Thursday, September 22, 2016

Canvas of Peace

—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento, CA


Do you who love poetry,
which is like itself
the Logos, the Word
in all creation
from my children's chorus
accept an invitation
to hear a Beat poet out,
it is not weird
to think each day
of the disappeared
in Argentina, Chile, Brazil
or in the tundras
of the Russian Gulag
or under the boots
of the Stasi or Stalag
or in the still ashes
of the children in Germany
who had to wear a yellow star,
only God knows where
you are.



The secret police
hold your papers
and passport
in their valise
with Lieutenant Laurent
in his trench overcoat
as a client of the Occupation
pretending all is well
with support from Hell
in their death knell
of a utopia they invent
with their trains
and transportation
to concentration camps
for those who refuse
or are politically for freedom
and the target to resent
the innocent politicians,
as Jews and Christians
are put on trial
in Nazi-style stamped myopia
by government-spent guards
those bureaucrats who file into Paris
with belief in the names
from their own embarrassment
with reports of the secret police
pretending they are democrats
ignoring reality and fears
with the chip of spies
hidden in their eyes and ears
ending their free editorial world
which has blinded freedom
in the reality of war
turning in their friends
who are really their enemies
unwilling to apologize
yet full of sporting conviviality
from their fascist ally
whatever it meant to Germany
on those horribly taxing days
until the knock on the door
revealed their own reality
with their cavorting liberality
by hiding the gospel news
from their good neighbors
who help save minorities
true Christians and Jews
from deportation
like my brave family
to stand up to fascist authority
and wrote talented editorials
who were themselves taken away
forsaken like Jesus
on these memorial days
as Robert Desnos,
poet of liberty
is rounded up
for his words for democracy
by the Nazi death squads
with a Resistance argument
of those who wear a cross or star
in their own involvement
by throwing rocks at our humanity
from a love which alone
at this monument
will save us, for only God knew
who they really were.


The earth fills up
with your ashes,
as your shadow walks in
to your Berlin studio
drawing in sunlight
for your paintings
as you as a pacifist
and famous artist offer
a canvas of peace
we remember to
look back
at your folio
there is still blood
on the European snow.



Resolutions do not last
they are as castaways
in the bottomless sea
as Ulysses flees his exile
when he has the chance
to return to Penelope's smile
as favored lovers
in Homer's considered romance,
resolutions are like revolutions
when at war with Troy
in tragic circumstances
that mostly annoy and do not last
for we are all castaways
when we lust
for sex is power
like King David with Bathsheba
he betrayed God's trust
whom he would deflower
he could never have success
without God and fate consulted
for a blessing,
we must address reality
suspended through adultery,
you would think humanity
would learn from mankind
from the wise Greeks
and devout Jews
extolling justice and mercy
but love hypnotizes to blind us
before we realize
what rationally we could refuse
as we rarely compromise
or cry out to reality
as Odysseus
who waits on the pagan Arete,
or are we any better
when we do no read
from Saint John's love letter
to escape our familiarity
in cognition with our fate
we make our poetic life
full of strife to complicate.


With boundless music
of energy in adolescence
from solo practicing
Stravinsky's violin concerto
in a critic's connection
on the last of summer days
under the Evergreen trees
and greensward shrubbery
with me learning to conduct
on a score
at my soundproof studio
that my professor left me
his European notes
besmirched by Russian quotes
enjoying the sunshine
at the cleft of my window
with an enigmatic breeze
playing the twelve-tone scale
allowing me to be instructed
and audited
in my Leonard Bernstein
harmony and solfeggio class
that I will not fail.


Dada fantasists
are daddies or dandies
to me in my composite
of a surrealist poet
always close to my language
to cultivate,
able yet unsearchable
from a catholic cathartic state
in my Manhattan artistic sensibility
meeting at the Metropolitan
with Duchamp
Picasso, Braque, Gris, Mondrian
who create a metamorphosis
amid the Ash Can paintings
to share with me
with their charismatic
abstract opacity
together with the poets Apollinaire
Rimbaud, Verlaine and Baudelaire
to talk and walk with me
in their open exegesis,
here in the afternoon at the museum
as I sat alone in the corner
daydreaming for that one line
of geometric progression
doing my thesis and analysis
drawing in my enigmatic patterns
of my jazz riff poetry.


Cousin Sonny
the success of the family
while at the New School
before he would go out
to Hollywood
introduced me to the artists
of the abstract expressionist school
the good poets O'Hara, Schuyler
De Niro, father of the actor
where I met them after his classes
together with the German exile
Hans Hoffman, whom the Nazis
axed for his modernism,
there I was in the younger set with
Koch, Larry Rivers, Jane Freilicher
Barbara Guest, passing glasses
to Nell Blaine in a wheel chair
from Gloucester
it's only the best company
for Sonny,
at raucous night parties
in Manhattan in my youth
where with a child's glove
I boxed in my own footing
dancing away with models,
twenty years my senior,
where I met Norman Mailer
who took me up the roof
of the loft's penthouse
to heal me of my fear
of heights.


A black night rain
washed on the windshield
remembering the gutters
will have to be fixed
for the Fall
near the chrysanthemums
in our rose garden
as birds rest on a horse blanket
on places of twilight
I'm paring my green apple
on my way to the museum
to view the pre-Raphaelites
abstract expressionists
who are on display
noticing a man thumbing
along the country road
with a strong curving arm
waving for a ride
on his way into Boston
I'm picking him up
near the baseball field,
tells me he is Dr. Paul
who writes poetry plays
in the style of Eliot
wrote his thesis on Dickens
and came to hear me
at one of my seasonal readings
and knew I played sax
told me he wrote an analysis
of my verse in a literary journal
which he taught in his class
tells me confidentially
he loves to sail on the ocean
his wife Lara keeps kosher
because of health reasons
and they raise chickens
on their farm
has a son and daughter
living at the Berklee
College of Music in Boston
both studying jazz and voice
and invited me to read
at one of his classes,
Dr. Paul has a great fluency
of language,
as we enjoyed
each other's company
joined me at the museum
as the rain suddenly stopped.


Our thanks to B.Z. Niditch for today’s fine Autumnal Equinox breakfast of poetry, and to Carol Louise Moon for her photos. Carol Louise has been sick at some for quite a while, and she says her “cabin fever” caused her to look for interesting photo opportunities inside her house. These abstract geometrics and juxtapositions she found are very interesting, so thank you, Carol Louise, and we're glad to hear you’re recovering from your bronchitis.

Today is, indeed, the 2016 Autumn Equinox (10:21am ET), so the year is officially turning. For an interesting article about that, go to


Today’s LittleNip:

—B.Z. Niditch

In today's soap opera world
gossips whisper to us
in a know-nothing alley
as a shivering man
below the rose's dooryard
may be a poet, composer,
scientist in his laboratory
or artist in his gallery
to bring forth
a new avant-garde dimension
or a quality of life invention
he may be another Van Gogh
who has lost one ear
but the crowd ignores
that he exists
prefers to swim the T.V. channels
for yet another show.



 Celebrate poetry and the hope it brings us! 
And don’t forget to head down to Luna’s Cafe 
tonight for Poetry Unplugged, with its feature 
and open mic. Scroll down to the blue column 
(under the green column at the right) for info about 
this and other upcoming readings in our area—
and note that more 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.