b.z. niditch | my first room mate


My first room mate
in my runaway years
had Sonny, Chet and Miles
on 24 7
his wife had left him
for a farmer in the highlands
who sounded inaudible
on the phone,
my mate gave me
her library
of Rilke, Whitman and Wilde,
and all his Russian posters
before he left for Cuba
to help in the harvest,
he wanted me to reply
to his letters
in a foreign tongue,
he was a Romantic,
not a Robespierre
with the candor
of his historical life
and death struggle,
he played trumpet
with a sound verbal
he wanted to be
a Bogart
and a leading man,
in Cambridge
we often went to
and Scullers,
where he met a woman
thought of herself
as Lauren Bacall
who use to steal books
and antiques,
then sell them back,
did the same with boutiques
her dresses by tall legs
in French mirrors
winding up in vintage shops,
Maya was once fingerprinted
and had alibis
a thousand chasms deep,
she called me Baudelaire
every pubescent hour
trying to discover
in her lovely feminine cover
a cosmopolitan way
how she could write
my bio on the sly
with some scant information
to simplify me
as a child genius
in pseudo psyche courses
she was taking nights
in summer school
while sleeping with the dean,
here was a kid savoring every
artistic moment
between cities,
she desiring an easy life
became an unsavory pose,
that my room mate
threw her out of the flat,
played a great trumpet
that boarded up night
in my brain
and though not religious
heard him
through the windows
like the jazz singer
wailing an early prayer
to awaken the dead.

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