Thursday, December 17, 2015

Love Twice

Spring is Just Around the Corner
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Denise Flanagan, Newton, MA


Trees take their leave of us
your lover is gone
life is anonymous,
green days are over
there are not even
red-wing blackbirds
on lawns
by the public park bench
near the swan boats
on the Boston Common
were I read Breton
in French
now empty of children
who want one last ride,
my sax and viola
need a tune-up
and your doctor says
you have a case of lethargy
with the blahs and blues
and there are no words
for a Beat to write out
on graffiti walls
except to remember
at your last love letter
on the fourteenth of December
but do not know what year
even to speak of
until the spring spins out
on a blanket for two,
that you still hear voices
chiming in on branches
with birds surrounding you
with your favorite melody
as a landscape poet
of chance
you take out your violin
to play the csárdás
in a Brahms Hungarian dance.

 It Will Be Spring Before You Know It!


Always on the same day,
by dawn's hour at 6 A.M.
the fishing boats on the Cape
go out on the sea
the south winds are cooling us
even when icicles fall
and sailors slip
over the piers on the docks
my eyes move leftward
sharing in reminiscences
of a lost tourist ship
in which all survived
because of the flashing mist
of the lighthouse
we were chilled at a distance
as we met the one poet
on board named John
who breathed in my words
once at the second parallel bars
pressing over the gymnasium
for John needed therapy
from unwanted pain
we held a fundraiser for him
in which he read his verse
about that fateful Fall day
when he reached out to us
in which none of his dreams
drowned on the beach
in the rain.



The ocean is deserted
for its favorite poet
except for a volcanic soul
with butterfly tattoos
on both sun-burned arms
who sleeps here
near the seabirds
in a sleeping bag all winter
his voice is modulated
with a Corsican accent
says his name is Napolean
and tells me the islands
off the Cape
hold onto their secret treasure
of lost pirate ship cargoes
worth a fortune in gold
but hold onto them
like sea lions for their young,
he is under a pup tent
wrapped in brownish blankets
and tells us in French
he is a distant relative
of Gauguin
that he has a treasure map
from Tahiti
but lost it in Hawaii,
his large eyes are persuasive
next to him in a surfboard
which he proceeds to take
near the Orleans shore
to show us his rock collection
gulls are flying back
sounding off into the dark sky
the weather is icy cold
and we bring him a coffee,
muffins, a Russian hat
and fur scarf
from the Hannukah-
Christmas carnival,
we speak to the authorities
of any frostbite concerns
write and visit Napolean
and put him in my diary.

 B.Z. Niditch


Sharing a large cup
of Orange Julius
with a homeless runaway
from the Big Apple
a once-flower child
Tish now about thirty hides
behind black sunglasses
as she quotes to me from
O'Hara's Lunch Poems
Ginsberg's “Kaddish”
and then recites by heart
on a city bench
the wish lines of Alfred Jarry
from his play Ubu Roi
with perfect memory
in a French accent
emerges from a pup tent
on the sidewalk
holding a lottery ticket,
this former childhood star
of Hollywood,
near her is a media camera
that her brother Rusty carries
in his beat-up car
tells me she sleepwalks
despite her terrific stamina,
that she is in the business arts
worked at the Ritz
making gowns for starlets
speaks in several languages
and used to play bit parts
now collects tortoise shells
from the Pacific
which she paints and sells;
Tish was raised on a commune
in Butte, Montana
where her sick dad perished
in the copper mines,
later she met Kenneth Rexroth
at a poetry seminar here
a few years ago
even knew his birthday
was on December 22
once played in a Western soap opera
called Reckoned in the Dust
with her brother Rusty
a stunt driver and as an extra
she asked me for a quarter
and passed out her verses
in iambic pentameter
on pink papier mâché.

 B.Z. at the Larz Anderson Gardens in Brookline, MA


It's a rehearsal day
this December tenth
for B.Z.'s new play
he puts on his director's
pork pie hat
wondering at length
who is going to show up
at the afternoon auditions
will they be pioneers
or real stars with ambitions
any summer stock actors
looking for some structure
to their lives
former soap opera guys or gals
with scars on their shriveled-up
those who are merely tired
or have retired
those who survive
their past adult films
of "show and tell"
those looking for some
difficult drama to act upon
not feeling like cast in Hell
or those who almost made it
to the red carpet
but settled for bit parts,
to be stunt men
or to be extras
on daily crime dramas
or prime time T.V. shows,
one never knows
if actually
one really talented person
will portend a future role
on the stage or under the lights
at a community theater
or go to off-off-Broadway
or Hollywood playhouse
but I say break and leg
or knock on wood
do not beg for a part
the theater is a difficult art
to stage manage,
take it from a poet
art director, actor
from all who play their part
you are welcome to try out.

 Little Blue Flowers

(For Thomas Merton,
died December 10, 1968)

All laments from our eyelids
fade in the long distance
sent from a companion's dream
of nightly agents of animation
with a trinity of love words
rises out of angelic anonymity
by an abbey's canon song
as light reveals a mourning dove
on an unexpected branch
hovering over by a breeze
in an ancient snowfall
which befriends a silent Oak
by the bones of Gethsemani
suddenly upraised by sounds
of a sacred wheel moving
by hidden windflowers
which touch the vocal chords
and spoken words of miracles
of a poet who passes by
near the reddest leaves
by one still-flowering rose
on grounds of monastery trees
during these silent Nones hours.


(December 8)
Tonight I am playing
your violin concerto
which once communicated
to an audience
when I was twelve
in short pants
when my great uncle
with a shock of white hair
rising up from his chair
conducting the music school
orchestra with finesse
as only he could
with throbbing notes
and chords
remembering my cadenzas
and thinking of Sibelius
of his long-suffering
as an adolescent would guess
you making music
that showered love between us,
now that I am mature
in an embrace of time
on your birthday
with my memory of sound,
voice, echo, vibrato,
surely playing your concerto
from my soul.

 Art School Near B.Z.'s Home in Brookline

(December 18)

That sauntering sense of color
on the canvas
appraised by my teacher
at the Metropolitan Museum
loving Klee's art as a child
surfacing my eyes on clear lines
in silent respect
later injecting my own jazz words
of painted poetry
from the light on walls
though his Swiss dreams
in Prussian blue
giving us the fragrance
of his touch
in shaping what is new
like a bird's dance
on his painting Before the Snow
drawing a body of memory
through a Muse's chance
to understand our identities
on a white meadow by the Bay
from imaginative shadows
in a language native to pine
on a road map through the woods
with a Muse all yours and mine
as an earth-angel saint
plays the lute
from a speechless scherzo
by a narrow flowered riverbed
in a half-painted fresco
on a selected metamorphosis
of wet paint
yet only Apollo would know
to salute and visit you
on your pillow
at your birthday.

 Ben (B.Z.) and Roses

(For James Wright,

A wordsmith has earned
a place in posterity
from the heartland
to sum up his time
with a visionary voice
of a grace we have discerned
to matter what in humanity
you dream for us
in the woods of solitary silence
we have learned
so much from your verse
being an eyewitness
as a flying Dutchman
watching sky birds
in the night sky air
as you walked on the beach
by ever living stones
reaching for a conch shell
to put it up to your ear
and listen to an echo
near the lake's shore
to wave you on in Ohio
with names of stars
in a full rising moon
where angels meet
whispering to you, James
over fairly open wheat fields
battling the frozen elements
where children build a snowman,
you remember those who survive
as in Achilles shield,
you hear the priest's sexton
awakening an open steel door
in the sanctuary of revival
to reveal incense going up
intermingling immortal fires
and then in the breeze's
early winter air
you take a long walk
amid nature's forest breeze
brushing by rival winds
as words reshape you
overlooking an icy lake
feeling as a sparrow on a roof
holding your pen in hand
as you proofread images
on many a poet's page
in a woven labyrinth of rain
as you sit under the fir trees
with Christmas lights
on December 13th
tiny flakes of snow
cover you with night's wonder
a hovering bird on a white branch
sings out to you
over your birthday's
lasting quatrain.


Today’s LittleNip:

(for W.H. Auden,

Wystan taught us
the point is to love,
having emigrated
from London
to the States entry
who sought to clarify
what is modern,
shutting out hatred
of anyone's race
gender desire or class
in a world out of joint
Auden only meant well
while others jabbered
or hammered for war
which sent men to hell,
he gave us a divine slice
of angel food cake
and told us to love twice,
as we lift up our wine glass
and make peace
for God's sake.


—Medusa, with thanks to B.Z. Niditch and Denise Flanagan for today’s hearty breakfast! To hear Joshua Bell play Jean Sibelius' Violin Concerto in D minor, op 47, go to  For more about Larz and Isabel Anderson and Anderson Gardens in Brookline, MA, see

 B.Z. Going Back to His Nest