Thursday, October 23, 2014

B.Z. Niditch- Three Poems


We have a starting point
in life shaped for us
like a geometric sculpture
of Giacometti,
climbing up hills
we were like Sisyphus
but forced down
by stones and rubble
that give us trouble,
then a poisoned argument
in the cloudy receding air
that would not go away
yet lessened by twilight
by have darkened sea
with a lark's cry at the moon
but we weigh diving
by the bay
into a night's just surviving
a peaceful conversation,
in the morning
you make a solo run
on the starting line
in your life's marathon
but time may run out
for our once
swimming relationship
even here in the dawn.


At a used book shop
in the East End of London
among famous named
unread Dickens volumes
and library antiques
when you unashamedly
need a leak
waiting for the auction
to begin
your weak nerves begin
to be in shreds
as Dickens begins to speak
from your novel in hand
in heady whispers
and then my reading
out loud in the midst
of the boisterous crowd
and what if critics think
that my accent
is like his
as the business of the auction
starts up
my breath swirls
and my heart beats
a million times
as if there was my rhythm
with a raspy verse
of my reciting in time,
none leave the premises
or want to think
of an arbitrary curse
or a detective's crime
this being the anniversary
of Dickens' death
as an old inspector
in a raincoat
from the basement
holds up the first book
of his to sell
and all goes well
for a hour or two
as the room empties
its traffic of retinue
yet here is a Dickens portrait
or a facsimile
resting in an armchair
over me.


Rained out on Sunday
for your sax's
official performance
but still the numbers
of patrons arrive
and you do not care
what the media
or your manager says
and you open the hall
with extra keys
find an electrician to do
lights and a friend
to pass out the programs
call up the critics
get up on stage
until the initial dawn
and blast your sax
staying up all night
waiting for the reviews.

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