a.d. winans | lady death & poem for a poet friend


she’s a bitch, a whore,
a toad.  she’s two-hundred
pounds of lard hiding in
a one-hundred pound body
she convinced Napoleon
he was six-feet tall and
sent him off to his Waterloo
she lit the last cigar of George Burns
blowing smoke in his face
minutes before he died
she convinced Custer he was God
lit the match that set Rome on fire
she made love to Eva Braun
before fucking Hitler in his bunker
seconds before dousing him
with gasoline
she disguised herself in the robes
of the Pope blessing the
bomb before it fell on Hiroshima
she pulled the trigger that blew
d.a. levy’s head off
then convinced Hunter Thompson
to do an encore
she sucked-off Buddha before
he could cross his legs
and become an idol
she’s a mafia hit-man
a sniper in waiting
she’s a terrorist with
a bomb hidden in her skirt
she lit the match that set
Joan of Arc on fire
she built the cross that Jesus died on
she convinced Houdini
he could come back from the dead
she burrowed her way into the vagina
of the Madonna and turned Caen against Abel
she’s in the  testicles of every male
primed and ready to be released
she sucks the life out of you
like a child sucks the juice from
a straw


I know this poet who plays
The Poetry Biz game
Knows how to trade favors
In 24 different flavors
His days pass faster than the
Muteness of his message
He could have been a standup comedian
A burlesque dancer had he been born a woman
This master weaver spinning tales like
Jerry Lewis courting Abbot and Costello

Seriousness is being treated like a sickness
A cancer to be avoided
Its grand slams and elite poetry festivals
Run by Grand Marshals and their elves
The wasteland of blurred visions
Lies like an idle landmine waiting
To explode in the minds of circus clowns

These poets have become wizards of attack
To them a crisis is a loose bowel movement
A skipped heartbeat or two
But what of the crisis of the social system
A system of calculated murder
A system of chemical and environmental cancer
A system of the poor and elderly
A system of sadness
How do I laugh about this
How do I laugh about my brothers in prison
My dead comrades racing across blood stained clouds
Their bruised feet bringing down rain
A rain that does not cleanse but
Leaves behind scars and torn flesh
And still the games go on
Red poets who write love songs for Stalin
Populist poets turned businessmen
Hanging out at Spec’s and the Café Trieste
Courting the favors of the NEA
Campaigning to be the next city Poet Laureate

I can’t wear the easy grin
It is an ill-fitting suit
My mind is a tailor who fits
Me with needled threads
And yes there is a place for laughter
And I too can pen a funny line but
Poetry is more than laughter
More than stepping up on stage
One hand on the poem
The other on the applause meter

And it was a Russian poet who said
“The function of poetry must be
To make us blush with shame.”
And it was an American poet who said
”The dams reverse themselves and want
To go stand alone in the desert”
That is why these poems are sad
The long-dead running over the fields
The masses sinking down
The light in the children’s faces
Fading at six and seven

These are the voices I heed
Knowing the poet must believe
In what he says and writes
That a poet’s responsibility
Goes beyond the written word
A poet must be angry
But he must be able to sing too
His words must melt like sweet honey
On a blistered tongue
For flat-backed whales sing and birds sing
But my poet friend has forgotten how to sing
It shows in his eyes
It shows in his nervous laughter
It shows in his words on the page

My poet friend writes a poem a day
He spends his time in coffee houses
And courts the favors of those in power
He does not visit the jails
The prisons the forests the bowery
The freezing North Dakota dawn
He does not feel the whisper
Of the secret that passes over the plains

0 Replies to “a.d. winans | lady death & poem for a poet friend”

  1. oh my, i wake most every morning gripped with anxiety since 4am, then i read great poems like this and the world becomes right again, for a minute…

  2. Every time I think I’ve written something decent, I read just one or two stanzas of your work and I feel as if I’ve been hurled by the mafia, my knees broken…humbled and made to realize what it is that we poets must do. I don’t learn from your poems, they’re too good – you can only learn from bad art. But you always grab me by the throat and god-damn it, it’s better to beaten up a little than killed. Keep laying it out, A.D.
    – from a fan in NYC. Peace.

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