A Life Of Miguel Pinero
Nu-Yorican poet, 1944 - 1988

by Ian Mullins

Hey Miguel
I’ve out-lived you
here in the ashes
where fires don’t burn so well

but I heard you did cell-time
and the needle
was the only statue of liberty
you ever wanted to kiss,
you roamed the streets
of the lower east side
like a wild dog on heat
pissing on subway steps,
scratching on paper like you were
tattooing your own hands

getting high was your vice
getting high was your life
and you lived it through
the cells and the court-houses
the bars and bodegas,
all those pretty boys and girls
you snapped like pencils

drank wine like breathing fresh air
and snorted coke like sayin’ a prayer

while I’m down here in the ashes
walking storm-drained streets
with a candle cupped in my hands;

raise your glasses, please,
to the lives of Miguel Pinero.

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