Thursday, June 09, 2016

Legendary Ghosts

(Anonymous Photo)
—Today's poems are by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


Arriving a with map
with student manners
at table
moving in her
own direction
Charlotte orders
cheese croissants
and waits on
a spinach vegetable,
chocolate bonbon confections
and glasses of bourbon
as assigned for two guests
in the back
of the restaurant
here upon
the Vermont bench
a poet rests in shade
by an open window
phrasing traces of verse
with a palimpsest
listens to a pianist
playing études by Chopin
here are many customers
tracking their way on skis
making the press notice
as jet setters are returning
from Paris in March
where she learnt French,
Charlotte arrives
from St. Dennis parish
with a traveler's attachment
from a Cape Cod's resort
all ready to play
indoor tennis
yet chances
to seek for a double
for her collegiate sport
to keep out of trouble
she calls her uncle
from a dorm at school
to watch her rehearsal
at practice for ballet
as the poet awakens
to catch her Swan Lake
knowing his niece
will perform it
on ice by her kissing fans
I'm talking to her
about Anaïs Nin
and The Maquis
telling her of her
Partisan cousin
once a hero
in the Resistance
she already
has a Montreal partner
for her performance
a Canadian ice hockey star
she catches in the lobby
who has a resonance for dance
and will be the double
for her tennis match.

 Cascading Flowers
—Sculpture by Alexander Calder (1898-1976)


Your mobiles
move our vision
etch a sculpture
around your brow
on ladders of nobility
a visionary of solace
in human solidarity
over a life-field
of memory
as imagination moves
through the museum walls
with an eagerness of images
transforms us
since great art appears
on a cultural recollection
luring me back
to more than fingerprints
though trembling
by cold metal mirrors
of mirrors moving us
enfolded by scintillation.

 The Large Family, 1963
—Painting by René Magritte (1898-1967)


Thank you,
René Magritte
from your tangle
of mystery
on a surprised
by a visa
and passport, 1968
a bard wears
a red-greenish tie
over his expunged
suited for the sated rain
under the leaves of trees
with a motive of respect
out of sheer bravura
as an motif
of images appear
on a hotel lobby's
T.V.  screen
of Magritte's
figurative paintings
as a student
feeling like a fugitive
slumbers in
from Orly airport
worrying about
jet lag from Boston
reading Numbers
by Moses
about his own loneliness
in an anguish
of nightfall's silence
from veneers
of schizophrenic tones
by a window's
antsy assurance
as June showers
stretch across the river
as the bird sky-dances
over a Bastille shadow,
behind a stationary glass
at the outside café
a solitary chocolate kiss
into happenings
that flicker
through an
unpainted canvas
by coiled trees
tasting oranges
from fingers of scones
walking near close footfalls
by boat oars on the Seine
as spring floods
and pale butterflies vanish
at Paris nights
by lamp stands
playing alto sax riffs
until a fainting day
breaks from absences
into an assembled
from unrelated
essences in islands
of tone, virtuosity,
and speech
from a poetry-
noted reflection
as your art delivers us,
in a dream-of-colors labyrinth
here by recurrent
student awakenings
I'm taking snapshots
awakening in
transparent words
and international
jazz echoes
sought by
affectionate lovers
walking by
the sea-floored Seine
under a taciturn umbrella
in assembled
landscape insight
from incidents
of private couples
over dusk's release
waiting to view
René’s surrealism
at the Louvre
of his cutting
away all frontiers
in paintings
at delivered edges
by Dada's
sharpened invitations
opening an
opulent flickering
of night lights
sent from a city's
symbiotic vista
resembling a time
of transparent,
discordant rainbows
splashing out
liquid's canvas
dizzily falling
showers covering
your mirrored
kitschy statues
over a phantasm's

 Swans Reflecting Elephants, 1937
—Painting by Salvador Dali (1904-1989)


Accepting your still life,
your silent film presence
in Buñuel's first movie
Un Chien Andalou
at an art theater in Madrid
painted from
hidden glimpses
we enter the camera footage
in a dark room
your wild eyes
splashing paint
sparkling in
a feverish time
of emerging
dizzying gloom
in spliced parchments
to cool
the associated varnish
and vanish
in concentration
in forbidden breath
of Franco's stretching time
from a dreary
fascism's death
in a prism
of mordant statements
as we receive
your drawings
burnished from
a museum's shadowy
Bohemian corridor
with your mustached waxed
over a stiff collar
in discordant anticipation
at your relaxed
as a full legendary ghost
before your rise in reverie
at Barcelona's bull ring
from a toreador's host
of patinas and snowy nudes
in paint firing clockwise
at an unfamiliar
canvas target
against the status quo
in uncurled
surrealistic elements
as a daring
psychic insight
poised from
an organic hourglass
composed in
a clashing nightmare
in fearful red shades
of illusive variations
to placate
surfaced life wishes
covering eye-
glassed splashes
of beaming
a metaphysical light
flames authored
from photographs
that you discard
in latest flashes
and an access
of autographs
on scattered
Spanish posters
we located at a bookstore
in San Francisco
City Lights
where you
are on a placard.

Orange and Black Wall, 1959
—Franz Kline (1910-1962)


Seized with
action painting
in a fire escape
of speech
genius sparkles
its color
in shades of tempera
from a rolling technique
in a cerulean variation
each painting
an art event for us
we reaching
Franz Kline's time
in masterpieces
stark and unique
watching his dark canvas
moving geometric devices
in avant garde spaces
shining on its
bordered surface
of a figurative
calligraphic scene
in a reunion
with Frank O'Hara
his wise collaborator
and curator
in 21 poems and etchings
of a Sixties'
safekeeping disguise
with a ruse of a new style
in an abstract
deposited tease
of a figurative
anarchic device
not brushing off
petrified reality
which in every
artist projects
his own personal
yet we know
he is a recluse inside
into his admiration's
though a sanguine
public creator
oriented as any poet
in vocalization's irony
positioning an awareness
in his black-
and-white immediacy
from a realization
at his intervals
a panoramic style
as any exile
seeking recognition
in a reinvented mind
and avant-garde memory
experiencing perception
motioning each
private reaction
to eviscerate
war's horrific wanton
and demonically
reaching dramas
of spontaneous happenings
with Kline's
ability of expression
and a draftsman 's
opening up
his anonymous
supreme gentility
in a sensual
confidential light.

  Indestructible Object 
(or, Object to be Destroyed), 1923
—Man Ray (1890-1976)


As outlines
in a vista
of skilled Dada
you twisted parts
of a camera's statement
into an anti-artful culture
from an enlisted legend
for a millennium
which evokes
a graphic rapture
of overcoming
all focus of forms
in your transparent
calling card
of a bard's
penned signature
to witness
for a prism's locus
in a culture's
discordant intoxication
emerges in
inkwell discoveries
channeling all navigation,
daydreams in short films,
as a still life moves us
in exposition following
your metamorphosis
of imagery
along inventions
on margins
of an indwelling visionary
to take up your
energetic invitation
into a scrolled surrealism
for our memory
of extras
in elemental impressionism
to complement his century.

 Mark Rothko Chapel, Completed 1971


By annals of history
and inquiring of us
of how we love
your innovation
with an open palm
of your belief
in ecstasy
of your expression
and stone bas relief
cast in an abstract tone
of your oeuvre's
as a practitioner of motifs
in juxtaposition
to invent
with replenishment
for my enthusiastic
which connected
our reality
in a spiritual recognition
at your chapel in Houston
when we in our grief
at your passing
of legendary significance
from my young affection
in Rothko's remembrance
doubling down
at the Metropolitan
and standing in long lines
by open doors
in the Big Apple
on a weekend to view
a miracle of drawings,
you ignite
the face of abstraction
staying with me
in a cool class
of students attempting
to honor your Sixties soul
on this Beat's opening
his hazel poetic eyes
to enlarge
experimental ways
from those wise frontiers
in a critical open-ended
daily space gazing back
at surreal conferences
when we took
to the podium
to lecture
on your absorbed part
of calligraphic inventiveness
when temperamental opacity
and gracious inheritance
introduced a new chapter
of our cities' canvas
in all these still-life
years since
not assuaging our distance
of unrelieved guilt
and reprisal
to foreshadow the drama
your personal wounds
as you labored
to unravel a panorama
of puzzled expressionism
you bequeathed
to your fans
from an awed
grateful generation
so near and yet
so far apart
in a narrative's
second thoughts
that we cannot
forget a hero.

 Rothko Chapel, Inside
(for more about the Rothko Chapel, go to 


Today’s LittleNip:

There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it.

—Gustave Flaubert


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

 Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea, 1944
—Painting by Mark Rothko

Celebrate poetry today by going over to Luna’s Cafe 
in Sacramento to hear Chris Erickson 
at the weekly Poetry Unplugged at 8pm; or, 
if you’re in Berkeley, stop by Moe’s Book to hear 
Sacramento’s Susan Kelly-DeWitt read from 
her new book, Spider Season (Cold River Press), 7:30pm. 
Scroll down to the blue box (under the green box 
at the right) for info about these and 
other upcoming readings. (A couple of new items have 
 popped up, by the way…)

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.