a.d. winans | ghosts from the past


I drove the freeway to Tucson
1960’s Hippie Era
twice pulled over by the police
long hair and California license plates
got me  two citation warnings

spent three days with an ex-lover
who lived with a professor
who taught a course in astrology
at the University of Arizona
who the first day of my visit
felt  the back of my head
and asked me if anyone
had ever told me
I had the same head shape
as RFK
who I later met in Washington, DC
two years before his murder

three days in redneck country
was like a year
drinking at Western bars
with cowboys who eyed me
like I was an Indian
escaped from the reservation
unsure why I had come here
nothing beautiful nothing natural
except for the stunning evening sunset

back home my friends drunk
in bars on Grant Avenue
shooting pool at Gino and Carlo’s Bar
eating grub at Sam Woo’s where
the waiter Edsel Ford insulted
the customers as the dumb-waiter
brings up food no other Chinese
restaurant can match

a poet friend calls me
says Ginsberg has flown back
from India to become the resident
Guru of the Haight Ashbury
while I rack up another warning ticket

cowboy drunks give new definition
to the word redneck
no room for compassion here
no room for poets
words like a campfire
with no match to light them
die in the desert heat

I pull up roots drive north
the death mask sunset
rides a passing cloud

I stop in the desert
pop open a bottle of water
have a one way conversation
with a cactus plant
wonder what my shrink
would think
the beauty of solitude
I could have
a million conversations
in a single morning dialogue

I return home
keep a notebook by my bed
write down my dreams
but when I wake in the morning
someone else’s handwriting
is on the pages
mostly illegible

No one will identify
the blood between
the lines
see the ghosts walk
the halls
restless souls
from my past
like a starving wolf
in the dead of winter
looking to fill his hunger
on wild game
or words that cling to flesh
like scraps of  exotic food

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