Street People

Crowds at dusk
with better weather
here at “The Club,
Last Rainbow”
some Friday night
when out of town folks
with lighter arms
on shirtsleeve notice
taste the smoke
among the barbeques
in fires of hot stoves
by skinny rows
of street people
listening to my alto sax
on the loudspeaker
along the waterfront
breaking glasses
of wine with waves
for tourist friends
on a boardwalk of trees
where crows try to rest
on park back benches
and a new born
on his father’s shoulder
goes berserk with laughter.

Das Capital
B.Z. Niditch

Dad said,
“No one should be
a money machine,”
“Greenbacks”,
he called money
or sometimes monopoly,
when he discovered
an ATM
outside his bank
after slaving all night
since he was seven
and turned away
he was expiring
on the pavement
because thieves
broke into the bank,
“What’s the difference
inside or out”
he whispered,
“Most people
live by default
the bribe taking pols.,
editorial writers,
monocled judge,
and hung juries
even at
this neglected hour
fear strikes the street
on a bankrupted day,
now dad you are gone
encircled by time
in rooted bitterness
of a collected
memory
without interest
now stored in my poems
and housed away
at the bottom draw
of an auctioned desk
with no one to give
an account.

Lady Day
B.Z Niditch

With my muffled response
to the radio contest
of who sings
the blues
“Fine and Mellow”
and “God bless
the Child”
and being one myself
and with the answer
in my hip pocket
expecting to be
a sure winner
with Nat Hentoff as judge
who like me
once went to the Garrison
grammar school
named for the Abolitionist
now on radio station
WMEX in Boston
on the show Jazz Album
I phoned in
but my Aunt Arlene
my baby sitter phoned in
won the contest
before me,
and with a great voice
got the job and platters
at the record store,
yet she promised
to take me
to the Savoy
on Troy Street
where I was on the record
as the youngest patron
who was asked
to play the piano
by the huge burly cat
playing chops
in a cool new coat
yet looking like a suspect
in a Hitchcock thriller,
and here was Lady Day
in black sleeves
and gloves,
with media bourgeois
rumors swirling about
Billie Holiday
that she was out of it
and late
yet she was on time for me
where my adventure
in the blues began.

B. Z. Niditch is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and teacher. His work is widely published in journals and magazines throughout the world, including “Columbia,” “Denver Quarterly,” “Hawaii Review,” “Le Guepard,” “Kadmos,” “Prism International,” “Jejune,” “Leopold Bloom,” “Antioch Review,” and “Prairie Schooner,” among others. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

–B. Z. Niditch

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