Central Park Is His Home

Isidore Block, better known to himself as Poet-O, lived on the streets for 20+ years after his release from a home for the criminally insane, until he was rousted.from his Central Park bedroll at 2 a.m. by some well-meaning nuns who didn't want him to be bitten by the rats they saw crawling over him. "They don't bother me," he says, "they know my smell." (The rats, that is.)

Isidore Block, aka Poet-O, listens intently to the fading sound of his brass unicorn bell. "Make a wish, ring the bell, and you'll get back a hundred times what you give." 

Now he divides his time between his room at the Woodstock and hustling in the streets, trading wishes for meals and recitations of his own poetry for money. He still sleeps in the Park occasionally "to keep in touch."
Izzy knows all the squirrels by name and once shared a joint with John Lennon in the rain, the two of them huddled under an umbrella. Celebrities, Poet-O explained, can come out only when it rains. Lennon wouldn't ring O's bell for fear of reprisals from the bell-ringers' union but Yoko in a bid for better karma gave it a mighty jangle.

Mr. Block passed away.

Poet-O's Official Website by his friend Larry
Life Is A Dream: A Documentary Film
Poet-O reads at Marymount College, April 1998
An interview with McSweeney's


If you or someone you know has a pair of size 12 EE sneakers you no longer need, please mail them to Poet-O, who has diabetes.