carl kaucher

Two Poems by Carl Kaucher

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Pond Scum
Henry David Thoreau made pencils.
I don’t know who made telephone poles.
I feel like an endangered species
looking for a habitat to survive in.
I was once born again on a dead end
but the details remain fuzzy
though my soul, my heart and my mind
feel pretty good about it.
I’ve been sermonizing my salvation
with each step I take.
The sidewalks are like scripture to me
each block unfolding like a new chapter
and the promise of a new beginning
is always at the next intersection
where I might muse about macadam
ponder the potholes
and contemplate the beauty
of concrete curbs and crosswalks.
I’m not interested
in the middle of nowhere,
I’m more fond of the edge.
I am hoping this train of thought
leads me down the tracks
to the stream of consciousness
where I might step in twice,
but very lightly
for there are slippery rocks.
I was wondering of the place
where form existed before the idea
but it was just a thought
I found in an old book of Greek philosophy
and I got lost in it
although if I keep rubbing words together
eventually I will spark a fire
and burn.
Eventually, even the most beautiful
flower will wilt and fall asleep
and if I find it lying mangled in the street
I might use it as a line in this poem.
If life is God’s music
will the chorus end with a round of applause
for a song well sung
or will there just be silence?
An ocean of silence
permeates a dream
in perspectives of wave
like a spastic swell erupting
from a bubbling cauldron
caressed by silvery moonlight
reflective upon the dark waters
of wisdom
I am floating within the waves
amidst one sea of many currents
that whips turbulent furies
of white foam upon gales spray
so that I can’t even speak
of sometimes ascending to crest
or brutally plunging to a crash
smashed upon a rocky shore
Then arising
in consciousness once more
amidst swarms of jellyfish
sea birds punctuate my phrases
with a deep dive
God help me, I’m alive
but breaking up again
yet, it is only then
that I become free
free to be – just a sea
Though my tidal drift
awakens slow
my current spirals
whirlpools to far below
into the inky darkness
among antediluvian caves
where all the lost waves
eventually go
sage of the late night college radio
haunting midnight vespers static free
all wise on high fidelity at 91.3
you made morning dew for the suffering
stones who stumbled about the lost years
guided only by the faintest melody
as yesterdays children danced
in the blue, blue light of midnight
the sacred rituals, rights of passage
the words you spoke, songs you played
the writing on the wall in the hall
a sweet litany of wildness
beyond the path beaten to your door
where we always found the answer
to be spontaneous, tribal and free
for each one of us manifested a shaman
bopping in subliminal drunken dance
to the primal beat and rhythm
so sad though, I never really knew you
in the dust and the poem of time
I only used you for this verse
for these modern rags I wear
I filled whole notebooks of nothing
just trying to be something more than I took
I was a young euphemism of rebellion
looking for a metaphor of God
in a bong load of dependency but not friendship
we were just free verse passersby
intersecting in an eternal high
years after they used to call you Heidi-O
I only remember you as Elaine
as a gold dolphin and a rolling rock
I don’t remember your major at school
or your philosophy on album covers
close to the edge at terrapin station
the metaphysics cut from the rock of truth
enlightening the semantics of our youth
for you were the lost flower who blazed the path
and I thank you for the generosity
I thank you for putting up with me
for disposing the flames of conformity
for inspiring the miracles
so necessary for my emancipation
that was only then beginning to arrive
Carl Kaucher is a poet, photographer, and urban explorer who lives in Temple, Pa. He is the author of two chap books, “Sideways Blues ( Irish mountain and beyond )”and most recently “Postpoemed” His work has appeared in numerous publications and on line. The writing explores his experiences wandering urban spaces near his home and throughout Pennsylvania. Using his photography and writing, Carl has been exploring the overlooked places and documenting the chance occurrences that happen to him and by doing so gives us the opportunity to reflect upon those similar events happening in our lives also. More info can be found at  and on instagram @Carlkaucher.

Postpoemed, by Carl Kaucher

By Lynette G. Esposito
Postpoemed, by Carl Kaucher (Alien Buddha Press) is 80 pages of mostly free verse poems exploring the context of location, time and circumstance.  Throughout the volume, Kaucher titles various poems with actual places and places observations within the verse that empirically reveals connections between what can be seen and what cannot be seen. 
For example, in his poem, Philadelphia, on page thirteen, in the second stanza of six, the narrator defines where he is:
                         I am sitting on sitting on the sidewalk, silently
                         pondering chaotic cracks in the concrete
                          that form these fractal lines of prose
                          that go nowhere and have no flow
                          till someone throws me a dime
                          that I turn into a rhyme
                          and scribble it on a cardboard sign
                           that no one can read.
The picture of the city is there but subtle.  In later stanzas, he talks of not knowing where he is and of great philosophers as he ponders an empty storefront.  The last stanza pulls the reader across the boundaries of what one sees and how one sees it.
                            Martyr me vagrancy at the Trestle Inn
                             then bury me in a pothole
                             At 11th and Callowhill.  
 In this context, a person cannot sit on the cement step just to think and then to write without passers by judging the poor soul as a jobless nuisance.  Kaucher skillfully comments on societal reactions as well as the state of thinkers and poets.
In his poem, At 8 pm, on page 60, Kaucher intermixes time, place situation and distortion.  He sets the place at a concert with the lead musician attired in a dress but looking not like a woman and is juxtaposed to flashing lights and grandma hooping it up in the front row with the crowd possibly protesting the NRA. Seems like chaos but he makes it work in the last stanza when he pulls the reader from a possible high back to reality with simple receipts.
                                      coffee, crumb buns, horn honks
                                      and rude gestures till 2 AM
                                      and the sleepless interlude
                                       I woke with a pocketful of receipts
                                       that all indicated
                                       it was Easter morning.
The poem makes the reader feel as if he has been on a trip but gone nowhere.  At 8 pm is a well- controlled poem with clear visuals that one needs to awaken from to be back in real time.
In his poem, Weed Freak, on page 73, the narrator makes a clear comment on what it is to be unique.
                                          Wet fallow field
                                          and vacant lots
                                          inspire dormant seed
                                          that grow into weeds.
                                          One time,
                                          I was called a weirdo freak
                                          while taking a picture
                                          of a rustic wooden fence
                                          with two
                                          beware of dog signs.
                                          Freaks can always spot a freak.
                                          Weeds can always be pulled.
The poem succeeds with its plain images and concept that wryly twists the observed and the observer into one.
The poems in this book are interesting and well crafted. Kaucher sets the place, time and situation in the poems with deliberate precision.  It was a pleasure to read.
Lynette G. Esposito has been an Adjunct Professor at Rowan University, Burlington County and Camden County Colleges. She has taught creative writing and conducted workshops in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Mrs. Esposito holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois and an MA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Rutgers University.

Poetry Videos to Get You Through the Weekend

We searched YouTube for some of the poets we have published and our staff over the years to provide you with some live readings to enjoy during these turbulent times. We hope you enjoy!