Thursday, November 19, 2015

Walking On

St. George
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Katy Brown, Davis, CA


No light
in the Eiffel Tower
no music in a concert hall
no art at the Louvre
no menus for even a croissant
at the outside café bench
no doors at the restaurant open
no people enjoying life around you
no one reading poetry
and with Notre Dame closed
finally opens on Sunday
we glimpse the hurt souls
in the French body of liberty
as an ally is knifed by violence
disbelief rises in us
nothing makes sense
from the darkness of "Why"
to reinvent this memory
in silence of all conscience,
we think of Jeanne d’Arc
to share and say
France you will not die
and say "yes" to life.



Going up as a lucid poet
through separate hills
yet being muted in caves
of the buried Vermont crevices
by arriving early travelers
on first-iced snowy peaks
that all look alike
in colorful fleeced jackets
with my own binoculars
yet abandoned in my pilgrimage
as repetitions of morning light
open a witnessing hunger
of promised goings over
spying a caught speckled fawn
spiked near the bushes
needing a rescue in a clump
of entangled Maple trees
shading my blinding eyes
brushing through a tall wilderness
conversing with November's body
of west winds whipping my back
between bands of rains
in a cloudy forecast
motionless in a landscaped shot
by leaning on a scraggly boulder
as my adolescent scout memory
returns in a daily litmus divide
of my own cross-examination
when opposing forces
crash your body releasing
over the minor monitors
of our own ego egging us on
emerging to bluff our way
in a metaphysical anguish
when we silence the gliding
of an early embodied journey
in a lonely intimation
of our fast footfalls
on this frosty Fall hike
carrying my bundles of water
and brie cheese baguette
up these White mountains
with only the songbird
in the cleft of the rock
waiting for his bread.


Walking on sand dunes
squatting on blankets
between earth and big sky
on Crane's beach
picking up shells by the shore
reaching to hear bird voices
over the vacant sea
while composing a sonata
in B major
for piano and viola
to embody this morning
as red and orange leaves fall
from my mountain-top excursion
and now daily rest as squirrels
quickly climb over Oak
wanting to meditate
by a first glued ear
to the cooling ocean air
in a half-light early hour
wanting to float over water
stretched out in November
at my last brief kayak trek
coiled in my Franciscan song
that in dawn my tongue utters
from a mouth of its ineffable love
headlong into a diving wave
once covered
in an eyesore white dust
which pulsates on my feet
by a labyrinth of waves
remembering the stray cat
by the aqueous chorus of wrens
a poet lies smothered
by a circle of infant birds
who walk me to the Bay
as three snowflakes fall.



By the lighthouse shadows
a right whale ascends
to the surfaced air
rising to encircle us
those left here in Plymouth
by the famous rock
as the captain's tour guide
points at the camera
with Ahab's finger still on him
feeling like Melville's spirit
is with this musician-poet
alive with our November breath
checking out nature's power
by a roaring of waves rising
watching the big fish
and thinking of Jonah
praying in sackcloth at Nineveh
here is a stretched-out
frosty-mouth whale
with maladjusted lip
entangled by rope
demanding to get a fair look
at his unexpected exposure
now a wild sound is heard
from the daring deep
and all we wish for
is for the whale to be safe
and to hope for closure.

Birthday November 18th

We waited to hear you read
for over a generous hour
from a short cloudless river
at a light distance at the Charles
in Cambridge by a bird chorus
under the misty November rain
from an academic room
in an old brick building
making your words invulnerable
yet grafted in a moonlit time
to your singular wonder of words
which shine outside the waters
by a dizzy night sky of birds
in an illumined vineyard
reflected from your speech
prompting me
as we walk not to be late
under red and orange leaves
over puddles to arrive early
in reaching for immortality.


Birthday November 23rd

The backbone of any survivor
say Treblinka, Hiroshima
or Sobibor
has not broken a mirror
or cracked the code of a poet
in the war's background
as a child sounds out near
iron curtains and blinds
of quarantined string
and shutters between states
where souls cannot leave
or stay anywhere to sing
without any earth's ashes
to call your own
but smashes a century's icons
wavering in unspoken lines
which make certain waves
in your long corridor's voice
from dry bones breathing
out of an exiled music.

November 19th

Each hour reading you
is taken inside
a fugitive's comfort zone
at fourteen stations
on the 1865 agrarian nails
still over the Southern cross
seen in sky-blue sequins
of the starched bridal gown
in florid and liquid Maple
from a beloved Marian flower,
at sixteen when on vacation
reading you by the ash trees
in a capable romantic hammock
how you chose to smoke
out the sectarian candles
on your scintillating marble cake
murdered over
your third wedding day plates
yet offering to us a fern of memory
darkened at our failing history
watching the impolite clock
of Abe Lincoln at Ford's theater
your shuttered words twisted
shot up and pistol-whipped
in a beautiful conscience
of a silent yet resilient pacifist
an enlisted cool knight of faith
whose radiant showering verse
iced the twisted body of my thesis
in a rested masked silence
of masculine-feminine
middle-aged authorities
yet sensitive to form and grace
divining the spirit of a poet's place
reminding me of the movie star
in a guerrilla's role for Errol Flynn
as a good guy Robin Hood
in your forest neighborhood
as we watch an intruder thief
with an assassin's scrutiny
in the night awakening curses
at rambling fearful sounds
for an ace-of-diamonds history
in a four of clubs you win
up your pace of a gambler sleeve
at Arthur's grail fought for
the immortal chalice cup
around a superficial enabler
seeking another Guinevere
not ever playing the joker
in life's clever lottery
but not ever giving up
outside at the parking spot
with any Lancelot who was there
always up for a sword fight
at the rear and avant garde Word
but only using your facial verse
in mirrors, bars and round tables
made into a poet's romantic life
critically free toward you
in so many scrapes forthcoming
as a token of papal love returned
the things of unspoken powers
hanging just by the thin rope
of belief you earned your reward
amid the towers of angels wings.


Birthday November 12th

Now no words
for a Beat, no limits
from your ideas or career
only an empty voice and tomb
looms ahead
as an immaculate id, ego,
and portrait of the nearly great
Roland Barthes is hid away
who loved to write of defects
and effects on other personas
like on the novel genius
of marvelous Marcel Proust
but Barthes did not have poof
why once-forbidden one-liners
live on and into grief
remaining on remainder
shelves so many years
in unbelief until I picked up
his Mythologies in Paris
on an unfortunate library date
Nov. the twelfth of your birth
nearby the Seine bench
back to critical Sorbonne
a bit embarrassed in a disclaimer
to read you in French
but you did not want to be read
only to be an idol and icon
chanted by your academic friends
in the seedy Autumn dawn
on a lonely muted rain
realizing in the final exam
when you never recanted
as an innovator and surprised me
by the self-hatred of the past
you were no more farsighted
that the swan before me
by the grassy mirrors into
a red leafless riverbed.

(For Phllip Larkin, 1922-1985)

In the trampled weight
surprised by the waves
along the ocean
sharing the double oars
of a dissonant hour motioning
from the transient siren songs
of a swinging chorus chants
like honorable Odysseus
seeking to return home
to Penelope
after his troubled time
thinking of you, Phillip Larkin
without any sense of venture
in your cold water flat
over the English Channel
did you ever imagine travel
or leaving for Greece
yet only counting ashen faces
of your own hell-bent grief
walking into Jason's fleece
of a woolen blanket
on cold Fall nights
worrying about the rent,
yet your work-out dream
in full body opening
of words that make our worlds
double their inheritance of love
without any reason of belief
even in our exiles, shipwrecks,
open-heart operations,
chance living in Gulags,
on soccer fields, war zones
reciting canticles
by a hundred candles
we survive in long corridors
from sheets, hands over pianos
or behind troubled recital doors
holding onto your verse.


Today’s LittleNip:

November 9, 1620

Pilgrims sight land here
on Cape Cod
believing it was no whim
that shaped and shared
an enlightened plan of God.


—Medusa, with thanks to B.Z. Niditch and Katy Brown for today’s fine cooking’ in the Kitchen!