Miguel Piñero and Miguel Algarín, co-founders of the Nuyorican Poet’s Café, had made a pact: Piñero would write a poem specifying in detail the arrangements to follow his death, and Algarín, when the time came, would faithfully carry out his friend’s instructions:

Just once before I die
I want to climb up on a
tenement sky
to dream my lungs out till
I cry
then scatter my ashes thru
the Lower East Side.

So begins Miguel Piñero’s last wishes and paean to Manhattan’s Lower East Side. After Miguel Piñero died on June 14, 1988, Algarín led a grand procession in which Piñero’s ashes were scattered across his beloved Lower East Side. This is the story of that procession.

Recorded in New York City. Premiered June 21, 1998, on Weekend Edition.

This documentary comes from Sound Portraits Productions, a mission-driven independent production company that was created by Dave Isay in 1994. Sound Portraits was the predecessor to StoryCorps and was dedicated to telling stories that brought neglected American voices to a national audience.