Alex Patriquin

Marginalia & found poetry. Short fiction and other projects. Musings  on startups. Photos from NYC and travels.

Myrtle

How funny your name would be

if you could follow it back to where

the first person thought of saying it,

naming himself that, or maybe

some other persons thought of it

and named that person. It would

be like following a river to its source,

which would be impossible. Rivers have no source.

They just automatically appear at a place

where they get wider, and soon a real

river comes along, with fish and debris,

regal as you please, and someone

has already given it a name: St. Benno

(saints are popular for this purpose) or, or

some other name, the name of his

long-lost girlfriend, who comes

at long last to impersonate that river,

on a stage, her voice clanking

like its bed, her clothing of sand

and pasted paper, a piece of real technology,

while all along she is thinking, I can

do what I want to do. But I want to stay here.

"Myrtle" by John Ashbery, from "Notes from the Air"