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/.