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Named Analysis

Author: poem of Stephen Dunn Type: poem Views: 8

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He'd spent his life trying to control the names

         people gave him;

oh the unfair and the accurate equally hurt.

Just recently he'd been a son-of-a-bitch

        and sweetheart in the same day,

and once again knew what antonyms

love and control are, and how comforting

         it must be to have a business card -

Manager, Specialist - and believe what it says.

Who, in fact, didn't want his most useful name

        to enter with him,

when he entered a room, who didn't want to be

that kind of lie? A man who was a sweetheart

         and a son-of-a-bitch

was also more or less every name

he'd ever been called, and when you die, he thought,

         that's when it happens,

you're collected forever into a few small words.

But never to have been outrageous or exquisite,

         no grand mistake

so utterly yours it causes whispers

in the peripheries of your presence - that was

                  his fear.

"Reckless"; he wouldn't object to such a name

if it came from the right voice with the right

         amount of reverence.

Someone nearby, of course, certain to add "fool."


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