The Abomunist Manifesto
by Robert Bland (Intern, The Liberator Magazine)
Bob Kaufman is one of my favorite Americans of the twentieth century. A jazz poet who was a major fixture in San Francisco's Beat scene, Kaufman penned incredible long-form poems that hit you over the head with fantastically surreal imagery. His aesthetic sphere was somewhere between explicator of divine revelation and certifiable crazy person. After the assassination President Kennedy, he began a vow of silence that did not end until the United States military formally exited Vietnam War in 1975.
The Abomunist Manifesto (1959) is probably his most famous work. Rather than unpack the historical context or analyze what various scholars have said about the work's symbolism, I think it may be better to just let the work stand on its own and ruminate on why folks on the left don't write manifestos anymore.
ABOMUNISTS JOIN NOTHING BUT THEIR HANDS OR LEGS,
OR OTHER SAME.
ABOMUNIST SPIT ANTI-POETRY FOR POETIC REASONS
ABOMUNISTS DO NOT LOOK AT PICTURES PAINTED
BY PRESIDENTS AND UNEMPLOYED PRIME MINISTERS.
IN TIMES OF NATIONAL PERIL, ABOMUNISTS, AS REALITY
AMERICANS, STAND READY TO DRINK THEMSELVES
TO DEATH FOR THEIR COUNTRY.
ABOMUNISTS DO NOT FEEL PAIN, NO MATTER HOW MUCH
ABOMUNISTS DO NOT USE THE WORD SQUARE EXCEPT WHEN
TALKING TO SQUARES.
ABOMUNISTS READ NEWSPAPERS ONLY TO ASCERTAIN THEIR
ABOMUNISTS NEVER CARRY MORE THAN FIFTY DOLLARS
IN DEBTS ON THEM.
ABOMUNISTS BELIEVE THAT THE SOLUTION OF PROBLEMS
OF RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY IS TO HAVE A CATHOLIC
CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT AND PROTESTANT
CANDIDATE FOR POPE.
ABOMUNISTS DO NOT WRITE FOR MONEY; THEY WRITE
THE MONEY ITSELF.
ABOMUNISTS BELIEVE ONLY WHAT THEY DREAM ONLY
AFTER IT COMES TRUE.
ABOMUNISTS CHILDREN MUST BE REARED ABOMUNIBLY.
ABOMUNIST POETS, CONFIDENT THAT THE NEW LITERARY
FORM "FOOT-PRINTISM' HAS FREED THE ARTIST
OF OUTMODED RESTRICTIONS, SUCH AS: THE ABILITY TO
READ AND WRITE, OR THE DESIRE TO COMMUNICATE,
MUST BE PREPARED TO READ THEIR WORK AT DENTAL
COLLEGES, EMBALMING SCHOOLS, HOMES FOR UNWED
MOTHERS, HOMES FOR WED MOTHERS, INSANE ASYLUMS,
USO CANTEENS, KINDERGARTENS, AND COUNTY JAILS.
ABOMUNISTS NEVER COMPROMISE THEIR REJECTIONARY
ABOMUNISTS REJECT EVERYTHING EXCEPT SNOWMEN.