Thursday, August 06, 2015

Discover Me

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


Dog days
with man and beast in heat
denuded for the sea
reaches out for waves
breathing in humid air
on the aquatic beach
as swimmers dive from caves
hearing the small gull squalls
with all of us floating
in the Atlantic or Pacific
desiring the ocean's breeze
as birdsong from wings
shadow us when no one behaves
under the leafy Evergreen trees
now clearly heard by florists
delivering their summer flowers
with a dawn's sugary breeze
French bakers deliver baguettes
to the restaurants and cafés
under brilliant lanterns
by tourists taking their turns
drinking their green tea or lattés
having eggs-and-lemon omelettes
watching out of French windows
herons and egrets fluttering by
away from the city's dust
living assiduously
with memory and mementoes
in the last hour of July
amid the shade shore's enclosure
on a bench are painters
etching for a dream sky
as birds awaken on the ground
seeking nourishment
making unfair body sounds
amid the scent of hyacinth
cruising by a labyrinth of boats
sailors and captains
making their assent and rounds
everyone stretching out their parts
as they dive under hot sun
from a raised head to feet
life is deluded and charms
needing art and jazz
craves to disarm the clock
when August will be a reminder
of a constant hot calendar of rest
soon or on a spot on afternoon
tourists will line the boardwalk
on the last July day
pouring out of the arcades
while a poet on a hammock
in the morning chants
to divine and sings
the loving praise of psalms.



This July
sitting off the edge
of the Cape
eating pomegranates
the seeds of which
make this poem
as our sighing memento
on leagues of winged egrets
making me love Evergreen
hearing the once-tourist boat
have time to move on
the silence of the waves
flashing with divers
charred with ashen smiles
having found treasure
from stolen decades
in old pirate cargo ships
that went down on the rocks
discovered with history's dust
of dreaming conquest.



To balance art
by sand and stone
here on a sea coast
of the Rhône
far from his home
we notice
a willing expressionist
thrilled at a boat race
as shore winds motion
to him at parting
over lost whale bones
sailing over
the roaring violet waves
brushing the ocean floor
until the crew race is over
as Klee, Swiss painter
drawing colors by the water
will soon disappear
like the faint tones of herons
at the waters edge
by blushing wild roses
of late summer
on the edge of the shore
his footsteps wander
with an artistic chance
now chills out
down by the hedges
to roll over on blankets
by a tall dune space
near a lone egret
on the far field's horizon
wakened by chafing breeze
in a triangular trace
on the painter's stone
dozing off in the sunset
under the trees all alone
Klee laughing at this bird
also alone like the heron
in nature's metamorphosis
wandering in paces like him
this July afternoon.


A green heron on Elm branches
in memory of winding leaves
softly sings in the dawn
with a soaring voice
her long feet by high shadows
over the ocean's ledge
as sailboats from Wellfleet
on a morning race motion
with the rising waves
on the edge's elbow
of Cape Cod
indifferent to the East wind
from the sunlight chimeras
the first sighted crew
washes over a silhouette rainbow
quickly moving by us.



On such August days
by the winds revelation
cast on my orange kayak
under the sun's rays
sponged on my naked back
burning effulgently
as we lunged on the salty sea
four urchins laughingly play
amid the shore's white sand
they build a castle
like vassals in middle ages
not knowing it won't last long
even after high tide by afternoon
as we swim under dunes
of egrets and songbird
and our trek to the shore
reluctantly in a breathless malaise
from a parental storm
waiting for the dusk to inspire
and insure our hiking ways
trying to be a friend
who collapses on a warm blanket
tired after her run
speaking of fulcrums of love
near the gazebo's gust of wind
staring at the emptiness
without an hour's weight
putting down an anchor
amid the thunder's hiss
near a pillar of fireflies
on the barbecue's grill
where we have a repast
with a hearty review
of fresh salad and other foods
from our cart's satchel
with roasted meat and veggies
underneath a wild rose bush
amid the green shrubbery
shadows step near us
with nearby voices
offering us a cup of vanilla coffee
taking photos with my camera
of herons on low branches
digging for an eye of waters
and here is this poet
writing an elegy in mind
on these dog days
murmuring like the crickets
doing cross words
under an Evergreen tree of birds
wishing for a prayer and praise.



Walt Whitman returns on rodeo rosebuds
Lorca is made mad from a Manhattan
Nathaniel West coughs up anonymously
Night robs Man Ray of lipstick drawings
By the daughters, we kept Virgil
Hockney posters the Harlem Heaven
Spies scout for every murdered soul
on the grass at Central Park
Stuart Davis hears jazz in red quarter notes
Langston Hughes wears all neon nets
finding butterflies from Nabokov
as Ellis Island returns to the exiles
who jet plane through nightfalls of
its whiplash, the sea lilac, indigo blues
hearing Billie Holiday's tunes
gone away from Tiresias' singing
over the headlined fizz for Mary Woronov
outside there are few brides in Babylon
under the old canopy
Andy Warhol hangs pop art posters
on Brooklyn's subterranean subway
in ultraviolet 's underground
as white and black sails
cry out for Hart Crane.


Railings of thought scratch
the graffiti on city walls
trains outside the subway
wake new sparks of rain
on your umbrella
in the gutter of shadows
a child too hungry to dance
presses your oversized coat
for a wide-mouthed dollar.


(July 28, 1927)

Chants of birdsong
on your Manhattan window
a corner of bookends
crushed by inclemency
of the hot July wind
over Manhattan's skyline's
tabled words,
rants of love in jazz
heard outside mirrors of wine
to devour fabled rhythms
for animated responses
along the rim of city's dust
in unexplored weights
of wisdom's revelation
from animated regards
in a poet's moonlit mirage
of freedom's sensibility
here to celebrate my visit
on your birthday.


(In Memoriam, Anna Akhmatova)
From a blood moon eclipse
sorrows export your wounds
of your every word and gesture
punctuating, and parachuting
as tomorrows on the Arbat
through pulse of this space time
on planets of human flesh
sound out a semblance
on a sleeping weekend
knowing memory is never over
in the body of proverbs
by your lips on napkins
on warmth of prospects
in syllables of celebration
metaphors of associations
dead love letters become alive
aching in Gogol's winter coat
through a cold mirror
when night falls on the Neva
you become alive
determined to survive
and not to quit
as an inheritor
of a Russian poetry
in time of great suffering
even in time of world war.


A blue volume
asleep on the arms
of a used bookstore
sold at noon
at an outside corner
for a quarter, dime and pennies,
you might shadow the voice
of the departing poet's
spirit to be in the hands
of a young soul
now hiding behind
a closed door
in a drawing room
circling ink dream words
on paper maché,
we hear of armies
of the night
and blasphemies
day and night
in shadows hidden
from forbidden worlds
of a war's wound
where white handkerchiefs
offer peace and relief
but we do not doubt
in any platoon
at the memory and echo
of instant death in life
to enliven or divine when belief
under the blood moon crosses
over Rimbaud's prayer wheels
which turn on attic windows
concealing the snow,
we imagine your exiled time
from a Paris and Morocco book
when embarrassing smiles
question your sacrificial look
passing liquors and hashish
by mirrors as you despair
is answered by more fine critics
of your literary companions
Villon, Verlaine and Reverdy
translated by even these hands
moving on the sacrosanct lines
on your created horizon
as earth, sun, fire, stars, isles
are above this writer's bench
from French and African leaves
taken out by fresh desires
in soul, spirit, body
from a metamorphosis
of your own love triangles
with its own griefs.



Amherst has lost
another creative soul
passing in consolation
by the tiny tree
of wispy songbirds
dawn finally
impresses your time,
we spoke of language
moving as endlessly
as July sparkles
on my elegy
knowing the absurdity
as a loving universe moves on
metaphor and words,
on this poet's stark revelation
yes, from your flame
walking with me
in darkness by the college
at the edge of a river
hearing firecrackers
hearing over Heavy Metal
go off at the knowledge
of your name
planting flowers
on Emily's grave
one petal for you
over a honeybee’s hiss
and save a few hours
for James Tate
now translated himself
to a reading metamorphosis.


Discover me
in Idaho
reading Propertius
or in Perth, Australia
giving birth,
speaking glossolalia
or laughing to a joke
making out
after steak and vanilla
in Manila
playing a Bach solo
after a chorus
of St. Matthew's Passion
in Soho
whether in lower depths
or highest mountain
taking bread with birds
in Assisi
drinking wine
from your fountain,
uncover me by the rocks
of the Aegean sea
or by an archaeological dig
by the Mediterranean,
writing a subterranean poem
on the shores at Bali,
with oboe and jazz violin
at a smooth jazz gig
over in Jerusalem,
discover me.


Today’s LittleNip:

They didn't have much trouble
teaching the ape to write poems:
first they strapped him into a chair,
then tied the pencil around his hand
(the paper had already been nailed down).
Then Dr. Bluespire leaned over his shoulder
and whispered into his ear:
“You look like a god sitting there.
Why don't you try writing something?”

—James Tate,
Selected Poems

—Medusa, with thanks to B.Z. Niditch and Denise Flanagan for starting our day with the sights and sounds of Massachusetts!