Thursday, January 19, 2017

Crazy Songs Under the Stars

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


Forgetting it's dawn
with its daily tasks
and the hands at five A.M.
on my grandfather clock
I leave for Vermont
feeling alive
carrying my sax
along these woods
of leafed Maples
not with a condemned look
at any frog or toad
where pines, mimosa,
phlox run by Skylight
Pond Trail head
near Goshen Brook Road
but who asks anything more
as we climb ever closer
in the morning fog
to the Green Mountains
and relax in nature
where bees are whirling
by the Evergreen trees
and a phalanx of birds
are basking in the sun
after the fog lifts
from a gaunt sky, clouds
and when first light is done
by riverbeds
feeling famished
I play riffs on my tenor sax
our fearless crowd is to dine
with some plain cheese Danish,
and almond croissants
with bottles of red wine
delivered to other tourists
watching robins rise
over our heads
until we are finished
standing nearby to visit
a poet from Montreal
at the French restaurant cafe
near an ice fishing pond
amid these waters of Vermont
as birds fly in branches
amid a breeze from Birch trees
as our crowd is searching
near by a park bench
thrilled at a dog rescue
of a slippery shih tzu
by Lake Champlain
when our prayer wishes
will not delay but rock true.

 Hermit Thrush, Vermont State Bird


Just asking for the sun
to shine
on the barely naked trees
masking snow
in the dead wintry air
taking my leaves
visiting a Vermont poet
in a skilled lettered occupation
with her toddler moving
by her unwilling wheelchair
thanking her this winter
for a standing invitation
that’s still
in my pea jacket pocket
since the spring
yet understanding
Andrea's deep regret
of how she fell
feeling sleepy
over at the ski hill
looking for a locket
in the January thaw
of shadowy white
deposits from the sky
we are both wanting
a cheese croissant
and a cup of red wine
near these ski riverbeds
in Stowe at an early hour
we're swaying
with a prayer's echo
by a Bay's tree branches
and a single geranium
on the glassy window
over her balcony
by a bell tower shadow.


Whether turtles
stranded on the beach
up from islands
within our reach
lost in the cold waves
or a humpbacked whale
there is no furlough
on Cape Cod
now back from the gazebo
as we sail on a boat
or kayak
to a rescue
as we leave the dunes
to care for
injured animals
or floating mammals
with our first aid kits
and tourniquets
in our fingers and bones
as a God squad
shapes us
by a chorus of birds
stirring us with energy
under a jagged sun
to free mammals, animals
and humpback whales
as our goal
by creatures without hope
held by human string
and enfolded rope
with new photos
spotted and featured in sight
we save our own souls
as nature would direct
creatures to rise alive
upon or beneath the sea
as if it were our lives instead
in our own paradise to atone
for years of human
cruelty and neglect
with a new liberty
as understood
and to select those barely alive
with their underwater lungs
from our neighborhood
now with hope
to survive and thrive
who would be hung
by string or rope.

 Seabirds, Cape Cod


Catching a glimpse
of a humpbacked whale
in a heavy mirage of winds
which seem to increase
as we sail in my kayak
with a friend
from Greenpeace
memory logs in
Plymouth's home harbor
in my ghostly blog
writing on Melville's dialogue
in a reign of dreams last July
among dunes, seaweed, dunes
the green waves shiver
over sandstone streams
shaking mean time
from an unfolding abyss
along scattered shoals
at a day's disappearance
only my memory saves me
of this dancing whale
as in a living metamorphosis.



A now-neighboring aesthete
after a rainstorm
shoulders his knapsack
who was once
a day-laboring teenager
telling me of his late father
a carpenter from Montreal,
I was waiting for his arrival
at the backpack bench
as this young foreign body
washes his feet in a pail
and waits to be warm
before he enters my kayak
waiting to sail
and to catch a glimpse
of a humpback whale
wants only to speak French
in my company
he tells me how he lives
outdoors in the sun
blinded by a student memory
from the loss of his parents
in a car accident
as he recalls the incident
in his own poetry
from a sorry state of mind
speaks of his recent visit
to a museum in D.C.
and of the fiery brilliant orange
in a Turner portrait
and landscape at the Tate
with its flaming fire
catch an innocent
prophetic vision
abdicating the enigmatic light
in his blinded eyes
catching me aware
as he unwinds
by the sandy shadows at sea
watching a lonely cormorant
diving near me
knowing we are all in exile
barely within reach
of a prudent survival.



Out of Chelsea
walking by a bathhouse
out of the closet
of noted poets
by daddy's safe deposit
after picking up his savings
putting on a blue collar
not giving a damn
remembering his brother
coming back home
as a paraplegic in ‘Nam
and his apoplectic ravings
against Uncle Sam
near graffiti walls of sex
somewhere in the Sixties
in the day of Andy
and Candy Darling
a daring Catullus
leaves the hotel
pink and sandy-eyed
and tells us
of his miracle Jesus dream
last summer
on Fire Island
amid class, race
and gender wars
in the rouged
and roughed-up face
by a losing type
of skinhead thugs
in striped pants
after Mark left the Fugs
to all-night dance
and speak of a rendered
identity politics
to last for a dialectical
and diabolical
inherited and
unmerited generation
as Mark leaves the mezzanine
after shaving
heads for a local café
wishing for lox
on a bagel
with dark coffee and cream
leaving the price of mammon
for a slice
of Scandinavian salmon
to discuss Hegel
amid texts of Marx
meeting a companion
wanting to start
and sacrifice for
yet another little magazine
with bz on the cover
asking me for epigrams
of a Shavian nature
and spittle grams of dope
gratified in his own name
to satisfy his own status
and nomenclature
from an ex-lover
who lost hope
last night listening to Handel
in the laundry rooms
with his clothes stolen
by a wounded Achilles
amid a hundred Trojans
by candle light.



A seasoned refugee
roughened up
from five continents
feels free enough
to repent in the dunes
asking for a blanket pardon
by Franklin Gardens
amid blackbird cacophonies
and Mahler's
last symphonies
by the past icicles
of a gazebo
life excuses him
for a lost bicycle
in the circling of obscurity
of a country snowstorm
under once-warm
fallible umbrellas on the beach
having a vanilla sundae
as ravishing gulls amuse
with mysterious wings
within reach by the seaweed
the lighthouse shines
hiding its shadows
by oak picnic canopies
as a child hunts
for coral shells
over the indigo shore
a lone chickadee sings.

 Raven, that Trickster...


Nobody likes March
as a demon trickster
in a trickery of subterfuge
as he quickly emerges
from a dorm
under the huge canopy arch
at a stormy time of gloom
standing up at a wedding
by a bedding bride or groom
beckoning into an intrigue
of subtlety in conception
in his duplicity of narrative
from an isolated livable sense
of pretense with chicanery
to outlive any sense of fraud
in his every unjust sentence
as he adjusts us in a charade
and berates repentance
of he who hates God
before every lining-up
of the people to parade
in a façade and berate
before a steeple
at the firing squad,
or over any earthly altar
leaving him or her
reeling in their sins,
or needing to take spring on
with catatonic winds
by forcing a few flowers
out of the dew's emerging
to sprout on a meadow's earth
than decreeing a new snow
from a weather report
or asking, masking
making or mistaking
for an early hour
at the widow's windowsill
by hanging onto shadows
of a sleeping pill
and having a stillbirth
as the sky
is abstaining of rain
of an isolated March
from the calendar
yet frostily leafless
of dead-branch birch trees
as bird feathers rise
in a lurch up to the stars
quickly as a breeze lies
across the river barges
to gather up a frosty leaf
in Satan's astonishment
to admonish and abolish
belief in every man or woman
what every demon wishes to do
as he drowses to entwine,
not renew you in the Bible
for he hates the Divine Word
in his span's spectrum libel
with strife in his spectrum
to kill off life
in a continuum of the Son
which inspired John Milton
the Puritan
as earth overturns earth
upward to heaven
from graves’ greensward paths
once luminous with snow
I'm feeding the birds
with my last crumbs
which saves us
for a March reading
until this past semester
of Sylvia Plath to review.


It's not easy
in a legacy
to combine history
with the literary élan
of a novel's plan
but Umberto Eco
and Doctorow
in their celebrity span
like Osip Mandelstam
whose birthday
is this January
all in a shadow slipping
by the Neva
from their hour
are now gone
but not fallen
like pollen in the breeze
from a spring flower
near the Birch and Elm trees
but alive in their words
discovering the red-winged
blackbird by river beds
or at the search and urging
of a swan who survives
by my cello playing
a dirge from memory
or this melody
of Saint-Saëns.


He found this guy
a local actor to interview
for his magazine,
his pocket was
without two cents
waiting at a bus stop
in Providence
who is actually thirty
who sleeps in a mezzanine
in any free balcony
with a bong
but really younger
singing a crazy song
under the stars
will quickly vanish
from his last note
on his Spanish guitar
about love's forgetfulness
why the world is wrong
caresses a teddy bear's skin
likes his own voice within
he may not find again
or not pick a fight
with another brother
in shoes, shorts and sneakers
forgetting the clocks
when love is in the air
not to lose the night
with music he wants to share
as a sociologist of love
once abused
for a twisted love or just used
in a maladjustment
(who can guess)
you wanted many things
(not to brag)
begun by Susan Sontag
seeking some truth
in your happenings
with killer innocence
as a mask of Platonic youth
is taken off and a jazz riff
of beauty released to duty
if who but Paul Goodman
minding his own business
is picking up pebbles
by June's tall sand dunes
along six coppery miles
seeking that call of a smile
in a peaceful photograph
or writing
that lasting paragraph
risking a sleepwalk
in bands of a vanilla cup
of grass
for a thousand hours
in guilt of his own failings
watches this young man
as a ghost of his own past
almost fall
from the span of railings
in this pale-skinned night
when everything came off
in tunes
that he could sing out
from the love and laughter
ever after Walt Whitman
you are not alone
his small voice recalls
playing with a campy fire
on the rocks and stone
in a constant bone up
of a dauntless desire.


Our thanks to B.Z. Niditch for his East Coast poems and his many mentions of birds, giving us the excuse to post photos of them.

Lots of poetry in our area tonight: Third Thursday at the Central Library features a poetry read-around (bring poems, preferably not your own), 12 noon; Straight Out Scribes are featured at Luna’s Cafe, 8pm; and in Davis, 8pm: Writers Resist in Davis: A Poetry Night of Protest at the John Natsoulas Gallery, 521 1st St., Davis. Bring short examples of poetry/prose showing resistance against censorship, discrimination, injustice, prejudice, sexism, racism, homophobia, ageism, scapegoating, religious intolerance, and various forms of corruption. Click pic for more info about Writers Resist. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.


Today’s LittleNip:
Twilight whippoorwill…
Whistle on, sweet deepener
Of dark loneliness

—Bashō Matsuo



 Celebrate your song!

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