Monday, May 2, 2011

Name Dropping

Name Dropping

Those words that are closest to your voice,
they can come tumbling out,

can be loosened by almost any conversation.
You don’t have the energy

to guard them, so out they come, handkerchiefs
knotted together and slipping

from between a magician’s lips with the hand
of a volunteer. What words

do you say so easily, too often. Names of places
you have visited, maybe,

or have lived in: Big Sur, Bellingham, Venice,
Block Island, Lincoln Road.

Friends that you allude to, their language
that you borrow and parrot,

or their manner of speaking, their joke you take
and make your own. We drop

names like this only because our heads are full
and we use our mouths to hold

what won’t fit anywhere else within us, and even
then, can barely be restrained.


  1. Absolutely beautiful, Hannah! How you manage to combine strong feeling with winsome detachment here is a wonder. Despite the bracing critique and “grounding” image, you evade at the end the usual judgments – insecurity, dilettantism, assault and battery by appeals to authority – to portray “name dropping” as a natural (and universal) bodily function. The world needs more of that kind of kindness.

  2. Wonderful poem, Hannah. I agree with Bill. The lack of fault-finding, the explanation of simply wanting to share what can no longer be contained: this is a perspective that speaks to acceptance and kindness.

  3. You are too generous Hannah...I had to smiles when you said that we drop names like this when our heads are full...that is the best! Happy First May Monday to you! xxoo

  4. Well, name dropping really annoys me but your poem will make me think about it more kindly next time it happens.

  5. I love the idea that words are waiting.... close to voice... as if there is a library in there and some words are tumbling off the shelves and falling out... a beautiful image hannah.



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