My City’s Century

My City’s Century
by BZ Niditch

A second glass
becomes grape ripe
one cannot forget
migratory streets
passages of melody,
myth or math
like alembic distills
at the right hour
on the leaf jacket
almost spills its secrets
nor singed
your new verse
signed with lips
of anticipation
burning through
historic and Doric
revolutionary graves
once blind alleys
now there are
no foreign bodies
or initiate tongues
who do not know you.

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  1. Telescopic perspective on a city’s centennial. The glass and grape images combine I think into an aging wine, which may not grow tastier. “One cannot forget migratory streets passages of melody”(evoking New Orleans)and yet they pass. “Now there are no foreign bodies or initiate tongues (learning the adopted language) who do not know you”–a future of homogeneity. The middle of the poem is an “alembic” distilling the heterogeneous influx into less diverse stability; interestingly enough through references to poetry. My interpretation: those “burning” through historical eras from “blind alleys” into “revolutionary graves” hope to be embraced by the city’s modern lore (put as “your new verse”), neither spilling “its secrets” or even singeing the book, just kissing it–“signed with lips of anticipation” of becoming acceptable citizens. Subtle, nuanced, and bittersweet.

  2. Randall Nicholas aptly understands this poem including the New Orleans connection with its metaphoric imagery.
    BZ Niditch

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