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.
I was called a weirdo freak
while taking a picture
of a rustic wooden fence
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.
You can find the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Postpoemed-Carl-Kaucher/dp/1704603536
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.