Thursday, September 01, 2016

Writing on a Misted Day

—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Denise Flanagan, MA


Wired in a silent
corridor of a soundproof loft
at the conservatory rooms
playing the viola
in an off day
practicing a fathomless sonata
by Bax
introduced to me by Tom Goff
here with an
accompanying harpist
hanging out
with a British composer
not well known to me
in all my lessons
of harmony classes,
now I'm writing
on a misted day
here by the Charles River
and spent
this dawn hiding out
along the sea's kayaks
and white sailboats
in a regatta
out for a race
to the finish
as a liaison
of love reveries
by Pierre Reverdy
pierces me in my soul
the sun backs me up
by the Boston Esplanade
in the overcast August dawn
by the promenade
kickstarts my memory
at a musical euphoria
of finding a new discovery
that haunts my absence
with metaphoric shadows
as my harpist notices a bird
by the rattling window
when our musical
notes are rising
with the suspense
of an incoming tide
from the balcony's portico
returning to my loft's window
the sill still
has pocket bread
for the red
Cardinal who returns
with a call all its own
from the ocean's
corresponding wave
appreciating the shelter
of shadow and distance
from a myna bird and poet
devouring the staff of life
in a morning time of repast.


Breaking news
in an avalanche of voices
heard at daybreak
at breakfast hour
on this dog day
in my Beat nook
having a mocha
while listening
to David Bowie's
song "Under Pressure"
getting a long-distance call
from Miami, Florida
from a former student, Betty
telling me of her non-stop
life as a school lifeguard
remembering how she
rescued beautiful turtles
with me at the sandbar
that once made their way
up the Coast to Cape Cod
fleeing the winter whirlpools
telling me she was on local T.V.
reading at a poet slam
how I inspired Betty
not to be shy in class,
now she sent me a tape
of her first reading
in English and Spanish words
remembering my solo
when I played alto sax
at a local gig
and then she sat outside
under a Maple tree
feeding the birds. 


Years in training
before school
waiting for
the time of truth
as you exercise your body
on the scale or trampoline
or peddle
on your mountain bike,
take a hike with Lottie
to a health grail
in Florida
near De Leon's fountain of youth
or sailing at Cape Hatteras
by being self-taught
in a yacht
by the encantadas waves,
with skis up to the Andes snow
on twin peaks
or just daily swimming
in the family pool,
it's all preparation you know
for the gymnastic competition,
as you accept an invitation
for the best run of your time
in the Boston marathon
or crashing to win the prize
in a triathlon
for bronze, silver or gold
lighting up your eyes,
for what is a poet yourself
seeking a miracle told each day
as you seek a literary prize
on a library computer
which offers us a surprise
in a moving lyrical way,
we are like enfolded starfish
out of a watery shore
on the beach
as we record what is wise
and go miles within
reach of an Olympic medal
with the skill of a whale,
hoping to be gallant
with strength, stamina or mettle
as we will set sail
wishing for
our tomorrow's goal
and like Melville's "Pierre''
follow words of a riddled tale
using our voice's preparation
and perception of a god wish
like the spirit of Baudelaire
to receive
our back-bench reward
when language is set loose
in Gaelic Irish,
English or French
as to what is ageless
and modern
like Joyce, Proust or Auden.


Enjoying a java
in Paris under an azure sky
after enjoying Chardin,
Picasso, Braque
and the Dutch masters
at the museum
it was like living
through a daydream
without a care
on a hammock
in an hour of leisure
with my fiend Sabine
by the berries almost green
when docked by the Seine
saying to me by her touch
that without love
life would not be much
hearing the motor boat sounds
of roaring waves of pleasure
wondering if love was found
as rain flickers through the air
we are drowned in Rimbaud,
Verlaine and Baudelaire.


A French critic and my teacher
an attractive woman
from the Sorbonne
compared my poetry
to André Breton
when I was a freshman
in a class of graduate students
and not knowing Breton
ran to a bookstore
along the Seine out of breath
to remember her words
as a celebrating priest,
visiting professor
literary critic and gardener
Father Adrian from Boston
I met at a recital previously
who also delighted
by implanted languages
having been to the Holy Land
like me who knew
Hebrew, Aramaic, Ethiopic
Latin, Greek and Ugaritic
whom I had spoken to
a day before at the library
telling him how
as to a confessor and critic
I always put my journals
in a French writing box
my family had given me
back in the States
he politely asks me what
writer I was looking up
amid the countless shelves
with exotic names
and titles on their covers
when I told him
what the teacher
related about me
he found a volume
of Breton for me
with his signature
over a green cover
and because we have
a literary
and religious connection
he took me out to lunch
having red wine,
a filet of sole
and a bon bon confection.


Picasso's blues
came to Hartford in 1934
near Wallace Stevens'
estate as he is writing
''The Man with the Blue Guitar''
out of his poetic
articulated voice
who paints
from his words
his spirit's heartbeat
like a local
locomotive engineer
in his language
of imaginative art
for two articulate surrealists
Picasso and Stevens
whose metaphoric experiments
communicate to observe
in their briefing books
folders of Dada bas reliefs
in drawings
of fictive colors
where an enriched
poet and artist
realize their
complex landscapes
of explored gestured reality
from geometric shapes
honors lines
now recognized
by their tone
for their realized
dramatic satisfactions
of what our enigmatic time
now acknowledges
with modernist prisms
of technique
to open up to critic's
for the modern mind.


The first smell
of late August's
fallen leaves
near the birches
even on the weariness
of a Vermont day
we're playing Mozart
making music
with a quartet of friends
on a bench
with a first violin
once pawned
now repaired miraculously
by Mr. Elder of Boston
who has golden hands,
now sharing a murdered muffin
cheese croissants
a banana
and some salsa salad
drinking in
a green Chinese tea
with tiny cups from India
which my Aunt Sarah prepared
as a repast for me
comes down to visit us
from Fort Sewall
in Marblehead
where we rehearsed for recitals
carrying me this
glorious breakfast tray
with Uncle Linwood
where we would practice
Bach's double violin concerto
on a summer's day waiting
in the shadows
of the boat club
ready to take
us on the yacht
which races for miles
for trout which we caught
as a student artist gives me
an oil drawing of our cat
now on the wall of my kitchen
next to Hockney's painting
as we jam together
and chitchat.

Today’s LittleNip:


Your dad, Leonard
gave me my first haircut
when you were televised
going onto a spaceship;
you had once ruled
the airwaves of Boston
now you are gone
but your memory lives on.


—Medusa, with thanks to B.Z. Niditch and Denise Flanagan, both from Massachusetts, for their tasty poetry-and-photo repast today! To read Wallace Stevens' "The Man With the Blue Guitar", go to

Celebrate poetry tonight down at T-Mo Entertainments’ 
Showstopper Spoken Word Competition in Old Sac, 
or over in Davis as Nina Lindsay and Rosa Lane read at  
John Natsoulas Gallery
Both begin at 8pm—as does the weekly Poetry Unplugged 
at Luna’s Cafe on 16th St. in Sacramento. Scroll down 
 to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for
info about these 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.