Angelica Maria Aguilera – “For the Girls with Long Names”


I like to think of names as orgasms. Two is great, but three is a blessing. Esperanza Milagros Aguilera, Lina Maria Cañon, Gladys Teresa Hidalgo… I like the names
that introduce themselves. Hello. Rosario Lopez Martinez.
Nice to meet you. Hola, Rosa Laflaca,
but they call me Conchita. Don’t forget the “ita,” eh? I like the names that wrap their lengthy letters
around your strong hand and shake like they mean business. I like the names that get all dressed up to attend a party
in their best friend’s kitchen, and when asked
what they are so dressed up for respond, “Life is stupid.” I like the names that bust open the door, bring their own music, demand the DJ play the song
that sings to them these names, are always like,
“Why are you sitting down? You do not get to be still
while Probablemente is playing.” But somehow with their pushy insistence, their urgency to salsa everywhere, reminds you every floor
is waiting to be made a stage, arms eager to become wing machines. Why stay seated when you can fly? Why have a body if not to make it
into an instrument? “You think life is long,”
they will tell you. “But I have lost people in less time
than it takes to say my own name.” So these names pour wine into the teacups
with their loud, loud laughs and spread their pedicured syllables
across your tongue. The first time I meet Melania Luisa Marte, I cannot tell if she is singing
or telling me what to call her. I have always been told
my name is a mouthful, that I ought to trim the ends
of its perfectly curled extensions. But suddenly, I imagine
God’s writing process for names like ours. I imagine God’s jaw, unhinged on top of a dictionary
of adjectives, destruct, but the attempt to make a one-word title
out of a thousand-page script. I’d like to think the longest names, hardest to pronounce names, rolled letter and accent-heavy names, in fact, are forewords to the memoirs
most worth reading. And even the old white men, the cafe baristas and professors, that roll their eyes at the way
you write yourself across a page are secretly in awe of you. How you make language
a dance we do with our tongues, how you give vernacular a heartbeat. How you make it known this name, this breath, this story will live anyway. Thank you. (applause)

15 thoughts on “Angelica Maria Aguilera – “For the Girls with Long Names”

  1. finally a poem of a diferent topic and with a diferent reading flow. refreshing for being diferent, authentic and inspirating. Thank you.

  2. I have 2 names and 2 last names, and all of them can be last names, so no one knows in what order they go

  3. There is a special place in my rage for people who don’t bother to pronounce someone’s name properly, or like to shorten it to “an easier to say nickname”.

  4. It's been FOREVER since I heard a poem this good, to send tingles down my body, and tempt me to cry <3

  5. my name always takes up two lines, always messes up formatting. my favorite game is to see if someone can remember it whole.

  6. I love every poem that reshapes and romanticizes how you talk about a group of people

  7. Marie-Madeleine Gnagniko. And that’s without my middle names. And I am PROUD.

  8. one time I was putting in my bank info and it wouldn't take my info because "names must be under 22 characters".

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