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HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY BOB KAUFMAN!


Special For THE NEW TIMES HOLLER!
A Blast 'Bout the Beat Buddhist Bard
By Amir Bey, 2012
May 17





FOR BOB KAUFMAN
April 18, 1925 January 12, 1986



Robert Garnell Kaufman
photographer unknown


WAITING
(c) Bob Kaufman, 1967 all poems are from GOLDEN SARDINE,
City Lights Books, 1969

SOMEWHERE THERE WAITS, WAITING
A BOOK IS WAITING, WAITING,
TO BE WRITTEN.
COLD COLD PAGES, WAITING,
TO BE WRITTEN,
MAN SEEKS GOD,
IN A BOOK.

SOMEWHERE THERE WAITS, WAITING
A PICTURE WAITS, WAITING,
WAITING TO BE PAINTED.
COLD COLD CANVAS, CANVAS.
WAITING TO BE PAINTED.
MAN SEEKS GOD IN A PICTURE.

SOMEWHERE THERE WAITS. WAITING,
A WOMAN WAITING, WAITING,
COLD COLD WOMAN,
WAITING TO BE LOVED,
MAN SEEKS GOD IN A WOMAN.

SOMEWHERE THERE WAITS, WAITING
A MAN IS WAITING, WAITING,
COLD COLD MAN, WAITING,
TO BE WANTED, WAITING.
MAN SEEKS GOD
IN MAN

SOMEWHERE THERE WAITS, WAITING
A BABY IS WAITING, WAITING.
WAITING, WAITING TO BE BORN,
COLD COLD BABY, WAITING,
TO BE BORN, BLOOD OF EARTH,
WAITING TO BE.
MAN SEEKS GOD,
IN A BABY.

WIND, SEA,
SKY, STARS,
SURROND
US.

Bob Kaufman: a free spirit Beat poet and an enduring inspiration to many. Kunle Mwanga and I hung out with Bob a few times in San Francisco's North Beach area. After a while, we felt that all that booze and the street scene wasn't healthy, and one night we brought him to my house in Berkeley. Our idea was to introduce him to folks in the East Bay who would love and support him.
      That night he was wearing shades, and a kitchen-type curtain as a cape, conjuring the image and motions of a Beat super-hero; his voice boosted and slurred by the power of alchohol, he was shouting lines from his poetry "10,000 Buddhist Boy Scouts," etc.




IN THE EAST BAY

Kunle Mwanga, Bob Kaufman, Amir Bey, 1975
There is a glimpse of the curtain-cape behind Bob's right hand, barely visible; it's red.
photo by Abdul Wahid Rashid

The next day Abdul Wahid Rashid, Nantambu Mwanga, Glenn Debeal, and Kunle were at my house telling Bob how much we all loved him and his work. He was lying on the sofa, into his thoughts. Later we visited some friends nearby, and then he softly said, "I want to get back." But hey, he hung out with us for a while, met some folks.

Afterwards I carved a hard wood sculpture depicting us as we stood around him talking 'bout how bad he was as he lay on my couch.

BOB KAUFMAN LIVE (detail)
Juapinal figures on Black Walnut, Amir Bey, 1975,

Forefront: Bob Kaufman; Standing: L-R Kunle Mwanga, Amir Bey, Glenn Debeal, Abdul Wahid Rashid, and Nantambu Mwanga (holding a book of Bob's poetry)
About Abdul and Glenn: Abdul (1937-79) was a natural Hipman - see Amus Mor: POEM TO THE HIP GENERATION - steeped into the culture, a New World African. His suicide was a big loss to those who experienced his wild Hipness. Glenn just happened by my house that morning. He speaks in a baritone voice, and poets who hear him remark on his sound and word-flow, which was relevant to the improvisational speaking style of Bob Kaufman's poetry.
A while later I went to North Beach and ran into him. It was daytime, and he was just a little drunk then. As we walked the streets together, a woman came up to him shouting, "Where's my $50 Bob!!?" There were similar outpourings of affection from a few others as we walked the streets.
      We went to his hotel room and I understood where the title for his book Golden Sardine came from. The name of the hotel was The Golden Eagle, and his room was no bigger than a closet, just big enough for his cot, which had a big hole in the middle. There were all sorts of refuse: empty bottles, cigarette packs, and paper wrappers all over his bed and around it; the window was open, letting in cool blasts of San Francisco's wet air. Golden Sardine indeed!


FROM BOB


Title page for GOLDEN SARDINE, signed 1975

THE MIND FOR ALL ITS REASONING

The mind for all its complicated reasoning,
is dependent on the whim of an eyelid,
The most nonchalant of human parts,
Opening and closing at random,
Spending its hours in mystique,
Filled with memories of glimpses
                & blinks.

An eyelid hurled at the moon,
An exhausted nude woman,
Damp Kimonas flowing from her pores.

A red poem can be a
      Hairy fire-extinguisher
      Hanging from the ears of
      A divine Burglar,
My eyes opened on closed windows, a curved man.

The following piece, which I started to call "tune," begs a musician to write music for it or a singer to scat:

CROOTEY SONGO

DERRAT SLEGELATIONS, FLO GOOF BABER,
SCRASH SHO DUBIES, WAGO WAILO WAILO.
GEED BOP NAVAGLIED NAVA GLIED NAVA,
SPLEERIEDER, HUYEDIST, HEDACAZ, AX-, O,O.

DEERIDITION, BOOMEDITION, SQUOM, SQUOM,SQUOM.
DEEBEETSTRAWIST, WAPAGO, LOCOEST, LOCOR, LO.
VOOMETEYEREEPETIOP, BOP, BOP, BOP, WHIPOLAT.

DEGET, SKLOKO, KURRITIF, PLOG, MANGI, PLOG, MANGI,
CLOPO, JAGO BREE, BREE, ASLOOPEREO, AKINGO LASY.
ENGPOP, ENGPOP, BOP, PLOLO, PLOLO, BOP, BOP.

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