Stephen Dunn is an American poet. Dunn has written fifteen collections of poetry. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his 2001 collection, Different Hours and has received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.. American poet
He'd spent his life trying to control the names
people gave him;
oh the unfair and the accurate equally hurt.
Just recently he'd been a son-of-a-bitch
and sweetheart in the same day,
and once again knew what antonyms
love and control are, and how comforting
it must be to have a business card -
Manager, Specialist - and believe what it says.
Who, in fact, didn't want his most useful name
to enter with him,
when he entered a room, who didn't want to be
that kind of lie? A man who was a sweetheart
and a son-of-a-bitch
was also more or less every name
he'd ever been called, and when you die, he thought,
that's when it happens,
you're collected forever into a few small words.
But never to have been outrageous or exquisite,
no grand mistake
so utterly yours it causes whispers
in the peripheries of your presence - that was
"Reckless"; he wouldn't object to such a name
if it came from the right voice with the right
amount of reverence.
Someone nearby, of course, certain to add "fool."