Friday, April 10, 2015

ABCDEFG. . . April Poem #10

Oh, wow, we're 1/3 of the way through National Poetry Month and I'm still keeping up with a poem a day . . .  hard to believe.

Today's was fun, with no deep meaning, though it is based on memory, specifically of when I was in my very early 20s and working at the Union Labor Life Insurance Company on the 8th floor of the Flood Building at Powell and Market in San Francisco. When Joe and I were there in 2006, ULLICO was gone, though the building itself survives in all its Edwardian or Art Nouveau or whatever kind of glory, I was happy to see. John's Grill, just outside the back door of the Flood Building, also survived, and I hope it still does. It was a lunchtime and after-work hangout for various business types, including Mr. K, the VP who was my boss. One evening a whole group of us from the office got kicked out of there for singing spirited (pun intended) Irish revolutionary and drinking songs. I think it was because we got a bit too rowdy on "The Rising of the Moon," especially Mr. K, who, as the poem mentions, did enjoy his drink.
The lobby of San Francisco's Flood Building; I have no idea who any of those people are, so please don't ask. 
Today's challenge from NaPoWriMo is to "write an abecedarian poem - a poem with a structure derived from the alphabet. There are a couple of ways of doing this. You could write a poem of 26 words, in which each word begins with a successive letter of the alphabet. You could write a poem of 26 lines, where each line begins with a successive letter. Or finally, if you'd prefer to narrow your focus, perhaps you could write a poem which focuses on a few letters, using words that repeat them." I chose the second option, partly because, as you'll see, it relates to something I've done before, and partly, to be honest, because it seemed easiest.


After lunch, sitting at my desk relaxing
(Because my boss enjoyed his 2- and 3-drink lunches and
Could be counted on not to return before 2:30 or so), I
Doodled on yellow legal pads. Sometimes down the
Edge I'd list the letters of the alphabet, then names for the
Family I would one day have. Mostly I listed
Girls' names: Aine, Bridget, Cathleen, Deirdre,
Homing in on my Irish heritage, but others, too. Guenevere,
Isolde - I loved tragic Arthurian romances - and
Juanita, after my second grade teacher and a song my grandfather sang.
Keeping things romantic, mythical, pre-Raphaelite, I included
Lilith, but only the one from Dante Gabriel Rossetti's poem. And no
Marys, Margarets, or even Maries. Too common.
Niobe's a lovely name, I thought, but not with all those tears.
Or Niamh, but it was unpronounceable, I thought then.
Patrick was good (my mother's named Patricia; she'd have
Quite liked a grandchild named after her), or Quentin, for a boy.
Ragnar would be a great name for a dog;
Sometimes I made lists of dogs' names
Too. (Ragnar was Ernest Borgnine's character in The Vikings.)
Ursula's a name I considered for my dog Greta, who fell
Victim to distemper as a pup but survived because
We gave her Certo pectin to combat dehydration, and it worked.
Xena wasn't around then or I might have named my daughter after the warrior princess.
Yolanda was my best friend when we were little yet her name showed up
Zero times on my lists. I wonder why? I always liked that name.

So what would be on your list of names, and why? And please, I'd love to read any comments you care to make.


  1. Fun! I think this form would be hard to write, but (or maybe so?) I might try it one of these days... On our list of names before we chose Elizabeth: Dashiell, Angus, Rory (I liked it, Dave didn't), Matthew ... I can't remember many of the girl names we chose, because Dave immediately shot them all down, but I do remember suggesting Kaitlin, Miranda, Marina, and Cassandra. Oh yeah. I really liked Cassandra. That I all of a sudden remember.

  2. Oddly, this particular one (okay, my first) almost wrote itself. I like Cassandra too, but have memories of a very weird Cassandra from boarding school, so I wouldn't have even put that one on the last. She was very nice, but very strange. Our 4-year-old "chosen" granddaughter is named Rory - Joe calls her "Roarin' Rory." I always thought if I had a male Scottie or Westie I'd name him Angus; a female would be Agnes, after my first-grade-teacher who was born on a ship from Scotland.