A.D. Winans

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Poem for Roberto Vargas
and the Nicaragua Freedom Fighters

This poem is for you Roberto
And for Ed “Foots” Lipman too
This poem is for every poet
Who ever paced the cellblocks
Of San Quentin, Folsom, Attica, and Neil Island
Or fought the people’s struggle in ChileArtwork by Gene McCormick
Cuba or Nicaragua 
This poem is for those who walk
The dream of freedom with guerilla visions
In their hearts and eyes
This poem is for those who gave their lifeblood
To wash the streets free of oppression
For those who rest in heroic and not so heroic graves
In the struggle for human dignity

I sit here in my seventy-fifth year
Thinking of young boys who have fought the real war
Of grieving mothers and widows
Thinking of young girls with color-book eyes
Young women in black suspender belts
And knee high leather boots
With revolutionary roots 
Thinking of how the words come too late
And never say enough
Knowing that in the Buddha Temple of life
All things must die
Knowing there is no survival
No tarot cards horoscopes or incantations
To bring back the dead

I walk the midnight supermarket of death
Thinking of Lorca and that long dirt road
Thinking of the execution wall
The hangman’s noose
Ethnic cleansing ovens and genocide
Hearing the gypsy ballad that sings to the heavens
Knowing there is a strange code to this language
We are addicted too 
As Gene Fowler pointed out to me
Evil spelled backwards is live
Being made into a State automated robot is evil
But dying is not evil
For it is in its whole the disintegration
The Bacterial feeding which in turn is a live process
And so the fight goes on and must go on
Until every street has been cleared of assassins
Until every newborn is encircled in a poem

The spirit lives on in those passed the baton
The vision can’t be killed
Even as we retreat into the depths of our being
Listening to the blood beat solid against
The walls of the heart
Knowing there are secrets in the bones
That cannot be denied or sold out
To the whims of others
Sleep well my departed comrades
Only the flesh is gone
Your strength lives on in those who dared
To reach out and kiss the sun


A.D. Winans is a native San Francisco poet who is geographically challenged and long ago lost the map to where he was going.