Poetry by A.D. Winans


Neeli and I visit the ancient warrior
Praised by William Carlos Williams
And other literary giants
Ninety years old
Early stages of dementia setting in
Playing hide-and-seek inside
His solitary room
Now an old man trapped
In death’s shadow
He reads us a poem from
His collected works
His voice still loud and clear
Like Sunday church bells

He puts down the book becomes
Frail and vulnerable again
Walks slowly with us to
The cafe across the street
Complaining about the loud music
As Neeli orders him a cup of coffee

“Make mine black,” he says
Then asks why I didn’t put milk in it
This forgotten warrior
Walking back to the care facility
Neeli shielding him with an umbrella
To ward off the cold rain
“That’s my hotel, the Beat Hotel”
He says
Hotel Nirvana racing inside his blood

He stops says, “I can’t go on.”
Out of breath
As if the next step might be his last
He is like a bird
His eyes nesting in my soul
Feeding on poetry
The sum total of his life


You think you know me because
We share the same bed
Know where I work
What restaurants I frequent
You think you know me because
You’ve made love to me
Made the bed cleaned the house
On a scale of one to ten
I’m off the charts

You think you know me because
I’ve gone down on you
Pick you up after work
Rub your back
Vote the same political party
You think you know me because
You read my poetry
Cry with me
Fuck with me
Laugh with me
Cum with me.

Don’t make me laugh
It’s all a disguise
Desperate for attention
Desperate for love
Desperate for a meaningful relationship
Dinner by candlelight
Valentines 365 days a year
When life is seldom more than
A series of sitcoms with an occasional
Blockbuster movie thrown in

I don’t want Wonder Woman
I don’t want a partnership
I’m not into leather or genital torture
Physical or mental mind games
I don’t want to bond
I’m not looking for a tennis match
I don’t want my ego massaged
I’m not looking for an alternative life style
I don’t want a bimbo
I don’t want a mannequin
I don’t want a homosexual
A lesbian or a bisexual
I don’t want a perfect ten
Or a woman who will tell me how
Where and when
I don’t want a trip to Rome
I’m not interested in glory holes
Or butt holes

I don’t want to meet your mother
Your sister or your brother
Or to make your heart flutter
I don’t want a Ford Mustang
Or know about the Big Bang
Or hang around with the gang
I don’t want parity
I don’t seek your charity
I don’t want mathematical equations
Or clandestine meetings at train stations
I don’t want to go to midnight mass
Or fuck you in the ass
I don’t want you to dress in buttons and bows
Or to lick your toes
I don’t want to show you up on the dance floor
Or to make you my private whore
All I want is for me to be me
You to be you
A chance to see another day through
All I want is to take one day at a time
Never have to make a poem rhyme
All I want is to be here in bed
Lying next to you
No questions asked
No faces to unmask.


Holy men on every street corner
Selling fake myths
Nuns in white with virgin toes
And mushroom dreams inside their loins
I am being followed by
Dick Tracy look-a-likes
With flat feet and bug eyes
The wolf’s eerie howl haunts my dreams
Evangelists pickpocket my empty wallet
My one good eye
Photographs the crime scene
The police lineup consists
Of six pygmies and a ham sandwich

Ladybugs ride on
The wings of butterflies
On A one way trip to Never Land
God wanders the universe
Carrying Jesus piggyback
On his way to a Lady Ga Ga concert

The Madonna confiscates my dreams
Holds me for a ransom I can’t pay
The insatiable night eats my thoughts
I’ve become a one-legged tightrope walker
Without a safety net
My poems turn into pigeon feathers
Fly off on the wind


About A.D. Winans

A.D. Winans is a native San Francisco poet and writer.  He edited and published Second Coming for 17 years.  He is the author of over 50 books and chapbooks of poetry and prose.  His work has been published internationally and translated into eight languages.  In  2002, a song poem of his was performed at Alice Tully Hall, NYC.  In 2006, PEN National awarded him a Josephine Miles Award for excellence in literature.  In 2009, he was presented with a PEN Oakland Lifetime Achievement Award.  Late this year or early next year, NYQ will publish a book of his political poems, spanning over 50 years.