Thursday, January 28, 2016

There May Be An Angel

—Paintings by Jackson Pollock
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


The gull that snatches
fish from the ocean
as Arctic winds blow
pulls on our imagination
at the edge of the waters
by a frozen horizon
when here in Vermont
weapons sharpened in its origin
are wanted by fishermen
for an aboriginal spear
to survive the winter
as several guys hide
inside a coral rock
motion to me to glimpse
what is on the other side
of the docks and boats
as an eagle flies
over rusty roofs of the dock
in the feathery home harbor
among barges of Cod
upon a good haul today
by the lobster nets floating
upon green drifting waters
of an ice fishing moment
for these long-armed souls
in dark lemon tattered clothes
trying to provide a living
we share bread and chowder
though we are lonely
concealed in the neighborhood
whether in alleys, galleries
or hallways of public libraries
wishing that louder waves
would speak to us aloud musically
with sunshine and not despair
in odes of Blakean poetry
through a piano's musical notes
for it is very cold on our fingers
to emote a lyrical song
there may be angel,
God knows, unaware.

 The Deep, 1953


Remember this Beat poet
in slow motion
with a radio
walking for a mile
along this ocean sand
when trees will not go
into exile being white
until winter's amnesty
packs up his close-packed gear
after a short run and hike
his flat feet exhausted
standing in a shower
of hot water
after talking a student out
of being a runaway
by hiding out
on Longfellow Bridge
asking her to keep writing
her body of poems
telling her not to quit or stop
that it will take away
her gift of creativity
without reason
in gravity and time
or when she will surrender
to the dark side
of her Cambridge ancestors
as she tells me
one of her literary children
is an imaginary daughter
in her arbitrary imagery
of she who speaks to her freely
and dictates her lyrical words
that weigh on my memory,
telling her of Lazarus
who was in his life all new
as Jesus took to him
in a miracle of love and rescue
from an earlier captivity.

 Autumn-Rhythm, 1950


Displaying my arpeggios
on the keyboard
playing notes of Bach
in the first chords of dawn
trying to be exempt
from worry and anxiety
weighing in this cadence
and watching leaves fall
from the large Oak tree
knowing I'm merely a guest
at Elizabeth's piano lesson
with a musical memory
so much clearer after
dozing into a troubled sleep
from a contrapuntal melody
taking out my album photos
to smile at my theatricals
with my actor's shadows
before my double mirrors
of my plants
exposed in the frigid air
of a sub-zero windowsill
housing my geranium
taking off my kid gloves
from frozen hands
into suspended breath
on thrilling remembrances
at opaque January days
along Boston's Beacon Hill
as a devotee of Emily Dickinson
no longer seeing
the swan boats moving off
on the green of Public Gardens
in my Jamesian childhood
but now viewing tourist ships
in the home harbor
gliding to a magical realism
in my Cape Cod neighborhood
unfastened and sequestered
like a hibernating bear
behind a closed winter door
waiting anxiously to be warm
by the wood stove
as snow caresses the yews
hovering outside my shadows
asking the spirit of the deep
to redeem, shape and renew me
when time will not keep
by watching a fly-high bird
hiding in woodsy grassland
near a once-greensward field
where a poet walks
slowly but deliberately
near the whitened gazebo
sharing a labored high wind
with rising waves
on overlapped grey waters
as an arbiter and judge
of music and poetry
reads stunning verses
of Homer's oracles
for his own daily odyssey
about running rumors
when suddenly a childhood
hymn about miracles
emerges from a pastoral past
now anchored with friends
back at his inspected kayak
asking God for a blessing
of a lasting sun's protection
from storm and stress
as he waits for the catch
and carry of a local fisherman
who hands me a salmon filet.

 Reflection of the Big Dipper, 1947


With only minutes to go
until the Christmas show
proud of my latest play
in three far-out acts
the audience is excited
to fulfill a fourfold stage
the young actor and star
reacts with a no-fault excuse
sets himself loose
and starts to dance
sounding out
on the floorboards
bringing in the crowds
just hanging around.



Diego Velasquez
asks only for a royal seal
not masking his astonishing
transparent several years
of service to his country
by finally climbing up
to watch his pictures
leaving his memories behind
with an artist's recognition
as he leans on his canvas
passing kingly family portraits
gleaming on the walls
and high ceilings
though well known at court
yet his plea almost fell short
of any hopeful support
though the good word is sent
by ecclesiastical authority
of Pope Innocent
and Phillip, the Spanish monarch
offering their dark cask of wine
and fearfully good letters
will open few doors for him,
who finally recommend
to give Diego his miracle
of a memorial regent award
with a better offering
of the royal seal over his chest
to be awarded when he is dead
and buried at his final rest
for his great art showing
and purchasing paintings
for the king while in Rome
and by showing great loyalty
at home at the Escorial,
surely his Sephardic past
stood in his way,
that's what prejudice
does to genius
even in our day.

 Portrait and a Dream, 1953

(Born January 28)

Juxtaposed in his age
with a modern art's dexterity
covering over
a new portfolio page
Jackson colors in
an artistic phase
of red, green and lemon
splashing on a thick canvas
as if waving to us
from his studio
to wait for an attic of critics
who wait to see him
in a visit with my uncle
for only a poetic moment's ardor
watching Jackson's
oil-spotted hands
from Freudian slips of mind
he even greets us behind doors
toiling with his palms
in his hip-wide ability
of illustrating art's modernity
by taking a stance
at reshaping geometry
and art as expressionist poetry
shaded in by free expression
of a post-war traumatic time
with all the toiled dynamics
of a one-act and life chance
into high dramatics
on a wheelhouse commission
for a small meditated spell
of his antics in a confessional art
upon another overly medicated day
doing his critical part
while standing over a canvas
of drip-dry whitened sheets
in a newly painted mural
at a hallway wall
under noisy open streets
sunk with a desired awareness
by listening to jazz radio
without any critic's permission
to dictate his sponge brush
and explore connections
inspiring the spot-on
of a pattern and surface
covering over orange paint
as if his rush-on life directions
would ease his worst inhibitions
and undesired anxiety
exposing five faces and senses
hidden in an attic of Manhattan
we follow his lively inspections
as these uptown critics desire
to unfold an imposing
part of a reputation
by praising his first exhibition
of colorful illustrations
with Jackson as a live wire
carves a bas-relief
amid patterns of a furnace fire.

 The Flame, 1938

(born January 23)

Whether Manet perceives
extraordinary pitiable souls
on the streets of Paris
he still has time
to rush out
and buy new brushes
and meet his wife
by the Tuileries garden
as he paints life's discoveries
by exposing literary genius
in a portrait of Proust's
exemplary greatness
from his Swann’s Way or
The Guermantes Way
in a sacred poetic face
by a lunary day
for us watching on his city stay,
or catching naked poses of Olympia
too embarrassed for the gallery
not to pardon a legendary mantra
of a luminary nature's parley
at adorning figures on the floor
by blushing gritty roses
and tulips in a glass vase
or at a museum showing
of Tama, the Japanese Dog
slips on all fours
we suddenly remember
these portraits on Manet Lane
in Simi Valley, California
Boston or in New York City
no matter what rotten critics
say in the press to harass you,
they are soon forgotten
in our vicinity.

 The She-Wolf, 1943

(January 19th birthday)

Cézanne wrote to his son: "Obviously, one must succeed
in feeling for oneself and in expressing oneself sufficiently."

In Provence, Cézanne walks
out of the doors of bards,
troubadours, painted bathers,
nudes, walking over
rude white stones
where you will paint
men playing cards,
dogs on all fours,
for a rendezvous with Zola
who encourages you
in your assiduous endeavor
for a lively clever adventure,
and academic critics write
about your art's flat surfaces
or your sensory perception;
Cézanne remains serene,
departing for Paris,
cautious in raising doubt
in embarrassed receptions
without his art's showing
great wealth in its visitation
from many monetary purchases
as he captures The Bathers
in their censor's direction
by a visionary impression,
living often in willing isolation
of a Sistine-like still life,
knowing art lives on itself
by its own recreation.

 Out of the Web, 1949


Leaving endless snow
in the backyard
to play in chamber musicals
a bard will recite ballads
and play guitar
for all invited to my recital
and to toast a new year
nearby at the harbor bar
along the white-flaked Bay
now scenting the sea air
from vaporous windows
with waves rippling
over silken breaking waves
until we awaken the shadows
at the first light of day
as sunshine opens our eyes
quickly covering over
a sand’s rocky coast
to share an evening's hypnosis
mesmerized as water slips in
to feed our porch plants
revealing a winter's irony
that we ourselves are by nature
praising a visionary solo
raising my musical fingers
over the piano
we mistaking quiet breaths
to sway the assembled guests
or those who wish to stay alone
amid silent verses
or wish to hear an alto sax
as we view parking signs
the windmill shatters
our matter-of-fact ways
at my flaming Blakean lips
with a human map to mirror
our swaying dance of notes
from nameless thresholds
in clarity of shadowy words
putting our hands out
and within to reach the length
of Martha Vineyard's beach
as drifting sky flakes
fall on the evening darkness
a poet watches the branches lift
at the last small white bird
heading South while hearing
an AM radio stormy forecast
of a gusty Canadian avalanche
on a fleeting mid-January day
welcoming you to waken
on fields of endless praise,
as an infinite warmth
wakes us out of any daydream
in my mouth's praise is sung
as a poem and melody emerge
joined as one lyrical phrase
from a universal tongue.


Today’s LittleNip:


When surfing
for that French film
through tunnel vision
of a bad dream
it seems to have caught you
surfing on the sea
in San Diego, 1970
by a clenched board
holding on in slow motion
that you swim with the current
and channel a new song melody
with metaphysical words
and red wine
that make you alive
drinking in poetry
in pursuit of the sunshine.


—Medusa, with thanks to today's fine contributors!


Convergence, 1952
[For more about Jackson Pollock, go to