Poem For A Friend In Prison

Hello Joe
I could handle the name change
but they keep transferring you
to so many different units
that I’m running out of space
in my address book
and now they’re shuffling you
from prison to prison
I know this is America
but this is a bit too much
even for a pro like me
all these prisons being built
like factory assembly lines
I mean there’s only so many
license plates one can make
makes no sense to me

You ask how I’m doing which
is kind of you given your circumstances
Truth is I’m confined to my own prison
even if there are no keepers
where life has become a surreal movie
with nothing but bit actors
like those old time sing-a-longs
they flashed on the screen
when I was a kid
follow the bouncing ball
trouble is I couldn’t then
and can’t now carry a note

It’s a hard life brother
on the inside on the outside
The old man down on Market Street
the one with no legs and a skateboard
has more balls than Congress
this is a bitch of a poem
not a bitching one
I know you know the difference
even if the jailers don’t
thirsting after blood like a junkie lab technician
stepping on over and around dead bodies
looking for new spirits to bury

The message of America can’t be found
on Mount Rushmore
it’s written in blood at the
Texas Book Depository

I know this guy who believes
if we reduce the world population
by a third and close our borders
there will be enough food for everyone
in the world
but this same guy breeds killer dogs
and has five children and another on the way
it’s the kind of shit that’s driving me sane
just when I was getting the insane part
down to perfection
Better watch it brother
you might get what you wish for
a new trial a new judge a new jury
but would the outcome
be any different?

The D.A. should wear
a black robe a wig and powder his cheeks
bend over and beg forgiveness
what’s left of Eliot Ness’ old gang
could take on the Wise Guys
outside the court house
hell I might even buy a ticket
mouth a few obscenities
to take the edge off the hype

We are born we die
we spend time in between
be it behind or outside the walls
and the prisons keep getting built
and all I can do about it
is write these “bitching” poems
to an audience that does nothing
but bitch
Sometimes I think
I’m a retarded space alien
put here by a superior race
you on the inside me on the outside
inner parts of a human computer waiting
to be blanked from the screen

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About A.D. Winans

In 1958 I returned to San Francisco after three years in the military, in Panama. I discovered the North Beach Beat era and made North Beach my home away from home for over thirty years. I frequented Beat bars like Gino and Carlo's and The Place, and met Bob Kaufman at the Co-Existence Bagel Shop. Later I would...read more become friends with poets like Jack Micheline and Harold Norse. I crossed-over in to the Hippie generation and met Richard Brautigan and many others. I hung around with small press publishers like Ben Hiatt and Kell Robertson, and published my own magazine, Second Coming, from 1972 through 1989. I organized the 1980 Poets and Music Festival honoring the poet Josephine Miles and Blues musician John Lee Hooker. I worked at a variety of jobs, including jobs with the San Francisco Art Commission and the U.S. Department of Education, Civil Rights Divsion. BOS press will soon release a 250 page book of my selected poems. You can find detailed information on me at my web site www.adwinans.mysite.com My only advise to poets and writers is "Walk the Walk" and not just "talk the talk."
   6 months ago
A.D. Winans is one of my favorite poets. Another good one, Al!
   27 months ago
Excellent, A.D.
   28 months ago
I'm a new member of the Red Fez community. This is the first poem I've read and I like it a lot. I like your sensibility, your style, your history, and would like to read more of your work.
   2 years ago
The prisoner has swallowed the key. Great poem!
   2 years ago
A hole-puncher for the caged soul, for we're all serving time in the prison of our choice.

Dr. Mel Waldman
   2 years ago
great eclectic images in this wonderfully rambling Winans morality tale.
   2 years ago - in response to J. Claudius Cloyd
Also a great line.
   2 years ago - in response to Leopold McGinnis
Au contraire mon frère:
"The message of America can’t be found
on Mount Rushmore
it’s written in blood at the
Texas Book Depository"
   3 years ago
"Sometimes I think
I’m a retarded space alien
put here by a superior race"

Haha. I can relate to that.

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