Rev. Pedro Pietri is seriously ill

One of the cornerstones of the original Nuyorican movement is in need of help. Please pass this on.


“Woke up this morning / feeling excellent! / Picked up the
telephone / dialed the number / Of my equal opportunity /
employer to inform him / I will not be in / to work today! /
Are you feeling sick? / the Boss asked me, / “No Sir I
replied, / I am feeling too good / to report to work today! /
If I feel sick tomorrow / I will come in early.”

-from Telephone Booth Number 905 1/2, El Reverendo Pedro Pietri

c/o Nuyorican Poets Café
P.O. Box 20794
New York, NY 10009

December 14, 2003

[street address] [or email address]
[city, state, zip]

Dear Friend:

If you have ever laughed, reveled in, or enjoyed one of Pedro’s poems–or if you can recall a line from any one of his countless poems–then this letter is of utmost urgency to you. It is with great pain that we report publicly that renowned Puerto Rican / Nuyorican poet, Rev. Pedro Pietri, is seriously ill. Recently he has had surgery at Bronx Lebanon Hospital to treat his ailments. However, the medical prognosis is dismal. El Rev Pedro Pietri, the author of Puerto Rican Obituary, in its tenth printing is a classic in the Puerto Rican literature…his entire life is poetry. He is an outspoken advocate for the Puerto Rican Diaspora.

The life of this eminent poet is a reflection of the circumstances of our age–from the Puerto Rican migrations, through the disintegration of the New York neighborhoods, to the Vietnam War era and the aftermath of environmental pollution, El Rev. Pedro Pietri has been the creative voice to the madness that surrounds us. The life of a poet has never been easy. Pedro was victimized by the war as a result of Agent Orange exposure and ignored by the parties responsible for his condition. Now he is succumbing to an ever-increasing number of illnesses related to this and the attendant stress that has slowly ravaged his body. These include glaucoma, a compromised circulatory system from high blood pressure; his skin tissue affected by advanced vitiligo; stomach ulcers; and now, a cancerous tumor.

This is a Mission Critical Appeal. Especially since there is hope.

Again reflecting our times, the treatments that could be his saving mechanisms are not available nor recognized by the medical establishment in the U.S.A.

His friends, his fellow poets, and his family have organized this effort. Our hope entails treatment at the Oasis of Hope Hospital in Mexico. Results from their treatment indicate a high degree of recovery and non-recurrence in many of their patients. It is expensive beyond Pedro and his family’s financial means. Expenses include treatment, travel expenses, lodging, post-treatment, health management, and a healthy return home.

The cost of treatment at minimum is about $30,000. An individual contribution of a $1,000 (tax deductible) would be most helpful. However, any contribution will be deeply appreciated. Please make checks payable to:

Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Inc.,

with memo: Pedro Pietri Health Benefit Fund

c/o Nuyorican Poets Cafe
P.O. Box 20794
New York, New York 10009

We are seeking your support and contributions for Pedro’s treatment in Mexico by January 2004. We pray that you will.

Friends and Family of Pedro Pietri

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