Drawing by Judith Wolfe

A. D. Winans /

Three Poems


At Folsom Prison
The guards joke and laugh
As they have me empty
My pockets inside out
Taking everything
Even a pack of unopened
Perhaps believing
They may be coated with

Leaving me with only
My notebook
And a handful of poems
As I'm escorted across
The courtyard
Seeing the guard in
The watch tower eyeing
The prisoners in
The yard below
His hi-powered rifle
At the ready

The warden distrustful
Maybe fearful
Stations a guard inside
The small room where
The poetry workshop
Is being held

The sharing of words
Barely begins
When I look outside
The barred window
To watch a bird light
On top of
The prison wall
Looking East then West
Before spreading its wings
And flying north

Free as free
Was meant to be
As I turn my attention

Back to the guard

Stationed in the back

Of the room
Hiding behind
Dark shades
Looking more
The outlaw then
The law


Once addiction sets in
There's no stopping it
You become a serial killer
Attacking the keyboard at will
Your mind working in shifts
Strange creatures live inside
Your head
They show no mercy
Give no ground
Forcing your fingers
To do their bidding
Writing down their thoughts
In your loose leaf notebook

The city is your slaughterhouse
Like a wife it accommodates
Your moods
Doesn't seem to mind
Your giving her a bad name
You walk her streets
A hungry vampire
Lapping up your own blood
On nights when word transfusions
Are not enough


I wake up to the sound
of Dinosaur footsteps
It is my father come back
He is in the company
Of a Prussian general
Who is wanted by the FBI
For selling myths to the wise men
At the original sight of the manger

Jesus refuses to intervene
While Sitting Bull sits at the feet
of God eating raw mushrooms
The Ghost of Custer swings from
A lemon tree

Everywhere I go
I find myself followed by ex-jurors
from the O. J. Simpson trial
One is a locksmith
Who wants to pick my mind

I am surrounded by an army
Off buzzards circling overhead
False prophets toss tarot cards
At my feet
God carries Jesus piggy back
To the top of the Empire
State building
Laying a foundation for
The future
As seven dwarfs rape snow white
On the David Letterman show

My eyes crawl back into Their sockets
Shock waves ripple across
The Atlantic
The Pope appears
On national t.v.
Mumbling something about
Being on Candid Camera