A.D. Winans: the poetry game


When I was publishing

Second Coming

I would get telephone  calls

From poets late into the  night


Some of the callers

Had high pitched voices

Some so shrill I could barely make  out

A word they said

Some wanted me to publish  them

Some were angry because

I hadn’t published them


Some were willing to  barter

Promising me a reading alongside

A prominent  poet

At a local or  international

Poetry reading

Some female poets were willing
To share my  bed

For a nigh or two

All for publishing a single poem


These poets all had

One thing in common

They didn’t place much  value

On themselves


They complained

The grants were rigged

They blamed the establishment

They blamed other  poets

They blamed the fates

Not one of them blamed  themselves


Most of them never  worked

A blue-collar job

Seeing poetry as a

Holy  thing

Too Holy to get dirt  under

Their fingernails


If these poets

Had spent half as much  time

Writing as they spent  complaining

They might have  published

A solid poem or two


I never published these  poets

And with the passing of  time

I’d see their names in  print

In this magazine or that  magazine

And not long afterwards

I’d see the name of the  editors

Appear in a magazine or  anthology

Edited by one of these very same  poet 


Many long years have passed  since

My publishing days

But I notice the game has not  changed

Only he names of the  players



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