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Shakespeare asked how much of us

Our names really contain

How much of our identity exists

In a few syllables

Or a group of letters

Collectively agreed upon as language


Some days a name is only 

Puffs of air and shaped nonsense

Some names we earn

They become more powerful

Some names are gifted

Whether we want to accept them or not


What's in a nickname?

The greatest thing you've ever done

Or the most embarrassing 

All of the esteem and affection 

Of your compatriots

Or the torment of their scorn


But the shape of that name 

Becomes how you wear it

If it's with pride,

embraced and declared

Or with anger

Letting shoulder chips grow

Until you collapse with the weight


Pain too, or fear

Can make traps and fences

That you have to find 

Your own way to escape

Changing the meaning

Of your name yourself

Created: Apr 16, 2014

Tags: poetry, free-verse

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