Thursday, May 26, 2016

America Whistles

America Whistles, 1975
—Today's Paintings are by Edward Ruscha
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


Your language draws us
into your personality
to make us travel with you
recollecting some
of your stories
shining in a recall
of memory
embraced in a diary
reflected summarily
in Dharma Bums faces
disclosed vocally
and directed
from your country's
unlocked prose pieces
of novel intimacy
or in momentary
poetic creation
on the roads,
beach and docks
or on the city steps
off Kerouac's
lost highway
crossing by
City Lights alley
reaching for
your writing chair
in hollow coffee houses
returning from
the 1950's cafes
empowering words
of scat melodies
sing on spontaneously
at the Red Drum memory
where his sacks
of grief fills up
huge beer cups
joined to share
on Kerouac's
summoned hour
as a sublime solo sax
riffs over
his chapter of notes
offering jazz's relief
at a changing scene
as a Beat poet escapes
to a new reality
fully extends
his unfolding brief
in an encounter of pop art
from Edward Ruscha
now at the L.A.'s
Hammer museum
remains a guardian
angel for him
at the Sixties surreal season
of a likely pedestrian
imparting correspondence
offering an uneasy
clearing line
between two newly
discovered talents
recalling when Jack
is clearing Frisco
as his motorcycle handle
falls off
on the road
between local cars
nearing a departure
of his taxing life
and nature
of his waxing ego
not ready for
the stars in heaven
words transfer
to the another body
by Jack's
transmigrating soul
from the century's
cultural dust
still bites him
as a visionary must
to span
forty-seven candles
to be created whole.

 Sponge Puddle, 2015


When slowly meditating
on arpeggios
before a recital
on Debussy's
solo flight
over the Atlantic Ocean
taking me
away to France
an orphan of promise
sky-dream notes
as classical
miracles alight
from St. Thomas
motioning my hand
on a half-violin
and rosin
art reaching me
in childhood
as laughter
from an impressionist
a romantic score
curls after
my fingering exercise
floats as
whirling winds depart
to Debussy's
Bohemian Dance.

 Music, 2014


In an old bookshop
perusing on a shelf
near an English pavilion
meeting Jane Kenyon
Stevie Smith
and Bishop
and for a cold shilling
to willingly bet
from that cold day on
there was more wealth
to thank their wisdom for
than any on earth's billing
or in the bank
with any coupon
sold in a time
of killing melancholy
for an exile
who spoke to us
at Oxford
with motioning lips
that war
hypnotized a crime
realized for our humanity
in the Seventies
political folly
that poetry
could in our time
be recognized
to share vocally
in a misunderstood time
of radical Apocalypse.

 Hey, 1969

(May, 2016)

In stone you shape
your geometric bodies
from hands shaped
like clay and bronze forms
connected for posterity
what is smartly shown
in a salon and studio
as flesh and bone
into a directed show
of dancers
transforming our day
on a chain of being humanity
that only art answers.

 Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas, 1963


She wrote as a guide
eye-lashed with a glimpse
of her final step on stones
from uncharted scenes
through verbal undertones
departing to slide away
as outlaw poetry weights rise
now fall as words leave
gone now from her chest
and atoning poetic heart,
may the last wings flow
out of Arkansas
and you critically depart
covering as the river grieves
for the white singing bird
by last January snow
cause you, C.D. Wright
to be delivered and at rest.

 Sea of Desire, 1983

(PARIS, 1970)

Overturned ships
along the Seine
concealed by
the rainy sands’ darkness
revealed expressionism
draped on my bare canvas
under this painted gazebo
as geometric
lines shape us
by learning
how art witnesses
to events one year ago
and returns to haunt us
in a stone tableau,
my prolific nightmare
like the figurine
of Poe on my piano
rotates its own
part of an axis
continues to sustain my ego
recovering my maps
graphic universe
of those Russians
not saved at sea
when those signaled pirates
on the waves of darkness
say on the wireless
"no or nyet"
yet mean "da or yes,"
like clever critics
who part our words
without using
a writing brush
or a jazz soloist
on the roof
riffs on a solo saxophone
tracing imaginary notes
attempting the alto tone,
or a gardener
by this orchard
this green fern
until sunshine
listens at the wellspring
on grounds and learn
or when sunshine
day breaks
when morning
birch branches kiss
the May wind shakes me
in my own circled abyss,
as I wake by riverbeds
near a sponge
of my ink drawing
my statue turns
into a fawn's head
by a pavilion with pigeons
under wild flowers
awning by the shade
likened by nana
to a prisoner's door
at my den
devoted to thinking
in my library's corridor
hearing music's
contrary cadences
of images,
rhythms, mirages
amid sequins,
prints, sequences
of sharing
my poet lore's way
in perpetual apocalypse
of motion
delivering barges
nature offering
me deliverance
here by a
kingfisher’s gathering
of salamanders
in the swimming harbors
amid the surging
waves of ocean
from spring
to summer arbors
delivering us to salvage
motioning to salmon,
cod by jelly wings,
those fish
in higher waters
with a behaving
divining rod
sighting a huge bird
flying in the ocean air
embracing an
albatross's wings
like Coleridge's
or Baudelaire's knowledge
upon bench work words
in an embarrassing
of better practicing
on my French love letter
for the Paris theater
in this praxis and parenthesis
with good wishes out
by signing
as a witness
of romance
as a son of David
and Ovid sings out
his metamorphosis.

 Ballerina, 1988

Today’s LittleNip:

One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.

—Jack Kerouac,
The Dharma Bums


—Medusa, with thanks to B.Z. Niditch for today’s fine poems!

To hear Merina Gordon play Debussy’s “Bohemian Dance", go to
For more about contemporary artist Ed Rushcha, go to or

 That Was Then This Is Now
—Painting by Edward Ruscha, 2014

Celebrate poetry today by heading over to Davis for a
release party by Red Alice Books of Patricia Hickerson’s 
posthumous poetry collection, Outcry (ed. by 
Cynthia Linville) at Logos Books, 7pm. Or go down to 
 Old Sac. for T-Mo Entertainment’s The Kings and Queens 
of Poetry at Laughs Unlimited, 8pm. Scroll down to the 
blue box (under the green box at the right) for info about 
these and other upcoming readings in our area.

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.