John Dean interrupted my regularly scheduled Sesame Street when you were getting turned on to grass i was watching Vietnam on TV when you met Agent Orange and he stuck to you like glue i didn’t know i just heard it was the word

later i got turned on to Jazz ran away from college searched for uncommon knowledge didn’t know i could be Puerto Rican dreaming in New York i never left you never arrived at didn’t know what was Taino never missed My Island didn’t know i could get a visa from El Puerto Rican Embassy didn’t know who was Miguel or Lois or Steve just knew what i knew putting words on pages too i heard it was the place to go a man dressed in black appeared carrying freedom from misery in a briefcase thinking radically under his hat

today they still argue in the capitol of capital about the final arrangements of the funeral for tomorrow when they will sell back what was taken but i know that El Puerto Rican Embassy is at a secret location where you can’t book a vacation you have to bare your soles instead get with the Manifesto seal the deal with grass sit on your ass look at the sky see what was is what will be was

i’ve been reading your book looking at your picture on the cover sitting at a table (so dutifly holding your Selected Poetry) writing on a blank sheet of paper a letter for you to pick up on Mars well honestly it’s a blank screen with a desktop picture of a chunk of cheese well honestly i made that part up about the cheese

you took the stage read from your page we laughed i didn’t know what was your degree in poetry that you were royalty except like Lord Buckley i thought everyone was a Lord or Lady i didn’t know what was slam Bob explained the rules but i must not have been listening maybe that night they were all there Tracie Edwin Willie Paul Reg Suheir i don’t know cuz i didn’t know any of them the crowd booed me off the stage before i got to the end of the page but the man in black who made everyone laugh said to me i dig your originality i nodded and left cuz i had to pay the babysitter you know this story but maybe you forgot

down here in Greenville i have a family i water my vegetables with words and serve my poetry on dinner plates i walked into a coffee shop a little while ago and there was a young man at the register a sticker on his laptop said City Lights i said that’s far away from here he told me it was the name of his church not far away i told him about a famous bookstore he never heard of he told me he was studying to be a religious musician i asked him had he ever heard of Pharaoh and Leon and The Creator Has a Master Plan he stared at a 52 year old lady with wild hair he didn’t know i drank coffee and checked e-mails and there was a message from Mars that your poetry that i searched for and found out that your poetry is hard to find and i was looking for those telephone poems at the time cuz i had heard that you had a book party but i didn’t get there yet the message from Mars said that City Lights Books was publishing your poetry and Lord Buckley who i listened to on an LP when i left home young who inspired me ten years later to tell that Cinderella story at Nuyorican that was not welcome by anyone but Pedro who i didn’t know who you was

messages from Mars don’t come often i don’t know what it means but it means something these were no ordinary co-incidents and there’s more to the stories you have appeared again that’s the way it was too

you were the first only person on line at the table that was holding up my first limited limited edition book off the restaurant floor you asked me to sign it i don’t know what it means but it means something in this same year that City Lights has published your Selected Poetry and Hiparama of the Classics is also the print on demanding of the limited, limited second edition of my first book that you took the first copy the Pedro Pietri Bought My First Book Prize but i have to confess how to utilize i wasn’t wise you sat for a little while at a little table that held your drink steadily and then you disappeared like an angel i didn’t know was an angel i thought you probably drank too much

when we saw each other early in the mornings walking our daughters to the same school hungover maybe you was me out of order was rats in my kitchen compromising positions personal conditions when we smiled and waved from across the street while we held their hands and led them away a little more each day i have to confess that i forget when i try to piece together the order of things which came first what happened next you told me you taught my book in your class and i went to your new years eve party up there in that tower just for people like you who write unforgettable obituary that i couldn’t remember when you wished me happy b’day inside the cover yesterday when i handed it to my oldest son to bring to his poetry class but even though i won the Pedro Pietri Bought My First Book Prize i still got evicted before that boy could talk or walk i left New York that never leaves me after you never arrived i have to confess i don’t remember even where was the poetry reading before leaving that got started after it ended when you opened the pages of a telephone book

you know this story but maybe you forgot i have to pause here to drink some rum in your honor well honestly it’s not rum it’s honey whiskey but tonight it tastes like rum on Mars i have to say that you were surrounded by poets who listened and laughed and cried there were no dry eyes El Reverend sermonized i could never forget

i heard you had a telephone book party i heard Agent Orange told a dirty joke left his tab on your table it was the word

now it’s later than later i’ve gotten to the so True short story at the end which wasn’t the end of your Selected Poetry i laugh and cry and nod my head i’m looking at your face that remains unchanged on your book resting on my table i hear your voice clear as a bell tell it like it is like it was like it’s always here is not New York Dizzy was born in South Carolina but he didn’t give it a song at all times i keep my visa with no expiration from El Puerto Rican Embassy anyway anywhere is everywhere asses of the masses grow large on sugary lies we have the right to work 9 2 5 numbers games with no claims to organ eyes or brains with imaginations no one i know down here knows your name but some of them would wannabe Puerto Ricans too if they only knew

now i have read the very last words at the end of your Selected Poetry written by your true friends who kept their promise to you they say that your 3 thousand poem telephone book was a limited limited photocopied edition

now i am writing a Dear Pedro letter there’s another book party to come it will be just like i’m writing it unless you want to rewrite it there won’t be any politicians just live muse ishans and poets and lovers and rum and grass i don’t think you’ll get this on a computer or in a glossy magazine selling things so i’ll send it to a blank page take it to the stage read it under bright lights just like you in your picture on your book on my table i’ll say your name loud you’ll have a dream about your Big Book party at El Puerto Rican Embassy on Mars it will be so

see you when i get there yours in Poetry Martha