Thursday, November 12, 2015

Coat of Many Colors

Last Rose
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Katy Brown, Davis, CA


There is still one rose today
by the icicles to make me alive
many shall pass its red petals
yet only a few ardent neighbors
or strangers will be impressed
by Vermont's turning nature
even think how the lonely flower
still survives in a sleepy garden,
for life is a brief page of news
to laugh or to weep,
as two adolescents with attitude
first in jest then in a narrative
not making any sense
to the garrulous eye
start a warring jealousy
of a fight on the wrong street
as a poet prays they will change
without any crime or violence
that tension of revenge will cease
in a submissive space of time,
as the geometry teacher
and a strong wrestling coach
intervene as arbiters
with a gesture for some peace
and the two boys leave alone
at a standstill in silence
with a high five,
here a nest of songbirds
emerge from the Oak tree
by the chrysanthemum's riverbed
who may be thirsty
for the springs
stop nearby for a drink
and to eat our bread crumbs,
the red rose wraps our attention
and this poet delivers words
or sings a canticle of St. Francis
to brother moon, sister sun
and pardon our thousand ways
of courting the ray's reflection
or relives a line of Tom Merton
in a morning's creativity
as windy leaves succumb
the last rose stands by
a broken wing of a bird
we will be a comfort
to the animal family
over this hill and Bay,
the bird suddenly flies away
there are still miracles
on this Autumn's Thursday.


Since you awake
from a first light
lingering in a change of time
without sugar in a latte
in a huge coffee cup
this early November
listening to Dusty Springfield
as we turn the clocks back
remembering the pastimes
with an English muffin
in a darkness of mirror
with undisclosed lips
of my favorite singer
to bond with ideas
and clouds of wishes
for a recital of a love band
on your sleeping arms
in a corridor of mums
from a yellow bouquet
grafted in your hair
in carriages of limbs
from dahlias of fragility
and sax sirens of exile
ready for an urban read
now extricated in cold air
from undisclosed robes
of keenly suited observation
sharing my chilled-out riffs
from a taxi cab window.


Between phlox in a rock garden
and pebbles from the sea
the dead stones come alive
from my noon daydream
of tackle fishing in November
on the other side of the Bay
here for a last run on the Cape
miles away from the shore
as trout survive
seconds, seasons, times
now remembering my headlight
of my motorcycle
needs to be switched off
e-mailing my sailor friend
along these predictable waves
visiting me from England
who plays drums like Ringo
named by his blues singer mom
who named him after
her attending in London
my Beat poem reading
hoping Ringo
would become an ecologist
traveling like his brother Mo
on roads always of exodus
living in tabernacles and tents
over unnoticed desert borders
to protect and rescue turtles
sea lions, whales, other mammals
by outposts of crowded sails
under chromatic rays by sunshine
with look-outs over grassy island
though Ringo was a Hollywood extra
in a brief dust-up column
about a movie involving
a triangle affair
starring his wife Brenda
who was also film director
who understood his life of venture
and eventual poetic surrender,
tells me not to worry even though
he is tossed in motionless waves
riddled by his own jokes
in his blue angler kayak
who says he noticed
the old Harley and fixed it
in the parking lot on the dock.


Let this November dawn
be a morning
of such Keatsian perception
that signs and wonders
will be in our hiking direction
thinking to pause on windows
to watch chimeras of songbirds
hearing cicadas and cardinals
on whatever road we travel
by Robert Frost's birches
on James Dean's cycles
thanking life's moments
for a worthwhile day spent
bemused by glimpsing times
of recluse Salinger in Vermont
for miracles of Kerouac's prose
or visiting Emily at Amherst groves
where we park on the right route
over deep expressway obstacles
by a thick river of cars
off the pike to her cemetery
planting a shoot of roses
from near my rock garden
and along the Cape's riverbeds
to seek in very boundless words
as a cool mortal Beat
and a smooth jazz guy
in my hands, toes and feet
may pardon, circle and disclose
of their memory when the grass
on the golf fields is still green
we will remember the rumor
going ‘round this map and square
that even in our terrifying times
when we are lost in traffic
eyeing the orange and red leaves
in the sponged sunny footfalls
of their Autumn foliage
our aging still life has the art
in a language of humor to share.


Jolts in my body
hitting the wall
hearing barefoot fans
interceding for us
by roadbeds on river ruts
our shaken-up bodies
near birds on statues
singing by tree stumps
at the first hour of dawn
by indelible tracks
on distant paths
crosswise near green hills
some recounting time
others wishing to make
a record for themselves
under reconveyed bridges
soon with wobbling knees
and sweated shoulder pain
bodies with feet blisters
cramping hope on rugged terrain
far from home
with one hand-clasping
from two sidelined
recumbent leaning bodies
wishing us well
all in search for meaning
or here for charity
as our salt eyelids
rivet from its blur
wanting oxygen
and a bottle of water
rising to a jazz rhythm
keeping in the lane
forgetting past riffs
by helping one beside us
to get up from the grass
hearing sax music on the field
of a recent blueberry harvest
grinding around us
with fourteen hours left
to mimic last night's sleep
yet pressing toward
the recondite right landmarks
gambling on this day's calling
with no stopwatch
not quitting until dark
until the yellow finish line
appears out of nowhere
yet miles not acquainted
or time acquitted
falling short for rest
in my path by a golf course
near crooked peaks
and red birch
as runner-ups in landslips
over greensward dales
trying to be undaunted
but not fully understanding
why here at my age
taking turns over this time
off-and-on windy lashes
unlaced in a chalk circle
following an eagle on the Bay
not frightened by a skinhead
on the side of the road
in any gifts of suggestion
but with our better life spirit
my heart seeking more water
yet determined and vigilant
to keep running the race
in a touchy patch of life
without strength of flesh
near St. Joseph's Church
now too hungry to change lanes
but to shower quickly
without inspecting any damage
get into a coat of many colors.


In huge concert hall
crowded with patrons
of the symphony
lovers of music
that cool November
sits a boy in short pants
seven years young
already with the libretto
to study on his lap
with interwoven notes
of Fidelio's overture,
that my uncle and aunt
supplied the ticket
here on the balcony
of exported culture
to an eager nephew
soon to play on the piano
his own interpretation
of Beethoven.



Mozart's miniature calls
upon me at the grand piano
over boundless notes
from a breath of sunlight
committed to the morning
whose motif and motes
reveal a culture of volatility
in music heard in corners
of my family music school
as a bass, horn and cello is heard
by our own metronome's
dark hours passed by
anecdotes of critics who visit
my solfège and piano lessons
for an early admission door
to college's muted realms
as a neon butterfly shadows
to rise on cathedral ceilings
near the blue marble fireplace
by a bone china vase
of Japanese flowers
in my great-uncle Linwood's studio
around yellow and blue gentian
below a cathedral ceiling
in a mansion's window
with Mozart's miracle signature
revealing a lively body
of a home for Thursday concerts
in even-numbered rows
as my hand plays in recital
your twenty-third concerto.

 Grape Vines in the Afternoon Sun


It's November 9th with
a wonderful birthday wish
for Anne Sexton
and James Schuyler
are still here in a city vista
seen by critics or academics
in a brief era winding by
to the extant that words,
suffering, identity, love
still matter between earth
above summits of the sky
in this time of sensation
publicity, and celebrity
of do, die or acquit
from a untamed anger
a competent shame
of deep benevolent feeling
and close enchantment
between poet and reader
that a life's pulpit confessional
was more than a scattered obit
like filtered water
for a returning bird feeder,
when a son or daughter
who discerned about suffering
was asked and then learned
to come out in practical life
not to be hidden as in a veil
or under a holiday's
forbidden mask
in a free pass
or press expression
or from a Village gossip column
for more than a concession
in a miracle moment's pause
but today there are few
solemn hours of care
for such expression,
yet why not for us
to remember them
with a single candle incident
as November 9th births
of Anne Sexton
and James Schuyler
for all their laughter and tears
of their vigilant fans’ behalf
after these writers have gone
there is a now a neophyte
vocal chorus of shared souls
living fearless among scandal
in their local place
surrendered to leaving us more
than a loving covenant
of two added names on a roll
of all these unscrolled years
in a wired newspaper dispatch
as a crowded afternoon fades
they are not anonymous now
knowing how wronged they were
snatched only for our eternity
in their own famous
mad Sixties time and space.


Today’s LittleNip:


How close are we
to verge of our journey
up the Green Mountains
as our hiking boots turn
in an unseen silence
sighting a deer in first light
a morning fills with frost
encircled in a path of snow
sheltering words in these lines
which emerge outliving our time
from an earth-wise nature
on this Fall seasonable pike
as flakes drift trekking
from Vermont's long memory
in white-coated anonymity.


—Medusa, with thanks to today's contributors for warming us up on this chilly November morning!