The Story of My Name: a poem

The Story of My Name: a poem

In the first picture, in the summer of 2015, I am cajoling my grandchildren to pose under the camera’s watchful lens. In the other, they are a few years younger, mesmerized at me encouraging them to strike a pose. Perhaps I need Madonna’s voguing after all!

All About My Name
Quiet—
I wasn’t
though if you sought me
likely behind a closed door
sitting cross-legged in a forgotten corner
brocade drapery my camouflage
or slumped at the foot of grandma’s
tall
stalwart
bed
the world beneath larger than a
crawl
no knots on my head
I could be found
spellbound
suspended
in someone’s imagination
a webbed fly
content
in sticky story
imagining my name
on a shelf of covers

Claudia—
My name is a dressed-up version
of Miss Claudie’s glory
The name jitterbugged
hugged the blues so tight
Jerry Lawson
Elvis
and
Joni Mitchell
got lost in Lloyd Price’s tune
“Lawdy, Lawdy Miss Claudie”
’till I can almost perceive
what kind of Mean Blues Woman
Great Grandma was
Right up there beside
Little Richard’s Miss Molly
Good golly!
A prodigy of
strength
I be

If ever liberated to name myself
I’d do it again
No other name
my aim

Miss Claudie’s
Classic Claudia
one in the same

I grew into “Tootsie”
Just sweet—
sweeter than the candy
The Tootsie Roll Pop
wrapped in chocolate
candy in the middle
A sugar rush to make your feet
skip and hop

To this day
at fifty-eight
I’m still Tootsie in some circles
Too-Too
Tutsie
and
Tootie
in some mouths

I answer to
most any Tootsie combination—
even to “Twin”
Claude, Jr.
my fraternal half
great at math
me at words
while everybody is cutting up
we laugh
look a language
we understand

Selective by design
I’m yet quiet—
sometimes
when I’m not
embroiled on pages
taming words
riveted
talking
or
reading to an audience
or to myself
quintessentially enchanted
being no one else

(c) Claudia Moss 1/30/2016 2:22 AM

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