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Peter's Poem

GE Icebox

I Am From

by Peter

(From our workshop in August, 2012)


I am from an ice box made by General Electric.

From peppers wrapped in wax paper,

And eggs for lunch in 1935.


I am from the house I was born in,

Over an Italian pizzeria in the North End.

And it’s still there.


I am from homegrown tomatoes,

Beefsteak tomatoes – pulp left to dry out on a piece of tin foil in the sun.

Those beautiful pieces became our own gravy and paste.


I am from day old and half-priced Hostess Cupcakes.

From no money,

And WPA for $13 a week.

From Schiavonis and Contis,

And from ‘The Old Country’ and things made by hand.


I am from a combat engineers unit in World War II,

Building bridges for two and a half years in the Philippines.

From placing our fellow engineers in burlap bags to be sent home,

And from dancing and telling stand-up comedy up in California before I was discharged.


I am from no mother

But a grandmother who raised me.

From the moments as the only kid in the house,

‘Peter do this! Peter do that!’

But everything is water under the bridge.

I am from going by the book.

A man can hardly ask to be from more.

Peter's Poem