Four Poems by A D Winans


he sat beneath the trees
talking to the leaves
wine flowed into miniature glasses
of silent sound

intoxicated on its flavor
he tasted it like a brewmaster
gazed at the sky
spoke a poets dialogue
to the passing clouds
the red wine flowing
through his veins

his poems floated
calm as the aftermath
of a storm
poems swirling
swimming inside him
like a dolphin rises
from the heart of the sea

sitting here fifteen days
before my seventy-eighth birthday
I drink my morning coffee in solitude
wear the early chill of morning
like a quilt of stitched memories
my mind a nosy intruder
plots the course of my life

the eye can't see
the naked universe
nor caress the fertile stars
the moon a graveyard
shines its eyes down on me
surely that is not me
I see in the mirror

the months the years
revolving doors
like the trick mirrors
at the Funhouse
at Playland at the Beach

friends fewer in number
wait for me in my dreams
like ducks in a blind

left with a cup of morning coffee
a spoon that stirs memories
of  young women
the pleasure of warm flesh
on fresh linen sheets
hot as an iron pressed
to a singed garment
turned to bones that rattle
in the graveyard of my dreams
the conversations that lasted
into the early morning hours
turned to idle chatter
with ghosts from the past

I drove the freeway to Tucson
1960's Hippie Era
pulled over twice 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 elevator
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

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


lost in the never
never land of insomnia
a dark forest ravished by storms
where dreams go to perish

my  mind hijacks my destiny
speaks in tongue
devours the silence
walks hunchbacked
like a gypsy tailor
pushing a garment cart

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 manger
after a shopping spree at Wal-Mart’s

a fortune teller
trades in her crystal ball
for a tarot card reading
the lone survivor of a shipwreck
floats aimlessly at sea

my love returns from
the  Bermuda triangle
in the disguise of a mermaid

the Pope pleads for humility
God answers with lightning
Jesus responds with thunder

a bee colony drips honey between
the 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 backwards
to a  honky sheriff
in Selma, Alabama

Saint Peter empties purgatory
the FDA declares sleeping masks
a fraud
Van Gogh demands his ear back

a new born baby
is sacrificed at the Louver
a French Mistress closes her legs
in protest|

the mirror mocks my image
twenty-plus years of sleeplessness
camp inside my skull
hot as volcano ash

Satan recruits me
God makes no counter offer
a whisper of sleep camps
inside my eyeballs

I surrender with a whimper
drown in a series of Hail Mary's
recited by sexy nuns
in see-through attire