Series Editor - Jim Bennett

Introduction by Jim Bennett

Hello.  Welcome to the next in the series of CITN featured poets.  We will be looking at the work of a different poet in each edition and I hope it will help our readers to discover some new and exciting writing.  This series is open to all to submit and I am now keen to read new work for this series.


You can join the CITN mailing list at - http://www.poetrykit.org/pkl/index.htm and following the links for Caught in the Net.



she gets up
heads for the door
hears the night manager whisper whore
suspended in silence floating
face down in the bowels of the
American dream.


                 from;  Illegal  by A. D. Winans







2 AM in the Tenderloin









A. D. Winansí poetry has appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies, including City Lights Journal, Poetry Australia, the New York Quarterly, the Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, and the Beatitude 50th Anniversary Anthology. He is the author of numerous books and chapbooks of poetry and prose. In 2002 a song poem of his was performed at New Yorkís Alice Tully Hall. In 2006 he was awarded a PEN National Josephine Miles award for excellence in literature. In 2007 Presa Press published a book of his selected poems.  In 2009 he was given a PEN Oakland Lifetime Achievement Award.








There are poets who like to dance with words

But dancing for an audience

Isnít like moving to the music on your own

Stirring the notes of the soul

There are poets who organize festivals

and such, poets who live for applause

poets who divide through elitism

poets who attack the system but live off it

Fame kills

Billie Holidayís ghost attests to 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

Be like Li Po and sail your poems

On streams and puddles written on leaves

Be like the anonymous poets of Poland

During the height of martial law

Dropping their poems into the public square

For the people to read

Giving them hope courage and peace

Risk your life  your literary life

Especially for the people who need something

To hold on too in desperate times

Telling the people how cruel

There tormentors are wonít inspire them

To go on living and to overcome oppression

Loving them  becoming one with them

Standing fearless in their midst

This is the mark of the true poet

The poetry "Biz" boys are an example

Of what poetry is not

Walt Whitman was an example

Of what Poetry is

Standing tall and fearless against the enemy

Which is never really man but the

Poison in his soul, pride envy and lust

How can those afflicted with the disease of egomania

Jealousy and desire for fame and fortune

Write about and from the heart?

Gone is the fire of Keats Shelley

Whitman and Baudelaire

One column of media praise is of less value

Than a single teardrop on a poem

From a waitress in a greasy spoon diner

These people know nothing of genius

How can cockroaches evaluate eagles?

The true poetís topic is people

Not the poet




she sits alone in her small hotel room
six months pregnant
forced to give head for soup and bread
no heat, one wash clothe, one towel
one urine-stained washbasin
an immigrant without a visa
an illegal caught in a legal trap

she gets up
heads for the door
hears the night manager whisper whore
suspended in silence floating
face down in the bowels of the
American dream.

2 AM in the Tenderloin

two in the morning
bars closing down
200 block of Ellis and Eddy
In the heart of the Tenderloin
I stagger past two drag queens
as slowed down cars cruise by
sad-eyed drivers ogling
these would-be women
with cocks taped back
to hide their secret
as bar patrons head for
all night Chinese cafeís
or Asian masseuse parlors
to make love to dragon ladies
with cash-register eyes
one old man standing alone
on the corner
next to an abandoned building
eyes riveted to the pavement
looking like a pallbearer
back from a funeral


The girls of the Tenderloin
Wear tank tops and sport
Tight skirts with white shoes
Showing off dark skin
Or black shoes contrasting
Their white skin
The girls of the Tenderloin
Stand out like a dragon
In a Chinese New Year parade
Moving their hips like the
Hula-hoops of yesteryear
Talking heavy thick slang
Their ďhey baby
You want a dateĒ
Cutting through the air
Like a machete
Looking for a snake
In knee-high grass
The girls of the Tenderloin
Walk/talk/strut their stuff
Not afraid of the law manís bluff
The girls of the Tenderloin
Stop traffic
With their sultry looks
Their dark brown eyes
Thirsty as a Mexican matador
Looking for a kill


He sleeps in doorways
Or on park benches
Doesnít want to go
To a shelter
Not even when prodded
With the heaviness
Of the Beat Copís nightstick

Under threat of jail
He curls up
In a fetal position
And closes his eyes
Trying to shut out memories
Of Vietnam
Nightmares that whirl inside
His head like helicopter blades

The alcohol, the drugs
The failed years gather
Like locusts inside
The Cranial guitar of his mind
Playing all night rhapsodies
Inside his head

Warrior, troubadour
Of Pharaoh origins
Pale spokesman of lost tribes
Masked as a homeless transient
Poet, prophet
Of beauty and all
Its imperfections
Ravished by the streets
Kissed by angels
Left tired, withered
Like an unattended
Kansas grain field


Old guitar slung around
His back
Pure country singing
The blues in all of us
With eyes that cry out
To be heard
Nearing 66, hard as the highway
Named before him
Leaving a message
On Annieís message machine
Reading a poem about
A bird that died in his hands
Remembering the scattering
Of his daughterís ashes
Caught in the pit of sorrow
This man of music
The one time old friend
Who works the nerve ends
Like a skilled surgeon
Still fighting still scrapping
Like the rest of us
For whatever time
Is left


you see them coming
but never going
working a l4-l6 hour shift
six seven days a week

I imagine the sewing machines humming
ďa stitch in time saves nine.Ē

you see them coming
but never going.
I imagine the boss madamís eyes
an executioner in disguise
watching, waiting
as the universe grinds them
into oblivion



You wore your life like
A life preserver
Remembering forever the
Political chaos, Vietnam
King and the Kennedy brothers
Tongue on fire
Mind carrying the music
Of Charlie Parker and Miles Davis

You dodged the lawmanís bullet
Riding high the poetic barb
To the highest heights

You walked the streets of North Beach
With Edison electric charged eyes
Victim of shock treatments
And the white manís lies
With matted hair and soiled jeans
That failed to disguise
Your nightmare dreams

You fired away with satellite precision
And the Godís feared
Your magic words
Your eyes boring through
The living dead

Drugged by speed and meth
Reciting Blake and McBeth
Walking unmasked for all to see
Lady Death the ultimate clown
Following you about town
Oblivious to the gothic nightmares
You wore like an anchor around
Your neck

You moved through
The streets of North Beach
The original be-bop man
Poet in residence
Caretaker of the clan
The haunting breath of death
Snapping at your heels
Like a bloodhound closing in
For the kill
And when the magic
Of North Beach left
You did too
Moving to the Bayview
Black ghetto
Away from the social zoo
A living Bangladesh come true

Your words to the end
Hard as a pair of new boots
Echoing across the universe
like King Tutís curse

And when death came
To claim you
The angry ghosts of the
Co-existence Bagel Shop
Beat hard in the paper hearts
Of every city cop
The shadow of your being
Dancing from Chinatown
Alleys to downtown
High rises
Billie Holiday forever singing
In your heart


there having a rumble
at Ellis and Eddy street
and the police are slow to respond
you can see the rage
in the Chicanoís 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
donít stop to look back
head for crack house
to bide their time
like a stoned Jesus
hung out to dry
on your motherís clothes line


He keeps a photograph
Tucked away inside
His meager belongings
Three soldiers smiling
Smoking cigarettes
A Viet Cong in black pajamas

Hanging upside down from a pole
Gutted like a fish
Flesh nailed to wood Jesus fashion
Needs no caption

Guilt shadows him in doorways
And under freeways
He now makes his home
Incoming artillery tears at his nerves
Pieces of flesh stuck to bamboo
Like a piece of meat thrust
Into a tigerís cage
Vietnamese peasants suspected Cong
Haunt his dreams
Like a faceless Santa Clause
Leaving behind
A bag of body parts


the young Panamanian girl
sitting alongside her sister
in slip and bare feet
reading a comic book
and chewing on bubble gum
at a brothel called
The Teenage Club
waiting for the first GIís to arrive

six girls lined-up
like bowling pins
rooted to their chairs
with zombie like stares
doing a womanís thing inside
a childís body



4 - Afterword

Email Poetry Kit - info@poetrykit.org    - if you would like to tell us what you think.  We are looking for other poets to feature in this series, and are open to submissions.  Please send one poem and a short bio to - info@poetrykit.org

Thank you for taking the time to read Caught in the Net.  Our other magazine s are Transparent Words ands Poetry Kit Magazine, which are webzines on the Poetry Kit site and this can be found at -