Thursday, December 29, 2016

Murdering Croissants & Dutch Beer

—Poster by Alphonse Mucha, 1898
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


A cloudy sky
yet feeling alive
at ten years old
at the thrill
of riding a race horse
shielding my eyes
yet reprieved
in my will
to take the reins
with a given moving
signal here to discern
as I'm rushing down
in Haverhill
of course as a poet
in this town
believing I will
face it and learn.



You lived to be a hundred
as a motion picture maker
when I was taken to see
a series of your movies
at fifteen
by my Cousin Sonny
who worked for the studios
in Hollywood, California
as his neighborhood art screen
showed us
Children of Hiroshima
and the horror flick
which still sticks to me
as a young script writer
on the job one summer
even at my poetry schtick
which came to me later.

 Landscape with an Obelisk
—Painting by Govert Flinck


Scarcely a light
in December's short day
the snowflakes
melt as if they
were quarreling shadows
which melt by chance
unrecognized by the lake
yet here I sit by my desk
near winter woods
watching a black bird
on the branches
in my seashore neighborhood
trying to think
of the Dutch master
Govert Flinck
who painted Landscape
with an Obelisk

which as a young poet
always carrying words
from my hallways
would trek on Sundays
to the Gardner Museum
in Boston
to listen to a concert
or enjoy the art
with my Aunt Sarah
until some of it was stolen
in a heist in 1990
along with a couple
of good Rembrandt paintings
who was his contemporary
in his zeitgeist.



Walking by Montparnasse
meeting Kate
a Paris friend
who had been harassed
by a wise guy in a bar
she was excited to tell me
of her thesis on Joan Mitchell,
the abstract expressionist
and colorist
knowing how enamored
we were of her Trees,
Ici and Posted
back in the States
how they both studied
at Smith College
Kate reminding me
I was then emerging
with poetic knowledge
as a keen wordsmith
remembering Joan's exhibition
of Drawing into Painting
would be coming up
this October
through December 2016.

—Painting by Joan Mitchell, 1990 


Saint-John Perse,
politic diplomat and poet
in his prolific shaky time
when being out of Styx
against welcoming
Vichy was a crime
writing Anabasis
an evocative tragedy
in a nursed language
from an itinerant age
of critics who know
the praising panegyrics
and its metamorphosis.



When Tatyana Grosman
flees a span
of revolutionary time
not staying put in Paris
or Venice, Japan, Dresden
and lastly Barcelona
bravely escaping
to the Pyrenees on foot
as a collaborator on Stones
with galley and gallery partners
the painter Larry Rivers
and poet Frank O'Hara
for you, Tatyana,
would not depart in fear
without sending out
(we can still hear)
a passionate target and dare
from her
rendering a verdict of love,
delivering for your friends
and above all leaving
from her à la carte critics
an unforgettable
mural series in years
with her fine printing,
drawing and fashion
for which only art atones.

 Young Spanish Girl
—Painting by Constantin Guys


Baudelaire enjoyed
Constantin Guys
this painter of watercolor
and illustrator at his bench
even compared him
to a Whistler in French
in the Second Empire life
in his span he composed
Young Spanish Girl
and The Loge at the Opera
among those who sinned
and in an encounter
yet only recognized in art
who suddenly vanish
as a daughter or young man
on a wall in the museum
lost in the shadowy wind
are not surprised
at the large-sized window
of a dream by a counterpart.



Wishing to grasp
a new perspective
in a gestured mirror
of Cy Twombly's
retrospective in 1994
at the Whitney Gallery
of Modern Art
in discarded objects
on the vast floor
among designs and signs
over long corridors
of inscriptions, numbers, jets,
faint Bacchus fragments
for the drunken god of wine
from parts of antiquity
among maps, flags, tubes,
more than ninety objects
in cubes of random targets
we are reacting to hackings
past romantic keepsakes
and quotes from the poetry
of Keats, Rilke, Mallarmé
dada paintings
and his art when he lived
on the Isle of Procida, Italy.

 Cherry Picture
—Painting by Kurt Schwitters, 1921


With a German friend seeking
to view a thorough collective
of Kurt Schwitters in 1985
partly speaking under a cover
of rain here in the Big Apple
at the Museum of Modern Art
it seemed as if in this retrospective
of ephemera and new ouvres,
dada sculpture and poetry
whose work was publicly
condemned on display
by the brown-shirted Nazis
who called it degenerate
yet these abstracts, bric-à-brac,
objects the world would
dispose of or throw away
in textures, patinas, collages
from the back of cultural coats
in prisms of many colors
when escaping fascism to Norway
experiencing trial and error
exile and terror every day,
it is an honor to stand under
the mirror along corridors
to review such abstracts
amid the wonders of sculpture
of our data of cultural artifacts
as you make connections
with later relations and collations
free of the thorn and call
of political ideology
from his reborn meaningful art
bombarded in forms and dreams
in orange, greens and reds
to sum up in this museum
all of your personal creations.



We reviewed Feininger's painting
at the Worcester Art Museum
and seeing your retrospective
of photography, comic strips,
landscapes, geometric shapes
in a new perspective
of your etchings and sketching
in villages, and the sea
when you left the country
in a brief life span
for Germany
to study photography
and learn of cubism
as a clever pitted caricaturist
never allowing the war
or fascism to make you
an embittered man
you were without regrets
as you were learning
how to draw landscapes
and enlist interlocking plates
of architecture and the structure
surely as a draftsman of planes
and as a discerning cartoonist
having to leave Berlin
as an American when the Nazi
dictator Hitler takes over
yet you were considered
a bit eccentric
almost a poet, yet
even if the cornered
critics thought
that Lyonel Feininger
was a bit off-kilter
even near Weimar
enlisting in his search
as a spectator in a specter
from a color palette
on a finger of representation
you draw the Gothic Church
Gelmeroda which sustains
the continuum that still makes
your reputation as a pioneer.

—Painting by Lyonel Feininger, 1936


Today’s LittleNip:

—B.Z. Niditch

Claiming to be
a welcome reveler
in the stark cold
for the new year
sheltering a time
of summing up much
from your few resolutions
amid these cheerful sounds
though in the dark
of a Tin Pan Alley
you criminally murder
your girlfriend's
spinach croissant
after devouring a Dutch beer
while playing riffs
from your tenor sax
in Central Park.


—Medusa, with thanks to B.Z. Niditch for today’s poetry as we count down the days to the New Year. For more about the French Poet Saint-John Perse, see For more about the Gardner Museum heist, go to

Celebrate all the poetry that has not gone unwritten!

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