dVerse Poets Pub – Haibun – What’s in a Name?

Thursday is Open Link Night at the dVerse Poets Pub. You can submit one original poem of your choice. I am submitting this haibun.  The haiku is the one I wrote for the contest ages ago.  Come join us at dVerse and find your new favorite poet!  http://dversepoets.com/2016/05/26/openlinknight-173/

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What’s in a Name?
The image:. A beautiful woman with dark curly hair and in her arms a pretty daughter with matching hair. Toni Home Permanent. Which twin has the Toni? Toni doll:. Wash! Comb! Curl! Her magic hair! TV in the 1950’s bombarded you with images of perfection (Just like now). My pregnant mother just knew she would give birth to a daughter and because she had naturally beautiful black hair with curls, and her younger sister and her mother and grandmother, so would her daughter. I was born with a headful of black curls and so she named me Toni. I hated this name. Kids sneered. Nyah nyah! You have a boy’s name. Teachers insisted my name was Antonia or Tonia. No one was called Just Toni. I hated the name Tonia. Tonnnnnyuh. Tonia was the perfect little girl in Sunday School with straight hair the color of ripe wheat. Tonia was not the tangle curly haired snaggle toothed glasses wearing changeling – that was Toni.

In school Tonia was well behaved and used a bookmark under the words as she dutifully read – Toni was halfway through the book and always being set in a corner because she didn’t read the right words when called upon. Toni was hard to spell:. Tony, Toney, Tone, Tonie, Tonee, and the middle name…Carol. Before she could get away with not using not telling it. Vicious kids would twist and slur it…Toneeee Currrrl…hey Toneeee Currrrl. Your mother named you after a boy. Four eyed Toneeee Currrrl….nyah nyah

But Toni – when she was six wrote her first haiku. When she was 12, she won second place in the state haiku society contest for adults. She began reading Eliot, Dickinson, Whitman,. Thoreau. And by then she no longer heard the meanness, but ya know? Now? Those knife cuts from long ago still sting. Sometimes in the night when she can’t sleep, she wonders if she will ever write a first place haiku. Will she ever be good enough?  When she moves slowly and deliberately through the sword forms, she wonders if her movements will ever make music in the air. She looks down at the faded Second Place Winner certificate and opens the tattered sheet of paper and still wonders if she will ever be good enough or will she always be the four eyed changeling – always be boynamed Toneee Currrrl.

summer full moon – no
shadows in silver lit yard –
sword slashes through night

 

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