I always dreaded morning role call.

“Mike,” asked the substitute teacher.
“Here,” bellowed the pre-pubescent boy.
“Beth,” said the monotone teacher.
“Present,” giggled the ten year-old girl.

“Clarence,” smirked the teacher.


“Sorry, Clarence?” chuckled the teacher.

The entire classroom roared with laughter
as I buried my face in my hands.

I hated my middle name Clarence
as Clarence was my paternal grandfather,
the one that hung himself while working
in a state mental institution.


With my voice breaking, I muttured, “Here.”
Although I wish I wasn’t there.

Heads turned in my direction.
Fingers pointed while everyone laughed.
“What’s your name?”

Immediately I was Sorry.

I couldn’t speak
So I began to cry
I did not know why but
I wanted to flee.

Two years earlier my mother re-married.
Even though we had a new name,
the school records stayed the same.

Yet on that day,
I felt Robbed of my dignity.
I was afraid Clarence’s bi-polar blood
was flowing through me.

Many years later,
changed was my middle-name.
Though still flowing through me
is the blood of the deranged.

Today’s NaPoWriMo.net prompt for Day 9 of National Poetry Writing Month, is to write a poem that is about something you don’t want to write about.