at the 812 on Cannery Row

at the 812 on Cannery Row
the pillows are so large and warm
it’s like sitting on bears to watch a movie
Midnight Cowboy
The French Connection
Fritz the Cat
Play Misty for Me
(shot right around the corner
and filled with people we actually know)
I’m so far, far away from Mississippi and Louisiana
sprawled in this jewel-box theater
dense with hippie camaraderie
and a great gray herd of cannabis bison
nosing through the crowd
blowing gentle smoke
up everybody’s ass
outstanding
our shirts have beading and embroidery
put there by people working with their hands
no machines, no cad, no cam
no hurry
our style is precise and self-conscious
but practical for people who have little
money left for anything after dope
see how easy it is to drop our gentle duds
like practiced strippers, free
dancing naked in the street
between Odyssey Records
and Lee Chong’s store
shouting and exuberant
sad and weeping
mourning the loss of a pair of slippers
a silk kimono
a quarter pint of whiskey
and a cigar
this is our dance in honor of all that was
and all we are now
but not a dance in honor of the future, no
for the future
we’d best put our pants back on
we walk together up toward the Presidio
beyond the shadow of the cannery
until we feel the morning sun
we turn to see the Row
but it is gone

Don Whittington

Cannery Row, 1970s era

Cannery Row now

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