About A.D. Winans

A. D. Winans is a native San Francisco poet, writer and photographer. He was friends with Jack Micheline, Bob Kaufman, Charles Bukowski and other poets and writers of the 50's and 60's. The author of over 50 books and chapbooks of prose and poetry, his work has appeared internationally and been translated into nine languages. He is the winner of a 2006 PEN National Josephine Miles award for literary excellence. In 2009 PEN Oakland presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award. One of his poems was set to music and performed at Tully Hall, NYC. His book, Drowning Like Li Po in a River of Red Wine: Selected Poems:1970-2010 is available from BOS Press. He is available for readings. Visit A.D. on the web: A.D. Winans | A.D. Winans Website | A.D. Winans Fan Site



I was born with poetry I cried for poetry I bled from poetry seven months out of the womb born at home, eager for the poem

in the morning the poems rise with the fog at night they nest in my eyes

poetry is my lover she undresses my mind like a burlesque dancer

Poems nailed to the walls of my heart. ...{read more}

I Am San Francisco

Planet San Francisco / photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyeonthesky/257477210/">supernova3688 / CC BY

Photo credit: Nouhailler / CC BY-SA / digitally altered by Empty Mirror


I have witnessed the waterfront decay the ships disappear the piers given over to tourists and sunbathing sea lions

Gone the Haight Theater in the old Haight Ashbury where as a kid I paid a dime to see two movies a serial and a newsreel

Gone the old Embassy Theater on Market Street where they spun the Wheel of Fortune playing Ten-O-Win with a busty female usherette shouting “In the Balcony, 1-2-3-4 Silver Dollars” her breasts bouncing in unison with each coin that hit the tray

the old Fox and Paramount Theaters now ghostly memories the old Market Street porno house boarded down the Crystal Palace market Mc Farland’s Fudge Shop and Merrill’s Drug Store gone

Gone the old Hoffbrau house on Market Street Breen’s on Third Street with the world’s best Martini

Gone I. ...{read more}


photo copyright mwandaw / http://www.sxc.hu/profile/mwandaw

Like a crow caws into the night, like an owl with its questioning eyes, like a Shaman lights the night with magic words, like a hawk circles the sky, like a farmer plants seeds, like a magician skilled in illusion, you hurled the boulders of darkness into the face of death played the game out on your own terms forced death to her knees before surrendering on your own terms. ...{read more}


image copyright Michael Fleshman http://www.flickr.com/photos/fleshmanpix/6864004618/ Title: Trayvon Martin Occupy March 21

Photo credit: Michael Fleshman / CC BY-SA

who would have thought skittles and ice tea was a death sentence not even Dr. ...{read more}

New Poetry Release! A.D. Winans – In the Dead Hours of Dawn

A.D. Winans - In the Dead Hours of Dawn from Bottle of Smoke PressNew Release from Bottle of Smoke Press:A.D. Winans – In the Dead Hours of Dawn

Poetry, 32 pages. 8 1/2″ x 11 1/4″. ...{read more}

6 Poems by A.D. Winans

Empty Mirror Arts MagazinePOEM FOR RUTH WEISS

she grooves with time day time, night time be bop jazz time dances with timeless time all rhythm no rhyme birds in flight flap their wings copulate with the wind a magician’s illusion where time and words move from celibate to wild orgy feed off the flesh of the other pause in roller coaster freeze stop motion she sings her song another day another night bitch slaps father time kaufman, son of jazz in her heart micheline in her blood jazz in the Fillmore| jazz on the Harlem rooftops full moon rising with poems that dig into my bones lubricates the gears of my mind lost in a haze of motionless motion


sitting here at Martha’s Coffee Shop my eyes lock in on a petite young woman with a body only the young possess my mind on fire with lost Adonis visions my body bartering for time

she seemingly unaware of my eyes undressing her me an old man with groaning limbs a once proud hawk turned into a buzzard groveling for road kill   she with near perfection picks up her cell phone speaks in an angel’s voice a smile on her lips my imagination undressing her tasting the rose bush between her legs

the warmth of flesh the warmth of youth surrenders to this old man who becomes young in mind with the flick of an eyelid the rhythm in my blood strong as a young hawk tasting the wind on his wings


When I was young I drove to Salinas And ran through the bean fields Pretending I was James Dean in East of Eden And stopped off in Monterey walking Cannery Row Imagining 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 A piece of God’s country But the rents were high and the job pay low So in 1964 I took my first full time job in Modesto Driving on weekends to Stockton’s public square park To drink with the winos

In Crow’s Landing I drank with unemployed Mexicans At run-down cantinas 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 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 are today Waiting on god or pneumonia to walk them To the grave


there having a rumble at Ellis and Eddy street and the police are slow to respond you can see the rage in the Chicano’s eyes smell the fear in Whitey

the Blacks are shucking and jiving and rolling dice while placing bets on winner and loser alike the street whores move down a block or two to ply their trade one white, one Asian one spade the cops arrive at last dispense the players like bit actors auditioning for a role in the big show

small town punks gather themselves run for cover don’t stop to look back head for crack house to bide their time like a stoned Jesus hung out to dry on your mother’s clothesline


Old songs with half-forgotten lyrics play inside my head older still movies play on the bark of my skin Oklahoma, South Pacific, West Side Story singing on the tip of my tongue humming my way back to yesterday left alone with ghostly echoes that serenade the dead

I can almost feel the ignited passion lost lovers draped on my bed tasting the melody riding up and down my spine Memories of my parents old Victrola vinyl records spinning on a balanced groove a love affair so fragile it was like trying to thread a needle in the teeth of a storm Fading fading fading like an old flame sipping on a cup of coffee at my favorite cafe a smile on her face fingers snapping foot tapping to the music that made us as one Evaporating in the face of dawn like clouds taking foreign shapes like the smoke rings my father blew my way as a child Frank Sinatra crooning in the background the way of music sex love and death playing to an audience of one


Vietnam 1972 South Vietnamese airplane swoops low drops canisters of death like pigeon droppings from the sky lethal tails of yellow and purple smoke bombs light up village like a Christmas tree

a nine-year-old girl caught in a ball of fire her clothes burned from her body from intense inferno heat naked, screaming, “too hot too hot.” American troops behind her as she flees from her village tears running down her face blobs of sticky napalm melted through her clothes and layers of blistered skin like intense lava from a volcano

taken to a field hospital 30% of her body scorched raw as TV pundits played their spin this war that we could never win those eyes those innocent eyes forever burned inside my head ...{read more}


Photo credit: pedrosimoes7 / Foter.com / CC BY

There are poets who like To dance with words Dance for favors and illusionary Poetry careers But dancing for an audience Isn’t like feeling the rhythm That rubs up against the soul Odetta, Buffy Saint-Marie Phil Ochs, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger Billy Bragg Were living proof of this

Money pigeonholes 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 Instruments of a poem 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

Be like the people of Egypt Risking 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

Be like your sisters and brothers In the peoples struggle in Wisconsin Fighting for worker rights Love them become one with them

Shout your poems from rooftops In solidarity with them. ...{read more}

Looking Back


When I was 18 I was on a troop train heading for basic training when we stopped to take on water or whatever it is trains stop for and after relieving myself I came out of the men’s room when an elderly black man asked me where the men’s room was and when I pointed in the direction of where I had just come from he said, “No, Sir. ...{read more}

A. D. Winans: 11 Photographs

House Cat, Abandoned Planet Bookstore, San Francisco, 2000 by A.D. Winans

Old Italian at bus stop outside City Lights Bookstore. 2002

Poet Kell Robertson outside Vesuvio Bar, North Beach, SF. 2002

Poet Linda Lerner, Beyond Baroque, Venice Beach, California, 2000

House Cat, Abandoned Planet Bookstore, San Francisco, 2000

Poet Michael McClure, New College, San Francisco, 2002

Allen Ginsberg and Ted Joans, City Lights Bookstore book signing, 2000

Anti War banner, Women's Building, San Francisco 2004

Hunchback homeless man, Noe Valley, San Francisco, 2002

Old Italian playing Bocce Ball, Aquatic Park, San Francisco, 2002

Pigeon man, outside Adobe Bookstore, SF, 2002

San Francisco, 1977 ...{read more}

A.D. Winans on A.D. Winans


I was born in San Francisco, and have lived here almost my entire life. I was born at home, premature. My mother said the doctor told her I would not live a long life. ...{read more}