Category Archives: names


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Illustration by Isidro Xilonzochitl for my book Sock Talk


The names called across playgrounds in 1952
were “Lynn and Rita, Sharon, Karen, Sheila, Portia, Sue”.
But the kinds of names that mothers now choose for their daughters
are all names we never called out from our teeter-totters.

“Emma, Ava, Mia, Hannah, Isabella, Addison, 
Sophia and Olivia, Amelia and Madison,
Harper, Lily, Mia” are the sorts of names girls call
out to one another via texts or in the mall.

“Harper, Ella, Mia, Emily and Abigail”
are the names that girls today most commonly use to hail
each other on their smart phones via tweets or via text.
It’s hard to predict what may be the names that moms might next

choose to call their daughters.  Perhaps Venus, Saturn, Mars
will be the sort of names our daughters’ daughters call from cars.
Modern names for modern girls–– monikers so cool
that giving names like Betty, Pat or Judy would seem cruel.

Today, names must be Biblical or characters from Austen.
Or the names of cities from Madison to Boston.
“Judy” is a boring name, silly, old-fashioned, dull––
the sort of name that nowadays never makes the cull.

Those of my generation may seem rather out of date,
perhaps because of how we dress, our language or our weight.
Some women opt for face-lifts, saying wrinkles are to blame,
but I think it would be easier to simply change my name.

The Prompt: Say Your Name––Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?

Tagline Deprived

Tagline Deprived

Rockefeller, Stanislavsky, Jones or White or Brown–
some names smack of commonness, others of renown.
We are born with surnames, then get given names and pet names.
Whether born or given, it is sure that we will get names.

Folks who do not like their names choose names that are more regal,
then change themselves to suit the names once they have become legal.
Mark Twain is a pen name, and Saki, too, was one.
And Chloe Wofford took the name of Toni Morrison!

Writers need names for their pens and actors for the screen.
Afterwards, the names their parents gave are rarely seen.
Allen Konigsberg  shifted his first name to his last,
assumed the name of Woody, and the man became a blast!

Jennifer Anastassakis is difficult  to say,
but Aniston is simple to recall from day-to-day.
Some call others names  that are pejorative or racial,
or names based on peculiarities of form or facial.

Whether we are large or small, hirsute or merely bald–
all these factors might affect what nickname we’ll be called.
“Gordo, Freckles, Skinny, Baldy, Curly, “Hey there, Chubs!”
The ones called by these names find little humor in these dubs.

Crooks and other felons assume pseudonyms because
It hides their identity while hiding from the fuzz.
But in this modern age, the name game is more specialized.
Great-grandmothers and grandfathers would be so surprised

at all the different names we need for social media.
It’s gotten so we need a name encyclopedia
to help us figure out the names for new identities
what’s more, to help us out with all the lingo, if you please.

I do not know.  What is this hashtag? What’s a tagline, too?
When I read this prompt, I swear I knew not what to do.
And so I wrote this lengthy poem of pseudonym and name,
only to look up “tagline” and find, much to my shame,

it has nil to do with hashtags or name tags or of title,
screen names, pen names, pet names or of this whole name recital!
It’s just a simple phrase of who I am and how I cope.
If I had done a little research, I would not be such a dope.
I could have looked it up in Google or in other online books.
Instead, I fear I’ve earned this tag:  “She writes before she looks!”

The Prompt: Tagline–Often our blogs have taglines.  But what if humans did, too?  What would your tagline be? (Would that I had researched this topic before writing.)

Mostly Nameless in Mexico

The Prompt: The Name’s The Thing—Have you ever named an inanimate object? (Your car? Your laptop? The volleyball that kept you company while you were stranded in the ocean?) Share the story of at least one object with which you’re on a first-name basis.

Mostly Nameless in Mexico

Though Apple named my laptop “Mac,”
I don’t name things that don’t talk back!

(Since my prompt is longer than my poem today, hope you’ll go back and also read one of my earlier prompts.  There are 211 others posted prior to this shorty!!)