Thursday, July 28, 2016

Remants of Our Risk and Hope

Tuna-Fishing, 1967
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Paintings by Salvador Dali, 1904-1989


Along the promenade
there is a Sunday band
and prominent parade
yet a poet sits alone hidden
on a bench amid the July air
in the gazebo's shade of breeze
reading Baudelaire in French
alongside the sandy beach
near the park's well and spouts
hearing the boys play bocce
reaching for the ball
with overwhelming shouts
he's wondering about
the chorus of singing birds
feeding on daily bread
their wings open near
tree leaves and branches
wondering what is it all about
while the pigeons in the sun
by the riverbed follow
with only a shadow in the shade
of the coiling pavilion
as sparrows drink in
without any lonely sorrowful words
or vision of doubt for tomorrow.

 Landscape with Butterflies, 1956


We played a trio and quartets
every weekend in adolescence
with Mozart and Beethoven
in our own obedience of notes
of brisk con brio
then with a slower movement
interwoven in our parts
as our own advertisement
of getting a musical share
in the remnants of our risk and hope
with a memory of being taught
knowing our musical history
as sought to be lyrically aware
from an older world of Europe's
lyrically aware as we played
under a nightshade shed
by the hot oak trees
near the cold riverbed
then we spoke in poetry
of Keats, Yeats,
Eliot and Pound's words
or we were said to be reborn
by the innocent bird sounds
which we heard by morn
we learn of nature's
rheumatic and romantic notes
from the magic lantern
of innumerable meteors
recollecting our fiery quotes
yearning to be a composer
discerning in our own rights to jazz
sub rosa under the sharp and flat bars
as playing our new sax riffs
under the flowering lights
a wind stirs over green grass
as we drink tea from a samovar
reaching for our tall glass
staring at the full moon and stars
transfixed under the breeze
having a mixture of salad
with vanilla
and Russian kvass
thinking of those few nights
visiting at Akhmatova's dacha
we are the devotion for nature,
it seems in these night hours
that only our unspoken dreams
will pass pardon and shimmer
from unbroken memory
in our culture
as the garden flowers.

 Lobster Telephone, 1938


We always wrote
manifestos in the snow
the now was always Beat
invading the hallways
of our photos of verse
noted in the underground
willing to be wondrously free
from Frisco to Manhattan
in the sounds of our feet
we danced in the countryside
in a free-spirited pattern
and endured by our poetic words
not selling our commodity
of our unquoted surplus
but to be human memory
playing our cool sax riffs
with smooth jazz of reverie
or in the sunflower garden
reading Pierre Reverdy
relaxed amid the chorus of birds.

 Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around
a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening, 1944


in jazz
with animated tempo
as a boy
in the setting sun
marching with his aunt
of lines in a row
carrying fresh croissants
to a gig at the Savoy
as I'm asked to play piano
though only seven
with notes shaped
in colorful rhyme
and logarithm's rhythm
play my blue heaven.

 Bacchanale, 1939


Brown, brown on a wounded elm
once tangled with dried leaves
wrapping you in garden hours
amid days of snowy shadows
spawned with Spanish whiteness
enduring as the winter's sun
shadows accumulate
your mustache and blue beret
then vanish in the soft night air
reminding ourselves
by earthy flamenco
that art captures circling dunes
with dancing grotesque indifference
hunchbacked by a canvas-light flare
immobile from sleeplessness
staring at stems of paper flowers
Dali's day combing though
metamorphoses of green.

 Salvador Dali and his Mustache


Connecting landscape
in a time of change
you resolve to take part
into images of the initiate
where you mentor in your folio
an ageless generation or more
intense to transfigure the silence
with the spirit of an awakened dream
for your hands paint anew
on a canvas and conscience
enlightened as if light appears
after the faint silent snow
living by a sky's blue window
waking him as if you were a poet
by a language's surprise shadow
at his century's art to insure
with a span at the risk of sorrow
expanding of old forms
having formulas of a manifesto
the way words in language do.

 Head Exploding, 1951


By way of exile
you think beyond borders
of secret machinations
in your many scarred lives
until you reach us
with rolled-up art sleeves
in new canvas experimentation
for art is not mistaken
in a futurist new world
to be taken only as abstract
as you revolutionized
your speckled visions
of music-scattered language
hovering inside five acts
birth, talent, color fields,
a fringed travel map, new horizon
your voice expanding
to make us human
if our memory holds up
beneath a dark historical time
breathing in astral justice
of a four-seasoned trial
a frozen stranger to America
without second howl of guessing
enters your icy moonstone directions
in a moment's gaze to thrive
for our modern art reflections
as now your chosen destination
from your ironic era archives
eyes chimeras of light
masks a solitary wind
of a visionary kind
as an owl of the night.

 The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory, 1954


The empty-space canvas
invites a silence of the surreal
as you travel through Dada eyes
in a multi-colored venture
from stone-cold hands
in geometric hallucinations
dreams, formulas, alchemy
with only paint as love
admitting the sky
as the Seine colors him
from a child in a sailor suit
time keeps moving wishes
with an exiled passport
the sea becomes earthy
to the shore waves
the boy climbs
over laughing cuttlefish
of a silken screen
only by another light
at this open-art echo.


Today’s LittleNip(s):

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.

—Edgar Degas


Art is a step from what is obvious and well-know toward what is arcane and concealed.

—Khalil Gibran


My role in society, or any artist or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.

—John Lennon


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

For more about Salvadore Dali, go to

 Celebrate poetry tonight by heading down to Luna’s Cafe to
hear Cynthia Linville reading, 8pm. Scroll down to the blue box 
(under the green box at the right) for info about this and 
other upcoming readings in our area—and note that other events 
may be added at the last minute.

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.