Thursday, September 03, 2015

Books, Brie and Blood Oranges

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


Again the August
airless aroma
with tourists taking
a snapshot of cranes
somewhere lost by Bay time
by the spraying waters
over Cape Cod
with cameras in hand
encountering Martha's Vineyard
when roses of late summer
rule the street
and low-wind graffiti
is more than any sky written off
in Coastal school diaries
by the walls of half-light
home harboring the shore
as sailboats from riptide waters
out from the Atlantic
are glimpsed by songbirds
among voices and dialogue
of the Azores
with lobster fishermen
taking a sponge bath
wishing to dive in riptide waters
our tinted knapsack opens
full of brooks, Brie
and blood oranges
hearing bird calls and crickets
as chestnuts and acorns
drop veiled by the sun
unearthing memory
by the seaweed beach
while a whirlpool of crickets
are heard by nature's chimeras
whisking by arid echoes
of a ship's topsail marathon
now under oak and elm trees
over the advancing joggers
walkers and bicycle riders
as if in a lasting mile run
reaching for any ocean breeze.


Out of touch
after my art tour guide
calls out to us
capturing memory in a fog
from a Vermeer
in a Dutch-landscaped year
wishing to avenge myself
from an eerie nightmare
in my new play's dialogue
detached in my own mirror
of light gazing
on the museum's corridor
by "A Girl With a Pearl Earring"
imprisoning me
in my own back bench
through sleep and dreams
trembling in blue-grey blankets
reaching out to the airy horizon
for an hour's morning shade
covering a ringed compass
it seems in our own reflection
while my great-aunt leans
on the table napkin
drinks her dark coffee
and a French toast's
powdery confection
her nephew murders a croissant
to his own delectation.


You leave in the morning
when it is still dark
with high expectations
on Central Park West
the sun expected on your back
and trying on a new vest
with first exams on
Fairfield Porter and Larry Rivers
as repainted lovers of art
visiting the New York school
to a first gentleman's showing
of my jazz poetry on canvas
combing and combining
"A Trinity in Abstract"
in three parts for the faculty
of my opaline iridescent drawing
yet as any adolescent fool
mulling in your bed of sleep
to wait for recognition
on dawns, words, questions
puzzled to cross each pavement
scenting at first September light
at the Red Apple
marking my walk of life
puzzled to cross the pavement
yet it's too early in the day
to think of an explanation
tomorrow you will do better
you may even mail your friend's
dear John or St. Joan letter
or find your way after
to a happy-hour malt
after my sporting
a one-day mustache
trying to be like James Dean
wrestling in a somersault
when all the sun is gone
and it's not your fault
you almost forgot in the cafe
the very last word
at your last night's reading
as you whisk past
a gravel patch of memory
of that half-buried bird
by a St. Franciscan convent
near the birds you were feeding
near the playground garden
with a lark ascending
where you first played sax
relaxed on a bench
and made the sight-read sound
matched to your airy French verse
you translated all night
not missing out
to swing on any branch
for an image
of which you are attracted,
not yet attached
to any new-found boarder
yet with a welcome
to an alien bocce field
wondering if today
you will pick
up Achilles’ shield
watching your ankle
fixing your sneaker
checking out the disarmed heel
seeing it's in order
seeking everybody's pardon
the clouds begin to rain
in absolute black and blue
to reveal your first quatrain.


The whole company,
Bishop, Bell, Cage,
Rose, Cornell
or those who missed out on
the free artists and those who spoke
or kissed the hypothetical away
will disclose and retell
as we engage on their behalf
in a showcase of metrical form
beyond any rage at the Paris scene
on canvas and lithograph
as we will redeem not embarrass
though our page's paragraph
our newborn stress and storm
just viewing their studio again
in Manhattan's open windows
drawing us through ink dream
warm August shadows
harassed to pull us thrice in part
toward every new medium
from a drop art that lives
in galleys of generations
over these high-priced photographs
from myth, kith and kin.


Only this scoured night of names
and my initials my friend
put on the graffiti wall
will not forget you in the Village
the moon may pass by
and unnoticed rain
yet even for a pensive moment
O'Hara, Schuyler, Koch
we know by your still lives
are by the cafe's windowpane
as shadows on great hooks
unloose on injured love
as birds under marble stars
jump over tulip beds
moving next door
in a familiar pattern
shamelessly reify themselves
from many dark phantoms
following an August breeze
here in Manhattan
as if under city lantern light
by the fallen Oak acorns
on tree branches of Central Park
we watermarked poets
on other tongues mingle
with your own marathon voice
in the empty single rooms
full of furtive secrets
two almond eyes opening
think twice
wakened by the sun
by blueprints of your own body
demanding any life signs
along the long silences
of unspeakable loss
by our morning games
unlocks the bocce toss
here in the early chill
covering the fevered blank verse
on sheets of a somnambulist dream
under street lamps
a few gatherers pick up leaves
under pebbles of a century's dust
on the first frost of morning.


Nothing grave for him
but glaucous yellow green ferns
between city visages
along the burning sea walls
sunflowers match villages
always earth-wise
near cyclopic buildings
no stranger's snowy tongue
for Galway's latitude
along a mortality of port calls
encountering rumors
those tricksters of fate
that in delirium cannot wait
on branches for Autumn leaves
to fall in the hip pocket of Apollo.


Words appeared to be
in city doorways
entitled to the depths
of our generation
shadowed in a tongue
sticky with sentences
pawned off
to an apprenticed Muse
first worked out
in the Boston Public Library's
rare books section
and created from meditation
an understanding awe
in San Francisco's renaissance
your images rouse to choose
our still life 's longing chance
for a landscape between us.


Visiting this monument
adorned with my opening
with a Bach violin solo
revised in jazz riffs
and after to visit
here on Castle Island
my hand reaches out
to the Ghost's vision
of Poe stationed on this cliff
exchanging rosin for my bow
your footsteps still embrace
the gothic and gnostic
in a hearsay heresy
to answer a vassal back
from a moment's darkness
capturing onto a poet's grace
"No" and "Yes."

(BOSTON, 1974)

Rooms-to-rent sign
for a student apartment
making turns off the freeway
approaching Boston
with the lights out early
needing a night to stay
checking in on Beacon
puts his fine art books away
before the night owls
are heard in chorus
on my nine windows
before Morpheus' descent
with his landscaped shadows
sinks over these pantry boarders
covering this sleep house
while reading Edgar Poe
in the wooden den
of a sensitized space
a Boston abstract painter
who knew Phillip Guston
enjoys his environmental art
invites us to his future
new gallery on Newbury Street
near the Common,
the solitary play cards
like gin rummy or canasta
others yield to checkers
or chess among pawns
kings or queen
in a parlor of drinkers
while armchair philosophers
think of Kant or Kierkegaard
while a once-famous pianist
related to my great aunt
plays a Chopin sonata,
an actor recites his lines
the local bard wrote for him
desiring new cadences
waiting for September's dawn
with a dry-eyed gentleman
from Athens, Greece
retelling us of Byron's decadence
with an old myth and legend
of the plucking at Jason's fleece
outside are sirens by all-night
yellow and red hacks
of emergency cabs
not knowing what mid-sleep
trembles in underground circles
as morning bird sound calls
and a cool clarinet plays jazz
now to climb up out of bed
with a church hymn book
in my hand to sing
with a cogency
by a first sunlight search
on the grounds for a coffee cup
and a slice of Danish cheese
in a prophet's homestead
asking the Almighty twice
to bring me
an increase of money
not left in my glove compartment
for any contingency
yet holding on to these memories
which will always keep
me in perfect peace.


Today’s LittleNip:

Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It’s that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that’s what the poet does.

—Allen Ginsberg


—Medusa, with thanks to today's fine contributors from The Other Coast!