Drowning Like Li Po in a River Of Red Wine: A D Winans Selected Poetry

This is a career spanning book of poetry from A.D. Winans, 398 pages. This book covers the period from 1970 - 2010 and contains a selection of poems from all of his 51 books over a period of 40 years. Paperback edition, limited to 100 copies in wraps. Perfect bound. $20.00. Contact the publisher Bottle of Smoke Press HERE.

Below are a few excerpts:

from North Beach Poems (1977)


Paddy O’Sullivan
home again wearing
the scars of the past
like an engraved bracelet
passed on from one lover to another
walking the streets of north beach
in search of old visions now only
memories in the nightmare mirror
of madness—swapping tales
with obscene priests hung over in
the drunkenness of eternal failure.

Paddy O’Sullivan of Kerouac tales
and Cassady visions
Paddy O’Sullivan walking
Washington Square
the bulldozer death lurking everywhere.

Paddy O’Sullivan does your typewriter
still talk to you in
the lonely hours of the night?

Paddy O’Sullivan alone in
San Francisco
city of suicides past and present
waiting for that lady poet
who will forgive you in the morning
for forgetting her name in
the hour of dawn when our needs are soothed
with the power of the written word
that stirs moves inside us
like a runaway express train stalled
on the freeway
like the haunting breath
of a hound dog closing in for
the kill.

Paddy O’Sullivan where
have all the poets gone walking
straightjackets trapped by time
the sun is not as you see it now
everything changes and yet remains the same
the streets are no more or less intense
the lines on your face are the lines
on my face as we move back into
the body into the inner flesh measured by
the amnesia of yesterday.

this town coughs up its dead most rudely
the raw nerves of time returning to haunt me
oblivious to the thirst lying still at
the edge of the river.

the blueprint of our life etched in
the dark shadows of
the soul.

from It Serves You Right To Suffer (1997)


The Beach is dead
The blood thin red
Dino the bartender lives
In a graveyard
Chief undertaker
Dispensing pain
Like low grade cocaine

There was a time when
I might have invited him outside
Only the tough guy image
Long ago died

The Beach is dead
The poets have left
Dino the bartender
Walks with spade and shovel
Having found his niche in life

The Beach is dead
The ghosts cry in despair
Mad cowboys rope my visions
Hog tie my poems

The curse of Kerouac serenades
The demons of sleep
The Beach is dead
from Sleeping With Demons (2003)


sitting here alone with
a perpetual hard-on
4 in the morning
insomnia tearing at my guts
can’t sleep, can’t write
pussy on my mind
and people keep writing
and telling me I’m a legend
so why am I sitting here alone
staring into the dark
like a sniper fingering
a hair trigger
restless, unheroic
waiting on words that
won’t come

Photo of A.D. Winans by Alexsey Dayen 2010


It took me decades after his death
Before I could write a poem about him
It was as if a small part of him
Had entered my heart
And remained behind the barbed-
Wire fence he so carefully constructed
Over those long years
Stayed there all that time
Building an invisible umbilical cord
Reaching out for un unseen love connection
Sending signals carried on the sealed lips
Of blackbirds circling invisible graveyards
Finding in death
What we had never known in life
Those ghostly white hands scratching upward
From the grave
Desperately trying to cup the tiny flame
Flickering inside the valve of my heart