Walking Parker Home

By Bob Kaufman 1925–1986 Bob Kaufman
Sweet beats of jazz impaled on slivers of wind
Kansas Black Morning/ First Horn Eyes/
Historical sound pictures on New Bird wings
People shouts/ boy alto dreams/ Tomorrow’s
Gold belled pipe of stops and future Blues Times
Lurking Hawkins/ shadows of Lester/ realization
Bronze fingers—brain extensions seeking trapped sounds
Ghetto thoughts/ bandstand courage/ solo flight
Nerve-wracked suspicions of newer songs and doubts
New York alter city/ black tears/ secret disciples
Hammer horn pounding soul marks on unswinging gates
Culture gods/ mob sounds/ visions of spikes
Panic excursions to tribal Jazz wombs and transfusions
Heroin nights of birth/ and soaring/ over boppy new ground.
Smothered rage covering pyramids of notes spontaneously exploding
Cool revelations/ shrill hopes/ beauty speared into greedy ears
Birdland nights on bop mountains, windy saxophone revolutions.
Dayrooms of junk/ and melting walls and circling vultures/
Money cancer/ remembered pain/ terror flights/
Death and indestructible existence
 
In that Jazz corner of life
Wrapped in a mist of sound
His legacy, our Jazz-tinted dawn
Wailing his triumphs of oddly begotten dreams
Inviting the nerveless to feel once more
That fierce dying of humans consumed
In raging fires of Love.

Bob Kaufman, “Walking Parker Home” from Solitudes Crowded with Loneliness. Copyright © 1965 by Bob Kaufman. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Solitudes Crowded with Loneliness (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1965)

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Poet Bob Kaufman 1925–1986

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Beat

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Music, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Popular Culture

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, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Popular Culture

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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