Thursday, March 03, 2016

March Blues

Bamboo Trophy II
—Today's Art and Sculptures are by Frank Stella
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


A bluebird carols
under the pine branches
near the ice pond
in a revelation
that spring is near
where children skate
wanting a summer orange
raw almonds and poppy seeds
from California vineyards,
a musician plays riffs
to the woodwinds
with his confident notes
of smooth jazz fingertip tunes,
while my hands open
from the bird feeder nearby
on quiet country roads
with scenes of my youth
everywhere by the pale suspense
of a falling silence
that only a poet knows
from a ghost town
which haunts to scale
the white hills
in the noonday air
scattering the shadows
as snow kisses the myrtle
by riverbeds
of a once-rose trellis,
the sunshine simmers
down our backs
we hold up a village sled
as several boys play bocce
tiny flakes
from the exhaling sky
make their eyelids wince,
a teacher from a Vermont hike
shuffles by near the riverbeds
hoping greensward foliage
will come forth
on the pine-covered branches.

 The Whiteness of the Whale, 1978


While light
has fractured
the pantry window
we listen to Bach's
Coffee Cantata
after a parlor game
of morning scrabble,
an informed delivery
brings me postcard news
from an ingenuous hour
filled with dark shades
when with a single heart
of regrets will remember
Guinevere as any good Arthur
with many men courting her
as she deserved the royal seal
for her gift of abstract painting
revealed in all those shifting
good times at Long Beach
exonerating me for acting out
for her in my own paranoia
all the characters in my plays,
swimming out by the lighthouses
harbors and towers of Babel
now I hear she has gone
an expiation of the passing
of a beautiful swan near
our sail boats in the East
off the Coast of the Marianas
during an adolescent race
now surrenders in my sunrise
with a missing cloudless distance
for shadows on a snow kiss
to a salvaging love
of a now-absent friend.



Tell me
I will get out
of my delirium
to celebrate with Renoir
next week
his birthday
that my memoir
of spending days
with him at the museum
and dreaming of his shaped
colors needs my sadness
not to be reconciled
but to get me away soon
from my wintry exile
into the butterflies’ sunshine
sitting by the window
watching the snowflakes
hearing a bluebird whistle
at the slate roof shadow
knowing spring will dawn
soon in neon-light red
in sands of air
by the thistle branches.

 The Earthquake in Chili, 1999


We have to go on
though we want to be blameless
for your lost brother
hiding from war's opprobrium
at a recurring nightmare
under the white cover
denuded yet open-faced
except for his laughter
about his week-old underwear
and coming home blameless
after your last message came
to us with no guilt or retreat
you were not shamed
for not putting on your boots
blaming it on his flat feet
or being deaf in one ear
a status grown into irony
by his "4-F" rejection
convicted by a mastery of fear
that he was a bare necessity
of their related son's reflection
he was under a reputation's curse
of his belated family
in a conflict having
when life ate us all
he is gone from the station
having not left on the right path
pushed down here on the beach
by wildly Cape angular winds
near the familiar bird feeder
refreshed at the fountain chorus
to swear it still feels like winter
as an escaped tenor of a bear
is heard by the woods
on March first's murderous air
off an ocean's raucous waves
he's wandering in the gazebo
and sits to reminisce for a time
with Joey a light-weight boxer
recovering from amateur night
offering him a small cup of whiskey
that he saved with his food
up against his youth hostel's
sandy chorus of rude dreams
that fills an absence of distance
from any death-wish fatality
still carded for memory loss
to be reached in contemplation
or solitaire,
now mounting over
the winding beach stair
finding a single yellow crocus
probably from a high school prom
that eventually will hurt him
in his pea jacket pocket
leaving us with no homily, ribbons
epitaph or his teddy bear
a fellow not frozen into believing
any glimpsed churlish reality
he is none for the worse.

The Quadrant, 1987-88


In colors of ashes
from the sighs
of Polish village synagogues
settling on innocent wounds
here was only an assembling
of prayerful grief
where you have taken us
which all humanity takes notice
sparing none of the pieces
of your passionate sorrows
drawing from articulate fingers
on history's awareness
in victim's impacted dreams
from the dusty altars
for the sacrificed living memory
the spirit shone lives on
in an artist who has a poet's voice
enduring despite everything
as the two-eyed deadly colors
and shapes become our own.



The island
of the Aegean
and a singer and poet
chants of exiles
of banishment
your hands
have a brotherly shape
in a personal charge
of amnesty denied
to poets
with skeptical pens
writing on the beach
scratching the paper
of the seaweed hand
a prompter of notes
by a warm night's
gamble of words
in the lamplight
shading your fingers
printed on mirrors
of sultry mirages
in grey fog descriptions
of the last tourist ship
onto the harbor's cul-de-sac
heading to the downpour
at the ports
of holding you up
for your last breathless
possible moment.

 Severinda, 1995


When the visiting
French critic
said to me
“Do you know Breton's verse?”
and only eighteen
despite my youth
she brought me
to Breton's mirror of books
after class
seated me by the table
and had me type
in French
about myself
telling her my cousin
fought in the Resistance
and I have a stamp
with his picture on it,
both Pierre and Andre
became an assembly
of fresh stars in my life
when we shared our poetry
years later
in the twilight of the Louvre.



The light
may be out
by the flickering flame
on the street where
we heard of your passing
as the snow is a landscape
along windows by church
with the odor of incense
at the last peal of bells
yet we by our lamp stands
wait to remember you again
overcoming misunderstanding
and betrayal
in a confessional search
of our own age's delusion
walking by the rails
of second thoughts
with a poet's words
in a free-spirited conclusion
lighting a candle for you
in my near-sleeping eyes
thinking of the threshold
power of a traced reunion
when future and the past
shine in one glow.


Today’s LittleNip:

A real book is not one that we can read, but one that reads us.

—W.H. Auden


—Medusa (click once on photos to enlarge them)


 Shoubeegi, 1978