a.d. winans | golden years and other poems


Approaching 70
feeling like a Samurai
with a dull-bladed sword
singing into the teeth of night

somewhere beyond the horizon
sailors buried at sea
rise in ghostly procession
skeletons sharing their secrets
with withered old men lined-up
like bowling pins
measuring them limb to limb
like a tailor sizing you up
for a perfect fit


I have sat one too many evenings
watching old men and women
eat their last meal
one eye on the dessert the
other on the obituary column


Chill of winter in the air
Misty fog giving way
To a light rain
Cars spewing deadly exhaust fumes
Windshield wipers flapping like the
Wings of birds in migration
Stone faces hidden behind steering wheels
Give no quarter yield only to the
Red traffic stoplights
Pedestrians scurry across the street
Board the morning bus
On their way to work
Pressed together like preserved butterflies
Between the pages of an old
And frayed book


Prescott, Arizona

1973, shabby boardwalks
with mud lined bars and

Barry Goldwater stares
Three young Indians in a bar
Drinking rotgut whiskey
Until they’re drunk enough
To wallow through the mud
Hoping to run into a cowboy
On their way home
Down the street another bar exudes
Western Music while
Flabby middle age bodies
Huff their way around the
Dance floor where
A Sheriff’s Deputy guards the door
Outside in the dark of night
A woman dressed in red
Wobbles uneasily along the boardwalk
Having worn out one bar
Tries on another


These kids could never
Get enough of him
Not in books or magazines
Or on rare occasions in person
They wrote poems for
And about him
They bemoaned the fact that
He hadn’t been accepted
By the Academics
As if this were somehow a liability
They flailed away
At the establishment
Supposedly on his behalf
But I suspect that
Getting their names in print
Had more than a little
To do with it.
A few chastised him for
Not using semicolons
But were quick to forgive him
Because he was a genius
And a genius can do
Whatever he wants to do
To his credit
When fame discovered him
He quit writing hate poems
To those who had once
Befriended him
And if success did this
To him
Then she can’t be half
The whore they make her out
To be
For a man who lived alone
For most of his life
He did remarkably well
And if he conned the small
Press editors and publishers
It was only because
He had the stamps to do it
And selling your soul
To the post office
All those years
Was no easy trip
Believe me I know
I’ve been there
And the readings never
Came easy for him
Puking his guts out
Behind stage
On in some bar bathroom
Or on that one occasion
In San Francisco
On the side of Ferlinghetti’s van
But fate was kind to him
It gave him Linda Lee and
A new lease on life and
A home in San Pedro and
How many years
She tacked on to his life
We’ll never know
He would be the first to admit
He was an asshole and
He was
And so are you and I
Sometimes more and
Sometimes less
Depending on the circumstances
He wouldn’t deny
He was a hustler and
A con man and
He was both
But he did it with style
Which is more
Than you can say
For most of us
What he wouldn’t tell
All those young kids
Was what they wanted
To hear most
That yes they were
That yes their work
Was dynamite
That they too could
Make it
If they flooded the small magazines
With their work
For the next 10 or 20 years
And the fates were kind to them
Failing that
There is always suicide
Or getting a job
At the post office
Rest in peace.

This poem appeared in a Memoir of mine: The Holy Grail: Charles Bukowski And The Second Coming Revolution. Published by dustbooks.

The Holy Grail: Charles Bukowski and the Second Coming Revolution
by A.D.Winans

A book about America’s foremost non-academic poet, his work, his philosophy, his life. Small magazine editor A.D. Winans writes a personal memoir of his professional relationship and his friendship with this two-fisted poet who called it as he saw it.
$ 9.95 Paper  | $15.00 Cloth  | $35.00 Signed/Lettered

0 Replies to “a.d. winans | golden years and other poems”

  1. Ed, until you hit 70, you’re still a kid

    Charles….Ferlinghetti is beyond saving. The last time I checked for a pulse, nothing there. I think he drinks tea now at the Palace of Fine Arts.

  2. Great poems–they bristle burn & bruise and hit hard where they need to. Beautiful writing — delicate like a baby’s hands and as untarnished and real.
    I always check in on the Outlaws to get a reminder of what is all about.
    Thanks for the reminder.

    As soon as I can–I’m gonna buy your new book. Need more than a whistle & gas mask in my bag.

    Thanks, A.D.

    Harlem, USA

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