captain tennille
“Where’s the Captain?”
by Alarie Tennille

Asks the clerk holding my credit
card, asks the person I just met.
They laugh at their corny joke.
I smile, too, relieved to hear
a stranger pronounce, “Tennille.”

It never kept company
in the phone book. The first day
of school, I’d wait for the long pause
after the S’s and announce, “Here!”
Once I jumped into the J’s. Our water
bill came to Mr. Linville.

Then, in 1975, the radio announced,
“‘Love Will Keep Us Together’
by the Captain and Tennille.”
Saved! I was pulled into the harbor
of my distant cousin’s fame.

Time passes, fame’s knot
loosens, but for a while I enjoyed
being a household name.

IMAGE: The Captain (Daryl Dragon) and Tennille (Toni Tennille) on the cover of their 1975 debut album Love Will Keep Us Together.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’m happy to have a unique name, but it does present challenges. I’ve met very few Tennilles, even relatives. I used to have to pronounce and spell both Alarie and Tennille everywhere I went. I was so stunned to hear “Tennille” announced on the radio that I had to go to a record store to make sure. Having a famous cousin turn up was a blessing. For at least a decade, most people got my last name right. Thank you, Toni Tennille!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Alarie Tennille was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. She misses the ocean, but loves the writing community she’s found in Kansas City, Missouri. Alarie serves on the Emeritus Board of The Writers Place. Alarie’s poetry collection, Running Counterclockwise, was First Runner Up for the 2015 Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence.  She’s also written a chapbook, Spiraling into Control, and her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Margie, Poetry East, I-70 Review, Midwest Quarterly Review, and Southern Women’s Review. Visit her at