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Alan Winston King

Years: 2007, 2009


“A fixture on the D.C. MD VA scene since 1999, Alan has at one time blessed every Open Mic spot throughout the area. Mangoes, he was there; Brookland Cup Of Dreams, he was there. The “first” Java Head Cafe in College Park, he was there. The first Mocha Hut on 14th St, he was there. Yogi’s Records, he was there; Harambe’s in Adams Morgan, he was there. Teaism, he was there; and Bar Nun, he was there. This cat is a walking history book of D.C. poetry. Not only that, he’s a dynamic performer and prolific writer” — Derrick Weston Brown, poet-in-resident at the 14th and V streets Busboys and Poets.


Alan’s poems have appeared in Audience, Alehouse, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Boxcar Review, and MiPoesias, among others. When the Cave Canem fellow and Vona Alum is not sending out poems to numerous journals, he’s chasing the muse through Washington, D.C. — people watching with his boys and laughing at the crazy things strangers say to get close to one another.




Overhearing two guys in line

at Cluck U Chicken, daring each other

to order buffalo wings with 9-1-1 sauce

they’ll have to sign a waiver form for,

I can’t help but think how little we’ve seemed


to evolve from what once hunted with

throwing spears and settled their disputes


with a test of strength, or how testosterone

sometimes gangs up with other male hormones

and forms a militia to overthrow

the dictator, Common Sense. If this were

the 3rd Century, maybe the guys' antics


would entertain a crowd in the Roman Republic,

both of them swinging their spiked battle flails

and swords at each other, or at something


much higher up on the food chain.

When I watch the news of young boys killing

one another on the streets, it’s hard not to see

manhood as a Coliseum, where the condemned

and marginalized come to risk it all for a kind


of redemption; hard not to feel someone’s

laughing, jeering, and calling for blood.