Change of Name.

By Hari B Parisi.

“I left my name on the courtroom floor, / took a new one, fresh and awkward…

Shedding by Helena Wurzel.

8:30 A.M. Los Angeles County Courthouse


I left my name on the courtroom floor,

took a new one, fresh and awkward,

cobbled from my former selves—child, hippie,

yogi—rolling r’s and ringing i’s. Singular B

between first and last—let it mean whatever you want.

The judge declares me certified. Papers

are signed, stamped. Outside,

the morning fog is thick. It’s chilly. I search out

coffee, watch the barista scroll, with her black

felt pen, across the curved canvas

of the cup—capital P, I tell her, like Paris,

with an i at the end. The coffee’s hot, too hot

to drink. I carry it like a chalice into

the elevator, down to the garage, place it

in my car, in the cup holder, start the engine,

take a right out of the tunnel, head west

to work. I say my name out loud—succinctly,

like the judge did. Say it again.

It’s 9:20.

Traffic looks good for a Friday.

The Blood Pudding – August 1, 2023

Hari B Parisi’s (formerly Hari Bhajan Khalsa) poems have been published in numerous journals, including Poet Lore, Peregrine, and The Bookends Review. She is the author of three volumes of poetry, most recently, She Speaks to the Birds at Night While They Sleep, winner of the 2020 Tebot Bach Clockwise Chapbook Contest. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

Artwork: Helena Wurzel’s oil-on-canvas compositions of women—often lounging by pools or in various states of relax—articulate a midcentury concept of style and coolness in their bold use of colour. They evoke the nonchalant air and formal characteristics of works by Alex Katz, juxtaposing hard-edged strokes of colour into flat, pop-inflected paintings. You can find more about her here.