4 am lost in the never 
land of chronic insomnia
a dark forest ravished by storms
where dreams go to perish
My mind hijacks my destiny
speaks in a foreign tongue
devours the silence like a sinkhole
Walks up and down my spine like
a gypsy tailor pushing a garment cart
down a long cobbled road
A sacrificial virgin burns in volcano ash
a Tijuana Jesus nailed to a plastic cross
winks at the twelve wise men making
a return trip to the Manager
after a shopping spree at Walmart’s
Poems swirl in my head like helicopter blades
drop me off at a graveyard where
a one-handed fortuneteller trades in
her crystal ball for a pack of tarot cards
My love returns from the Bermuda Triangle
in the disguise of a mermaid
There is no shelter from the storm
the river flows through North Beach into
the Café Trieste drowns one sleeping poet
and a burned out jazz musician
A political poet floats down to Spec’s Bar
with Mao’s little red book clutched in his hands
Pope Francis pleads for humility
God answers with a bolt of lightning
Jesus raises the stakes with rolling thunder
An army of red ants marches
backwards off a cliff
A bee colony drips honey between
he legs of a dairy queen
A haunted house coughs up
an angry ghost drunk on death

Dante gives up his seat in Hell
to Rosa Parks who recites
the Lord’s Prayer in Hebrew
to a honky Sheriff in Alabama
Saint Peter empties purgatory
turns sinners into saints
Van Gogh demands his ear back
A new born baby is sacrificed at the Louve
a French Mistress closes her legs in protest
the mirror splits in half mocks my existence
Satan recruits me
God mocks my counter offer

a whisper of sleep camps inside my eyeball
I surrender with a whimper drown in a series
of Hail Mary’s recited by a defrocked priest
surrounded by thirteen sexy nuns
dressed in see through habits





sitting here feeling like a used car
one part after the other failing me
the aroma of  fresh brewing coffee
wakes my brain cells

the drought laughs at the masses
teases them with a light drizzle
picture of an old lover stares at me
from its place on the mantle
her smile warm as the campfire

I sat around as a child
my room a dust garden
my hamstring pull refuses to address
the promised golden years drown
in quicksand

Israel and Palestine engaged in endless war
Putin playing death games in Moscow
proof the cave man still lives inside us

fields toiled by immigrants
now treated like criminals
the elderly a liability

the young puppets in a political game
poets once warriors on skateboards
now prisoners of pride and envy

I take refuge in the soft raindrops
the peace of solitude rides my veins
like a steamship treading calm waters

the garden of my mind is still green
poems wait to be planted in fertile soil
no drought can kill

At Eighty

At 80

You realize
You’re not immortal
Parents long buried
Friends fallen by the wayside
Like spring leaves from an aging tree
Arthritic Bones that creak and moan
Mile walks turned to blocks

The year’s race by like
A track sprinter
Bring me to my mother’s grave
Her tombstone chipped
The words fading

No such fate for me
I’ll go the way of the Indian
My flesh given to flames
No dirt No worms
No suffocating box

Ashes and bone my fate
Monterey or San Francisco Bay

The sunset my head stone
My poems my marker


He was the original
Jack the Ripper
He was the tormentor
Of John Bryan

He was the villain
Of women’s lib
He was the last hope
Of the down and out

He was a Third Reich monster
He was a Hindu Guru
He wrote Harold Norse
Get well cards

He tormented his enemies
He frustrated his friends
He wrote poems in the shit houses
Of America

He wrote poems in the ballet
Of his sleep
He wrote Harold Norse
Get well cards

All he was folks was
The best show in town
Holy Priest Circus clown
The best act around

He was a Roman sonnet
He was an Irish ballad
He was the best Cesar salad
In a gourmet restaurant

He had the face of a moon crater
The stomach of a wheelbarrow
The heart of a whore
Which is more than you can say
For 90% of the poet’s around

He dug Brahms
He dug Beethoven
He was the heavyweight champion
Of Los Angeles
He was the Chaplin of San Pedro
He was stalked by the minor poet’s
Of San Francisco and Los Angeles
And the soft-boiled egg eaters
Of the Café Trieste
He was a rainbow of watercolors
Mixed in with one too many
Sunday morning hangovers

He loved boxing
He loved his daughter
He loved his women

He was an antique book
In a broken down hotel
He was a bottle of aspirin
In an empty water glass
He wrote Harold Norse
Get well cards

All he was folks was
The best damn show
In town



at eighty years two months
the sun beats down on me
like the gleam in the eye
of a butcher lowering a hammer
on the head of an unsuspecting cow
being led to the slaughterhouse

the memories circle me like
old time Indians circling
a wagon train

I walk backwards into my birth
each new year like
a sharpened knife in the hands
of a trembling surgeon

lost in insomnia like a blind man
walking a dark road in
the dead of night

waking like a shotgun blast
in a killing field
lost in a language
I can not translate

the priest passes
the collection plate
rejects my confession
my sins laid out like
a sea of stars in
a far away constellation

all my poet friends take sides
purity versus the hucksters
God's choir plays bagpipes
refuse to play referee

the creaking coasters
of my grandfather's rocking chair
sing in my one good ear

the Holy Ghost devours
me like a python
my childhood like a bat
in a dark cave waits for God
to come out of the closet
and deliver the long
promised resurrection

"I'm Not A Man" Harold Norse poem read by A.D. Winans

Harold Norse's celebrated poem "I'm Not A Man" read by poet A.D. Winans on  5/10/2015 from:
I Am Going to Fly Through Glass: Selected Poems of Harold Norse

Read More HERE

I'm not a man, I can't earn a living, buy new things for my family.
I have acne and a small peter.

I'm not a man. I don't like football, boxing and cars.
I like to express my feeling. I even like to put an arm
around my friend's shoulder.

I'm not a man. I won't play the role assigned to me—the role created
by Madison Avenue, Playboy, Hollywood and Oliver Cromwell.
Television does not dictate my behavior.

I'm not a man. Once when I shot a squirrel I swore that I would
never kill again. I gave up meat. The sight of blood makes me sick.
I like flowers.

I'm not a man. I went to prison resisting the draft. I do not fight
when real men beat me up and call me queer. I dislike violence.

I'm not a man. I have never raped a woman. I don't hate blacks.
I do not get emotional when the flag is waved. I do not think I should
love America or leave it. I think I should laugh at it.

I’m not a man. I have never had the clap.

I'm not a man. Playboy is not my favorite magazine.

I'm not a man. I cry when I'm unhappy.

I'm not a man. I do not feel superior to women

I'm not a man. I don't wear a jockstrap.

I'm not a man. I write poetry.

I'm not a man. I meditate on peace and love.

I'm not a man. I don't want to destroy you.

-SanFran, CA 1972

The Man You Don't Want to See

He’s a cheap trick puffing
On a cigarette
You can find him at the jukebox
Or at the pool table
Looking for an easy mark

He’s a cashiered soldier
He’s a second-rate Don Juan
He’s the man behind the cage
He’s the smile you see on cable TV
He has his nose up the ass
He’s a jack of all trades
He’s as old as mankind
In search of a battle zone
A boner without a bone
He’s a sex addict
Hiding under your bed
A towel man cleaning up semen
From a brothel bed

Reciting the 23rd Psalm
He’s the difference between
Night and Day
A Preacher who sells options
On how to pray

In a downtown pawnshop
He’s a weather-beaten cop
Dining on mashed potatoes
And pork chops

Intent on winning over you and me
He’s into Yoga and a master of Zen
He’s the food in a pigpen

Of anyone who can do him a favor
He comes in 28 different flavors
He’s the stain left behind
In the church pew
He’s a masturbating monkey
In the zoo

Dressed in designed jeans
And wearing dark shades

A cheap treasure find
He’s the man you never want to see
When you wake in the morning
And see yourself in the mirror