Get excited! I’m sharing a poem from David Herrle‘s forthcoming collection of poetry, Sharon Tate and the Daughters of Joy. I’ve pre-ordered my. Be good to yourself; order a copy too. Give “A Girl Named Sue” a read, and check back in a few weeks for an interview with David.
A Girl Named Sue
The name Sue underwhelms me. Put some lipstick on it
and make it Susan or even Suzanne, then I’m partly
wooed, for I find deep importance in a female’s name,
believe that it predestines her looks-wise, or at least
augurs a cute-proneness, shapes the coming woman
as perpetual water sculpts mountains and hews canyons.
Margarita Carmen Cansino shaped a Rita Hayworth,
a Cleopatra Thea Philopator seduced imperial Rome.
Plain Joan Lucille became platinum Mamie Van Doren,
Lulamae Barnes was dyed and reborn as Holly Golightly.
Charmed names beautify so-so physiques and faces while
fair faces redeem drab or marmish names after the fact,
veto their givens’ ominous sonorouslessness or tendency
toward plainness (“Sharon” and Mary” are a dime a dozen
but “Jane” is far from plain) and imprint them as mighty
beasts leave traces on soft land (pre-Marilyn Norma Jean,
singer Harriet Wheeler, painter Whistler’s Maud) — like Princess
Margaret and Ann-Margret, unlike poor Margaret Fuller.
Sue Lyon of Lolita fame triumphed against heinous Suellyn,
Quixote’s “Dulcinea del Toboso” turned a peasant into a queen.
Just one k added to “Ivana” birthed the fairer Ivanka Trump,
and cries of “La Esmeralda!” ring to drown Notre Dame’s bells.
Augustus, Augustine, Pythagoras, Archimedes, Elvis, David:
these sing to me, but names glow only when emasculated,
ovaryly sugared, Candy Darlinged and drag-queened by
Aubrey Beardsley — then there are females cross-dressed in
male names (painter Schiele’s Wally Neuzil) and abracadabras
that crack clouds when chanted in full bloom: Anais Nin becomes
Angela Anais Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell.
Incant: Lola Falana, Leonor Fini, Zhang Ziyi, Dree Hemingway, Aaliyah!
Gina Lollobrigida, Artemisia Gentileshi, Rihanna Fenty, Sussudio!
Familial iterations of gender-neutral “Drew” forged Drew Barrymore.
My anthroponomastic case rests on Dakota Fanning and January Jones.