Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Wine of Hidden Lives

Rockport, Massachusetts
—Photos of Rockport today by Denise Flanagan
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


The sunshine is over the ocean's
Pacific maritime and meridian
in times of fleeing
from being captive
on land-locked thoughts
in barricaded awareness
of turning deep salty waters
from continued Malibu fountains
into the wine of hidden lives
as a poet moves his motioned lips
thinking over unbaptized showers
or strolling in a promenade
by a parade of mountain swallows
climbing greensward green hills
putting out hours of perceptions
from trembling fountain fingers
in papers of apocalypse words
from gestures buried by time
for cinematic tomorrows.


In a hotel room with a small t.v.
staring at cartoons, commercials
game shows and comedies
where at noon in a grainy stall
you leave your lame worry
for all the walled slogans
of graffiti in a flushed shower
of a vocabulary of assaulting words
(while I'm all in prayer of St. Francis
with melancholy but hope to attain
better in an afterlife)
with this continued rainy abyss
finding scraps of unlettered paper
from a creepy exhibitor neighbor
waiting for a brief answer of "Yes"
I'm frightened at his proposition
at my door ignoring
a hourly shadowy invitation
in the narrow sleek darkness
holding onto my teddy bear
near my Advent clock radio
without an hour's prohibition
of doing origami for a stranger
wanting to be spent anywhere
than in this hourly Kafka burlesque
with freshly painted Robert Henri's
abstract of New York's city snow
staring at me by my watercloset
by the florid window
hearing a flock of pigeons and a crow
in a metamorphosis of humoresque
when the time is set for creation
or to be at another train track
to visit the 14th station
or else crossing in another direction
at no man's land at Christmas time
to be near Bethlehem's manger
yet an art director wants to view
my play tomorrow
about Roualt's colorful clown
and coming down from
the bay at Boston
to audition on off-off-Broadway
racked by sorrow, I try to pray.


Tell me everything my friend
about lighting candles
for the victims of Fascism
about your love for the lost
of Christ,
for the scarred
from my voice's mouth
with Mary's eyes of sorrow
wishing to speak your parables
for those who look at tomorrow
with only an abstraction
yet turn it into the avant garde
migraine times of Simone Weil
the writing letters of Kierkegaard
Kafka and Gogol's death wish
not to be known who yearn
to burn their life's works
as you start learning
about the trains of thought
those about to perish
on August children of Hiroshima,
we put a stone on their graveyard
when the late-day shadow
of the sun remembers
the half-observed,
those who served the "Master Race"
or who still turn away their face
at the cross in the Gulag
we still ask as Mary for His grace.


Jazz riffs are heard
from an appropriate response
on a distant recording
as dirty bombs fall
into dissonance
from a parachute convoy
of the reconnaissance
pouring a rain out
of the ghoulish sky
like skin splotches on a terrain
molted by burning out
of nature's devastation
flows from whispers
of a mechanized plane of Hell
into palms of flaming ashes
over fluid swirling over
the rivers cinematography
as a one remaining poet
journals in Nagasaki graffiti
on the city walls.


Gloves off
not to be boxed in
to any class
or classification
between irony's innocence
of shock waves of a Beat's
language within
a foreign tongue
reciting my lines
of unwritten ocean rhythms
time captures my island voice
transfigured from intonations
sensing the extraordinary
as I play solo alto sax
in a gig at midnight
with the blues of angels
filling my house
being caressed
by daybreak kisses
scratching my initials
on the trees of quivering trees.


Seeking to protect a pug
by the kiosk
tasting bread and wine
amid the chants
of the choir at St. Paul's
in Harvard Square
forgetting all triangular
morning masks and mysteries
near Cambridge Common
you eye Elizabeth Bishop
stopping at the crosswalk
returning from Brazil
with her luggage
in the glittering heat
of August's still noon
amid a phalanx of red birds
reaching out to a blue slate sky
when the first light
decides to shine
in taciturn airless hours
feeling the angst of Sisyphus
amid the purple flowers
burning from a high mountain
as a stone unable to move or rise for us
hearing word lines of poetry
from the ancients like Ovid
sharing on divine solitary horizons
transfigured by gold stardust
or listening to sister Sappho
in a far-voice dream
from a Greek chorus
burning your imagination
as we are a little changed
in sleepwalking liquid silences
of endless fervid fevers
as David among his flock
like old Cinna or bold Catullus
among the Caesars.


Visiting Rodin
thinking of his Kiss
uncovers his sculpture
after he told her
not to be amiss
and leave the cover
of the cutting shroud on
but she was always
playful and spinning
railing with tales after school
like a child wonder
what she was about
in laughter or wails
over the hallways
of her delicate mind.


Art with all senses
the colors that set you apart
hit you in the reality
in each design
of a Dutch grittiness
in the sponged face
of your Christmas Card
along with twice the combinations
of past and future space
leveled in the linear unknown
at touching up the avant garde
for when your propeller splashes
us on this nape of orange
in a museum canvas
we observe merely the surface
of red sashes of geometric shapes
Mondrian's fusion drapes
in an illusion of luminous shadow
of eccentric waves of ink dreams
brushed between two oceans
in a parachute of our senses
hushed as an eccentric painter
craves to line and draw on
all of our anxious emotions.


Intuitive with inventiveness
with the painter Soutine
of imagination’s awareness
in a resonance inspection
of windswept colors
in a landscape perspective
with phantasms of memoir
escapes a sustained language
from a direction of corridors
near Paris' hemispheric roads
into a canvas of a print
magnified as a river's waterlily
always asking for art's abstraction
drawing us into a simulacrum
intertwined of enlightenment
of roseate creative juiced delivery
expression spills alive
by wellsprings of consciousness
of an exiled satisfaction to survive
in his modern tunnel vision
from exposed fractured lines
with a proxy experimentation
in Chaim's living jonquils
immersed from expressionism
fulfilling a career's perspective
seeking a human heart
of unique recognition.


We could not admit
the dawn sky
on my open boat
returning to the wharf
of my home harbor
to anchor in the summer air
as the cirrus clouds
uncovering chimeras of light
play with the farthest horizon
with an unexpected silhouette
of trout fishing by parting shadow
of a labyrinth return
hearing the sailors
from the Azores tell tales of exiles
gaze on alembic hours
when my heavy eyes glaze over
passports and u-turn visas
from maps and vistas
all over the voyages seas
hearing all the nuances, accents
silences, in scissor half-speech
id's, forgotten photographs
love letters to dead-end roads
labors, recommendations
by sharp-lettered questions
in the hunger for sunshine
the air engraves us in memory
as in the chords of my guitar
on the silver rocks
by beachcombing journeys
along foreign marketplaces
on the backstage
of an extra in a nearly full house
at slow rehearsals near cold lofts,
amid abattoirs of immense secrets
among the awkwardness
of passer-by crowds
in towns and villages
but never a stranger
to words, canvas or friends
in the belly of the earth.


It is the rocks
at Pigeon Cove
watching the cormorants
and not the monotonous tide
at St. Ann's sandbar
that will salvage your name
it is the ocean
and not the fluid borders
that will embroider you
by the stones and surf
in the morning mist
of your mineral waters
that will anoint you
from the anchors
of the tourist boat from Boston
through a water-song shadow
that will offer prayer
to your conscience
in a cup's communion
and it is the silence of the eagle
perched on the harbor dock
in the windshield of the sun
that will lock your eyelids
into your torpor of mind
familiar though a threatening storm
that will save the whole sky
in a flushed warm August dog day
of a fevered heat wave
that leaves your conflated memory
in language by a daybreak sentence
and why, T.S., to make any sense
as the birds chatter
and the clouds scatter
why does it matter, T.S. Eliot
by the parking lots of visitors
with their mirrors of the past
that enfold across their own corridors
as Gloucester maps are lost on bridges
and are caught by the lone sail
down the hills by the rails
of the last train
that sought to visit by the dunes
or pursue a wanton shadow
of days that are narrow
as you kneel by your bed
hearing the northeastern wind
confessing your sins
it is not by the clocks
in the town
or ivy that descends over dales
as you watch sailors and wives
gather seaweed and snails
while you feel at church
only the nail-scarred hands
search a sequence of designs
walking now on the beach sand
knowing as the noon bell rings
and a choir sings
inside you believing the face
of a memoir is being composed
and small birds are clinging
to Evergreen branches
by the muggy rose garden
to pardon us all in grace.

Today’s LittleNip:

Things are beautiful or ugly only in time and space. The new man’s visiting being liberated from these two factors, all is unified in one unique beauty.

—Piet Mondrian


—Medusa, with thanks our friends from the Other Coast, B.Z. Niditch and Denise Flanagan, for today’s lovely visit to Rockport, MA! B.Z. also sends us this clipping about Gold Medalist Katie Ledecky

A small note: Sacramento poet and SnakePal D.R. Wagner has had to return to the hospital, so please keep him in your thoughts.

Sun on the Water in Rockport
—Photo by Denise Flanagan

Celebrate poetry tonight by going down to 
Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe in Sacramento 
to hear Phillip Larrea!  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.