Instead of left
Out of the closing bar
And at E. 7th and C
Walked smack into a standoff
Between neighborhood grunts
In wife-beaters and jeans
Holding bats and chains
And, turning, one says, "What the fuck?"
And another, higher voice says, "Yeah, what the fuck, white boy?"
And white boy says, "Oh, fuck..."
And goes fuck-fuck!-FUCK!!-fucking away
In a dead sprint, down-and-righting south
And west, south
And west, maybe
Half a dozen of them
Hurling batteries ("?") and rocks and half-drunk
Cans of soda
Piling on insults and jeers
About mamas and sisters
Until the last three
Give up the chase
And fall back as a summer rain
Comes down heavier and heavier
And drenched on a corner somewhere
Unable to light the smoke dangling aquiver in his lips
A cop car cruises by and slows to this wet
Panting figure in a doorway failing to light match
After match and, laughing, one of them says,
"How's your night, chief?"
And the car moves along, a couple
Of honks for luck
And one year, many stories, and newborn urban
Legends later, E. 7th and C, to the day and at the
Identical time of night, saw a mother strolling her baby
And smiling at the man standing on the corner
With the curious look on his face, holding his arms
Wide and asking her, "What the fuck?"
Pete reads "Went Right":
Pete confesses: "This poem documents something that occurred back in 1995 & 1996. New York City, under Giuliani, was going through a pretty large social and economic upheaval back then. For better or worse, New York City has always been a city in transition, and this poem is just one account in millions, I'm sure."