Thursday, August 25, 2016

Caravaggio Nights

Footprints in the Sand
—Photos by Katy Brown, Davis, CA
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


On Caravaggio nights
believing I'm in the fury
of Fall sudden shudder
taking my leaves
amid nomad navy waves
and hearing the last siren
as a castaway sailor
getting wisdom to be stronger
with a Homeric poetic song
from Sappho's distance on earth
to outlast on the earth's belly
by the equator's corner
hidden on top deck quarters
by first light with a memory
caught under the iron ropes
and clapping masts
of another century's ways
without much good hope
lost at sea when trills of images
doodle on my canvas
shut off from a photo's light
in tenebrous thoughts
and dark-screened visions
illumined my human shape
from homemade sunglasses
chasing away a weekend
from any loveless afternoon
in an obscured puzzled time
of a subterranean retrospective
wishing to paint as a refugee
in a new signal of modernity
by recreating electric bas reliefs.
my face passes over continents
on my small kayak
by flying gulls in this day dream
as if on a grey cloudy moon
in distances welcome my shadows
dusting off blue balloons
over my drawing boards
at bay from nature's pleasure,
bright colors hurry to rush in
backing me along this fjord
brushing up my canvas
and lost green knapsacks
to greet me and embrace
breathing in a savor of ocean air
by motioning my camera landscape
in a Mediterranean transparency
over the floating river's lagoons
draping my belief in peace
without facing a rapier or sword
taken in by art's chance lottery
from a wandering phantasmagoria
by a living lesson in another century
over a leisured refuge
taught only by nature's deliverance.

 New Growth


The seabirds hear an odyssey
from my green guitar
sent to me from Venice Beach
to get me off the hook
from parental storms back East
putting on rosin for my strings
over the crosswise weft
in a warm red cloth
recounting those raft days
of the Sixties
facing the surfing waves
searching for starfish
by the clefts of solid rocks
now like my overcast memory
melting away
in the sea's blue shade
by leaves of olive and redwood
fading as back to back sand dunes
blacked out near red bird-trees
bending over the last light
of an August dog day
playing chess, checkers
and solitaire
while eating jam crackers
feeding the fish, salamander, birds
while reading Rimbaud
and Fleurs du mal by Baudelaire
this Beat poet with his guitar
playing smooth riffs
not knowing who we really are
standing by windmills
by the terror
with so much adolescent pain
by a furnace in the airless heat
wishing for an after-holiday shower
or at least a gentle rain
returning from camping it up
in the dark rehearsing my plays
under tents with my fellow actor
preparing to go on
with a fistful of first acts
to off-off-Broadway
with red sunburnt eyes
while searching in my temperament.

 Natural Petroglyph


Playing my alto sax sonata
for "Hart Crane's Memory"
in refrains of riffs A. E. G. D.
at a Big Apple club solo
lost in abandoned Rimbaud
wishing could be back with us
from Casablanca
but you are near shipwrecked cliffs
by a chorus of sandpiper birds
over the keys of my piano
watching a thunderous hurricane
as swallows rise
here under thundering rains
wishing       a sunrise on your backs
          for epiphanies
against mad voices in your head
falling on your hurting knees
after a brooding distress
recollecting all your daydreams
above your searches      and cruising
in underground shelters
hiding alcohol, drugs and booze
feeling like a castaway from Beelzebub
playing hands of solitary poker
without jokers or an ace of clubs
wanting a fast-fading Muse of love,
sleep now, Hart Crane, Rimbaud
by the poplar shade of shutters
on your trembling thin arms
knowing soon the bittersweet scent
off every crooked-staff tree
will waft to outlast the waves
engulfing the last sea's epitaph
amid humid windows
in the portholes of your ship
weeping and laughing
at the last hour
not asking to save face
by seeking any pardon
at the fountain of perennial youth
when no one behaves,
Hart, may you find haven
on these island encantadas,
now rest in peace, in the weft
of a wind-fallen sea
Rimbaud among a release
of a million millennial sunflowers
walking by evening primrose gardens
near parting leaves of a Juniper tree.

 Rose Edges

(for Bella Akhmadulina

Gathering blueberries
on a random November day
even as it showers old gales
squalls and fierce gusts
will signal us, Bella
                   nearby our snorkels
on the ocean floor
in the arctic and forest
where alighting grackles rest
near carrera fountains
near the edge of the shore
by my face-down rock garden,
and all the commotion of nature
the birds, the fronds and fauna
near the crystal twigs
of woodlands
my camera on hungry shades
                               carefully watches
miracles of piercing thorns
as the last summer evening
primroses offer us
a touch of laughter
or discreet pardons
as the wharf's winds
ruffle on Evergreen trees
near the garden's rhododendron
as stemming a court of storms,
we do a late run by the shore
in a flaxen call of gestures
as a still life paints our picture
in our own domain
                       brushes away a wasp nest
as images from our palate
pass over art's procedures
near the giant pomegranate
my alto sax makes riffs
in glimpsed notes of fragments
in your bird-valorous back yard
by catching all of nature's ventures
the full lemon tree
of sunshine sustains us
by a chorus of mouthing herons
under Elms with wispy leaves
start to rapidly fall as apples
as an early Autumn grieves
by our mirrored Narcissus
over the luminous pools
at tendril corners with jonquils
near a bending philodendron
yet rising bees start to hum
in the heather and brushwood
showers begin to singe our gate
by the bean and corn fields
everyone speaks from our eyes
over the bright weather vane
as if only reborn when love yields
being anxious for the cirrus clouds
covering the nomad-shaped sky
counting clusters to disappear
passing by us as puffy shrouds
near moths and dragonflies
as rays with its late mist guard
nature's precious shield
helping memorial poppies of earth
to sustain our bardic poet wishes
in a near or far country of Bella
from a loving Russian voice
with lashed umbrellas waving
as flags on waterproof cloths
near hospital ships at sea
the captain calling for a rescue
by home harbor fishing boats
bodies float as brave Ulysses
on tomes and myths of eternity.


(For Juan Gelman, 1930-2014)

All these earthy things,
the small myrtle at the edge
of the ponds tall grass
         as orange Mexican fruit falls
sponging Juan's sandaled feet
near the pomegranates,
a nomad poet in solitude
on his hammock rocks
senses an allergic hay fever
by an Argentine raspberry stalk
where an exile from the Ukraine
by the hunched valley
locates carpenter bees
by the woodland sounds
of alto   soprano    sax
while students search for turtles
taking a photo of their carapaces
for their nature class
by scales and nets of fishermen
in a sky wall of early blue gauze
over the hospital ship's docking
with its odor of cold milk
in the early rain's horizon
by an open barnyard field
of slender curled tendrils
the poet collects, she loves
        to hear echoes
of this gentleman's words
at his notebook's blank paper
near the ocean's grove
watching the hauling of lobsters
in undulant waves
near the docks of the shore
as this time is suddenly realized
on muzzled raindrops
for a November greeting word
with so many crying gulls
at the noonday
next to one another
with hidden wings
of tiny birds curled on branches
who sing of Juan Gelman
in the eventide searching
for his missing daughter
by a harpoon found
from the ditch waters
at a distance
along the country road
in early December
wary of the dog days
but invigorated by a run
after the scorched silence
on the Cape empties out
a few wary tourists
        heading for the waves
or home harbor boats,
here in the pure mist
of scattering hyacinth
my brush slowly shapes
cirrus cloud-like patterns
though a gorgeous labyrinth
drawn from the dark blue sky
under once shackled
                     painted gold leaves
now fallen from nearby oak
opening my shining album
of discreet poem and photo
hearing sounds from lovebird nests
sprouting weathered wings
of departing grackles
wishing to sing of Whitman
this brier-sweet Autumn
near a fawn's footfall
as memories slowly walk away
from trembling thorns
on this last summer rosebush
near shifting beehives
newly born as metamorphosis
on branches of Evergreen
from another generation
with extended memories
now gone from a counterfeit
time in the city,
I'm collecting blueberries
under poplars
wanting to play Mozart
in the open woodland
on a self-made magic flute
to transport me though time
by another blossoming island
without boundaries
in a chimera of daydreams
hearing wary hunters depart
in the light of day
to walk early on the beach
under summer's sun
of defenseless heat
reaching for a backpack
green with expectation
of my own traveled past
wishing to grow up
to live on a kayak
with a waterlogged existence
carrying a blue bottle
tossed to reach eventide
a century later
with this poem inside
on the ocean's spectrum
reaching the bitter drought
and humdrum sounds
of blackbirds swept by waves
as the light strikes my face
by heavy currents
motioning off-shore
the waves admit me
to their rounds
a dog avoids my tracks
remembering my navy cap
with a twanged voice
in a white shell's echo
alerting me
there are fresh bluefish around
daylight rescues
a sharpened skeptical pen
from a laundered
morning's open shirt
my pea jacket is pawned
yet ready for pick-up
my starlit eyelashes
rehearse my new play
staring at a print
of Modigliani
by the jalousie windows
where the cat slips
inside my pocket poetry
delays my November holiday
of abstracted absences
a portrait in blue
from a styptic face
in crayon of a sated pale hour
crashing on a distracted time.


Today’s LittleNip:

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds.

—Percy Bysshe Shelley


—Medusa, with thanks to B.Z. Niditch and Katy Brown for this morning’s fine poetry and photography!

 Celebrate poetry! And scroll down to the blue column 
(under the green column at the right) for info about 
upcoming readings in our area—and note that 
more may be added at the last minute.


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