Michael Meyer took this photo circa 1999, as Peter was reading a poem at the Nuyorican mic.


Listening to a poet at the Nuyorican.
Photo by Michael Meyer, circa 1999.


At the National Poetry Slam Finals event.
Photo by Syreeta McFadden.

TRIBUTE TO PETER OF THE EARTH
"I want to be remembered, before Iím forgotten."
-Peter of the Earth

Friday night after leaving a birthday party in Chelsea, Peter and I decided to go to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. We hadnít been since graduation. We were in need of the Word.

There were five prolific women in the slam that night, Keith Roach was hosting. After the show the room cleared. Just the die-hards now.

Dot Antoniades (Portella), Guy LeCharles Gonzales, Roger Bonair-Agard, Lynne Procope and Steve Colman sat at a table near the back brick wall. The regulars, we supposed.

Rah, the Open Room host, called names from the black and white composition notebook. Peter read a poem entitled "The Calling".

After Peterís poem, Rah -- taking a line from the end of the piece -- referred to him as Peter of the Earth. That night gave birth to yet another layer of an incredibly multifaceted man.

Peter James Conti was a poet, a painter, a changling. He loved calamari and The Simpsons. He is the best friend I have ever had.

I cannot recall when or where we met. It is as if he had always been a part of my life. He was the Mulder to my Scully. Homer to my Marge. He was my heart.

I do not know who I will be in this world without him. But I know that my days are full of more love and light and laughter because of his incredible spirit.

- Felice Belle

Download a PDF Poem Tribute

Read "The Calling"

Read "Memo to Midnight Dove"