“how do you change fuel pump in 1994 mazda 626”
shouts The Pakistani Kid just off the boat from Pakistan
although he’d actually taken a charter paid for by his Uncle
the same one who’d also given him the Mazda
that at root was just no damn good at all.

Tonio, who knows nothing at all about cars
takes down a pack of Camels from his t-shirt sleeve
and pounds out on the filtered end because you do
and it gives him the split second he needs to think
about he can best turn this situation to his advantage.

“Your problem is all fuel tank my fine Bengali friend
but you’re in Brooklyn and we know from fuel tanks
just like we do about white pepper and the ladies.”
To this the kid is not wide-eyed, but bug-eyed
before remembering what they said about strangers.

Sensing hesitation in his shiny-suited meal ticket
Tonio pushes on with his misdirection: “When a girl angel
without thought, scratches gently between her breasts
infinitesimal particles of skin fall from her body
and that’s what God makes white pepper from.”

Pause. “And why white pepper is such a passion
for some of us like me who happens to have a key
of it right here in the back straight from Arabia
where many of the girl angels you might be in favor of
scratch so gently at themselves in the noonday heat.

Now The Kid’s laughing, a fish off the hook wriggling free
“You make a mistake of me, my fine Bensonhurst friend
but you are also not the CIA who I am looking out for
who to “how do you change fuel pump in 1994 mazda 626”
will answer “In'sh'Allah and here’s Uncle’s money in cash.”

Two poets these guys, almost made for each other
but Tonio says nothing, just thinks about the neighborhood
while The Kid, in character, keeps on with being confused
and left and right they go like two crabs each hoping
that the other don’t see how as he’s all but empty-handed.

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