First Communion 001
A Name in the Middle of It All
by Michael Louis Schinker

I seldom ever heard my middle name
unless it was hooked to my first name
making it sound like just one name
yelled out from the back porch by my
mother searching for my whereabouts
because it’s time for supper, like an
expletive shattering a quiet summertime air
with a loud syllable-by-syllable singsong
repetition of


letting me and everyone else
in the neighborhood know
Boy, you are in real trouble and you
better hightail it back home right now
cuz you’re gunna get smacked
for some reason or another.

I guess I never asked when Louis
first began appearing on the family tree
but the probable inspiration
for its continuity down through
my father and on to me was
likely the Louis I learned about
early on in parochial school,
a certain pious noble in the middle
of a long line of 18 French monarchs,
he being the IX, the Crusader King,
apparently esteemed by both the pope
who proclaimed him Saint and
early settlers on the banks of the
Mississippi who named their town
after him.

Of course I couldn’t help but
research the meaning and origins
of my middle moniker and discovered
that Louis is a fancy French version
of the manlier Ludwig, a derivative
of two gutsy German words meaning
“fame” and “warrior.”

Wow! What a revelation.
What possibilities.
Suddenly I’m wishing away the
timid, skinny bookish youngster
of my real childhood and imagining
myself as a Beowulf-like character,
substituting a Wagnerian
opera-costumed version of my mother
accompanied by a thundering
chorus of Ride of the Valkyries,
sending out a clarion call
heard around the block for

You mighty young warrior;
return from your day of battle
and sup with us.
Sit ye down ’round the blazing fire
with a pint of mead and join us
for roasted pig whilst ye
tell a hearty tale of blood and pillaging.

But alas, it was not meant to be
so like Tolkien’s Galadriel
resisting the enchantment
of the One Ring’s power,
I shall gradually diminish
and remain the Louis
I was fated to be,
my dream of Nordic glory
fading into the realm of myth,
relegated into the fantasy world
of make-believe like a
Walter Mitty trance.

But anyway, the only place
my middle name really matters
is on my birth and death certificates.
What happens in between
should just be about –

PHOTOGRAPH: The author the morning of his First Holy Communion. “It marks the date the Catholic Church officially began its doctrinal efforts to scare the hell out of me,” he says. “It didn’t work.”

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:I read many of the entries already posted, and intrigued by the subject, I decided to accept the challenge.


Michael Louis Schinker
lives in Omaha, Nebraska, and has been involved in the advertising profession as a creative director/graphic designer/copywriter for almost 40 years. A lust for literature of all genres was sparked when one of his earliest poems was published in his high school’s first creative arts magazine. He wrote short stories, several plays, and poetry while in college, but all the manuscripts were burned in a trash barrel during a fit of depression. He will be 70 years old later this year and regrets that he didn’t begin writing seriously again decades ago. Recently a renewed interest in self-expression prompted him to launch a blog to post random thoughts about life and love: