When Eve walked (among them)

When Eve walked among
the animals and named them –
nightingale, red-shouldered hawk,
fiddler crab, fallow deer –
I wonder if she ever wanted
them to speak back, looked into
their wide wonderful eyes and
whispered, Name me, name me.

Ada Limón, “A Name” in The Carrying: Poems (August 14, 2018)


Ada Limón, 42, is an American poet. She was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry.  In an interview by Suzannah Windsor in April 21, 2014 in Compose Journal, Ada Limón: “My grandfather on my father’s side was from San Juan de los Lagos, Mexico. He crossed the border as a child in 1917 after his family’s land was confiscated by Pancho Villa’s troops during the Mexican revolution. I was not raised in a bilingual family. My grandfather rarely spoke Spanish even. He worked hard to assimilate into U.S. culture, growing up in a foster family, and eventually graduating from college. I have always identified with Mexican culture, but like many of us, I am not only one thing. I’m many things. I’m Irish, and Scottish, and German too. Part lion. Part dragon. Depending on the day…My confession: most of my poems are autobiographical. The strange, twisty narrative of the inner voice, the voice underneath the voice, is always what fascinates me and keeps me writing… I suppose, in my life, I’ve never done things the ordinary way. I’m either deep in the bottom of the well or nowhere near water.”  Her new book, The Carrying: Poems was published this month. (Unrelated Photo above by Yishuwang)

I came that way. D0K.

gif-connected

JB: Full name please?
DK: David Kanigan. David K-A-N-I-G-A-N.
JB: Full name please.
DK: David Kanigan. David K-A-N-I-G-A-N.
JB: That’s your full name?
DK: Yes.

(Yes. Oh, yes. I know what’s coming next. This scene, played out, over and over. Hundreds of times. Blood pressure clickety clacking up.)

JB: Middle name please.
DK: None.
JB: None?
DK: None.

(She lifts her head to look at the Alien. And pauses, wondering whether to push forward. Then, courageously plows ahead.)

JB: You mean you weren’t given one at birth? Or you changed your name?

(I look down. Two arms. Two legs. Flip flops reveal 10 toes. How many years do I have to take this sh*t?!)

(I look up. Smile. Which way do I take this? High Road. Or Low Road. I count. One. Two. Three.)

[Read more…]

What’s in a name?

Guy Mortier portrait by Stephan Vanfleteren

It opened with the intention of a feather-light, human touch of good will.
And it hasn’t closed.
Like a snag on your favorite sweater that you keep pulling and pulling.

It was 4 weeks ago.
End to end it couldn’t have lasted more than 7 seconds.
She’s an executive assistant on another floor.
I was passing by to get to a meeting. In a hurry.  (“‘Only the sick man and the ambitious,’ wrote Ortega, ‘are in a hurry.’” DK: Which one are you?)

Good morning x?”
“Really Dave, you’ve worked with me for how long, 5-10 years?  And you still don’t know my name.”
I’m so sorry,” stealing a glance at her name plate. She caught the glance.  Damage done. Twice, in seconds.

Later that week, I pass by her desk. And pause.
She talking to a colleague.
I refuse to speak to him.”
He turns to me: “Wow, what have you done to her?”

Colaianni’s whispers: “When I hear my own name, I have as much a sense of it entering my body through my back or my hand or my chest as through my ears… “

Note to Self: And when I don’t hear my own name or someone calls me by the wrong name, I have as much a sense of it entering my body through the back of their hand to my face, my chest, the back of my head…


“All things are engaged in writing their history. The planet, the pebble, goes attended by its shadow. The rolling rock leaves its scratches on the mountain, the river, its channel in the soil, the animal, its bones in the stratum, the fern and leaf, their modest epitaph in the coal. The falling drop makes its sculpture in the sand or the stone. Not a foot steps into the snow or along the ground, but prints, in characters more or less lasting, a map of its march. Every act of the person inscribes itself in the memories of its fellows, and in his own manners and face. The air is full of sounds, the sky of tokens, the ground is all memoranda and signatures, and every object covered over with hints which speak to the intelligent.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


Credits: Portrait: Stephan Vanfleteren. Emerson quote – Thank you Makebelieveboutique. Shakespeare Quote for blog title “What’s in a name?” – Soulsentences. Ortego quote: George Sheehan – Running & Being. Louis Colaianni quote from The Joy of Phonetics and Accents.


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