Thursday, September 08, 2016

Scattering Painted Violets

Banana Tree
—Photos by Stacey Jaclyn Morgan, Fair Oaks, CA
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


On my way to Frisco
in the Sixties
with my acoustic guitar
and acrostic puzzles
in the back
of my Mack truck
hearing the lyrical song
about flowers in her hair
which stops me
from my reading
the poetry of Baudelaire
meeting her outside the library
in our flight of several stairs
as she almost fell
in her Cinderella high heels
to give her a rebel yell
a signal that all is clear
from her father,
a real big shot around here,
giving her an extra
peanut butter sandwich
on a croissant
and gumballs
she needing a ride out West
for an audition as a model
in a fashion show
she was a great guest
with whom we got along,
everything was proper
and exemplary
until a cop tried to stop her
from her ambitions
on the last rotary
for her father contacted him
on his shortwave
telling her to behave
and say the rosary
as he was a daily celebrant
and a communicant,
anyway we made it
and she became famous
in Life, Look, Time, Vogue
and she even got me
a short part in a T.V. comedy
and as a pirate rogue
for the rose bowl pageant.



You land in Frisco
as a young adolescent
on the plane
playing with my cousin's
stuffed giraffe and bear
in an aimless year
scenting my family's wrath
of being on the war path
for my music career
and yet there is no secret
that I am their prodigy
who must devote time
to creating an epitaph
so sublime
it will define me
when I tell the family
on Nob Hill
I'd rather be a poet
or a saint
than chill out
for their designs on me.

 Cistus Rockrose


I'm Beat
with a dashing alto sax
on the nearby mountain grass
writing my elegy for
my hip generation
asking my flower child
Jan Marie,
who was eighteen
studying to be a nurse
at the hospice in Boca Raton
who stayed with us an hour
playing canasta
and shared her Zen haiku
on the tourist ship
and applied a tourniquet
to bandage up an appendage
for a sailor, Zack who lost a bet
at strip poker
while I was in Florida
visiting my Great-Aunt Anna
the daughter of Sonny,
Hollywood's publicity writer,
she ran a fancy hotel
with a balcony
where she cooked paella
and hot calamari
always with Ginseng tea
then realizing I spoke fluently
in several languages
got me a job letter-writing
all summer
for her guests at the lobby bench
in Italian, Spanish and French
knowing I needed the money
for college tuition
as for Zack the poker-playing guy
he married the flower child
Jan Marie who stood on ceremony
with this early romance
so what,
as if she took an odd
chance and got to bed
with Zack
who was like The Gambler
of Dostoyevsky's fame
which I gave to the couple
as my wedding gift
also I'm playing jazz riffs
along the docks' corridor
during the samba dancing,
soon you named your new son

 Cutting Garden


Living through
As you Like It
by changing channels
for the Shakespeare comedy
there is some static
like snow on the T.V.
as my roommate
of long ago
tells me
he/she used to be an actor
leading a double life
puts on AC/DC
and not wanting
any trouble for his id or ego
I tell her/him as a poet
I'll go along with it.



Don't get in Patchen's way
in his electric confidence
of Beats who turn us on
in the war-weary Sixties
from jazzed-up musical minds
cutting bourgeois body thoughts
by blowing his solitary notes
out from Frisco's waterfront
for a new Renaissance
without censorship
from trenchant phrases
under the distraught strain
of unpracticed praise
from he who taught peace
for a generation to sing outdoors
with an anonymous chorus
among wings of birds
from gatlings
as people are shot down
on all fours
machine-gunned by armies
where death constantly pores away,
yes, renew us, Kenneth
for who is loved more
than you and your lyrical comrades
mad Whitman, Blake, Rexroth
who keep away our complacency
and the darkness of political sloths.

 Late Summer Seeds


Seeking to nullify all
traumatic drives
imagining on this Dog Day
that life still survives
is a mysterious miracle
like the last rose of summer
in spite of it all,
the murmur of gossips
bullies at school
the perilous nightmare calls
upon livid psychic shipwrecks
in the Pacific and Atlantic
wounded by strangers
hounded by
false lover sex-slaves
with doppelgangers
from many an ex,
the vivid troublemakers
who have double-crossed us
not willing to behave as Quakers
yet I'm fulfilled to be as David
poet, shepherd, psalmist, king
wondrous singer and friend
of Jonathan who was once lost
in the abyss of the two-faced Saul
his father,
now I am rather a fisher for souls
of the lost and found
a priest after Melchizedek
hidden in the bosom of Abraham
tempest-tossed on the deck
now undercover
in many translations
with those not of this underworld
but like Ovid with ovations
from his wondrous words
in a metamorphosis of grace
with my neck out for others
or have you not heard.



Daylight as birds in midair
cover the Seine's passages
here under a kayak in 1990
under an August blue sky
as some starlings in Paris
make me open my pale eyes
as I lecture on Paul Valery
who changed language forever
here in this slow-danced eulogy
from my original passwords
of this literary critic's analysis
in a wingbeat of abstraction,
as we enter a choice speed race
with the crowds on holiday
hesitant to move to the Riviera
we find our heart's camouflage
by escaping the city
facing my late summer readings
and my solo sax playing
as Valery fills your fans
with an eloquent voice.



Scratching your poetry kits
into life's media perspective
recalled as a poet
without a near-miss
as a modernist language guy
in the bottleneck of art
who died and went
from the earth's grievance
to carve out your part
by a redwood tree
outnumbered by the spirit
in a two-cent unworthy world
rising high in the reputation
of critics who matter
about your swan lake eloquence
to give words an oral
or printed chance
to scatter painted violets,
Pacific time
away from a safe house
of a runaway status quo
from an insomniac's sleep
upon a carved sunflower bridge
hearing tremors
from a speculation's ego
as you remember
a California earthquake struck
in a mordant atmosphere
from a fifth dimension
in the sun filled dawn
resonant from your love
of a verb's declension
from shrinks ad nauseam
which scatters your remains
from your reading lips
of a cabin fever's paranoia
we hear deep music
of the nightfall
running off the aftershocks
from my composure
of a cool telephone call
to me telling me
you are gone.

 Wind and Smoke


All those empty spaces
in a Vermont writer's colony
my surreal drawings
over the campus lobby
waiting for a pop artist
Andy from Manhattan
with his canvas
carrying under his arms
the charismatic patterns
for future happenings
as he engages us
in art, music, plays, films
I'm in a love song to the folks
playing my acoustic guitar
we are glancing at the stage
moving our feet in dances
to the jazz riffs and rages
of Allen G., a Beat poet
with his sitar and bong
in the Sixties language
with India's rhythm's in heat,
viewing those spaces we see
on the bird branches
a canary flying up
here by the White Mountains
who at day's first light
may want bread or my croissant
or to drink in a thirst
for mineral water
from the city fountain
as this canary escaped
from his cage to the Elm trees
by home folks who cannot
let the tiny bird share
any invitation to be free
for those like the canary
are held in captivity,
yet hearing her song's voice
wanting a choice to be free
we rejoice in her serenity
knowing we all seek peace
as flower children
and like the bird
want harmony.


Today’s LittleNip:
I consider myself kind of a reporter—one who uses words that are more like music and that have a choreography. I never think of myself as a poet; I just get up and write.

—Mary Oliver


—Medusa, with a big thank-you to B.Z. Niditch and Stacey Morgan for today’s hot, rich breakfast in the Kitchen! 

Celebrate poetry—just get up and write! 
Then head down to Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe tonight 
at 8pm to hear Davis Poet Laureate Dr. Andy Jones read, 
plus 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.