‘On the Street Named Pedro Pietri’ by Bob Holman

On the most amazing day you were born and you were died
We was waiting for you everywhere and you surprised us
By showing up everywhere else
Where once were bottles now only bottlecaps hang in mid-joint
Waiting for the air to turn into red wine and cheeseburgers
And the bottlecaps without bottles will be redeemed
At the Church of Our Lady of Tomatoes for five bucks apiece
Now that you have your own street named after you
Maybe they will get you a car
But you know you need the OK
Of the Latin Insomniacs Motorcycle Gang Without Motorcycles
To set up toll booths at both ends of the block
So that once you pay to get in
You can also pay to get out
Unless the toll booth keeper is at the other end
Of the one way street that never ends
And you get to stay forever
In the bodega that doesn’t sell anything
Because it is made out of loose joints and condoms
And the only way you can get in is to smoke your way in
And screw your way out
And when you drive your black helicopter over the street that has your name
And see the great balls of fire that are being lit up in your name
And the outrageous acrobatic screwing that is going on in your name
You may very well want to change your name
But you can still pick up that notebook that you left in the telephone booth
that time
And make your escape into the day where it is always night
And laugh at the poets who try to make sense
Of the fact that a street has your name on it
But you will never walk on it
Because you are too busy writing a new subway
That runs directly under the street that has your name
Where you are on an Uptown train going Downtown
And you name it “Speedo”

 

Published in The Unspoken, Bowery Books/YBK, 2019