Thursday, June 02, 2016

Language's Ballet

Four Ballerinas on the Stage
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Paintings by Edgar Degas (1834-1917,


The breadth of a bardic Beat
venture returns to my memory
after a run on Boston Common
on Memorial Day weekend
Elizabeth still photographs me
after a minor marathon
resting my feet
along the Charles River
in the blazing sun
taking off my sweatshirt
on the Esplanade
up to the mirror of fountains
where children play cards
laughing in their fun
now on the edge of the shore
a sailboat moves us in the harbor
where sparrows make their way
circling the azure sky
brushing by the trees' maypole
concealed in birch branches
by the morning riverbed
where a poet adds a parenthesis
and the beekeeper keeps watch
on this New England colony
in the shed with my amanuensis.

 Dancers Tying Shoes, 1883


Betting for a wait
before Memorial Day
inspectors arm wrestle
an innocent passenger
with a bandaged pulse
in a straight jacket
when four hours
turn into dusk
trying to shadow-box
to bracket my own lines
of free verse poetry
in my daydream mind
encountering dizziness
from past turbulence
unaware of air pressure
from the force of sadness
my memory goes back
to my adolescence
of wearing a poppy
for Uncle Jack
year after year
on the green grave
with fresh flowers
and now removing
my Red Sox cap on backwards
taking out my sunglasses
yet speaking to another soul
with huge outrage who is here
burying her Dutch daughter
studying American history
at night and shadow
who was at a vacation tavern
given a date drug in a drink
at a good-bye graduation party
trying to make sense of it
over the mirage of waters
when times are loveless
and war has cursed us,
with her luggage lost
filling out so many forms
in the commotion of flight
feeling so much alone
we share forgotten photos
our past hidden love notes
inked in a sleepless hour
by fortune cookies
flashing car keys
expired passports
in long corridors of stone
awaiting a holiday weekend.

 Dancers in Blue, 1890


Some May days
one does not wish to think
too deeply, just do push-ups
on the gym floor
or sing a Sabbath hymn
that our spirit can't ignore
yet a poet emerges
through the library door
so contrary to his plans
locked without priorities
that he will stay
by the motioning clock
watching a coiled
garden snake in shadows
overgrown with mossy grass
submerged through a path
at my kitchen window
acting defensive in the garden
rattled without demands
makes natural sorties
as his shadow succumbs
and just slinks away
on this May doldrums day
waiting to swim in the waters
along the iron life-line fence
near a threshold
of seashells
along Degas' blue rocks
waking up my memory
of the goldfinch
with long wings
flying by a jetty's wharf
who sings us a song
by a tied rowboat
now takes a short swim
in the rush of a wave.

 Mlle. Fiocre in Ballet, "The Source", 1867-68


On a renovated boat in the sun
reading by the ocean shore
Psalm Ninety-One
then in a whim thrust forward
to float with a valor
as my hands motion
for a lost golden retriever
over dancing volley of winds
making me a believer
in more than fate
when it turns out to be Artemis
who belongs to my neighbor
now tasting half my brunch
moving with sea-voiced gulls
along the Coast of the Cape
trout fishing on my kayak
in the lull of a copper sunshine
now sore on my back and knee
with a pale net catch of fish
near brackish marshes
where wild tiny flowers ripen
as wishing well rush of my net
sparkles as waters on high seas
like mirrors in our daydreams
answer long silences
by this poem in a hazy dusk
heading for remote rock
on a string of islands
sailing by a jetty and docks
with Chinese markers
touching ocean logs
my vision multiplies
on my emotion of verbs
for a new play's monologue
as golden rays flash mirages
bubbling as snapping turtles
emerging by sand dunes
and calling on Sasha
about his rescued family dog
once adopted by his daughter,
once in the pound as he shares
the past crisis of losing Artemis
in a reinvented memory
about seeing Artemis
how he was missed and found
in my own metamorphosis
and not ever being drowned.

 The Dance Studio, 1878


By the hotel elevator in Paris
on an impalpable holiday
is the loneliest scene
as sleep-walking suit-cased
hearing the AM
speaking of raging war
ethnic cleansing
final solutions
yet tranquilized survivors
by half-open-faced sagas
of oblivious tourists
sandwiched between
bar and lobby
provide and divide space
to these seasoned travelers
reaching for teapots
and glasses of white wine
doled out with napkins
under doubled chins
from slow kitchen helpers
because it is always
a long trip and cold
from another's hands
looking up to the balcony
in the latest fashion show
losing yourself in mirrors
of soft lights moving you
away from Mozart's muzak
stumbling up the steps
to your inner sanctum
to celebrate sounds
of your lost appearance
by the vacuum
at sauntering in lost thoughts
by habitable towels
undressed by the sink
your mind not intact
or awakened by the rush
of blinded window last light
from your secret location
in a glance's view
of new information
as yet unknown saga
yet may be true
from any vetted apology
yet unspoken to atone
in any regretted vocation
or out of the blue pardon
among the woods' rock garden
there is a moonstone,
as in Stravinsky's Firebird
many notes of elocution's force
before a dancer's outside call
in full-curtained voice
by the concert hall
with blinding secret wonder
a ballerina emerges in a theater
among nature's belladonna
on steps of connections,
out of rain and thunder
in poetic words
language's ballet
by answers and questions
to the critics' directions
at night and every day.

 Ballerina and Woman with Umbrella 
on a Bench L Attente, 1882


The city opens in Buenos Aries
thinks of its good fortune
in having Jorge Luis Borges
upon the literary ladder ring
as a poet's higher critic
researching amply for orations
reaches on the library wall
for life's diction of explanations
located by antiquities’ design
here in his Eden of a living room
explores paraphrased commentary
rooted by vast heirloom histories
when beseeching a scattered fiction
located at pastimes, places, signs,
in presences, phrases by art masters
covers bizarre geometric lines
on global geographical maps
as an intelligent mind encounters
visions, awakenings, horizons
epiphanies, memoir and diary
in a glossary of personal testimony,
as Titian and Tintoretto appear
on his artistic projecting screen
over Borges’ recent revelation's lips
silently records what shapes
all of man- and womankind
from Creation to Apocalypse
when a sculpture of Donatello
closes the the curtains of his mind
which drapes his world era,
then Mexico landscapes appear
on a Spanish veiled scrim
drapes a frieze of Diego Rivera
and Frida Kahlo vanishes with him
Jorge suddenly hears far-off notes
of Mozart's musical miniatures
in a played sonata part on his piano
as he leaves with his last exit
at the contrary atheneum's archives
with a good friend driving with him
after a morning's addendum,
returning from his study guide
now rests on the patio
under a generous sunshine
as he feasts on salad, filet of sole
and a peppermint herbal tea at noon
feeding over his verbal fingertips
with a mouth of shared herbal wine,
soon this scholar Borges is reading
his parchment of a Torah scroll
sent as a daydream fiesta arrives
reading his Aleph, Beta it seems
as a thousand birds rise to circle
their way to the South Pole
from an Argentine celebrated sky,
later a twilight-lit city will dazzle
the stars through dusty blinds
by guilds of a history's wrinkle
he yearns for an hour in the park
listening on a hilly breeze
to jazz sax riffs till dark
by wide greensward of trees
as a Cinereous mourner's ashes
rise on the shading
of a seasonal four-lateral wind
a black bird sneezes on branches
for an exile's miracle kiss
near a rural cattle ranch lawn
on a bench by coral flowers
he hears an astral visionary's call
on an hour's masked starry sky
to sip from a proverb's looking glass
in a talisman's floral flask
disclosing a new lyrical translation
and reading his creative reviews,
yet hearing of the burning books
on the news from Germany
upon learning of persecuted Jews
how a carnival festival
or a holiday maker can quickly
turn to war and fascism's sins
in a devil's abyss,
Borges has compassion
from his depth of thinking
in an alpha and omega's creation
to span over a radical fashion
at a magical realism's generation
to challenge millions of poetry fans.


Today's LittleNip:


(Anonymous Photo)

—Medusa, thanking B.Z. Niditch for today’s poetry, and reminding you that there are readings tonight, one at Luna’s Cafe, 8pm, and one in Davis at the John Natsoulas gallery with UCD’s Katie Peterson and her poetry students, 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.

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