Thursday, November 17, 2016

An Uneasy Peace

—Anonymous Photos
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


We keep thinking
in shock waves
along the wind-cowed ocean
in my orange kayak
of underside-blue
that today
everything can be new
and in wonder and trembling
as an enormous rainbow motions
to us on the sandy beach
of Cape Cod's shadows
when a red-winged blackbird
soars on the dewy branches
reaching out to children
in the home harbor
hiding in first-light windows,
this bird sent out from God
is whistling in grey clouds
making us transparent
from the arbors of trees
in the storm-lashed hours
from the wind's distraction
of a warm Southeast breeze
to give us an exuberant
earthy satisfaction.



At five years old, arriving
at the Boston Music School
without a formal invitation
while outside
Commonwealth Avenue
other fellows and gals
are playing touch football
to keep
November's athletics alive
others are conducting
to prepare and survive
an audition
students are doing addition
and multiplication tables
I'm able to figure out
how to play this triangle
a tiny instrumental ploy
for the Haydn Toy Symphony,
and trying out
the lyrical cello
timpani and percussion,
helping get out a free edition
of an orchestral chapter
in an appreciation course
in the knowledge
at sight reading
amid solfeggio
and hidden harmony
of the piano
with my dispassionate
uncle and aunt
teaching us
amid the fashionable
school hallways
by overhearing
a critic's discussion
and always being au courant.


In a ravine
overwhelmed with rain
in the darkness and dirt
by rocks and stones
from Spain
all the way to Kiev
in the Ukraine
pushing out bones
of hurt bodies
from the earth
by the shield
of the endlessly slain
between tree spruces
of Herod's open spaces
in a dearth of evidence
trees need a monument
to those involved
sent to a firing squad
of annihilation
embedded in a breeze
out in a winding of faces
from a century's darkness
out of the ease of the nations
in these open spaces
out of fourteen stations
of God
who will not confess
any human deliberations.



A blind highway light
towards dawn
all through a packed night
the winds of November move
on crimson leafy tree branches
though a jackknifed icy rain
against the glass
planning to visit another poet
in the city streets
who needs courage
to go on.

 Stephen Crane (1871-1900)


In a time of America
when longing for peace
as your red badge
worn today as poppies
on your own Joseph's
coat of courage
in an open boat
traveling over the sea
as all cloudy-day stars
were deeply etched
all over the map
in innocence
from a language of liberty
but who could now grasp
the Gulag.


(November 3)

Lucan, a Roman poet
nephew of Seneca
wrote Medea
and Pharsalia
lived under Nero
in a ground-zero game
for whatever
regime we live under
words make us alive
we clever poets go on
even in the worst of times
we survive the sounds
of red and brown
of all cursed human crimes
in our own undergrounds.

 Odysseus and Scylla


November third
Odysseus under a blank
verse blanket
above a tortured world
at war with itself
yet you refusing
the clenched fist
of the fascists
in censorship
or dictatorship
in your wrists
your words closing
as islands
in a peaceful Greek
neighborhood awake,
a painter lifts his canvas
greets a poet
who aches with deep eyes.


Today’s LittleNip:


Sinking into a voice
of poetry, prose and song
embracing the earth's knoll
in London, Manhattan
all through Montreal
the world misses you
this Fall as you take
your leave but not your soul
in a time to remember
this November, 2016
of an uneasy peace for all.


—Medusa, with thanks to B.Z. Niditch for today’s fine poems!

 Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)
Celebrate poetry and the lives of those who have gone before us!

Your poetry choices in our area today start at noon, 
with Third Thursdays in the Sacramento Room of the 
Central Library (bring poems about gratitude and appreciation); 
then Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe presents features and 
open mic, 8pm; or Poetry in Davis presents D.R. Wagner and 
Alice Anderson at John Natsoulas Gallery, 8pm. Scroll down to 
the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info 
about these and other upcoming poetry events in our area—
and note that more may be added at the last minute.

And this just in: tomorrow night, 7:30pm, Sac. Poetry Center 
presents the release of Soul of the Narrator, a seventh chapbook 
by writers involved in Jan Haag's writing groups. 

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.