NaPoWriMo Day 14 – Etymology of Red Mud

Photo by Cody Board on Unsplash

Etymology of Red Mud

Gaelic in origin, Barry probably
means good enough, if not boring, dull, or
quick to bail on patriarchal pursuits,
as I gave up on reading the bone-dry
etymology four sentences in.

That’s a half-truth, but even patrons who
came up with it felt it was good enough,
surrendering midway, saying it might mean
“fair-headed, or maybe an Irish spear?
Hell’s bells, I dunno; why ask me? Fuck you.”

Ask momma and she’d tell you that it means
sweetie; ask grandma and she’d reply with
stanka; ask anyone else and you’ll get
other truthy-sounding observations.

The only important part is that I’m
the fourth of my name, third to serve in the
armed forces, second known to wildly wield
sarcasm as a melee weapon, and
first to clearly see the maze as well as
my iron-clad limitations within.

Dawson means son of David, and David
means beloved; loved by God, amen. Therefore,  
biblically-speaking, I guess that makes me
a bit of a legacy kid, amen.

Favor onto me, descendent of slave
and master, origin muddied, traced back to
great divide, to Mississippi riverbed
and no further, no deeper shall we tread.

In truth, all that can be gleaned from the name
means it is unique enough to be known
and when spoken in general earshot,
I will know it is me you are seeking.

I guess that will have to be good enough.


Written for NaPoWriMo Day 14 Prompt:

‘I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that delves into the meaning of your first or last name. Looking for inspiration? Take a look at this poem by Mark Wunderlich, appropriately titled “Wunderlich.”’

NaPoWriMo Day 14 Prompt

While I like this prompt, I feel like I’ve done it many times from the patriarchal angle, only to be frustrated that I can’t (or won’t) really go any deeper …

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