How to Get an Unusual Name
Pick ancestors from a foreign-speaking
land. Begin with a name that is little heard
Now stir up some rebellion. Politics and
religion work best. But first make sure you’ve
chosen visionary or stubborn stock. Neighbors
must wish them dead, must drag ancient uncles
from their beds to execution by gallows or
guillotine. This culls the family tree, makes
those who stay change their names.
Send the few remaining branches to
different countries, where spelling will be
changed and more cousins lost. Your name
will trip the new native tongue, and you’ll
spend a lifetime correcting it.
Now for the first name. Choose parents
who crave the exotic. Hippies and
Southerners work well. They’ll take care
of the rest.
© 2009 Alarie Tennille, originally published in Margie
–– Alarie Tennille is a Pushcart Prize nominee. She serves on the Board of Directors
of The Writers Place in Kansas City, Missouri. Her chapbook, Spiraling into Control,
is available on Amazon.com. Alarie’s poems have appeared in numerous journals
including Margie, Poetry East, ByLine Magazine, I-70 Review, and The Little Balkans Review.
Check out her chapbook at
We were proud to feature Alarie’s work in Volume 8 of Kansas City Voices, order your copy at: