Happiness is Poetry: Alan Kaufman

Happiness is Poetry: Alan Kaufman

alan kaufman, poetry

Alan Kaufman

The more sober you get, the more clearly you feel. ~ Alan Kaufman

Originally posted, 2015

I first encountered Alan Kaufman as one of the primary authors of the American Bible of Outlaw Poetry.  This first piece, Let us, is really magnificent, like most outlaw poets, he doesn’t conform to what you expect and that’s part of his magic.  So give him a read and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

For the Poets of January 15th and the Women of January 21st

Let us
take ourselves aboard a bus
and travel to the dispossessed
And let us praise their dreamless eyes and hardened smiles
with rogue words of truth
to the killing fields of their hopes
The slum wards and ragged towns and stolen farms
Let us take to them the carnival of our mad and scattered lives
Let us bring them the mountain, let us give them the vision
of an open window, an unlocked door, a bed to sleep in, a plate of food
Let us give them the keys to the house of our love
Let us bare our throats tattooed with roses, our breasts sequenced with diamonds
our loins hot with dragons, our hands and feet pierced with beauty
Let us come to their dusty squares and drinking holes with canticles of magnificent defeat
Let us deliver to their mangers
of pollution and penitentiaries, shopping malls and tenements
the hard beautiful birth of the heart
Let us bring renewal, let us declare the death of despondency and tyrants
For I have seen our campfires beside the roads, like fallen still-burning miraculous stars
I have seen our bus voyaging to innocence
I have seen us tossed this century like a bone
after decades of science and war reason and corporation
art and Auschwitz
I have seen my vocation descend like a pen to a page
that can never be filled with enough truth
I have crossed a continent of despair and I swear to you, Poets,
I live for greater than myself
You, street-Latin Elizabethan hustlers, I tell you time has come to deal
death’s passionate kiss to kings
Time has come to bare our asses in Paradise
Time has come to write the Constitution with poetry and flesh
Time has come to costume up and ride
with words like steel-tipped whips
into the soul of American
and rage there and sing
till the mouth of every hungry child
is fed.


…ignored how the rain felt
as he left home
for the last time

Wore down
his boot heels
searching for the woman
of his dreams,
but never understood
that life is a woman

Lived in a town
where sadness was illegal
and where grinning
cops ticketed his face
so often
that he lost his license
to cry

The Saddest man
on earth
tuned guitars
but couldn’t play them,
cheated the IRS
of his own refund,
fathered a child
who thought she saw
him in perfect strangers
yet didn’t recognize
him face to face

I met him once
in a bar
toasting the mirror
with his stare

He had come
south to start
life over

He was a
Mozart of silence


i don’t want to remember this

in the east village, just arrived
hiding from a war
running from the
we’d murdered
the bare flat didn’t like us
yet we crowded it
with ghosts
let me tell you
when our bodies cried
i held her like a baby
in my arms
a broken chair
a damaged wall
the police began
to know us
and the neighbor’s
eyes looked away
and one day i

woke screaming
called her father
in canada to get her
and he did

he makes me smell him

among the faceless
masses on
the streetcar
i sit
trash bag stuff
squeezed between
the stink
that doesn’t
that residentially
smell that is
a prophecy
of fallen

More poems and poetry!

Doug Draime

Warsan Shire

Hosho McCreesh

Charles Bukowski

Ashe Vernon

About Michael Kane

Michael Kane is a writer, photographer, educator, speaker, adventurer and a general sampler of life. His books on hiking and poetry are available in soft cover and Kindle on Amazon.
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