Bob is very Buddhist and probably smiling now
like the Dali Llama smiles at death and such
remembering his knack for grasping bigness, greatness, and wrapping
it tightly (though he looked so loose)
into one small package that could be easily spotted as a chunk of gold
might be sighted, and it would be there
dangling, ready to be retrieved by one of many souls designated to trail
about him, picking up discarded poems,
rescuing Bob's familiar Moroccan leather binder from the ashes and water
when Kaufman's hotel burned,
soggy pages filled with words that may have been the Beginning of "Ancient
what WISDOM in his soul
amid such body CHAOS (that's why I see him grinning) while falling off
a pier and losing teeth, glasses and hearing aid.
Jazz Poet and friend, q. r. hand, fitted him up with new glasses, and
saw to it he was put back together.
"He just SEEMS mixed up, "what it is, he can't see or hear,".
running stoned, seemingly incoherent, hanging on to sanity
by a poem-wire and all the while scatting while scattering surreptitious
blueprints pointing the way to his small packages to be saved.
His besieged body seemed to leak like a sieve dropping any semblance
of normality or security or long lastingness
yet sticking like glue to one little finger that some one could reach
up and grab for posterity,
were always these
SMALL packages of genius wobbling in the wind while he was preoccupied
with life NOW!
Any one of the designated souls
might follow him as he shouted poems, sometimes his own, sometimes a
collage, and was it Kaufman or Olsen or both?
Bob making music of North Beach streets and cafes and bars, reciting
from a car top, and the police come again
and they arrest him and arrest him and arrest him and arrest him and
arrest him, he is in their face and he wont stop reading
leaving a paper poem trail behind him. Ragelty tag worshipers scooping
up Kaufman poems where they lay,
sometimes crumpled. Are they St. Francis' ragamuffins? angels? not just
Eileen? archiving? And others, café idlers,
who come to hear the North Beach poets, a camaraderie tentacled from
word smyths coffee-huddled New York Poets
In 1958, North Beach, Bob knocked on a door opened by Eileen, asked
for a cup of coffee and said he thought he would marry her and he did.
It was the 1950's an unkind time for a beautiful black man and a long-haired
Irish girl .to find an apartment by any illegal means.
In New York city, q. r. hand was changed forever, his poetry reborn
at the moment he heard troubadour,
Jack Micheline ."Not when I heard him," q. r. said to me,
" but when I HEARD him!" Later, in North Beach
Bob takes his ususal stage -a table top, the noise of the
room stops instantly, this is who they came to hear: "The MADMAN!
Bob is suddenly down from the table, quickly through the open door,
outside, down the alley, reciting
LOUDLY TALKING ABOUT THE POLICE! his pocket stuffed with bits of papers,
words for poems, flow over into the street,
those he has not carelessly, disdainfully discarded hastily in the filthy
john! Strangers eyes are drawn as to a magnet,
spotting bits and pieces, in the alleyway, they hope to fit together
as a puzzle answered. such as what life is.
slightly jazzed on wine, like sleepwalkers they stumble upon bits of
paper not thrown to the wind but glued to Bobs finger,
fluttering there till a passerby catches the poem as it sails like a
pink flowered frisbee, high on the wind
New Orleans Mardi Gras
all year long ,
shouting poems, uphill through
San Francisco FOGG/JAZZ
grace notes dancing
(inspired by Eileen Kaufman, and David Henderson introduction
to Kaufman poetry collection "CRANIAL GUITAR" 1996)
© Dorothy Jesse Beagle