B Roll

We all try to describe

what we love

how we love

what happens when

a stranger sat near me

on the Chinese bus to DC

he asked me

to describe who

and what I’ve loved.

I am not

a chronological person

some people go

from young to old

now to then

they know years

and information.

He was a lawyer.

He asked questions they teach

when you become

a journalist

lawyer American Historian

who what where when

parts of a story. I told him

how Mike fell in love

on the telephone and I

loved Mike for that. He wanted

to know how old Mike was had he ever

been married. After a while

he understood my story

was about how Mike’s heart

he could never explain what happened

how Mike’s heart

he worried it was closed because

he couldn’t feel the way he wanted

even though he tried

date after date

Mike’s heart opened

on the telephone by a woman

whose voice went

right through him and he knew

that was what he loved.


That reminds me

Len said last night

apropos of nothing.

He often began

with that reminds me

of when my

oldest brother Pete

decided to marry Helen. Wife

number one. Helen’s family

were Germans and Helen

wanted to be different so

she married Pete. We are

Italian as you know.

You can imagine said Len

who rarely imagined much

You can imagine he repeated

with adamant emphasis

what happened next.

Disaster, he said.

In case we

couldn’t imagine.




August Romula

August Romula, the female

for Romulus he said

although he is not

transgender he said

as though I was

wondering he

called today.

Got my number

from Laura V. I don’t

know her. Who

is Laura V? I didn’t

want to ask him either.

He wanted

to talk about his

Lyme Disease. I can

listen to anything

as long as there aren’t

facts involved.

He said one

of his symptoms

how fixated

he becomes

on particular phrases.

For example, he was

shopping last Wednesday

he saw a sign: Nine

for ninety nine cents.

He said Nine

for ninety nine dollars

would be no better.

Words circulate

in his brain, and

that’s because

he can’t get them out.

Lyme disease

is his diagnosis. Also

Laura V’s.Let’s

meet for a drink

he said. Even

Coffee OK. Not tea.

He doesn’t like tea.

He said he prefers

one glass or two of

red wine. Cabernet

his first choice.

He gave me three

telephone numbers

where I can reach him

when I decide

I’m ready for

My free drink

“Oppenheim’s poem blooms in musical odes to labor”

Matthew Guerrieri wrote a wonderful article in which I’m mentioned. It also corresponds to my post from the other day, Bread and Roses.

You can read the article on the Boston Globe’s website here.

Labor Day



took me a while

to understand jobs we happen to have

plumber poet home care worker

how we earn our living circumstances of life

our grandmother’s name shape of our apartment

books that were or weren’t in a library near our house

who we are and what we do aren’t the same and we

who work all of us who work

we have to work to live we have to work

to pay for our lives that all of us who work

no matter what the job we do

we are all really and truly workers.

%d bloggers like this: