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etymology ft. urban dictionary

after Airea D. Matthews


because my parents liked a filmmaker
or so I’m told pulp fiction means blood
splatter spells marvin’s brain on the rear windshield
 means quentin tarantino my parents

would spell Q-U-I-N-T-I-N their own magic
 transformation but still fits in mouths
when teachers roll call or for job interviews
 but still quentins or quintons or quentens
when Quintin lives right there in the email handle

 google calls me quintus a fifth
of whiskey or lazy speakers
 who drop the n and t like qui-in
also rhymes with gin and sin
almost end but since the start begged
the universe to turn their tongues
to pronounce in like inn evict the residence

of e in my name google says st. quentin
martyred in gaul body in a marsh
what persecution removes my head
just a misspelling just a micro

aggression Q among friends a nickname a relic of the i
I try to resurrect
 urban dictionary says a princess
 called my name say big dick says sex
                                         appeal says ultimate sex machine
and intimacy withheld

like the proper spelling in every birthday card
my mother still writes Quintin
until I die
 the i dies for e when a white man
 writes a bullet for my brain

 the e not empty nor the chamber
 urban dictionary says empty of emotion
but fun who writes these expectations

to my name I tried to tell you
it’s spelled Q-U-I-N-T-I-N
 google asks did you mean Q-U-E-N-T-I-N
I mean how can I voice
 these syllables my mouth
 a bloody mess


–from Claim Tickets for Stolen People, ©2022 Ohio State University Press

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