At the I and Thou Coffeehouse, Haight Street, 1967




the fourth pot of same-leaf tea
sustains us, dilute to green
then yellow, then but
a Taoist ghost of a beverage

we linger over poems,
over long talks of world-end
napalm politics
inconceivable here
where barefoot runaways
make love to passing strangers


there is food—
we make our morsels last
(Laura forgives our raw-bone budgets)--
insidious caterpillars
pose as donuts—


eye-food is on the walls,
dubious art muraled
by blurred visionaries,
and Donovan sings.


Poet Goodman is there with freshly
laundered hair
waiting for love, or a good review,
and poet David somewhere
between last night’s acid
and tomorrow's poem.

morning people for the
quarter-hour cup
each to his sole solace/
smiling
Isabell with half New England
in her shawl
comes in without opening the door—
she has studied with Jung
and now rarified to archetype
she is incorporeal —
someone asks Jonathan North what sign are you?

Stop
, he says. Go. Keep off the grass.
Donovan and the gypsy boy are
trying for the sun
and back in the corner
exacto knife flourishes
as Wes Wilson cuts screens
for a Fillmore concert

the psychedelic letters
twisting and bleeding,
arcing to leaf-curve
smoke billow, Beardsley twist

Outside in unrelenting sun
the citizens elect a mayor
whose vision of a city,
beadless and beardless,
he means to deliver.
The police glance in
but do not enter:

their eyes seem to count us,
weigh the threat
of beads and incense.
They see how many of us
have books and know how to use them.
Our days are numbered.

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