Lone Star Swan

What Does the Closure of Adobe Books Mean for the "Serious Pigeon Situation" at 16th and Albion?

With Adobe Book set to close down at the end of August, everyone has been busy mourning the loss of yet another community book store and event space—a major bummer, indeed.  But I can't help but be even more concerned about Lone Star Swan (real name John Ratliff) and the flock of pigeons that follow him.

The old Clarion Alley mural dedicated to John. (Photo/Pete Veilleux)

Chuck Moody sums up Lone Star Swan's tale:

He told me he used to be a reporter for the Associated Press. He has been a resident of the 16th and Valencia area for at least 20 years, I first met him in 1987. He writes very bizarre, rambling typewritten and xeroxed 'newsletters' which he hands out to everyone, donate what you will. He feeds the pigeons, mice and all creatures. He is a gentle soul but is not always there in the present moment. He ties magnets into the headband that he always wears. The kind folks at Adobe Bookshop on 16th and Valencia allow him to come in and use the typewriter, and have known him since they opened their store in about 1987.

With Adobe Books closing, presumably the new tenants won't be quite so friendly towards a homeless, schizophrenic poet hanging outside the shop and feeding hundreds of pigeons—never mind offering up a place to come in and write.  So what will become of John and his flock?  We're not sure, but we imagine one of the Mission's staple characters won't be calling that block home for much longer.

[Photo by The Bold Italic]