Thursday, February 18, 2016

Black Tulips

—Anonymous Photo
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


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.

 Farmers' Market
—Anonymous Photo


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
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
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’
daily disguises are removed
under the motioning wind
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 a funky way
after the bandanna is put on
your auburn hair net
we found at the bazaar
along with my blue visor
taken along the park
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
to watch the sparrows
in Central Park
they stir their wings
expecting tomorrow's beat.

 Cat in Black Tulips


All night
trying to scat
the music of my sax
does not rise up
the way it should be
perhaps this one Beat
of a once-cool cat
has grown too warm
as I sit by the bed
with a perfumed scent
of old Valentine lyrics
leaving me indifferent
after all the storms
of his rage and fury
at this closed door
not wanting to go into
a long corridor
of romantic memory
feeling in a candle's glow
after trudging in the shade
feeling like an exile
over the sun's passing
covering its white shadows
meeting me alone
with my last prayer card
enlightening on my desk
in a snow globe's
silent greeting
in the form of an obelisk
of my abstracted notes
sounding past midnight
before the dawn in Boston.


(Born February 23, 1878)

A wall mural elaborately
breathes out
its artistic calligraphy
by the floral studio hallways
as we are pointed out to view
a visually daring span
and sensory painting of quality
Kazimir Malevich's Red Square
with its modernist panorama
of human potentialities
with an emphatic composition
from a Russian abstract painter
who knows his geometric facts
on the cross-cutting edge
of a blistering visionary's canvas
dropping patinas and auras
from his angular colors
upon prolific cloths gesturing us
to many hectic liberating shapes
that regenerate our imagination,
discovering a charming subtlety
and wisely unique chasm
as if a poetry's phantasm's lore
of ambiguity directs us into
his drawing trimeter measures
in a surpassing critical technique
of all who came before
Kazimir Malevich's
Cubo-futuristic part
of the avant garde's pleasure
in vector of great magnitude
with a critical character
and sense of oeuvre in his art
as Moscow's emerging complicity
in a new modernist century
from a creator's spacial segments
which imparts marginal outlines
as our aesthetic eyes widen
from a wise pollinator
featuring a dramatic nature
of an authentic sculptor
with an unexpected varnished
and polished painter's surprise.

 Red Square: Painterly Realism of a Peasant Woman
in Two Dimensions
—Painting by Kazimir Malevich, 1915


Now we think twice
in taking advice
when we compose or chant
our cantos, rants or odes
from ancient legendary fare
in lyrical poetic documents
or in prose narrative
writing in our honor codes
through purgatory's spirit
the glory of a poet's creations
as in the Latin of Virgil
or in modern translations
in public library revisions
from Pound on Baudelaire
or in Eliot or Auden's comments
which enfolds us this dawn
at the country fair,
listening to a matins church choir
with musical sounds in French
sitting on a bench with Nicole
a student and actor of literature
here amid the icy air of Montpelier
listening to her thrilling solo
then her reading of Portia's words
at a Shakespeare folio
from The Merchant of Venice
wanting to plant a laurel
of recognition on her head,
instead of feeding a few birds
while I have a repast
of potato skins and bread,
now reading to console her
having to face an audition
she is needing for her exam
after her hour poetry slam,
the snow still blowing its darts
as St. Sebastian's arrows land
on the narrow cold flagstones
when comforted on a hammock
by our arty tomes
at a windy garden party
near the riverbed
once filled with garlands
in spiced amphora jars
of camouflaged flowers
by a slippery bush of junipers
where sparrows abide
now standing by her snowman
with a rose-red tie on his chin
a carrot on his nose,
as a deer waits for hours
by the bird feeder
near the water fountain
by the flora and fauna
now filled with black ice
where neighborhood cats rest
and relax like the poet Durrell
after an Artesian wellness drink,
we listen by a wellspring ground
for a chirping sound
of three squirrels up the tree
I'm thinking in conversation
are also busy on vacation
making provision
when two tiny children
named Dora and Victoria
accept a skating invitation
with their kitten Yuri
trying to converse and say hello
from their Russian
with a temperamental fellow
who must be their daddy
at this February hour
who puts on their heavy clothes
with bonnets and mittens
to play on the icy field
and eat cookies and brownies
by their bay windows,
while Howie, a friendly neighbor
ends up from the duck pond
with his macho brother, Joad
a lucky race car driver
whom the local yokels
claim is like Groucho
by his funny sporting sessions
who teaches soccer and hockey
and asks to have freaky fun
by reaching out
to the younger townies
as if on a mission
who years ago use to work
in a now-empty brewery
inventing his own ale and beer
from the hip buzz of happenings
of the transitional Sixties
born in New Haven
near Yale University
who can still quote any passage
from any sonnet of Shakespeare
as an intellectual maven
with notes in his vest
he is a frostily bearded Yankee
with a white goatee visage
he acquired from the Village
in smart yellow pants
yet who is brilliantly intelligent
not a throaty ranting sycophant
wearing almond-colored shorts
in this frozen weather
who use to play soccer and rugby,
now even at an eccentric sixty
he still fixes vintage cars
running best in every marathon
when he is light as a feather,
rumor has it he was in Swan Lake
when he was at eleven
studying at the Boston Conservatory
yet once madly slid
from his slippery ballet toes
from the ski slopes
dashing his university hopes,
now baits to switch on his rod
as he hopes to ice fish
on the local pond for cod
wanting to feed on manna
quail and venison
for his ninety-year-old nana,
walks the wood forests
breathing heavily by his cat
to take our snowy picture
from an on-point camera
under the Elm tree’s nest,
taking more winter photos
from a storm's interlude
as a flock of guest eagles
rock the open Arctic breeze
of the White Mountain Ski Resort
at ease in Vermont
assured by the South
to get warmth,
while I want to play
an étude from memory
Chopin's B Minor Sonata
indoors on the piano.


A kindly neighbor handed me
an Einstein sweatshirt
along with my Valentine
as today his theory of relativity
has now been confirmed
without great consternation
how he created it
a century earlier
Albert with a comical face
yet a theoretical physicist
he who barely escaped
so many hurts of the human race
and bravely made his way
from Germany to the U.S.A.
who admired Mahatma Gandhi
in his demonstration for peace
and Isaac Newton
he inspired Princeton
backed up our nation
lost in calamity and war,
no matter what yahoos say
he is a hero who saved the day
with his detection of vibrations
of measured gravitational waves
from faraway stars and galaxies
covering his black hole discoveries
he is treasured for eternity
for how science now behaves
and proves that divine miracles
are wrought from our angel refugees
who left their country of poverty
with mind, sense and body
like Einstein to serve,
who taught us to give a chance
toward all human kind
who survive our memory
with a sense of generosity
deserving of our thanks, sympathy
and a symphony of poetry
in ranks of our calendar annals
from a traumatic five-star history.



With a fiery wind of poetry
cast on the paint
to Robert Browning
in his middle ages
among the saintly picture
he draws Fra Lippo Lippi
at his crowning glory
with a priority
of a monk who blessed
as their sin is confessed
sunk in poetic languages
of Greek and Latin
in the satin background
as the choir alights in
and engages
in a Florentine cloister
from the Carmelites’ sound
singing by the orchestra
with wine and bread
of the sacrament.


Today’s LittleNip:


In the light being mistaken
for a distinguished stranger
or even a mild shadow
of a poet man
in a surprised view
at an old church manger
as we pass
by the hay-and-straw crib
assured of God's love
after Christmas is over
yet images of life's rib
of Adam and Eve
are still alive as stars
of Bethlehem arriving
in the Common green
to cover over the clover
in the wellspring land
as the light of the world
is not extinguished
but shines, as arrows
of St. Sebastian
are sent into space
tomorrow in a day's time
as capsules to Mars.


Many thanks to B.Z. Niditch for today’s potpourri of poems! For Rbt. Browning’s poem, “Fra Lippo Lippi”, go to To hear a little Louis Armstrong, go to


 Albert Einstein