Saturday, February 13, 2010

14 Lines on How the Irish and Italian Cultivate Tomatoes

This belly-can has its rusted jags--
the years, the years of neurotic admixture:
I am of the two great "I's" of the late
nineteenth century-- baker, barber, gumba,
bobby, bleeding drunk on the corner of Great Jones,
pale strapping-lad in frocking robes
The two "I's" of I pull along
the acid branded winds of San Marzano
the skimmed fat of fair-chipped Tipperary
(where they grill ripe cherries into wrinkled bursts)
All of this thrown into my can, can, Ameri-can
double-boil of simmered down brand new immigrant
emerging every day from the the lower decks-- up,
up into the dust-colored light of a whole peeled tornado

6 comments:

The Scrybe said...

Brilliant! And of course a tornado can appear like a tomato when viewed from afar...

Francis Scudellari said...

Cultivated from the stock of one of those "I's", I found this poem particularly appealing. Very nicely done.

Jenny Enochsson said...

Excellent! So many interesting undertones in this poem, happening simultaneously on different levels.

To name a few of my (many) favorite lines here:

"All of this thrown into my can, can, Ameri-can/double-boil of simmered down brand new immigrant"

"the dust-colored light of a whole peeled tornado"

Ande said...

A vivid poem which was truly rewarding to read.

PO Johnson said...

"the acid branded winds of San Marzano
the skimmed fat of fair-chipped Tipperary"

Perfect.

I came to think about the early 1900s in the US when reading this. I understand why some people emigrated to the US; Norwegians can't for example grow tomatoes unless in a hothouse. Or sometimes against a wall in summer.

Megan Duffy said...

Scrybe: I wasn't going to add tornado, but I just couldn't help myself!

Jenny and Ande: Thank you both!

PO: I was thinking the same... both sets of my grandparents immigrated to America in the 1900s. They've all been on my mind.
I've spent a summer in Oslo. I could see that even in the endless sun of July, a tomato would have a bit of trouble taking full shape there. All the same, I adore Norway and am anxious to get back soon.