Poetry from J.K. Durick


What’s in a name? Well that’s simple

enough. Didn’t need Shakespeare for

this one. Think about a name, your

name for a moment. It’s a string of

letters lined up, linked, letters you

recognize on the page in front of you.

They make a sound you know very well

heard it called in school, out in the field

in church, in court. You responded most

of the time, laying claim to it. They say

hey, John, or Frank or Freddy, and you

snap to or groan a response depending

on who was saying your name. It’s yours

and you have woven your life into it, things

you did and still do, places you’ve been, even

the people around you who say your name

whisper it, or shout it or just say it when

they pass you on the street. It was born with

you, in you, you became it, it became you

and now it’s aging with you, got this old

along the way, got tired, and now just waits

for the last time to hear itself called. We’ll

always know what’s in our name – it’s easy.


I’m the older gentleman in the picture

don’t like the word “elderly,” so I am

the older gentleman walking his older

dog, mid-afternoon. It’s mid-afternoon

when older men and dogs have time

for such things. It’s mid-afternoon and

the kids are just getting out of school,

some excited and playful and some are

strangely subdued. The scene includes

the older man and dog and the children.

The afternoon casts shadows and a few

suggestions for the scene. I’m sure that

Hallmark has this on a card, a sentimental

almost scary rendering, an illustrator’s

best effort with the ingredients. The verse

on the inside would make use of contrasts

age and actions, perhaps something about

how, for some it’s the afternoon of a day

while it’s the afternoon of life for some others.

                  Got Game

There comes a point in the game with

both teams bungling, fumbling, acting

as if they forgot how to play, a point in

the game when you start thinking about

your childhood dreams and plans about

playing, thought it out, there you were

catching the pass over your shoulder then

running, zig-zagging, you could hear

the stands, the cheering, the commentators

analyzing your moves, but, of course, you

never tried out, grade school, junior high

high school. You watched from the stands

went to a college that didn’t even have

a team. Plans and dreams disappear like that.

You went on with your life, a watcher, a fan

until one Sunday, today you watched two

teams bungle, fumble, seem to forget how

to play, and there you are again, your

childhood self, that other self that got left

behind, catch a pass over your shoulder and

run, zig-zag, while they all cheered you on

this time.