“New Architecture” was written in Berlin, back in the Autumn of 2008, and published via my own micro-press, New Polish Beat, in May 2009. It was the first New Polish Beat chapbook. Funnily enough, this long poem isn’t about new things, or architecture at all. Architecture was used as a metaphor for something I remember vaguely now, probably written word, or the complexity of human relationships, and as such, this multi-part poem would be a natural continuation of my debut chapbook, “Siva in Rags”, extending the solitary vision into the urban environment. Perhaps I was searching for structures in my writing, a thing I found then was lacking since the beginning, unless it was in songs.
But “New Architecture” isn’t complicated, it originated from a dream, or nightmare I had, a nightmare about a barren Berlin, and a catastrophic winged lady from the other world, standing in the ruins of the city, emanating visions of further collapse and disaster, as if her work hasn’t been done yet. She was the color of cognac, and so was the landscape of devastated structures, though, surprisingly, some of them remained intact, alive, and so elevators filled with young lovers were still speeding through the post-everything world, the young men useless and tired, soon to be replaced by machines, or, metaphorically, cremated, crucified, or scrapped. I don’t have the text in front of me, but I remember a humorous part of the nightmare that featured an Indian rebel messiah driving a pink Cadillac Eldorado. Or something like that. So, this multi-part poem is basically a dream sequence written down quickly after a crude awakening, edited and improved a week or so later. The original manuscript was really crazy, but that’s the reason I wish I had kept it. Fortunately for the readers, I don’t write down every nightmare I have. I think one decent nightmare written down, and published in a lifetime is enough.
The only thing I regret about this collection is that it is a bit naive, a bit too Morrisonesque in parts, or I remember it as such, and that it has been printed in 25 copies only. It is of course long out of print. I’ve heard good things about it from most of the friends who read it, and maybe one day it will be published again, this time to a broader audience. Or not. Since I noticed long ago no one reads poetry anymore, and we, small-press writers, are probably incurable madmen – cause we’re still reproducing words no one really reads or pays for.
June 1, 2009: “New Architecture”, A.J. Kaufmann, New Polish Beat #1.
Review by: Jason Behrends.
“The future looks bleak”
True, staring at the expanse of all that surrounds and engulfs what once was fields and forests it can look bleak. However, I just can’t bring myself to embrace that mentality. The latest collection from A.J. Kaufmann is littered with words like upheaval, facade, colonnades, and so on. On the surface it appears that it is the structures that are affecting his outlook and ultimately his future, but the reality is that it is something deeper and more profound. “Where your tangible feet falter/To stand”, it isn’t that the architecture effects the outcome of our lives, but it is the fact that we are tangible and meaningful structures in our own right. It is in that distinction that the friction lays.
Kaufmann presents eight powerful pieces in an attempt to break down this physical walls and doorways of architecture standing in his path. This is New Polish Beat #1 (of 10 so far). There were 25 printed so reach out and support A.J. and the new press.