sitting here
at Martha's Coffee Shop
my eyes lock in
on a petite young woman
with a body only the young possess   
my mind on fire
with lost adonis visions
my body bartering for timeshe seemingly unaware
of my eyes undressing her
she oozing sex
me an old man with groaning limbs
a once proud hawk turned                    
into a buzzard groveling
for road kill

she with near perfection
picks up her cell phone
speaks in an angel's voice
a smile on her lips
my imagination undressing her
tasting the rose between
her legs
the warmth of flesh
the warmth of youth surrenders
to this old man
who becomes young in mind
the rhythm in my blood
strong as a young hawk tasting
the wind on his wings

-A D Winans

A Collage Featuring Poet, A D Winans

"The Traveled Poet" collage by Ginger Eades
Photographs taken by various people of poet, AD Winans


turn on the TV
nightly news
Vietnam, 1972
South Vietnamese airplane swoops low
dropping canisters of death
tails of yellow and purple smoke bombs
curl around the village where
a fierce battle had been raging for days between
North and South Vietnamese soldiers

a nine-year-old girl looks up caught
in a ball of fire, canisters descending
from the sky
like pigeon dropping at a ballpark

the young girl looks up 
caught in a ball of fire
her clothes evaporate
trees lit up like
a string of Christmas lights

the young child flees naked
down the roadway
American troops behind her
her clothes burned from her body
from blistering  inferno heat
yelling, “Too hot Too hot”
as she runs down the road
away from  her burned out village
tears running down  innocent face
blobs of sticky napalm melted through
her clothes and layers of skin
like intense lava from a volcano
30% of her body scorched raw
as TV pundits played their spin
This war that we could never win
Those eyes those innocent eyes
Forever burned inside my head
                            - by A D Winans

Collage by Ginger Eades

San Francisco Arts Commission Honors A D Winans

In 2007, the Oaxaca, Mexico International Arts Festival honored U.S poets A.D. Winans and Neeli Cherkovski, who participated in literary panels and read their work at the town square and at the local university.

Winans and Cherkovski , two San Francisco icons, have been honored by the San Francisco Arts Commission, who in conjunction with the Department of Public Works, has paid recognition to the many poets, writers, film makers and literary figures from the Beat and post-Beat era, who have contributed to the rich literary history of San Francisco’s North Beach, the home of the West Coast Beat movement.

The project known as The Language of the Birds is located at the corner of Broadway and Columbus Avenue. In addition to their names being inscribed on a bronze plaque, Words from those honored are embedded in the sidewalk, taken from the writings of over 90 authors with ties to North Beach and nearby Chinatown.

The following wording is taken from one of two plaques adorning the wall of the site: “Historically speaking the Language of the birds is considered a divine language birds use to communicate with the initiated. Here, at the site, a flock of books take off from the plaza to fly to the urban gullies of the city. The fluttering pages high overhead leaves a gentle imprint of words beneath them. These serendipitously configured bits of local literature reveal layers of human culture, nature and consciousness.”

The 90 literary figures embedded on a separate steel plaque at the corner of the building include Francis Coppola, Kenneth Patchen, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghettti, Bob Kaufman, Philip Lamatina, Michael Mc Clure, Joane Kyger, Jack Micheline, Kenneth Rextoth, Gary Snyder, Lew Welch, Lenore Kendel, A. D. Winans, Neeli Cherkovski, Herbert Gold, Ruth Weiss and Charles Bukowski.

Winans is the lone native San Francisco poet so honored.

A full list of the names on the plaque can be obtained from the North Beach Public Library.

Photograph on the top of the post on the right is Lawrence Ferlinghettti & AD Winans
Photograph on the left side at the bottom is Neeli Cherkovski with A D Winans

San Francisco Chronicle Review on The Holy Grail

San Francisco Chronicle Review

The Holy Grail
Charles Bukowski and the
Second Coming Revolution

By A. D. Winans

DustBooks 189 pages
With center photo section
$9.95 paperback. $19.95 hardback

Insider accounts of any industry offer a certain amount of titillation, but San Francisco native A.D. Winan’s “The Holy Grail” delivers that and a lot more as he recounts over 40 years inside the small press revolution as publisher of Second Coming Press and Second Coming Magazine.

Winans, a respectable post Beat poet himself builds his memoir cum literary history around his long friendship with he most notorious, and probably the best writer to come out of the American small press scene; the late Los Angeles novelist and poete maudit, Charles Bukowski.

“The Holy Grail” comes closer than any book yet published in showing how and why the small press revolution broke the iron clad hold of stodgy traditional publishers back in the early 1960s, enabling a whole new generation of radical and counter cultural writers to get their work before the public and, as in the case of Bukowski and others, to become outlaw artist celebrities on a par with rock stars. Winans reminds us that even publishers like City Lights (which first published Ginsberg) and Black Sparrow, began as small publishers.

Bay Area readers will doubtless revel in Winans’ intimate gossip about dozens of our more outrageous local writers, especially the North Beach Beat and post-Beat gang –
including Bob Kaufman, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jack Micheline, Harold Norse, and Kaye McDonough – that dominated the San Francisco literary scene, at least the sensational side of it, throughout much of the 1970s and 1980s. Most remarkably, for all the infighting among that gang, Winans writes of it in a very evenhanded manner, admitting hi own grudges but not taking time to grind his own ax.

As it all this weren’t enough for the price of admission, “The Holy Grail” also gives one of the most honest and compelling portraits of Bukowski yet in print, destroying almost every myth about him still current. The supposedly cantankerous, drunken, degenerate, womanizing Bukowski turns out to be a fiercely loyal friend who stands up for Winans in a battle between Winans and Ferlinghetti, despite the fact that Bukowski was seeking publication from City Lights. He graciously bows out when he discovers himself and Winans pursuing the same woman, and he even advises Winans to cut down on his drinking because in words we never expect to hear from the Buk – the “body asks for a bit of kindness.”

Letter From Rod McKuen to A D Winans

Dear AD,
I put off reading Akbar's interview with you until I could safely squirrel away some time to really read it. I knew it would be worthwhile and as I suspected the answers blew away the questions. You always exceed my expectations of you.

Lots of excuses for setting aside pure and thoughtful enjoyment such as perusing words from a poet and human being I admire and respect. A member of the family wasted away and died - just a cat to anyone who thinks being owned by a feline, silly, stupid or just plain weird, but Kubby was the closest thing I had left to a family.

I haven't heard from one brother since he was, after much petitioning brought handcuffed by plain clothed guards, from some penitentiary or another, to Mom's funeral some decades past. Long ago we had stopped getting along when we were just getting along and not relating. The other brother? We are too close. Life was never easy with him and I'm sure his appraisal of me would be the same. Still I love him and would do anything for him but our life together seems increasingly a series of threats and demands by him and negotiations or silence from me. I am too old to quarrel and find it a waste of time so the silences between us grow longer.

Last month I turned 74 and he, like you, is 71 - born three years and two days apart we celebrate our birthdays on the day between . . . so on April 28th we turned 150.

Losing Kubby only amplified my sense of aloneness, not solitude, I covet solitude and can never get enough of it. I know you feel the same about the productivity and solace of being alone, your poetry, approach to it and your forty year fight to have time alone to write ring clear.

Other excuses; deadlines not met, promises not kept, mail unanswered, as always saying yes to every project offered and only fulfilling a portion of them. Making endless lists, feeling guilty about not cleaning up my room . ..let alone my life. And, on and on and on. (What guts to complain about every flat surface in my room being taken up with stuff when your rooms and world have recently burned down.)

I hope you have waded through all this AD because it's a preamble to what I want to say about the kinship I found in your words. Having your poetry to rely on is something, but overhearing your conversation with an interviewer starts to make a presumptive friendship with you important.

It's after 4:00 am here, as it is up north with you, and I haven't yet gotten to the meat and spuds of what I want to address, I'm rambling and growing tired -- though I know it will be another sleepless night. Even changing the trusty right hand to the left, thus attempting to entice and surprise my dick, doesn't seem to work any more but I'll get through this night and morning as I do the rest.

Wanted you to know in the meantime that I'm thinking of you and that your words are spinning in my ears. With a clearer head & maybe no scotch I'll continue, maybe even before cleaning my room.

Please remember that poets go on forever, whatever that is and the best that can be said for academians is that they had a nut named after them. All of us are out there in the same leaky boat and we should be bailing instead of throwing mud at one another.

Luv and all that goes with it,


Rod McKuen is an American poet, songwriter, composer, and singer. He was one of the best-selling poets in the United States during the late 1960s. Throughout his career, McKuen produced a wide range of recordings, which included popular music, spoken word poetry, film soundtracks, and classical music. He earned two Oscar nominations and one Pulitzer nomination for his serious music compositions.