Featuring Jonathan Scott


Jonathan talks a bit about his poem Harold:

Childhood, as best as I can remember, is a tug-of-war between imagination and mortification. Sadly, the fruits of imagination are largely enjoyed in solitude while the fruits of mortification are shared with a multitude—for example, I don’t know, say, the entire student body of J. B. Watkins Elementary School in Midlothian, Virginia.

After bullies have exhausted the quivers of their ready barbs regarding your corporeal defects of girth, color, breath, armpits, ears, speech, etc., they are compelled to scrounge for more outlying flaws which, give the cretins credit for effort, require research to discover—“research” read “wedgie” as often as not. Their interests typically comprise your father’s job, your mother’s looks, your side of the tracks, and, invariably, your middle name.

My middle name is Harold.

For reasons now beyond me, I was embarrassed to confess it. Perhaps I figured my middle name was the male equivalent of Myrtle (apologies to Myrtles—it’s a lovely name and a darn fine beach but this was the eighties, mind you) or just plain goofy like a lunchbox with a mismatched thermos (I don’t know, say, Star Wars and Smurfs, respectively); regardless, I wished my middle name was Flash or Buck or Conan or even something sublunary like Charles or Steven. But no.

My middle name is Harold.

Of course, eventually (though clearly not always) the bullies relent—“relent” read “fail eighth grade” with decent frequency—and you are relatively free to become comfortable with your idiosyncrasies, appreciative of your flaws, and proud of your middle name.

Which I am. Indubitably. Because it is an honor to be named after my grandfather. My
grandfather whose disease grew more and more vicious as my mother grew larger and larger with me in her womb. My grandfather, Harold, who died mere weeks before I was born, who never saw me in person, whose name I was given to carry on—into the world of linens and on, as far as I can go.


You can read more of Jonathan’s fine writing online through the following links:

Boy at Play” (Poem w/ audio, Able Muse)
A Man Drowns” (Poem, Hospital Drive)
Widower at Perril Falls” (Poem w/ audio, Conte)
In Terms of Grass and Dirt” (Poem, Floodwall)
Waiting” (Fiction, Mixed Fruit)