The Book of Names.
It's not the first list of names I've kept, but the first one in such a tiny book I keep on me almost all the time. I never know when I'll read or hear a new name I'll be compelled to write down. Or those moments when a name comes from the ether of my mind.
"LaVarjek, Evonka LaVarjek." Even my mind says it with a mixed accent... is it Eastern European or something else?
"Ar'emen" pronounced like the initials R-M-N, which is exactly where the name originates, not from any specific cultural region, but people always ask. Perhaps one of the many reasons I'm fascinated by names. Why I'm compelled to write certain ones down, "Thawnolan, Xuan Jen, Zoila, Kentario, Ayanna, and Beaumont/Bomont" to name a few. Some come from stories I read, watch or listen to; others are actually people I've spoken and interacted with.
Why these names?
I don't always know for sure, though often I think it has to do with how the name feels in my mouth. The impact of character it echoes through the muscles of my tongue. Take Thawnolan for example, a soft start like a sliding curl that clamps down, opens into a small roll to a plateau and clamps again. For such a yawning start, the end of the name feels like a recoil, making me want to say it again.
Somewhat contrasting to Thawnolan is Kentario, which starts out hard, short and to a point, only then does it roll out with a high note, concluding with an open invitation. I feel compelled to sing this name, to the tune of "Oh-we-oh, Kentario, Oh-we-oh, Kentario." I did sing it, for the guy I learned the name from, though he went by "Rio," because he admitted most people found his name hard to say.
I didn't and I'm continually inspired by names, so I'll keep writing them down, in the tiny composition book of names.
| another_proser |
Always the simple one,
Red crinoline peeking out beneath her hemline,
Never angry until you cut her off at a light.
Her thighs barely touching when she walks
A whisper in every syllable
Like she’s hiding you under a table
While the world beats itself to death
Deaf and pale
Head tilted to suggest listening
Lips a vermillion flood
She’d sooner swallow than reveal.
Strong, silent type.
These are a handful of things I’ve been called by people who don’t bother to learn how to pronounce my first name. I always felt ashamed of my name; it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Mig-DAH-li-ah, with a soft “g”. It rolls off my tongue but that’s because I say it several times a day to the patients I work with. I still need to correct the pronunciation with doctors who have worked with me for years.
My peers in elementary school bullied me because of my name. Kids would approach me and ask to order a McMuffin or would just call me McDonald’s. I’m laughing as I’m typing this but at the time, I was devastated. I begged my parents to change my name. Any trendy white name, like Tiffany, Ashley or Jessica. It wouldn’t be my only request to erase evidence of my ethnic background.
When I was in 7th grade I had an English teacher who made racist comments. We had a bilingual program for students who spoke primarily Spanish. When some of the boys were in the hall were being rowdy, my teacher announced that they needed to be “shipped back”.
I hated her. She was old then, so hopefully life saw it fit to stop her from being a c*** to anyone else. I don’t wish death on people...I just wish peace for the rest of us.
The first day of school was always the worst. I listened to the teacher read names off the list in alphabetical order and could always tell when mine was next. There would be a pause as the teacher’s eyebrows furrowed and lips pursed. This would lead to some variation of, “Okay, I’m going to kill your first AND last name.” Neither one was easy. I’d always volunteer the pronunciation. I was confident they were referring to me and can’t remember ever being wrong.
In the beginning of the school year, this teacher called me Mary Magdalene. I’d catch her laughing after she said it; I can only assume she was thinking of Mary Magdalene from the Bible. She must have thought she was so damn clever. Her smug face...I hated it. I was meek and never said anything to my parents or anyone else of authority.
Instead, I ignored her. If she called on Mary or Mary Magdalene to read a paragraph in our English book she would be met with silence. She’d repeat herself until she was yelling and red in the face. I’d make eye contact with her and insist, “That’s not my name.” On one occasion she admitted that she couldn’t be bothered to pronounce a name like mine and would continue to call me Mary. I shrugged and said, “I don’t answer to Mary.”
I was a quiet student but a stubborn kid. I was tired of fighting off assholes who couldn’t (or wouldn’t respect me enough to try) pronounce my name.
Towards the end of the year, this bitter old bitch lost her patience with Mary Magdalene. She called for Mary, did not get a response, and announced that she would get the guidance counselor to “straighten me out”. We sat in shocked silence; I was the student who never got in trouble. A couple Puerto Rican students in the class nodded their respect at me because they were frustrated with her racist comments as well.
The teacher returned and continued with her lesson as if she never left. I glanced at my friends sitting next to me and shrugged. She never called on me again and I was never approached by a guidance counselor.
Listen. I’m happy to respond to a nickname. But when you refuse to acknowledge me and my culture due to laziness (and possible racist undertones) then you can fuck yourself with a rusty dildo. All day.
Names - collective conscience
some names - joe, bill . . . mean nothing
no offense, i mean joe means joseph
but nothing really deep,
bill means william, like england of old,
some names - elizabeth,
mean royalty and sophisticated,
not liz, the shortened butchered one,
take poindexter, now on the other hand,
nerdy, but also west point military academy
i think names connote by association
because take joe, the name i've mentioned means nothing
actually, it means something,
yes, joe will convert to joseph,
joseph of arimathia, now you're talking,
biblical man who paid for jesus of nazareth's burial,
joseph stalingrad, no, i don't think so
murdered too many of his own brethren,
bill, for short, for william,
okay, bill clinton
names connote power by association,
not in the name itself
jesus, many a mexican friend i've known,
not so outstanding, but then again,
they were cool people and all,
jesus of nazareth, okay, now things change
son of God, in the flesh
the name connotes awesome power
at whose name every knee will bow
maybe not everyone today
but someday, (sounds like an opinion, fine)
but anyway, we'll see . . .
ted, jeb, tom, clarence . . .
ted bundy, ted turner
tom and jerry, tom and tom hanks,
clarence the cool nerd, clarence williams
get the picture?
names are cool, names are important
man gives names to everything
adam named all the animals in the garden of eden
we give names to everything in our homes
and in the world
and to our offspring, babies
we call people names, sometimes offensive ones
but the meaning to some names
outside of the trivial and sundry
comes with the reputation,
name brand clothes, cars or goods,
name brand versus obscure
no name, surname, the game,
my name, your name,
and names are either good or bad
some we keep, some we don't
names are important,
they help us find our way,
make us happy and or sad
names give us meaning and direction
names make civilization possible
Names. They mean
that you are unique,
At least if you're lucky.
Names. They mean
At least if you're funny.
Names. They can
will the world to explode
in your body.
Names. They mean
At least if you are special to somebody.
Names. What ever they may mean,
What ever they may bring,
A hope, a friend. Or a calling.
Names. They are the becoming
Black Sheep Ancestry
My name can be traced
back to 1012
King Gorm of Denmark
lived forty years
had three sons
who were Vikings
red hair and brawn
raided and traded
ship builders, lovers.
Checkered past gave me
A name that I own
a black sheep ancestry
which gives me pride.
Amanda, Tom, Michael, more- What’s in a Name? You are.
Amanda was a little Manda-Panda and an Ama-Llama,
before she was Mandy with friends and Amanda for Momma,
long before she was any Mandy-candy with man drama,
two-facing her friends and bleeding the wrong kind of karma.
Tom was never a little Thomas or Tommy,
an adorable Tom-Tom with is Tom-Tummy,
who’ll always be Tom to his Dad and Mommy,
unlike those wish-washes Tom/Thomas and Michael.
Michael was an angel who became a tyrant,
went by Mike and held himself as a giant,
shows his sweet side for our compliance,
and is likely to rage if we’re ever defiant.
As a Mandy who was never an Amanda, I can say,
I’ve learned a lot, and still know so little, about names;
yet, in folks, I recognize what’s different and the same,
and knowingly used it whenever the notion came.
The funny thing about names:
They don’t define us any way,
we define them in what we do,
what we say, and convey.
You can make your name great.
A walking oxymoron.
A beautiful lie.
I hate when people say my name is beautiful.
It drives me up the wall that my title, chosen by my mother, ensues assumptions of a path I've chose not to follow.
I am Faith.
Give me free chicken.
No Peters were harmed in the production of this poem
Names are nothing but expectations.
If your name is Peter, they expect you
to be a protector, a rock, but in reality
every Peter I've ever met was an asshole,
So I guess now if I meet you, even if
you're nice at first, I know all Peters
are assholes, and when you show your
true colors, I won't be surprised in the least.
You can blame it on your parents,
they had all this wishful thinking
before you were even born,
"Yeah, Peter's gonna be a good guy."
and they hadn't even met you yet.
So your assholiness was only aggravated
because you were a constant source
of disappointment, but I guess that's what I
expected from you anyway, Peter.
Now whether or not you continue
to meet my expectations or your
parents'... That's up to you. I know
deep down inside you're an asshole,
but hey, if you prove me wrong,
then I'd be the asshole, just writing
bad poems about you on the internet.
I get it, it's alot to live up to, but
at least your name isn't Alexander.
Are u Name
Are you more than your name?
Reality What is your name?
eternity remembers a name sake
unique I am not sure are you, a title or a name.
Names are in the details
an opening to say hello
memes of who you are
every title telling others whom we are