A.D. Winans: Captain Jack

CAPTAIN JACK
 
I know this poet who dances with words
who does the two-step political hustle
that lacks any real muscle
 
a Waltzing Matilda poet
who glides along the dance floor
like a skilled political whore
 
a poet weaned on the game of favors
who traded in his vision
for a poetry politicians hat
but dancing for an audience
isn’t like feeling the rhythm
that rubs up against the soul
 
Buffy Saint-Marie
Phil Ochs, Woody Guthrie,
Pete Seeger, Billy Bragg
were living proof of this
 
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
an instrument of a poem
far greater than themselves
*
bar room revolution talk
is little more than
an exercise in futility
take it to the streets
be like Walt Whitman
walk blood stained battlefields
real and imagined
tend to the spiritual wounds
of your comrades
quit trading favors
in twenty-eight
Baskin and Robbin flavors
 
be like the people of Egypt
who risked life and limb
for their beliefs
be like the anonymous poets of Poland
who during the height
of government tyranny
tossed poems into the public square
for the people to read
giving them hope in desperate times
 
sitting at Spec’s bar in North Beach
downing shots of vodka
and shouting,” I hate America,
is cheap political theater
 
be like your sisters and brothers
in the workers struggle in Wisconsin
marching for worker rights
love them become one with them
shout your poems from town squares
and from rooftops in solidarity
with them.
 
poet laureate’s come and go
inmates die on death row
words can not be danced with
they need to b lived
 
Whitman was the Heavyweight
champion of poetry
stood tall and fearless
among the enemy
which is never really man
but the poison in his soul
 
pride envy ego
lust for power
how can those inflicted
with this disease
write from the soul
one column of media praise
is of less value
than a single tear-drop on a poem
from a waitress in a greasy
road stop diner
 
a poet who dances with words
dances a solo dance
in a barroom with no jukebox
 
the true poet’s topic
is the people
not the poet.
*

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