Not the best poem, but I tried

28 and 2/3
A poem about the Pioneer Hotel fire

December 19, 1970
There’s a party going on upstairs
I figure I’ll score a couple of drinks
And escape with everyone unawares

It’s cold in the Old Pueblo tonight
Christmas revelers smoke and they drink
The danger is lurking all around
But it’s me who’ll end up in the clink

From fire to flames to ashes and soot
From festive occasion to terror I heard
28 souls will never go home
Well 28 souls and 2/3

The fireman meets me at the top of the landing
He asks for my help on this perilous night
“Knock on every door and tell them there’s fire!”
He goes to the left and I go to the right.

This hotel is a death trap, the doors padlocked shut
They cry from their windows and jump off the ledge
I do all I can to help all the suffering
But it’s me who is perilously close to the edge


The fire still smolders, I head back to station
They’ve already pegged me for arson and death
Questions shot at me for hours and hours
I tell the truth with every breath

The evidence put forth doesn’t help me a damn
I’m a black boy and the jury’s all white
I trusted the cops and there’s my mistake
They don’t care if it’s wrong or it’s right

And I am convicted
My world is this cell
A teen on a harmless scam
Sentenced to hell

The years have gone by and some things have changed
Someone finally hears my side
Of how I was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time
And how I don’t know why the died

28 deaths, with families and friends
28 souls gone to rest
Well, if including me,
And I hope you’ll agree
It’s 28 and 2/3 at best

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s