Matthew Lippman
Where are all the Puerto Ricans

I rode my bicycle through Bellingham

and all the poets were fascists

and my hair was pink

and I thought, this is not New York,

there are no Puerto Ricans.

  

I screamed,

Where are all the Puerto Ricans? 

  

It was a sccene out of Fellini

but there was an absence of Italian women

  

so I hit the town square

while the rain kept on in sheets

circled it and sang

and everyone was white;

  

Ah christ, I screamed,

Where are they? 

  

Then pedaled my green Schwinn

through hailstorms

and the foothills of Mt. Baker,

sped up and down the coast,

fought off grenade wielding wild salmon

in search of Pedro,

  

a kid I knew once

who could graffiti an elevator door in thirty seconds

  

then slip outside till midnight

while his hairless chest burned fire-house red

like some ancient Aztecan God

  

Oh, God, I thought

where are you

  

my brown-skinned compadre

and the flipped fingered hand slap we invented

in a schoolyard daze,

two kids in the Columbus Avenue filth?

  

Where are you now, Pedro Gonzalez?

Stand up, I can’t find you.

 
Found In Volume 36, No. 04
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Matthew Lippman
About the Author

Matthew Lippman is the author of Salami JewMonkey Bars, and The New Year of Yellow, which won the Kathryn A. Morton Poetry Prize.