Half Drunk Muse Poetry


Let’s Get Real by A. D. Winans

There is this small press magazine
A real fine magazine with
A real fine editor
Except for a fixation for living legends
In a recent issue of the magazine
The chosen legend was described
As wanting nothing more than
Happiness, passion, justice
Sex and the means to take care
Of his family
It made me ask myself
Isn’t this what we all want?
Well maybe not all of us
I mean I know some friends of mine
Who would settle for the sex and liquor
And as for justice
Well we all know about O.J.
And Lord Ashcroft
This legend poet was described
As writing incessantly and consistently
And getting his work out to read
Which may or may not be a virtue
Given the current state of Small
Press literature

The only legend I came across
Who fits this description
Was Charles Bukowski himself
Though Lyn Lifshin certainly gets
Her work out to be read
The more I read the more puzzled
I became
I mean was this poet a real legend?
Did he rob banks like Jessie James
Do his exploits rival those
Of Bonnie and Clyde?
Perhaps he was one of the original
C and W outlaw singers from
I kept asking myself over and over
What makes a legend
I mean there aren’t many outlaw
Poets left out there today
And if they carry guns
They shoot blanks
And none have a price on their head
The law having laid them to rest
Back in the sixties and seventies

Don’t get me wrong
I’m not knocking this legend’s work
I’ve read his poems here and there
And they are decent enough
And deserving of publication
It’s the title they have hung around
His neck that bothers me
Much like the noose around a horse
Thief in the days when legends were born

I mean let’s be honest
How many young legends
do you know?
Janis Joplin, Hank Williams,
Jimmy Hendrix, Buddy Holly,
But they were musicians
And had to die for that title

The only real legend I ever met
Was the black poet, Bob Kaufman
And outside of North Beach
And France
How many people have read his work?
Having once edited a literary magazine
For seventeen years
I have watched the new poets replace
The old and rightfully so
And that’s the way it should be
But I hung around with a lot
Of damn fine poets
Some of them still living
But I can’t recall any of us
Seeing ourselves as legends
Though maybe a bartender
Or woman or two might have
Seen us in that light
But not for anything we wrote

In this tribute to the living legend
We are told he is basically honest
Though none of us are 100% honest
Not even with ourselves
Not me, not you, not the editor
Of one of the finest literary
Magazines around

Honesty is a word too often abused
Integrity is a better word
For if you still have integrity
When you’re lying there on your death bed
If you can look death straight in the eye
And spit in her face and say:
And you know in your heart
That in your next life time
You won’t be called on to work off
A hundred years of bad karma
Then maybe, just maybe
You’ll have earned the right
To be called a legend

View bio for A. D. Winans Published in Winter 2005

About HDM

Half Drunk Muse was one of the first poetry ezines. It was founded in 1999 and ceased publication in 2006.

Questions/comments? Email samiller@halfdrunkmuse.com.