The Pigeon Whisperer

From the comments thread of the previous post, Christopher F. Smith‘s fine tale of a 16th and Mission original.


5 thoughts on “The Pigeon Whisperer”

  1. That guy’s name is John. He’s been a regular on 16th & Val since at least the mid-80s, when Picaro was a cafe not a tapas bar. He used to write up and sell poetry on folded up xeroxed 8-1/2×11 sheets.

  2. These disgusting fuckers spend all day hanging out at BART, eating garbage and shitting on the street. Pigeons are the homeless of the animal kingdom.

  3. This man’s pen name is Swan. I’m happy to see that he’s still alive and kicking! I first encountered him in 1995 when I moved to the Bay Area from NYC. He was always hanging around Muddy Waters on Valencia near 16th and Adobe books.

    He’d hand out these photocopies with hand-written rants about the police (and, occasionally lesbians, for some reason) but also with poetry that seemed to pay special homage to rats, spiders, pigeons and…cars. And they came with wonderful drawings. There was never blank space on the page, but sometimes, amid the stuff that didn’t make sense, was an observation or turn of phrase that sparkled like a star.

    He’s a kind soul, and when I lived in SF, it made me sad stumbling back from a bar to see Swan sleeping on the street. But here he is, still, clipping pigeons’ nails! God bless Swan…

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