Believe, Believe

By Bob Kaufman 1925–1986 Bob Kaufman
Believe in this. Young apple seeds,
In blue skies, radiating young breast,
Not in blue-suited insects,
Infesting society’s garments.
 
Believe in the swinging sounds of jazz,
Tearing the night into intricate shreds,
Putting it back together again,
In cool logical patterns,
Not in the sick controllers,
Who created only the Bomb.
 
Let the voices of dead poets
Ring louder in your ears
Than the screechings mouthed
In mildewed editorials.
Listen to the music of centuries,
Rising above the mushroom time.

Bob Kaufman, “Believe, Believe” from Cranial Guitar. Copyright © 1996 by Eileen Kaufman. Reprinted by permission of Coffee House Press. www.coffeehousepress.org

Source: Cranial Guitar (Coffee House Press, 1996)

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Poet Bob Kaufman 1925–1986

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Beat

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Music, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

A Beat poet, and founder of the journal Beatitude with Allen Ginsberg and others, poet Bob Kaufman was born in New Orleans in 1925 to a German Jewish father and a black Catholic mother. As a young man, he joined the U.S. Merchant Marine, briefly studied at the New School in New York, and moved to San Francisco, where he associated with such writers as Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Ginsberg.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Music, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Beat

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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