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Kari O'Connor
A Name

Kari O'Connor is a longtime spoken-word artist an award-winning National Poetry Slam performer. She likes to write positive poems, because "it's really easy to write from a place of depression." Positive poems, she says, can also come from a place of negativity, too. Her poem, titled "A Name," is a love poem for someone she has not yet met.


I want to find out who you are
just so I can write you a love poem
the you never has a name
just a you the poet tries to get to
and if the world wasn't so small
my fear wouldn't be claustrophobia
it wouldn't be waiting to feel
like I could loosen my arms to love
'cause all anyone ever has is a smile
that only your pet sees
and if I could curl up next to you
just to know breath coming through
that's what I'd do
'cause I'd rather know
you're coming home to see me
than be locked in a room
writing this right now
a girl with a space of her own
and I wanna be a girl
I wanna be Jesse's Girl
I wanna be your girl
the one that all those words
make sense for
when the really annoying bits
are really just funny
'cause hating someone is hard
when they aren't living
a life in generalities
I wanna be hope
just so you can know
what that feels like for once
and when you aren't there
I can have hope for myself
I wanna tell the truth
even when I can't tell it
to read your eyes
even when I can't spell it
or spill my heart out
just because I know you're staring
this life is hard
and I need a hand in helping
to knead it
taste life and eat it

'cause it's been too long
since a good kiss came my way
but it'd be nice
just to have your lips on my wrist
instead of the carpal tunnel
that flares up writing poems to a lover
I'm still waiting for
breakbeats underneath the skin
the foundation for a song in the key of life
and I wanna love you
like the word you had never been placed
next to the word love before
like you'd never been placed
next to love before
the long road of loneliness finally ending
with that one look
from across a crowded room
and ignoring the sadness
and ignoring the sunburn
that pain leaves on our bodies
a you
with a name
finally found on accident
making sense of lives
that defy logic
'cause I feel like my heart is so big
it'll explode in my chest
before anyone can examine its parts
and if you happen I can just quicken
instead of quickly questioning
what's really the problem
and not loving myself for the solution
my body is a map waiting to be drawn
and known
and rediscovered
each beauty mark the capital of a city
named after you
or us
or the entire universe
at the center of it all is the heart
ready for the transmission:
your name next to mine
lucid and beautiful


Other poets: Harry Fagel | Keith Brantley | Ida Marie "Solid" Collins
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