Thursday, May 19, 2016

Night Journey of a Dada Dream

—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Stacey Jaclyn Morgan, Fair Oaks, CA


Hearing the gulls’ chorus
and birds on the branches
searching in the sun spots
as a swan and swallow kites
appear in the atmosphere
as friends share
with me on my radio voice
I'm heard
to play an oratorio
by William Byrd
after the slight avalanche
while at cross country
on a Vermont ski lift
in dawn's miracle litany
wanting a gift of words
here in the laughing forest
on an afternoon of a fawn
rejoicing by drawing in
a painting to share
resembling the poetry
while enjoying
a Blake blue plate special
inside the church.


(Cohasset, Massachusetts)

My palms were dusty
and numbed
from my rosin case
playing in a profusion
of Bach notes interlaced
at an afternoon recital
hearing heavenly chords
later eating by the roadside
talking to these hummingbirds
amid the vitality of my thumb
from my musical score
by myself serving a half-loaf
of French cheese bread slices
and more soda ices
this May gazebo
under the white table covers
to dine in Tanglewood at Lenox
a waiter offers us a bagel and lox
with a bland red wine
which every music lover digests
as a fine Boston cultured critic
aged with white hair
suggests adventurous fun
of hearing a violinist play
a Spanish sarabande
under the vanishing sunshine.

 Echium vulgare


A night journey
of a dada dream
sleeps in my eyes
sprouts from vineyards
of a bard's darkness
when a crescent moon
passes over
covering a deep silence
stolen from a wayside
of fallen sandbags
emerging in another world
that felt like a hint of paradise
entangled the last light
of the lunar sky
by the curtained pastimes
in the depth of a hard rain
watering a Paris park shade
by the river Seine
along suburban birch branches
away from the city graffiti walls
where songbirds rise
from pastel wet leaves
too embarrassed
in the ninth circle
of geometric designs
reminding me of Mondrian
from a labyrinth of squares
flickering in candles
of my dark lashes
from a gossamer of smoke
extended to a dead-end street
in the rain of pungent nature
dazzling by pale green grass
leaving me a river current
of rushing waterfalls captured
by the brush of an artist
in a grove of potted plants
near the expressionist canvas
of another generation.



Dos Passos called him
"the son of Homer"
for everyone knows this Swiss bard
was morphing into his misnomer
of a Paris visitor and dynamic author
kissing his listeners on a boulevard
by loving dada in surreal French
who passes us his drawing card
in the park by the river Seine
to make room on our workbench
with his iconic business delivering
a metamorphosis of the avant-garde
in a poetry of reigning success,
Cendrars discloses after the Great War
he is a pacifist, having seen the darkness
amid the stress for a spiritual man
increases as a wonder in promotion
of fueled creative gravity under stars
as in a meteor ring around Mars
from a scene of commotion
in all of Satan's fantastic notions
on foreign fascistic fields
in his vernacular of language,
wishes us a transformation
with arranging human shields
as if a charismatic talisman leaks
words from his own cheeky charm
urging man to finally disarm
in descant of transcendence
for his future cultural descendants
as a charismatic poet in sequences
speaks in a life's parenthesis
searching for truth in dialectical
and pivotal consequences
before a heathen firing squad
with a benchmark to God
penned by in Russia
as "the Legend of Novgorod"
greeting you as a renaissance man
by an old library shelf
he became my friend in residence
putting an international fragrance
on me in his inventive personality
from an inventive classical history
in stories of chance adventure
with a part in world culture
in your story of Resistance
as an art partisan in war or peace
from a poet lore veneration for us
in this encomium and panegyric
to a gracious poetic glory
this tenacious genius sings
in his vocal twentieth century
seeking a dream story to enchant us
back to King Jesus as hero
beyond Dante's ninth labyrinth
to bring us from a scene of the Inferno
with a Homeric Greek chorus.

 Borago officinalis, Silver


Charlie Parker at The Open Door
audible in rushing shadows
on the Big Apple's fresh air’s edge
of moving moonlight riffs
by the last gig's tinted windows
on the first floor
talking past Jackson Pollock
whose finishing fingers
touch my life in drawing me
into the Beat of O'Hara
from young company players,
actors on off-off-Broadway
discussed between my lines
on the first stage of memory
passing into vitality in the Village
summons a desired fired-up
shift of companion languages
nearly outdone by pictures cast
by abstract expressionists
whose spark never goes out
in the dark alleys of our alto sax
or at an art pavilion
by a shout-out in the absence of time
when in the course of night
the piano music’s left hand
is embraced by the timeless ashcan
turned over by graffiti walls
from the New York school
poetry never ages to give ourselves
away to Manhattan's new arrivals
of cleverly born exiles
by Ellis Island or Sing Sing
tuned onto the light spring rain
over in Flushing Meadows.


(For Robert Lowell,
in memoriam)

Not for the armies of war
after being in a mental hospital
confined in arrested positions
for his humanity's protest
and for liberty of his vocation
a poet with personality swirls
this Thursday spring morning
having a series
of balmy hallucinations
like a gallery of mating birds
visiting an Evergreen tree
on Cambridge Common
he dreams of a memory
wrestling for inner peace
or a drink of wine
and not dreading to think
in a college class concentration
waiting in the faculty
with an intimacy of a bard
racked from distress
which he faces at college daily,
his mind constantly races
on this Charles River bed
as chased honey bees in a yard
not forgetting his medication
over a hedge at Harvard
he immediately chases
for cultural knowledge
of his old French quatrain
not to live on a ledge
like Socrates dismissively
as students rally around
his outside bench
but that every word be read
as he paces the lecture room
in a breathless chagrin
from so many panic attacks
hoping the gloom of medicine
will bring words to a stop
and set him on track
forgetting the offended pain
of his breathless god on the rack
now still in a black valley
of melancholy reigning doom
settling for a close friend
like Elizabeth Bishop instead
now in Brazil, to be back soon.

 Gaillardia aristata


Ron carries in his valise
long notebooks of injustice
on fish hooks of metaphors
over a Vermont library corridor
apparently wishing on his video
to have an alternative literary
vision of a contrary poetry lore
from the hidden mirror
of his own selfish narcissism
in a meticulous print-out
constantly spouting
his own morphing dictionary
in a mindful but cautionary tale
of his personal business
without success as a writer
Ron is cursed with a warring
unsigned nursing busy ego
he hinted to me out the door
that he always rants at interviews
from his reconstructed third estate
which does not want to be ignored
granted Ron thinks he is a stud
and has a fire in his confession
like a revealing Errol Flynn
with a steel sword's impression
as in the movie Captain Blood
with a miraculous effluence
as he wants me to review
the feigned yet secretly inspired
lives of authors
and understand their influence,
to make everything once hidden
to be new for his beneficiaries
no matter the data or distance
of many understated inventions
with him you cannot win
in any arbitrary scattered argument
amid disorderly habits of chance
with freely constructed words
he strictly instructed me in
showing to me the press releases
of his own adrenaline concision
as he smiles to stonewall me
down the country road
I adjust to tell him
my own literary path
from my own load of study
by the wheelhouses of influence
in the wiles of invention
and reasonable obligation
with fairly good impression
of Heaney, Frost, Merton, Plath
who have not been understood,
now we watch a flock of birds
flying by a pigeon on rocks
at the public park's water
near the Green mountain express
in its Bennington slovenly bath
at the park water fountain
by the deer in the woods
as we remain for an hour
at a pavilion French café
for croissants and cheese
asking me honorable questions
on various authors’ behavior
with no fabled consideration
after several available rants
knowing the laughing hysteria
of an interviewer's shout-out
is not any poet's savior
in these mercenary discussions
confesses to me by the clock
his own known drugged testimony
as he briefly passes out
upon his dry dead bones
lying on his own read epitaph
of a staff writer's mental block.



Poet of a different time
tormented, with tears shed
for your dictionary to be read
Samuel Johnson
by the whole world
selfishly in an English bed
with a piece of bread and drink
to get others in a lexicon
to dream and to think
by a chain and padlock
unless you go mad
for your literary goal
we turn to you at night
or turn back the clock
in our contrary mood
that we ourselves
not frightened by knoll,
hill or good nature's toll
in city, town or wood
will be with wonder
in your thrilling story
from Boswell's diary
as we read your verse
will enlighten a lamp
under your universe
and have some one person
perhaps in another age
summoned to be understood
and to assuage your soul.

 Lathyrus odorata, Rainy Day


Where words always
address the moon
and end up as butterflies
by the dark water's edge
in the fountain's wellspring
near the white birches
across a misty river of bones
where my Dutch uncle
and a cherished Resistance hero
is buried by a canal's mangrove
yet still rises in a landscape
in my post-war memory
embedded in the park
near a life drawing
of van Gogh
which could define the ashes
of a generation of eyes opened
untangled wounds
in a lacquered shape
with the shadow of language
of Liberation Day suspended
by neon-lighted injuries
feeling abandoned
like a stray cat in the snow
yet knowing the skipped rope
of my cousin Lisa
still kisses the marble ground
of her late father Kim
by contorted canals
flooded by a lasting name
in the winter's gorse light
soon a white incarnation
in a lotus blossom
of a technicolor sunshine
from a ghost still at my mouth
captured by the evil doers
hiding in hallways by his pals
and taken into custody
in the South
was wounded as a freedom fighter
trying to save a fringed refugee
will always arrive blindfolded
in our fingerprinted sadness
taking an overlooked taxi
in Amsterdam alleys.


Today’s LittleNip:

One’s life, from being an exterior thing, grows inwards. Its intensity stays the same; and, d’you know, it’s most mysterious, the corners in which the joy of living can sometimes hide away.

—Blaise Cendrars

For more info about Blaise Cendrars, go to


—Medusa, with thanks to B.Z. Niditch for today’s fine poetry, and to Stacey Jaclyn Morgan for her haunting photographs!

 Celebrate poetry today by going to 
Poetry at the Central Library at noon, then 
make a choice between the reading in Davis 
with Laurie Glover and Linda Lancione, 
or the release of the final issue of WTF at 
Luna’s Café in Sacramento. 
Scroll down to the blue box (under the green box 
at the right) for info about this 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.