"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

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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



Poem about Feelings written by local Prisoner Published by AD Winans

I published many prison poets when I published Second Coming
from 1972-89. William Wantling was one of the best of them.
His statement here express my own feelings on poetry. AD Winans
I’ve got to be honest. I can
make good music and rhyme
at the right times and fit words
together to give people pleasure
and even sometimes take their
breath away---but it always
somehow turns out kind of phony
Consonance and assonance and inner
rhyme won’t make up for the fact
that I can’t figure out how to get
down on paper the real of the true
which we call Life. Like the other
day I was walking
on the lower exercise yard here
at San Quentin and this cat called
Turk came up to a friend of mine
and said Ernie, I hear you’re
shooting on my kid. And Ernie
told him so what, punk? And Turk
pulled out his his stuff and shanked
Ernie in the gut only Ernie had a
metal tray in his shirt. Turk’s
shank bounced right off him and
Ernie pulled his stuff out and of
course Turk didn't have a tray and
caught it dead in the chest, a bad
one, and the blood that came to his
lips was a bright pink, lung blood,
and he just lay down in the grass
and said, “Shit. Fuck it. Sheeit,
Fuck it. And he laughed a soft long
laugh, 5 minutes, then died. Now
what could consonance or assonance or
even rhyme do with something like that?

The Inauguration ceremony Poet Laureates in San Fran

Winans and Vargas

Poem for Ginsberg

Poem For Allen Ginsberg
I saw the best minds of my generation
Destroyed by success and greed
Smug fashionable poets turned businessmen
Who rode the National Endowment For the Arts
Pimp train, ignoring Captain Cool and his magic airplane
I saw the best minds of my generation loitering
At closed down amusement parks
Disguised as hobo tramps standing in long lines
In hope of becoming a Southern Pacific Railway detective
Self-proclaimed geniuses who tossed restlessly in their sleep
Like a pair of naked dice on a worn Las Vegas craps table
Their ragged claws scraping at death’s window ledge
I saw the best minds of my generation
Lying lifeless in glass coffins
Hands folded in gratification
Their vacant eyes blinking like a pinball machine
I saw the best minds of my generation
Hanging out at Broadway topless bars
Searching for paradise, fat and content
Smoking Tijuana slims
Stone-faced magicians on their way to the graveyard
Three steps behind the screaming monkey grinder
With the one-eyed masturbating monkey on his back
I saw the best minds of my generation
Looking like James Bond understudies
Cruising the casinos of Reno and Las Vegas
In between being chauffeured through the
Neon lit streets of Atlantic City
Looking for the Now, Wow vision of there
Personal Zen masters
Pretty-faced aging celebrities
Hungry for the admiration connection
Who carried the star fuck media message
Inside their chemically induced minds
Who overcome with ego wandered
the streets butter-cheeked
And Crisco greased in search of there
15 minutes of fame
I saw the best minds of my generation
Walking down Hollywood and Vine
Tossing and turning in exclusive spas
Ignoring the long lines of hungry eyes
Waiting to devour them
Who floated across congested Los Angeles freeways
Looking for the right off-ramp
Stopping to partake the pleasure of heated
Swimming pools and Roman orgy bath houses
All the time contemplating their navels
And recording contracts
I saw the best minds of my generation
Bare their not so tight assholes
To aging agents wrapped in silk sheets
Autographed by the King of the Beats
I saw the best minds of my generation
Gangbanging ageless groupies
From San Francisco to New York and back
While accumulating frequent flyer miles
Sad-eyed space cadets from the Gregory
Corso School of bad boys

Photo by Ginger Killian Eades

I saw the best minds of my generation
Expelled from luxury hotels for writing
Bad graffiti in the men’s room
Who necked in the back alley of Gino
And Carlo’s bar while hawking there
Poetry in between ATM withdrawals
I saw the best minds of my generation cowering
In New York subways
on there way to literary parties
Lusting after host and hostess alike
I saw the best minds of my generation
Standing naked in fear
Burning out there counterfeit talent
At Sardi’s and Elaine’s
As the final hours came closing in on them
I saw the best minds of my generation
Listen in terror as the 4-walls came crashing
Down on them
Lady obscurity coming to claim them
Like a faceless hat check girl
Let loose in the morgue’s of America



the mind silent like a whisper
in the still of night
you stiff as a mannequin
laid out in hospital gown
eyes fixed to ceiling
silent poems spin in  your head
weave present into past
until you’re back on the docks
lifting crates with hooks and beefy hands
waiting to clock out
hit Gino and Carlo’s Bar
with other white cap longshoremen

young women eyed your masculinity
devoured your loins
your head buried between
nectar sweet limbs
now laying in solitude
fluids not whiskey
race through your veins

nurses pass your room
pay no notice
tubes in your nose
labored breath
this is the way of life
the angel of death
no angel at all
but a minion from hell

growing old was not supposed
to be like this
dreams reduced to confetti
fall slowly to the ground
stepped on or around

death waits like a sadist
plays your mind like a card shark
your breathing ragged
as a rat’s claws

the hour’s pass
at horse and buggy speed
the bones bleed

death a faceless mugger
does a two-step shuffle
like a gypsy woman selling her wares
in the shadows of the tattooed dawn


I know this poet who dances with words who does the two-step political hustle that lacks any real muscle a Waltzing Matilda poet who glides along the dance floor like a skilled political whore a poet weaned on the game of favors who traded in his vision for a poetry politician's hat but dancing for an audience isn’t like feeling the rhythm that rubs up against the soul Buffy Saint-Marie Phil Ochs, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Billy Bragg is living proof of this power corrupts the spiritual truth the scriptures tell us this the true poet knows this stands tall above the dancing with word poets who are little more than an instrument of a poem far greater than themselves bar room revolution talk is little more than an exercise in futility take it to the streets be like Walt Whitman walk blood stained battlefields real and imagined tend to the spiritual wounds of your comrades quit trading favors in twenty-eight Baskin and Robbin flavors be like the people of Egypt who risked life and limb for their beliefs be like the anonymous poets of Poland who during the height of government tyranny tossed poems into the public square for the people to read giving them hope in desperate times sitting at Spec’s bar in North Beach downing shots of vodka and shouting,” I hate America," is cheap political theater be like your sisters and brothers in the workers struggle in Wisconsin marching for worker rights love them become one with them shout your poems from town squares and from rooftops in solidarity with them. words can not be danced with they need to be lived Whitman was the Heavyweight champion of poetry stood tall and fearless among the enemy which is never really man but the poison in his soul pride envy lust for power how can those inflicted with this disease write from the heart? one column of media praise is of less value than a single tear-drop on a poem from a waitress in a greasy road stop diner

a poet who dances with words dances a solo dance in a barroom with no jukebox the true poet’s topic is the people not the poet
Fair housing march, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, 1966 (James Groppi, center).
 Wisconsin Historical Society
 1966 Fair Housing March
Lead by J
ames Groppi,