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Callaloo 25.1 (2002) 218-219

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Missing in Action
For Bob Kaufman

Horace Coleman

He was blk poeting before half the others had paper.
He was talking that talk of music and soul and
blk self and the disease called America while
walking that walk past the mugger-critics and
the indifferent crowds who only read
words cut in stone.
He was soap scrubbing minds and
the abombunist poet of these and those
abominable times that wore him away until
he was left in solitude crowded with loneliness
and the smell of a golden sardine.
Everyone wants to know where?
is Bob Kaufman at? since they did
that TV program on him;
he's supposed to be lost in San Francisco
or LA but he's missing elsewhere.
He knows where he is and
ain't got no truck with them who
sent for him tomorrow when
here he come yesterday--
Let them freight themselves,
the frinks!
He had a $50 a day air habit,
a Jewish daddy and a momma
from the islands to make moving in
Myth America's mists more mystifying. [End Page 218]
He's famous cause he was
one of them beatnik poets but
really he was a nik beat--Beat Back
cause he got there too fast
(You know we ain't culpable of no lit tra chure!).

1972 (revised, slightly, 2000)


Horace Coleman was born and raised in Paul Laurence Dunbar's hometown, Dayton, Ohio. A teacher of literature, creative writing and composition, his most recent publications were in The Asheville Review, International Chinese Poetry, Cedar Hill Review, and in the anthologies From Both Sides Now, International Poetry and Fin, Saturday Afternoon Journal. He lives in Long Beach, California.



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