"Or have they sat in the filmhouse alone, watching the film God made for them ..."

Opportunities to hear Alan Kaufman read in New York City and San Francisco to introduce The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry.

New Poetry by Alan Kaufman

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

Over and Over

What are you over and over again?
The same you day in day out.
Collapsing in upon yourself
Riding the same bus to the same

What are you over and over again
framed in light on a stark bench.
Time is brutal to the thoughts
you trust; disproved, they fizzle
in the mind like sparks.
Uncandled, the dark place waits
to speak with you a word
or two about

This wrinkle was not here yesterday.
It was on your mother's face.
How did it fly across decades cutting
at your youth?
And what are your eyes to believe?
Do they see what others see?
Or have they sat in the filmhouse
alone, watching the film God made
for them

What are you over and over again?
A green bow tied in your hair?
The hair that drops from your scalp
in tufts; that teases your husband
lips and tickles the cheeks of the children
you love.

On and on the blackbird rolls
the breadcrust over the paved streets.
On and on the crowds on the corners
surge at the light to reach
On and on the strangers wait and watch
in the dark caves of their cars.
On and on the poet traces
deep emotion in his scars.

On and on the Nepalese woman's arms
dance as she walks
On and on poems toil
against deaf ears in dead rooms.
On and on desire mingles questions
in glances between strangers.
On and on shadows advance
before old women going to shop.
On and on the religious fanatics rant
on the sidewalks as though they know God.
On and on the bicycle wheels glitter
in the motioning wheels of the day.
On and on the lovers softly collide
in embracing walk to the park.
On and on the distant hills darken
as the city retires to bed.
Over and over the wind dies
and the fireflies go to their lights.
Over and over I dream the same dream:
that we are alive in this dream called life.

Straight Jacket Elegy

the cap, pouring
one, two, three
four years of
and holding
up the wasted
days to study
the amber colored
glass, o yes, it
is love
it is love
for an hour
maybe two
elbow bending
to ovations

and i wonder whose
bottle glass eyes
these are that
died that died
and the landlady came
towel over face
a spilled breast out and said
'don't move, just lie there
you've had too many'
and I said
"you'd make a nice vase, Mrs.
Casey, will you take
my rose into yourself
before it
dies?" and on the rim
of the red, red
petal, the marooned leaf
i thought i saw a fly brush
away a cobweb with
its leg to get

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

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