A.J. Kaufmann

by Horror Sleaze Trash on January 28, 2013

A.J. Kaufmann is a poet, songwriter and recording artist living in Poland. He’s responsible for chapbooks such as “Siva in Rags” (Kendra Steiner Editions, 2008), “Broke Nuptial Minds” (Virgogray Pres, 2009), “Love Lions of Paris” (Kendra Steiner Editions, 2011), and an album of innocent pop songs, “Second Hand Man” (Mimics Cool, 2011). You can check out the album at http://ajkaufmann.bandcamp.com and read some words for free at http://foolmoonpiano.blogspot.com


I keep having that flashback
child on a viaduct cracked from sunflowers
under a red star, dreaming
of concrete landscapes shifting
factories caving in
smokestacks falling
proud blocks giving way
to the forest
the child erecting its eyes
to a new pedestal, one its parents
didn’t live to see – though they didn’t even
die – they simply vanished
but now the sun is shining
free radio’s playing music
through simple headphones
chants of freedom erase
equal slogans, make room
for love, replacing blades of unity
sole party, now dismembered, looks through the cracks
at sunflowers calling bees
to create simple food
out of nothing
for the masses to feast on
it invested in arms much too long
embracing too many people
let them finally
have a taste of freedom
before the new oppressor comes around
was this child even me?
I remember vanishing too, around 1989
with the last wave of protest
too loud to resist much longer
I was drinking bold juices
of West, back then
waving banana machine guns
I keep having that flashback
my drinking pals call the devil
I know it’s just a mirage
dead, misleading image
though from my father’s LPs
I learned of many fine people
creating in those sad cold ages, too bad
they didn’t have the context
their western contemporaries lived in
and taken out of our context
all they and we ever did
was bullshit

Last Candle

we’ll melt that last candle, I promise,
it’s a trip to the sun, no less,
amazing feature, silver screen creature
you’re the prettiest one, I took you with
me, everywhere I went, I’m sorry for the
people you had to meet, but time is golden
and gold is power, and I haven’t done
anything yet to acquire
whatever it takes for success, success
is an empty page, but folks
believed me, and now I’ve got
debts I once was free of, I promise, it’s a trip
to the south where we’ll watch African
moons rise over rootsy backdrops
and I’ll never rhyme again, unless it
makes me some dollar, unless it takes
me back home, when we both were
adorable children, favorites of our
families, but since then I’ve become
outcast poet, and you’ve been inspiration
to many, in many bedrooms, waking up
the monsoon that lies beside me
feels good, but I know it’s not mine
though time will come to cruise
that last stony night, from then on it will be
perfect golden daybreaks, clouds
serving grapefruit tea, white coffee
with freshly picked snowflakes,
we’ll reside in that last
free island, perhaps we’ll find that
lost particle, launch further expeditions
if only you decide to stay somewhere
the free spirit you are
I might finally join you, can’t you see
you’ve made my boots weary
and they won’t lead me naked
stoned and dazed forever
thru a palace of childhood you try hard
to envision
I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing
as a palace, it’s more of a park
but by loose definition
and most certainly not where we landed
I promised a trip to the sun
no cheap ersatz will do
though I’m sure you already
feel golden, always free
from connections

Side Streets

without trips, drunk alone
the next line should be something
that ends with cobblestone
routine kicks in, or it’s only
the sound of silence,
anyway I don’t believe I’m special
same feelings as you
same flesh and spirit
perhaps mine is easily locked
in a bottle, that’s why I’m
drinking alone, after another
idiot’s day, the next line should end
with something that says “stay”, preceded
with please, but I knew she wouldn’t, so here
I am with my guitar, trying to write
a song, but the chords are messed up
and I’m a funny guy with no job
who pretends he’s really
acting, maybe that’s why the last
line should say distracted
haven’t felt that low since I landed
here, here is Paris, 2 A.M.
looking outside my window
I see couples sharing the street
but there’s no one I know outside
so there’s no need to move
and as I find another needle, I guess
the chorus might need a fiddler
or the intro, some sad East European
notes, did you know that every country
has a blue note of its own? ours is played by the
war drum, awakening our women
frightening last survivors, it beats
across the border, every time a child
is born in enemy’s city
we weep, without tears
but you better stick to songs, this last
dialogue should end with “wrong”
or “war is wrong”, but I’m shooting
junk in a dirty hotel room that remembers
both wars, then Korea, Vietnam and everything,
not even knowing who I am
except that this girl came to teach me
how it’s like to be alone
in a city of a million friends
that’ll forget your grave
once you slip over its
side streets


you’ve got to earn your reputation
write everywhere
live the day with inkaust roses
blooming in the rearview mirror
fall asleep with death by your side
in the same dirty bed
where you screwed her first, midnight jazz
pumping wild, limitless, into the
coma of sunrise, where your first
words were written, screamed
against the hospital confinement
later nursery, school and prison
still you scream, to earn your reputation
poems are bread, life is the coffee
take a bite, sip the enlightenment
cup by cup, slice after slice
don’t feed it to birds, they’d die
from the exhaustion, unlike you
they still need the power to fly
they’re not confined, unless you count
the bright blue dome, cliché turning
wheel, advertising sign
whose reputation were you living?
does it really matter?
the only question is open books
in the chimney, pistols in the bathtub
shooting sterile tiles, in another
hospital, old, either going mad, or expecting
another child – you’re no one
until you prove your infection
once you do that, you’re healed
back to society
living on prescriptions, shooting sure
shadows at sundown, talking to the
omnipresent priest, arranging
your wedding, once you’re sure
you made it, the world will make you happy
whether you like it or not
you’ll become the fragment
everybody wanted
canned supermarket sun
baby in the cart
whether sold or stolen
it doesn’t really matter
when the graveyard shift
yawns back
at the awakening city



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