Thursday, September 10, 2015

Underground Poet

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


The neighbor's dog dashes
outdoors by the riverbed

as two scholars' books
about Nabokov's lapidary

butterflies fall
on powder lines

of the bocce game
set for after school

hearing about the sink hole
near Harvard

while others whisper about
his wife's rock garden phlox

extending into suburban bushes
by gathered memory moss

birdsong calls on branches
in radiant sunshine

a fox appears behind
the brambles

we heard about
another cosmic event

after her son was lost
in no man's land.



Clearing out old 78's
and jazz
in the company
of Louis Armstrong's voice
for the gazebo bazaar
near the serene waters
off Cape Cod
the North wind
brims me over with tones
of a past musical circumference
a local poet reaches
for the diving board
with silly snorkels
to be a spy for 007
among the blue fish below
now by the yogurt stand
and lingering
to narrate the day
with a local action painter
once playing in The Mikado
who exhibits himself
in a fresh-tanned face
with an excessive compulsion
of constantly washing himself
feeds the grackles and sparrows
goes to his Vineyard shrink
then slips away
holding his toy poodle
in his flailing arms
when my life cannot part
with Armstrong.


Poor frazzled square
of beggars
waves us along
the ancient streets
near the canal
identical twins
of hunger and rage
curse at a farmer's market
by the tables of honey
with the loss of their footing
on a ground of stones
hearing a call-out to God
in the midst of songbirds
with aromas of spices
and different accents
the sounding trumpet and guitar
mired in a lyrical voice soars
out of lamentations
as coins suddenly fall
out of a solitary poet's pocket
of verse and everyone
in the power of my voice
is translated.



You first read in the subway
the open sea still inside you
with its salty brine
in a subterranean approach
at the primary abyss
of a mike's unexpected voices
by the bandstand and gazebo
outside is a Boston Common
fountain by a myriad of tulips
and radiant lilacs
here in leather gloves
opening unruffled pages
my voice communicates
through long-suffering history
to an attentive crowd
by revolutionary graves
presented at a pallid wall
of city graffiti at your back
under lantern lights
a skittish beer
spins on my tongue
in a nostalgic adolescence
my fans and unknown friends
arrive by Park Street church
under the Mayflower pulpit
daily disguises are removed
under the motioning wind
from Winter Street
an underground poet
wanders off alone
still hearing streetcars
in the subway homeland
being driven by memory
in a language inside ourselves
covered by an hour of words
to capture a whistling myth
of metamorphosis.


In your funky way
after the bandanna
from your auburn hair
in the second-hand net
we found at the bazaar
along with my blue visor
taken along the beach
now removed from us
you sing out
as my sax moves
along with you
on the dance floor
remembering my poem
you left in the cloakroom
and recognizing enchantments
rescuing us in a later-than-
you-think Manhattan moment
in my mobility of riffs
a thousand sounds
in luminous hands
of reborn black tulips move
in a nocturnal laughter
embracing the night.



Playing chess
under Autumn's twilight
by city graffiti walls
taking a Trans-Pacific call
from Andrei
an emigre Norfolk poet
now living outside San Francisco
with the hope of resurrection
by the burning lanterns
of his outside cafe reading
telling me in Russian
of his girlfriend Vera's
prophetic Blakean dream
in an outer-body experience
as a spirit of tongues
overtook her glossolalia
hoping his new collection
dedicated to her
will not be a failure
given the cultural sense
in California's post-modern
post-Reaganite and pagan era.


Losing you
on the L.A. lost and found
dog day shelter
relaxing by playing croquet
after sleeping on a porch
not far from the city rotunda
for a week of photographing
Rover not the only body
seething in heat
outside Morro Bay
far from a transom
when it started to thunder
while heading home
on my bicycle
on a sorrowful Saturday
at St. Monica's beach
sighting a surfer and shark
in nightmare of my words
promising you
at the party's safe keeping
that we realized
you had been reading
The Scarlet Letter
in summer school drama class
taught by that defrocked minister
who crossed in a dark path
telling me that at Cambridge
he ran into Sylvia Plath.



Daddy of beats
hiding us in peace

brother, blowing horns
from your gravestone

yet signaling in a baton
the jazz thing

over a New York minute
of expectant crystal eyes

out of reassembled
floating sky words

by the kitchen closet
when quarter notes

got you more than a coffee
hot bagel and cream cheese

nothing in uniform
cannot communicate

the void for no masters
in your anarchic state

away from the animal skins
of Hegel, Engels, Marx

in the materialism of papers
relocated in Berlin

found after Archangel's
blood of snows

is cleaned up by the broom
sticks of history's paradoxes

and you, K. Rexroth
all are bound to hear you

at the Blackhawk
your music in each moment

and movement
for freedom.


You let me ride
on your opera Bernini
road bike
all the way to Frisco
not missing a note
of La Scala arias
like "Norma"
you also loved
The Ecstasy of St. Teresa
as if you were built
by sculpture
in the Kultur of the Sixties
with no undies to wash
in the Missouri
only denim you took
to the guru of the Ganges
now you are free
offing the surfer
who lost his sunglasses
in the Pacific
by wrestling muscularity
after a Denver visit
though you find it hard
to breathe out your poetry
with a footloose Rockies high
note in your saxophone case
now drawing in papier-mâché
to a Beat poet's portrait
of bathing on waters
in bubbles of facsimile words
by an appearance with Hocking.



Put the plans aside
in solitary September
full of overwhelming art
awaking the strongest wave
of your hand greeting the day
with still life green everywhere

Turn to sunshine bursting
over dazzling house tops
with birds on slate roofs
also trying to decide the moment
to move horizontally South
by the cool limitless breeze

Tell yourself and yours
of the white whale you visited
on your watch this summer
feeling as if Melville's diary
opens up your poet love
to the page that bears your name
and sleep upon it tonight.

Today’s LittleNip:


Who watches the sparrows
in Central Park

as they stir their wings
not expecting tomorrow

yet humbly provided for
ironically in one-word answers

as the leaves and acorns
drop near the marathon

Carmen an opera star sings
an aria of Bizet

Russian miracle dancers
with ballet shoes

hustle by a guitar player
new to the city

as Whitman on his knee
feeds the birds.


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

Boats and B.Z.