Thursday, March 31, 2016

Stillness for Insomniacs

Loggerhead Turtle Beaching Itself
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Anonymous Photos of First Encounter Beach, Cape Cod


Off Cape Cod
near Wellfleet Bay
on a bitterly windy cold day
with high tide seen
at First Encounter Beach
where native Americans
first met the Pilgrims
who reached out to them
offering food
as they sang their hymns
today hundreds of turtles
have lost their way
from the Gulf of Mexico
moving north to New England
over the gulf stream
and close to a death trap
by the cold waters
have washed along the shore
as a couple of good souls
local sons and daughters
are on a mercy mission
to spare them in a triage
from frozen extinction
and dehydration
who travel to the Boston
Aquarium facility
in a miraculous airlift
in helicopters
in giant banana boxes
of emergency care
as a poet dreams this night
of young endangered creatures
not in despair on the beach
but within our hands
with difficulty to reach
the many turtles who survive
being buried in the sea
riding the blue waves
to rise among the reeds.

 First Encounter Beach


Sleepless sitting in a studio
with my mind racing
toward all the news
in a resignation of life
watching Akira Kurosawa's
No Regrets For Our Youth
it is the night stillness
for insomniacs in the city
through a dim bedroom
with a shuddering light bulb
that won't turn off
or a fire of evening words
driving my diary narrative
which compels me
to put my embers of thoughts
taking my leave on the riverbed
by a voyage along the Hudson
near hot-spotted painted easels
by a metamorphosed
left on Thursday at Central Park
as an easy bottled water burns
from a lemony light flame
in a kettle for green tea
needing a hand for a bath
away from idle conversation
from the swelling coldness
in my mortal open blanket
on the outer blackness
except for the quarter-moon
hearing another half-dreamed
nocturnal voice in person
on the spot of my memory
of Beat phrases from my hand
upon a daisy chain of the parting
soul of the concert pianist
wounded by life next door
for whom we left flowers
in a shroud
of youthful appearance
of embracing respect in long lines,
I'm hushed in respite of mystery
glimpsing slightly on my telescope
the sweeping shadowy stars,
the transparent sky will bare
her own fervid witness
that a poet lived here alone
in a hot host of student housing
at a Manhattan brownstone attic
in an age of hope and comity
we furtively rush to figure out
with a skeptical penmanship
what's with
this adolescent time
of weary metamorphosis
wanting a mathematical proof
that we are living to fight
against headlines to war
to challenge
my pacifist horizon
in my undisclosed diary
near my stationed sunglasses,
communal phone,
and soprano sax
at my soundproof room.


An international poet
takes his niece
on school vacation
up to the Metropolitan
to view Gauguin,
Rothko and Matisse,
outside are March winds
as flakes of white have fallen
with a fringed snow resting
upon trees to be unveiled for us
but this twilight
we are fugitives
walking by long aisles
of fine landscapes and statues
along walls of contained art
with a wise style and structure
certain as we ourselves brush by
a Michelangelo drawing or a fresco
curtained for us as an accomplice
in the sculptured intelligence
and depth at each intriguing station
situated in our minds
reaching upon
pedestals of civilization
created and incarnated forever
from outlined
thresholds of culture
we find explanations
of the painters
and their elements
of recognition
communicating from
our enlightened past
granted to us
this exploration's night
as formidable color
development rises
to shape
a parting explanation
through our honorable
watch list
in a universe
through others' eyes.

 Horseshoe Crab


Watching David and Lisa
in an all-night movie theater
from an ice-glittering evening
outside Manhattan
when teaching a late spring
course which surprised me
in a cry aloud in the balcony
reaching to hear out
to a patron so effected by the film
after a semester of human voices
from those ephemeral days
meeting live-in poetic souls
who still clench my hand
in a pastoral setting
of the late Sixties
thinking of those past poets
whose images of mortal clay
in spent time
of selected anguish
like John Clare
or Sylvia Plath
wishing for a time
to be isolated
from their public
in an asylum
of the suffering
with an endless tongue
rolling on their mouths
of unfinished brilliance
from wise trembling lips
of assorted medications
seeking to express
from the class stupor
of bloodshot eyes
meeting those students
with the retention of genius
as regents to reign over words
and constituents for us,
they taught me.

 No sense in clamming up, now, is there...?


Never to open your eyes
and not remember
the Cedar Tavern
when daring laughter
gets lighter to flare up
our vetting after midnight
with a wrestler from Madrid
burning into a torch song
outside the Big Apple stars
walking as if in an erased dream
consented by
our transparencies
continues its music
of regrets
in shadowy poetic emergencies
from a bachelor-button pad
where all mirrors die
in the critical back corridors
where politics resides
behind closed doors
surprised to shine
by morning glory
in his light-headed lunch poem
Frank, avoiding all obstacles
out of the words written
on napkin, tablecloths
in an unseen direction
we sing on an unarmed guitar
a tune of the Spanish Civil War
with chiming in glasses of wines
attrition into a miracle cup
of reflective readings
up to the dark watery rain
outside an awakening
in the full waves
in my intermittent reign of words
writing them in my diary
at wandering by traffic stops
with Larry Rivers
getting on a brother's motorcycle
left on the Whitman threshold
in sunshine-warmed Manhattan
where the same shadows
return to my memory
never fading at the colors
of the trees from Central Park.

 47 Series, No. 4, 1947
—Painting by Franz Kline (1910-1962)


With drawings of a Bohemian
Franz Kline's world
enters into his studio paintings
aspiring in a last candle flame
crashing the studio gates
from a discreet insight
of engulfed lamplight mystery
exposing art's insomniac
vision to dusty morning life
in confronted exposition
nonconforming under painting
engaged in unknown pastiches
of abstract inventiveness
unconcerned in daybreak
at unfinished silence of dawns
emerging in
post-war Manhattan
at a creative apprehensive time
as if you in
constant flow of thought
from an abstracted disappearance
with the assured continuity
in black-and-white patterns
from outnumbered watches
of accented signatures
shuddering in a sheltered night
circling his animated savor
of furtive photo of imprecations
resonating along
a safe linked space
of connected vulnerabilities
leading you
in momentary silences
opening up a leaking window
of rain from shaping your life's
many canvas patterns
on mapped
schemas at a portico
to shoot
your attached art sorties
upon a punitive
aesthetic expression
with unformed
colorful inclinations
along your
moving wrist and fingers
from a modern
consented journey
of new
disposable techniques
coagulated in your still lives.

 Provincetown II, 1959
—Painting by Franz Kline


Sunshine threads
us as dandelions appear
intoxicated by the new season
on the high fields
over the grassland golf course
at my daily walk
down blue hills
carrying my notebook
and archive diary
with a Rouault clown cover
in a border of remembrance
observing the clouds departure
as morning birds bend down
over branches of birches
wishing my patch of earth
heeding a new
embroidered spring
to console and absorb us
hearing the waves
off the Cape
splashed by
new rain at waterfalls
in the distance to be destined
to stay alive as a wordsmith
as flower petals may be awaking
erasing our light
lost insomnia
on edge at our loneliness
waiting for nature
to disguised itself
with quivering
ripened oranges
curled and tangled on a tree
bordered by tiny squirrels
near a reunion of leaves, twigs
and witnessing woodland ferns
taking my oars in my hands
on my anchored kayak
by the house iron fence
to my germinating
singular voice
guided by blushing
rose bushes
under the first
wounding light.


Today’s LittleNip:

Take a walk with a turtle. And behold the world in pause.

—Bruce Feller


Many thanks to B.Z. Niditch for today’s fine poetry! It's a pleasure to hear weekly news and reminders about our friends on the Other Coast, such as B.Z.'s reminders about the saving of loggerhead turtles on Cape Cod (see

Speaking of weekly, Rod Miller of El Dorado, CA recommends Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Off the Shelf, a weekly podcast at Thanks, Rod!

For more about the American artist, Franz Kline, and his work, go to