There is always Life in Sevilla and Life in the Poet
BZ Niditch’s Lorca at Sevilla takes us to a hot spot location for some fine poetry. He mixes seasons, different locations and his always present theme of the artist/poet dealing with life and writing about it.
In the “Art of Hours” Niditch says “it’s late August” with a “false moon” a “leafless tree” and there is the artist/painter or as in the case of the poet, a painter of words “over a park bench/ a long silent painter/ living in solitude/ quietly initials/ another art of hours/ on the voiceless night.”
Much like the poet takes an artless night creeping into the wee hours of the morning and makes it his palette for writing poems with very strong voice in them.
Giving words to the voice, and rhythm to words, BZ always does this, and in such a concise fashion. His poems are the epitome of economic sanction.
An example is his poem “The Disappearance” when he speaks of war and death and a town vanishing—
“an empty room, / an unmade bed, / sunglasses, / a live elm, / six candles, / a comatose clock, / with your name/ a small voice/ and memory.”
War kills the individual, it kills towns, it kills countries…with chaotic precision. BZ’s short phrasing is catchy, pulsing and sharp in rhetoric…don’t waste space, don’t waste words. Just say it…and i love the juxtaposition of the “live elm” amongst all the emptiness, solitude and death.
So much strength emerges from his pieces of how nature parallels and encloses the lonely, cold, hollow feelings…as in “Homeless”—
“On a park bench/ night shares/ a frozen stranger/ near heaps of snow.” So desolate is aloneness…the snow is almost a welcomed blanket. “As the earth is chilled white.”
And all “the poet asks/ (is) that none of his nature/ be buried/ or lost to frenzied time.” Again nature, poetry, the poet surviving seasons, especially the winter when everything is barren and frozen…sort of like the poet feels when he or she is going through a writer’s block…but then comes spring…when the bird watchers come out…and there is rebirth…as in his poem “Bird Watcher”
“in a moment’s gaze/ at dripping snow/ along a fallen branch,/ your full eyes/ watch the birds/ blink with expectation.”
What is expected? that poetry will come again? that spring will come again? that BZ Niditch’s pen will never stop moving over the page?
All of them we hope. Because BZ, your words do “Cover us like snowflakes” and yet somehow warm our hearts with their depth of meaning and like “eager proverbs” give us themes to relate to and live by—
May you always keep ” safely pounding out/ cool Socratic answers/ for an earful of wisdom/ of those pure ideas/ that spring from the dusty pages/ of a lifelong companion.” Your typewriter.
jacob erin-cilberto (author of Used Lanterns)