Out of the Cupboard #7

Presenting: A.D. Winans


Drummed out of the infantry of death
I came back to you carrying the
Poems of my soul
Opened the door of life
And found only death inside

I have read the state of the union
And listened to the state of the economy
By statesmen in a state of hysteria

America where the
Poor and the black
Are sentenced to Attica
And the rich serve time at San Clemente

America where the
Coal miner’s lungs are used
For corporate profit
Where the only sounds that can be heard
Is the opening and closing of the
Downtown Bank of America

America where the angry voices
Of soccer moms can be heard
Preparing their children for death
Amidst the hurried jerks of masturbation
Coming from the closets of the university

America where the elderly are treated
Like abandoned railroad boxcars
Kept idle unemployed
Forced to walk the streets
Like an unacceptable poem

It’s hard living in a country where the
Hours are shaped like coffins
The law and order administration
Running wild at Waco and Ruby Ridge

America where the politicians sold the
Country to General Motors and IBM
And gave the people buffalo stew
And scientology

Readers Digest has renewed its option
On the educational system
The mafia weans the poor on drugs
While McDonald’s and Coca Cola
Compete for the nation’s heart

You leave a trail of death behind
Everywhere you go
Desecrating the bodies of men
Women and children
From Wounded Knee to Vietnam
Leaving behind a trail of genocide
As your calling card

Where the narc’s of New York City
Grow fat on the fears of thousands
Of junkies
Where the high priest of the cemetery
Drinks the rooster’s blood
At the crossroad of reality

Where holiness is found in the
Bowels of Buddha
Where Christ died on the cross
And the police were quick
To take his place

The years grow heavy in the
Cavity of my heart
Leaving me feeling
Like an army mule carrying
A cargo of death
Your bicentennial message
Ringing loud and clear
In every cash register across
The American way
If you can’t kill them
Buy them into the system

I grow older carrying
A new found vision warmer that
A child’s smile
Walking the streets of my mind’s
Third eye
Lady death blinking like the
Flickering candles on a birthday cake

You are the only county I have known
For any length of time
And unlike some poets
I have no desire for Cuba or Moscow
But I am a man
I am a poet

I am the energy running through
Your withered veins
Not afraid of your shock and awe
Your disregard for international law
All too aware of the storm troopers
Of justice
Who would turn off the beauty
And discard it like a rusted faucet
These men in blue
Who sniff the blood of my wounds
Like a hound dog crossing
A river of blood
Their sirens playing mad tunes
Outside my window
Like a poet forced to read underwater
Where the poet twice dead
And once resurrected
Turns over in his grave
But the middle finger he raises
Is jammed back down his throat
Until the shit he shits is theirs
And the blood they bleed is his
And the cries united
Fill the air
Like a lonely bird
Lost in flight




He was the high note of a wailing saxophone
The spark that ignites a fire
He was a shot of tequila
A glass of imported beer
A shaman
A vagabond poet shuffling words
Like a river-boat gambler

Ravished by illness
Ravished by time
He painted his visions on canvass
In parks in bars and coffee houses
His poems singing out across the
Streets of America
Pure innocence pure genius
Spinning words that hung in the air
Like a hummingbird drunk on the
Pollen of life




Once addiction sets in
There is no stopping it
You become a serial killer
Attacking the keyboard at will
Your mind working in shifts
Strange creatures live inside your head
Show no mercy give no ground
Forcing your fingers to do their bidding
Writing down your thoughts in your
Loose-leaf notebook

The city is your slaughterhouse
Like a wife it accommodates your moods
Doesn’t seem to mind you giving
Her a bad name

You walk her streets a hungry vampire
Lapping up your own blood
On nights when blood transfusions
Are not enough




Strange this trip back in time
Not with flesh and blood
But in disguise of poems
Having survived all these decades
The muscles the cells changing
Dying and yet somehow managing
To survive
Travelling through a strange time tunnel
Through an origin you cannot remember
Because there is no you to remember it
Walking behind my shadow shedding the
Years like a snake sheds its skin

I who have never called myself a poet
Never clothed myself in consonants
And vowels nor took refuge
In similes or metaphors
Yet planting the words on the page
Like a florist preparing a bridal bouquet
A tender arrangement of flesh and bones
At war with the demons who leave behind
A Custer massacre of words
Left cooking these images like a fry cook
Scrambled over easy

Waking at three in the morning
With junkie like sweats
My eyes a heat seeking missile
Honing in on an invisible kill
Feeling like an alcoholic with the DT’s
Trying to roll a cigarette atop
A bucking bull at the
World’s last rodeo



Questions and Answers

Q)You’ve been amassed a vast body of work, can you look back throughout your writing career and pick out any highlights that you are particularly proud of?
ADW)This is a difficult question to answer. Some of the highlights were meeting and becoming friends with poets and writers like Charles Bukowski, Jack Micheline, and Bob Kaufman. I met a lot of musicians too, jazz greats like John Handy and blues musicians like John Lee Hooker and Charles Musslewhite. I shot pool with the late Janice Joplin. Memorable events were the 1980 Poets and Music Festival, organized and presented by my Second Coming Press. It was a seven day, three county event honoring the lat e Josephine Miles (poetry) and John Lee Hooker. In 2006 I won a PEN Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence and a year later Presa Press published a book of my Selected Poems. All of this I grealyt value. I guess maybe I got my 15 minutes of fame when a Pulitzer Prize composer set a poem of mine to music, which was performed in 2005 at Tully Hall in New York City.

Q)In an age of instant success that has created overnight sensations in other art and media forms are you noticing that young writers are getting a little bit impatient if glory has not came there way?
ADW)I’m not sure that disease is limited to just young writers. If you’re a poet and writer and seeking fame, you’ve won the right to be called a fool. A real poet writes because he or she has to write and not because they want fame and glory. Did Pete Seeger go into folk music expecting to make a fortune? If you somehow stumble on glory (like Bukowski did), it will turn out to be both a blessing and a curse. There are too many poets out there who are nothing more than poetry “business” boys. And their poetry shows it.

Q)Is pride the sin that most hurts a poet?
ADW)There is nothing wrong in pride. One should take pride in their work, and, if they have earned it, the right to be called a poet. It’s ego that gets in the way. It’s when you start thinking you’re more than the average Joe out there and go around walking with an invisible capital “P” on your forehead. There is nothing Holy about being a poet. Poetry only becomes holy when it forgets its holiness.

Q)You created the poetry magazine ‘Second Coming’, after putting it out did you begin looking at your own writing differently?
ADW)My poetry and my life are one and the same. There is no difference between the two. Publishing was just another extension of my life. I was and still am whoever the hell I was when I began publishing. It didn’t affect how I looked at my own writing at all.

Q)Have you ever taken a significant amount of time out from writing, any breaks that recharged the batteries?
ADW)Not in the sense you are talking about. I write when the feeling hits me. I can go virtually months without writing a poem and then write volumes of poems over time before going into hibernation again. I did take an almost 13 year break from giving readings. This was because I became disillusioned with the poetry scene. I didn’t much like what I was reading and I didn’t like the way poets were individually presenting themselves. I saw too much prostitution in the poetry scene. But it was not because I wanted to recharge my batteries.

Q)There are numerous mentions to your association with Charles Bukowski, however I am more interested about your connection to Jack Micheline. He is relatively unknown in the UK so please tell us more about Jack?
ADW)I was much closer to Jack Micheline than I was to Bukowski. Jack was a real poet. He was the wild card in a deck of fixed cards. He was never afraid to speak his mind and was a true friend to the down and out souls of America. To hear him read was almost a religious experience. He didn’t get the attention the big name Beats did because he didn’t play the game. Allen Ginsberg was a promotion genius. Ferlinghetti was and remains a businessman. Corso was a wild spirit. Jack was a wild child too. He was also a painter and a much better one than Ferlinghetti. Jack wanted to be recognized, but knew his work and his life style worked against that. I could do a twenty page response on this question, but have your readers take the time to Google his name. There’s tons of stuff out there on him, including my own article on him, which has been published in numerous publications.

Q)What is next for A.D. Winans?
ADW)Sound Street Tracks is putting together 6 Cd’s of past readings of mine which will be released individually and as a collector set. Global Vision Press is going to re-publish my 1980 book of poems (The Further Adventures Of Crazy John) which will include a section of 14 previously unpublished CJ Poems. Cross-Cultural Communications will soon release an epic love poem chapbook (Love-O) and Polymer Press plans a January 2009 release of my book, No Room For Buddha. Oh yeah, Sketchbook is also doing a coffee mug, so you can have coffee with me in the morning, with or without sugar.

Where to go next

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