapes
of Manhattan
on his spread-out canvas
listening to jazz songs
from his radio in the sun
the principal wondering
if he were alcoholic
what a teacher called "sick"
one day
we were told to stay away
yet he was draped
in his drip-dry cape
and friendly to me
in every way
learned later the fact he was
the abstract expressionist
Jackson Pollock
who soon became famous
here in Greenwich Village
in my own bailiwick.


(July 20, 1304-July 19, 1374)

It’s dark in a San Francisco bakery
and Italian words of Petrarch
in his sonnet welcome me
to this city in July
on a day you are born and die
that miracle spark in Arezzo
in the birth from your betters
you would rediscover
Cicero's letters
and change poetry
for a universal Renaissance
in a valiant verse and history.


(1899-1932, born July 21)

Staring like a flock of starlings
at the white high towers
by the Atlantic's waterfront dock
under the luminous sun
in lustral Babylon's buildings
you watch with uncertainty
wanting to prophecy
by flashing waters of the sea
an ecstasy of poetry
in a new world's frequency
over the clock's skyscrapers
your red verse deflowered
and now outlined
by the marginal cry in beds
of gulls from washed white foam
in a wave swarming towards you
with the literary gift
of impalpable power
you write by a trapped door
on a day-old newspaper
wrapped from the fish market
in Brooklyn's Crown Heights
with a jazz melody in your soul
an uprooted exile lands
in the Big Apple
Hart recruited through time
rolls up on a pink birthday cake
he found outside a bakery
dotted with thirty candles
wishing for a nocturnal embrace
from a parachuted card
in an echo of wishing you
a city miracle of myth
that your words may sparkle
in the Keys' expanse
when you hunted yourself down
there may be a sheaf
of your moving poems
hearing a chorister of angels
among songsters on the bridge
granting on this July 21 a belief
in the miracle of creation
knowing that in a canon
as you write all this down
there is a circular harmony
thinking in a music's motion
and a cerulean ocean's chance
a Muse to offer you an epiphany
as you drown in ink
with the metamorphosis
of an earth-wise crown.

(1893-1930, born July 19)

Your handsome voice
on the platform of one
above the crowd
in the Moscow rainstorm
swaying your hips
to a Russian polka
by undelivered love letters
on the saliva of big kisses
and near-missed opportunities
seeking doors of words
from red lipstick mirrors
of abolished insomnia
and sleep-housed myth
returning to wish you
on arboreal ballads of secrets
a peace offering
from my three-cornered hat.


(Born July 15)

What cupidity
in your glance
from an eye of your soul
transforming color
whitewashed by the sea
in a white crystal of dawn
from the solitude
of forgiving primordial words
in a subterranean light
of all existence
in the blameless sunshine
of the Aegean
lashed by the winds
embraced by the waves
and all rushing elements
on such a day and wellspring
to have joy coming at you
in a spirit to be alive
and sing among mermen
by the sirens of an apocalypse
of the soaring flight of gulls
at these oarlock moments
out of Attic breaths
in the home sail harbor
of the Mediterranean ships
a poet in foaming blue waters
sings at the sight of birds
after a blazing voyage
returning to the music
of his memory
in a thousand words.


(born July 24, 1934)

Waiting for the scales
on an eye of justice
to open an unblemished time
for a miracle in Lagos
from your prisoner's sigh
perhaps a kindly word
to save the earth
when day and night splits
from the scroll in logos
to transfix a risen line
of staring into love
by an outstretched pulse of hand
running like anointed oil
over Aaron's fairly long beard
as someone hides a letter
from a fellow poet
trembling an inscribed wish
in your crumbs of bread
escaping no notice
at the dove at your window
by the trees’ time span
invading the small space
at your marvel of life
in the gradual light
from the perfumed rainbow
out of your pocket-poetry
we casually picked up
after a reading
at the used book store
in Harvard Square.

(1904-1973, born July 12)

By a Chilean minefield
an earth shoveled
by blossoming labor
in the quivers of sweat
under a suspended sun
in a spiral let-down of hours
knowing how you think
in replicas of seasons
of hurried toil
in crushed years
yet able to love
without doubt
in dirt roads of the poor
by murmurs of rumors
of a strike upon your soul
we bring you red flowers
from the street vendor
who still sings your words
of a thousand friendships
who listen for your reply
in the July heat's suffocation
by the furrow's horizon's wind
along the rivers of a copper sun.


(1888-1978, born July 10)
Your art, a poem sculptured
in occluded sunshine of color
forms a world of balances
rises from landscaped surprises
from iconic fragments
in pastel figures eluded
from recumbent flights
of moving clouds of sources
deep in the eyelids in the tempo
of asymmetrical wrappings
in historical forms
of geometric dedication
abandoned colorful flashes
in occurrences never aging
known only to devotions
from moored figures
of open imagination.


Today’s LittleNip:

Oh! Old rubbish! Old letters, old clothes, old objects that one does not want to throw away. How well nature has understood that, every year, she must change her leaves, her flowers, her fruit and her vegetables, and make manure out of the mementoes of her year!

—Jules Renard


—Medusa, with thanks to B.Z. Niditch and Denise Flanagan for this morning's contributions to the Kitchen!