A.D. Winans

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The Holy of the Unholy

like pulling a wisdom tooth
like an attack of sciatica
I sit here lost in the attic of my mind
the fog rolls in slips through the cracks
of my living room window

born at home premature
under the light of a full moon
I walked the jungles of Panama
fed off Beat Mania
in the streets of north beach

Shaman poets sang in my ear
under a bed of stars
young women with dresses
that clung to firm thighs
damp dark cavern wet as morning dew
peach fuzz dinner drew me in
devoured me like quicksand

the sweet fragrance of the past
mates with comrades long dead
as I walk back into my birth
work my way through the sound of water

the wind propels me toward my destiny
my boyhood gone like an old jalopy used-up
rusting in an auto junkyard

I head toward the comfort of the now
nailed to the cross of the past
in the language of the present
with no words to light the fire carrying
the memories like a mountain climber
weighed down with a heavy backpack

vague memories of my mother
sing me to sleep
the chill of waking
the tongue of dawn cold as dry ice

the hawk sweeps down for the kill
a dog howls at the moon
a cat yawns in boredom
the universe draws new boundary lines
fragile as a new-born baby

the coo-coo bird moves backward
into the clock
fearful police lock and load their guns
black boys moving targets in the night

voter suppression laws to keep voting down
Southern barbecues with rednecks
hungry for blood rare steak

the night hounds of death stumble into day
the rich roast the poor like a pig on a spit.
the war machine moneymakers
bleed the blood of our youth
like an undertaker dressing the dead

the Roman Senate proceeds unabated
turn out gladiators like machinery parts
endless parades and marching bands
waving flags played out
like a Disney Land bonanza

slaves without chains
government without representation
this nation of criminal politicians

The ghost of Custer rises
like a creature from the lagoon
creeps through the night
like a faceless Santa Clause
with a bag of Indian scalps

Allah competes with the Pope
for the rights to the head of Jesus
beheaded by ISIS barbarians
back from a night of slaughter
as the congregation stumbles
like a drunk into the future
carved out in the hands
of a gypsy fortune teller

I wait out the night hours of solitude
shut out the demons of insomnia
like a faulty light switch

the holy of the unholy
make and pass new laws
laws that feed on the bones
of the poor and dispossessed

a future where animals
turn into animal crackers
and birds are served live
at holiday feasts

angels occupy the cheap seats
at Yankee Stadium
God sends down a bolt of lightning
dismayed at the flawed diamond
he created in his image


A.D. Winans is an award-winning San Francisco poet and writer with over sixty books published.  Awards include a PEN National Josephine Miles Award for excellence in literature, a PEN Oakland Lifetime Achievement Award and a Kathy Acker Award in poetry and publishing.  He edited and published Second Coming Magazine/Press from 1972-1989.