the museum of americana

a literary review

When Napa and San Francisco Were Far Apart (Summer, 1967)—Poetry by Tim Hunt

Here, San Francisco is still Frisco, not The City,

as if maybe ten miles south of town there’s a membrane

and through it is like the looking glass Alice found

or that beam-me-up trick in Star Trek

and then you’re in something called Summer of Love:

sugar cubes and joints that aren’t elbows or diners

or knees and it’s always “Sweet Martha Lorraine” and

“The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)”

whether it’s day or night, and inside and outside

are all in your head or maybe you in their head.

 

But here, where you live, it’s still 1958 and the guys

wear their jeans low on their hips—crew cuts

and duck tails, and the girls are all good girls,

or pretend to be, and the guys with the duck tails

pretend they’re good too as they pull their cars off

the county road to where the no-tell oaks lean

toward the creek, and they swear they’ll pull

out.  And later make it right or join the Army

which, too, makes it all right. 

 

                                              So why is Country

Joe and the Fish playing the Napa Fairgrounds

as if the 4-H Hall were the Fillmore as if “Section

43” were “Fun, Fun, Fun” or “Pipeline” or “Gloria”

and looking like girlie girls wearing mama’s beads

but kinda like they wanted to be Tonto instead

of the Lone Ranger as if they do not understand

that here it’s still Rebel Without a Cause and so,

of course, they get beat up in the bathroom between

sets because they are through the looking glass and here

where I live it is not yet 1967 and here you

are what we hate.

 
~~~
Tim Hunt is the author of four collections, most recently Ticket Stubs & Liner Notes, winner of the 2018 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award. Originally from the hill country of northern California, he was educated at Cornell University, where he learned that “Ithaca” is not pronounced “Eye-thack-uh.” His final teaching post was Illinois State University, where he was University Professor of English. He and his wife Susan live in Normal, Illinois. You can find him online at https://www.tahunt.com/poetry/.