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When I was young I drove to Salinas
And ran through the bean fields
Pretending I was James Dean in East of Eden
Stopped off in Monterey walking Cannery Row
Imagined myself packing sardines in between
Midnight conversations with Doc and the boys

Driving to Carmel I scribbled a poem on a cocktail napkin
That later became the Title for my first book of poems
But the rents were high and the job pay low
So in 1964 I took my first full time job in Modesto
Drove on weekends to Stockton’s public square park
To drink with the wino’s

In Crow’s Landing I drank with unemployed Mexicans
At run-down dives
In North Beach and the Mission District
I hung out with deadbeats and losers
street people fighting junkie tremors and cirrhosis of the liver

In the Fillmore I cut my teeth on jazz
Let Billie Holiday patch up my bleeding heart
In the Portrero I saw the last of the factory workers
Growing thinner like their paychecks fearing for their jobs

In the Tenderloin I drank with whores and prostitutes
Who opened their pocketbooks as freely as their legs
On Market Street I witnessed panhandlers crouched
Like criminals in open doorways
A short distance from the Jesus freaks
With God’s billboards pointing the way to heaven

At the old Southern Pacific Railway Yard
I saw the last brakeman smoking a cigarette
With eyes vacant as an empty satchel
While on the other side of town
High on top of Nob Hill society ladies sat
In chauffeured limousines
White poodle dogs nestled between their piano legs
Unaware of the dredges of humanity
Walking third and Howard Street
Drinking cheap port from brown paper bags
Starving cold disheveled as the homeless today
Waiting on god or pneumonia
To walk them to the grave

  A.D. Winans __


I see her two three times a week
sitting on the balcony
when weather permits
here in old Italy town
in what's left of North Beach

her robe slightly parted
thumbing through the pages of a book
taking no notice of the people down below

I watch her stand yawn
legs like sturdy pillars that stretch
to reach the sky into
the boundaries of my mind

my eyes beg to read the pages
she turns with sensual fingers
wanting just one quick look
one intimate journey into the pages
into the space between
the parting of her robe
a journey to forbidden places
a flight back in time
to another place another world
high on a balcony where I too ignore
the people coming and going down below

  A.D. Winans __


Black man shooting pool
Black woman singing the blues
Black man playing the horn
Black woman looking like Lena Horne

Outside the black and white patrol car
With its spinning red light
Shotgun in casing heart racing

Big Daddy waits for his cue
Big Daddy waits for his cue


San Francisco skyline blanketed in fog
Wears her history like a harlot
In a tight fitting dress

Air sweet as a mango caresses her skin
Her breath fills your nostrils with longing
She’s a ballerina walking a high wire
Ghosts of her past dissolve into each other
Rooms of walls dare you to enter

Fists clenched like a boxer
She plays your mind like a card shark
Doors of Nirvana open and close
Like trick mirrors in a fun house

She’s like an aging jockey
Looking for one more ride
On a magnificent horse
That crosses the finish line
Barely breaking a sweat

  A.D. Winans __


Some poets write with speed
As if trying to stay one step
Ahead of death
Some write with the precision
Of a tailor
Wanting each line to be a perfect fit

Some poets toy with poems
Using each word as a building block
Some write hoping for a literary reputation
Some with the hope of luring women
To their bed for a night a week a month

Today a poet editor invited me
To submit a poem on fame
I’d ask him for money
But long ago gave away my soul for free
Being a poet
I’m already a millionaire

  A.D. Winans __

© Luigi Cazzaniga: elf
© Luigi Cazzaniga: elf