Boomer Brief

Dorothy DiRienzi

“I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody.”
~On the Waterfront (1954)

We did so much
when energy
flicked off our fingertips.

We had the moves: Jim
and Elvis, and Red Bone too.
That dress I made
with ballooned cuffs
and macrame riffs
for the march to the Pentagon,
protest chants pounding
down my head to my teeth;
and all I wanted was a cup of water.

We had friends who joined
Seale or King, and one
embraced Elijah.

We wore black for Bobby
and Martin in a mourning march;
wailed as Janis and Jimi
ripped pieces from our hearts.
We ached when ratso Rizzo
become Philly’s top cop.

I scribble in memoir class
of 50 years past,
beyond the press
of roofing costs and food and baby toes,
my brain tacked to a bulletin board,
along with growth charts
and silver stars
on third-grade essays.

I shoulda been somebody.

Maybe I was.

Dorothy DiRienzi has published in numerous literary journals in print and online. She worked as a manuscript editor and indexer of medical and nursing textbooks in Philadelphia for 30 years and then as editor/publisher of policy manuals for Arizona State University for 15 years. She lives in Phoenix with her son, Cesare, and her dog.