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.

Whitman was the Heavyweight
Champion of poetry
Stood tall and fearless among
The enemy
Which is never really man
But the poison in his soul
Pride envy lust for power
How can those inflicted
Write from the heart?

One column of media praise
Is of less value
Than a single tear drop on a poem
From a waitress in a greasy
Road stop diner

The dancing with word poets
Dance a solo dance
In a bar room with no jukebox
The true poet’s topic is people
Not the poet.

a.d. winans
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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

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