I feel that poetry has a reputation for being a bit stuck up, a bit whiny and middle-class, and I want to break through that prejudice with this deeply personal account of how difficult my life has been growing up with a double-barrelled surname. Read it and weep.
Every time I have to sign my name
I takes too long, I feel the prickling shame
That I can never fit within the frame,
With my double-barrel.
Because I carry both my parents’ names with me
It’s large, clumsy, and unwieldy
Every time someone has to spell it they’ll look up at me–
And I can see–
They’re staring down a double-barrel.
There’s no family seat, lawns or cream teas
Just this unspellable verbal legacy
From two young folkies with songs in their hearts,
Who for their new family, for their new start–
(They didn’t understand, they weren’t from ‘round these parts)
They forged a double-barrel.
Now there’s no escape, no anonymity
Every time my mother (hi, Mum) Googles me.
‘Cause there’s only four people with this clunker the whole wide world,
And the one mouthing off online is probably her girl;
The apple of her eye, whose drunken bitching years ago
Is now preserved on the long-forgotten account with Bebo.
You really should be more careful, don’tcha know,
Where you point that double-barrel.
But I will always carry this one around
No matter whether love throws me ups or downs
Because I can’t imagine sinking sans bizarre compound
Into being just another Hannah.
And just to compound it all I’ll remain a Ms
‘Cause actually my marital status is none of your goddamn biznezz
It’s just the way I was raised. This is me:
My fault too now, but I’ll always be:
Firing from a double-barrel.