Two Poems by A.D. Winans

OLD WARRIOR OF NORTH BEACH

                (For Bob Kaufman)

He walks the streets of North Beach

Eyes scanning the streets

Like a submarine periscope

His mind heavy as an anchor dragging

The bottom of the ocean floor

Forgotten rebel playing old ballads

In the shipwreck of his heart

His mind destroyed by shock treatments

And one too many police batons

Has imagined conversations with Miles Davis

Rides the ferry with John Lee Hooker

Gets off at Bourbon Street
To down a drink with Jack Micheline

He walks the battlefields with Walt Whitman

Roams the plains with Red Cloud

In search of the last Buffalo

Forever walking the streets of North Beach

In search of the elusive ginger fish smell

Death a sightless chauffeur waits like

A concubine facing down a faceless John.

You Deserve To Suffer

Visions of the past float like

Driftwood through

The riverbank of my mind

Pink panties and white bra

Laying like a land mine on the floor

Next to the foot of the bed

Drinking tequila with glasses

Dipped in salt as I slowly move down

Your soft underbelly like

A moth undressing a light bulb

I was there the night you put your

Fist through the window swearing
You saw the face of God

In your own reflection
Yelling Mantra’s no one understood

As the people down below looked
Up and wondered what

The screaming was all about

I was there the night at the bar
When you broke a beer bottle
Over the head of a drunk bully

Leaving seconds before the cops came

And though I should have

I didn’t give them your name

I was there the day at the cemetery
When you visited the grave
Of the only man you ever loved

I was there the night you sat alone
At the airport watching strangers

Greet their loved ones at the arrival gate

Page 2. You Deserve to Suffer

I was there the night they took you away

To Langley Porter Psychiatric Clinic
Where you soared like a bird in flight

Never to return to earth as we know it

I was there the day the crucifix carrying Priest
Said his mumbo jumbo words over the grave

Looking like a caterer serving leftovers
At an unattended banquet

I was there the day they buried you in
A shawl of unwritten poems
And drank a toast to you
Long after the others left
Remembering that white bra
And pink laced panties

The night we lifted boulders from
The chest of Jesus and hurled them
At the face of God.

A.D. Winans is an award winning poet and writer and the former editor/publisher of Second Coming Magazine/Press,  Awards include a PEN National Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature, a PEN Oakland Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Kathy Acker award in poetry and publishing.

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