Thursday, September 29, 2016

Inside Secret Shadows

Stagecoach, Old Sturbridge Village
—Anonymous Photos
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


The day started off
with static on the radio
trying to hear music
of a Bach solo
trying to be nonchalant
yet the time turned
more dramatic
as an operatic choir
played a thrilling Fidelio
then a Bach cantata,
a Dutch friend in his kayak
phoned me who got
my airmail letter
to tell me to watch my back
if I go on the ocean
there is too much commotion
on this touch-and-go day
better exercise
on the treadmill
and not to practice
Tartini's frightful
“Devil's Trill Sonata”
in G minor,
as I stare lyrically
at a lonely geranium
on the window sill,
so I decided to ride
up to Vermont to relax
and snatch up
a cheese croissant
with a hot cup of java
and my tenor sax.

 Scene from White Mountains


September's skywriting
resembles sheets
of clouds whitening stars
as Nana Mendes makes
our breakfast treats
of puffed-potato pancakes
heavily full of bulgur wheat
we children wish to eat
as she puts on sour cream
which she will swish
with a large spoon
over a covered Spanish dish
in ceramic jars
with tiny doubloons
of fallen angels on them,
as I wake from a dream
about Edgar Allen Poe
guiding me
through Purgatory
as Virgil did to Dante
to tell his Divine Comedy
skillfully through
the third heaven
shrouded in mystery
of Jesus' last seven words
when holy angel feet
glide by us in the history
from a Roman forum
of a poetry slam by Levy
in a marathon of dry runs
drunk by urns of ecstasy
as Poe's yearning spirit
greets us upon
lively golden Blakean streets
in this new Jerusalem,
the poet makes a U-Turn
from a destiny of words
at a dawn's song time
of a flock of birds
from a morning port of call
he discovers as if
in a daydream
these luffing white sails
on a small naval Danish haul
of a fishing vessel
near humpbacked whales
as Hamlet's ghosts are prating
along the planks of the ship
holding up a cross and skull
and then are lost and vanish
over the somnambulist earth
as red Fall leaves rise
by the riverbed winds
delivering a lost missing kite,
as Nana grieves in Spanish
kissing a rosary
and yet remembering
all of man's regretted sins,
yet we trio of musicians
also look up and live
in our jazz solo
as cool cats jam with drums
and chops in all conditions
we who play on strings
the allegro with con brio
in stops, sharps and flats
hoping our memories
will lock us
into new riffs and concepts
to connect us
as lyrically spoken politicians
here at a breaking complex dawn
by tall oaks and ilex
as our sexy hosts
are waking up Derek Walcott
aboard this starry island
of pirate ships to boycott,
other folks wave to us
at an early hour's opening air
over the high towers of Babel
as Rapunzel with the long hair
watches the runaways
catching nets of butterflies
while playing at soccer
her parents play canasta
monopoly or scrabble
on the shore's sandy rocks
to shape their furtive days
while hearing sea voices
in a passing of nature
from manifold fugitive sounds
among choice lodgings
on Common grounds
near branches of birch and ivy
as lively love scenes play out
by the Golden Bowl café
near All Saints monastery
by a small church home
as French tourists sit along
on public park benches
eating spinach croissants
as a breezy shade takes us
for a ride on our harbor boats
by these shipping docks
where tripping teen lovers
of misjudged affection
hang out for a last swim
on the season's afternoon
as Whitman's sons and daughters
are discovered in a poetic pose
swaying in the cooling waters,
others imagine a time soon
when snow-wrapped gifts
are given outside
these burdock woods
as Evergreen Christmas trees
are lifted up for us in Vermont
and brought by river banks
we will reach out to decorate
being thrilled at the Pine
and Evergreens
we want to give thanks
like the giving of a Magi's gifts
of frankincense, gold and myrrh
to celebrate a Child's birth
under a lens of enfolded stars
as a snow ski lift
is ready for us
at the White Mountains
we are all wrapped up
amid a chamber of fir trees
hidden by a light in caverns
of a midnight bazaar grill
as white cupcakes are sold
by spouting fountains
we break bread
with cups and jars of wine
by Marian roses intertwined.


September first
is realized in a genius
whom we praise
on the calendar
from the stars as a conduit
with a vexing invitation
from Blaise Cendrars' pulpit
we join with him to celebrate
his poetry, film, and prose
quoting human cooperation
we remember as you disclose
your permanent trajectory
for peace and democracy
in literature and history
from the culture's wilderness
you leave us the politeness
of a rose in your memory
as your time of it is success
when fascism closes down
and war is obscene
as Roualt's clown
rewards you with a crown
now enveloping humanity.


When the leaves turn
orange and red
as I discern the print
of Mondrian's sponged colors
which greets me this morning
with a spider
adorning the wall
when I spin
outside of my bed
by my windy curtains
at sunshine shadows
of the dawn
watching from my Bay windows
at the woodshed
Tom, a young runner
and Sylvia his bride
backed up
in a winding marathon
we know
that our wishing season
(for warmth, swim and garden)
has changed for certain
for a pardon
of September Blues
yet looking back
at the lined-up fishing rods
near my own kayak
from a shadow of anchored
home harbor boats
with many steady visitors
already lined up
as an ocean of tourists waves
to me
from rigs of the ship
some of whom heard me
read my verse at gigs
or jam on riffs
on my tenor sax
on those summer poetry days
relaxing over greensward grass
as these Cape Cod guests
and crowds make their way
for distant places
who pass by me
with luggage and pictures
dueling at gossip and news
of culture celebrities and icons
in their suitcases,
a memory returns to me
in the rays of sun
thinking of
Fort Sewall, Marblehead
with my Aunt Sarah
and Uncle Linwood
as we practiced violin
for Tanglewood,
as we go to the yacht races
speed boats move us along
with great commotion
from noise of loud motors
and vaporized carburetors
which float in the reeds
as fuel
in a lotion of mixtures
on the ocean
when giving us time
to petition for a renewal.


Her birthday is September
on the seventh day,
we marvel at Creation
and at Edith Sitwell's
party invitation for us
in the wave of her hand
from musical vibrations
as she reads her lyrical verse
summed up in an evocative
universe of undulation,
Edith never landlocked
in rooms or hallways
for those who visit this poet
from a thousand realms
of brides and grooms
to a world which opens
for all of us in England
on the sands of the sea
(like John at Patmos
on an island
where he is sees
as a visionary
a woman clothed
by revelations in the sun
and the twelfth of stars
in charismatic velocity)
near the shore
are wellspring boxes
of blueberries
by riverbeds of roses
which outlast like phlox
in a garden of rocks
as a phoenix rises,
Edith walks by
mirrors, corridors
from an English garden
to deliver these roses
we recall her
in a choir of love
in a memoir of verse
still hearing her invocation
on musical sharps and harps
in contented long passages
which trill and thrill
with remarkable Sitwell quatrains
(for Edith you always amuse us
even being serious
as would good Jesus
who was not understood
asks us to love and rejoice
in wonder
from his cross of wood
at the final thunder
of his reign
your vocal parallels
that of the bishops
in gospel chapter and verse)
from tercet villanelle
we can tell of Sitwell
giving us pleasure
of channeling words
by wishing wells
in your parlor
as gentlemen and ladies
are set free
from Hades and Hell
by saucer dinner settings
trading in old England's dishes
of Shakespeare and Chaucer
to vetting our interiors
from London to Boston
sounding from the underground
wishing your arbitrary phrases
will always be soulfully alive
invented as Edith resets
her area of poetry
fixing our masks
on wrong
which will survive
in our leisure to pick out
her legendary words
from our living libraries
and to ask for an asterisk
as a prize prick song
measure to measure
at our own pleasure.


On a Chilean balcony
in the Thursday dawn
of September
holding onto her verse
Mistral's memory returns
in her luminous reflection
of a numberless poetry
over the trackless lawn
she recites out loud
to a student fan
by full mangroves
who then settles down
to play études of Chopin
for her on the grand piano
at an early dawn in slumber
Mistral breaks into a lyric
as a black-necked swan
appears in the river below
at the open window's
silk blinds
as the small alley cat purrs
yet eludes us
inside secret shadows
which unwind
from a night of darkness
searching for her milk
in the tall meadow grass.

(in Memoriam)

Zoo Story
and Who's Afraid
of Virginia Woolf

cast me into the writer
in lieu of my own plays
featured in one-acts
in BZ's Original Theatre
at his company with jazz music
featuring sax riffs
and chants of Beat poetry
held at St. Peter's,
as this undercover professor
in a literary guided confession
critically reacts with patience
at his student audience
with the converted language
of his provided profession
about the classical arts
to lovers of the spoken Word
who gives a shout-out
by offering a lively meeting
of literary analysis
for creative minds
during intermission
at this gig of participation,
for bz wishes everyone
to have the parts of an actor
(as written
in his proctor's thesis)
and isn't art partly
an oral discussion
to culturally celebrate,
as when Albee's language
discloses the sum of life's reality
or bz plays
a host of instruments
a musical drum, violin
cello, piano, fife
and percussion,
emerging with a poet's
energy and imagery
as he lectures on Albee's
The Play About the Baby
and Breakfast at Tiffany's,
at this matinee
that made Albee
have fulfilling grades for me
and for all who participate
under a doctor's
critical discussion
of different resolutions,
as Edwin Albee still makes
his way of appearance today
even in his translated state
for a poet there is no death
in his or her cleverly riled lines
at a tragic-comedy boast
reflecting a starry-eyed host
of Oscar Wilde's past glory
in the keen, clever
and campy on the stage
was to a sunny creative bliss
at an early age
even in Albee's designed abyss
now an everlasting playwright
who passed away on this date
we will always remember
and miss him on September 16
and be grateful he was alive
for his fine contributions
to our breathless language
on the living stage
and to survive the age.


You in your summer bier
(borne in an English way)
always with
a heartening laugh
even as a July 's
funereal guest
and well bred gentleman
is passing away
as a lifelong death column
in a solemn obituary is read
today at bookstore hallways
or at the library shelves
of London or Oxford
your good-wishing fans
held out to reward
ourselves who read you
your achievement
taking in a full breath
at your bereavement
after the hearse rode by
others were thinking
how you were
always interpreting
and cheering amid the curse
for Shakespeare's
sly Falstaff
as if you were his muse
or nurse,
we who wish
not to lose you
as if there was no parting
from your span
in what's best in life
for a man's man
with a muscular
ribald but often ghostly humor
but it was more than
what was called
an artsy softened pose
but mostly of a rumor
that more than hinted
before the war
you favored poetry
more than your novel ways
for your own personal métier,
even as T.S. Eliot
sought you out
in his didactic words
and taught to allay us
all our small arbitrary fears
and yet you sought fame
more as a poet
of pacifist estrangement
in your conduit's arrangement
at the tenure of your years
for serving an an objector
to the horror of war,
with proof of a poetry lover
(as you adored Beowulf
at the Welsh, Scotch
and Celtic folio
which made you a poet
to discover
and a critic not aloof from us
from your accorded verse
in your wondrous libretto
from a universal literary career
which has stood up to time,
yet now you are rewarded
in my own rhyme
for your clever starring years
never to be undercover
but rather we drink
from your cup)
not forsaking
any didactic proof
that an enacted poet
is not aloof
for Robert Nye has wished
to be known and to express
that his cherished soul
will enlist
for a wise poet's goal
not as a dry-boned novelist,
if the truth be told
(he is not gone
like a swan on a lake
nor anonymous any more)
but we awake today
to feed
over his vast collection
of literary notes and stories
though you had to leave us
in regret from quotes
with a famous pose
in all its glories
with your wonderful signature
making us to believe
that your critical prose
was definitely part
of our culture
for we will grieve
yet retrieve
your signature memory
from in a lonely paragraph
in the popular press
which unravels to confess
the inimical truth
of your bio
with a passing dissent
to know the clarity
and discover in your folio
your secret sentiment of words
and lifelong wish to be a poet
as heard in your libretto
was no laughing matter
for now we know it
as in a new demographic reported
in today's Daily Telegraph
that such an epitaph
was spotted
and printed for the public
to openly express
as they chatter.

 Massachusetts Pumpkins


You ask what is conditioned
in a kind of accuracy
when you meander
to know the wandering words
for a poem in mind
are hidden in your spirit
until then we unwind
we are forbidden masks
until we become legendary
as jazz poets of the legible
rising in my search for riffs
while critics for language
create their own corner
by receiving ideas
from Homer, Pessoa or Basho
in aged library shadows,
on the church stained windows,
sunny basilica or porticoes,
or from our soundproof studios,
we are always eligible to write
in our own press alley's web
whether by first hallways light
writing binary notes in Vermont
or speaking to a Russian ballerina
or a sailor from Atlanta, Georgia
our history is not in question
whether we watch flashes
of cormorants on the water
or a future snow is envisaged
from my sunny back yard
or on the Atlantic ocean
in my once anchored kayak
on a smashing vacation up North
with my Melville-like travelogue
while my white island sailboat
crashes on the ocean floor
looking for salamanders
a bard hears the wonder of sounds
motioning us to more voices
of W.H. Auden
in an evocation of Iceland
or a playwright of modern dialogue
we have a permanent island
of a kind of music underground.


Today’s LittleNip:

A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.

—Salman Rushdie


Medusa, with many thanks to B.Z. Niditch for today’s fine poetry! Today's photos are of New England by my old friend, Anonymous.

Celebrate (and create!) poetry today, and then go down to 
Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe tonight, 8pm, for features 
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.