Am I that name?

Or do I twist to fit it?

If you called me something else,

would it affect the ‘me’ I feel ‘inside’?

Who is it that speaks?

Who is speaking now, in these lines,

this person you think you read

as you absorb these words?

You think you know me,

that these lines somehow represent

that which I cannot even know (of) myself.

When I think about myself,

am I reflecting on something I have created?

And if so, where is the ‘I’ that creates?

If I am the creation of a creation,

a fiction that reiterates ad infinitum,

where does it end?

Something from nothing, or nothing at all?

What does it mean to have meaning?

can something mean something

with nobody to mean anything to?

If there was no reader here,

what would happen to these lines

I am writing? Would they

sit limp and lifeless,

silenced like the tree

that falls in the forest

with no-one around?

Who are you?

What do you see when you think about me?

Perhaps a refraction of who you think you are,

who you think I am,

or who you want me to be?

Where is the ‘you’ that thinks?

That reads these lines,

and endows them with meaning?

Do you really think

that you can read my meaning here?

Do you think

you can see into my subconscious, or

do you consciously create your own fictions,

your own meanings,

your own story?

Are these lines really mine,

or are they ours?

And if we say ‘we’,

where could we be?


Notes: ‘Am I that Name?’ is the title of a book by Denise Riley, a wonderful feminist author and poet. The full reference for the book is as follows:

Riley, Denise. 1989. Am I That Name? Feminism and the Category of Women in History, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.

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