I live in a world where names
are disposable
I have no choice in the matter
I am nameblind
It is as if I am surrounded by people
with familiar faces & no names
Like a huge convention
& all the nametags are blank
That place your brain reserves for names
is a slippery black hole in mine
I will be on an elevator
& someone I’ve known for years gets on
& I’m sweating because I have no idea
what they are called–none
So I’ve learned to tell people upfront
that I’m terrible at names
But they always say “Me too”
No I want to say You’re an amateur
Have you forgotten family members at a funeral?
Have your forgotten your lover’s name
when you were making love?
Have your children called you long distance
& do you find yourself thinking:
The younger one The blonde
The boy who kept running into walls
Then there is the complication of books
If you read Science Fiction—good luck
You cannot recall or pronounce
the alien names no matter how you try
The Lord of The Rings is an epic tale of
a brave hobbit named kerfgeuirayabvr
guided by the wizard rgdasgsrgpwrhv
who must fight the black sorcerer asrvijairdvpdav
& his evil overlord lsdfkgadufgvaip
to return Strider to the throne
Strider—I remember
That’s not a name it’s something you do
But now I sense skepticism
in the audience Some of you
have gone to college
Some of you are tempted to
raise your hands & say but I’ve
never heard of this ailment before
May I ask your name? Jules?
Well John neither have I
In fact Jack I’ve never met another human
who shares this handicap
So imagine James going through your whole life
with this little corner of shame
this tiny bit of No Can Do
which nobody believes
nobody shares
& nobody understands
Not even you Judy


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