The localized alphabet

(Written for my recent reading. Not read exactly as written. See also The alphabet: An introduction, which was read earlier in the reading, and which this piece references.)

I wanted to write an alphabet of the poets we know here in Portland, in the Spare Room part of Portland. David would be D, and Maryrose would be M, and Mark would be M, and… but Maryrose isn’t Mark, and Mark isn’t Maryrose, but M is M, so… but Lindsay could be L, and Rodney could be R, and they could be left and right, and Robbie could be R, although Rodney isn’t Robbie, and Robbie isn’t Rodney, but R is R, but also Robbie’s already gone to Buffalo, so… and Jules could be J, and Kaia could be K, and together they could be just kidding, and margareta could be M, but, Maryrose isn’t margareta and Mark isn’t margareta and margareta isn’t Maryrose or Mark… but margareta is a lowercase m! but then again, so is mARK, sometimes… and do we want an alphabet where lowercase m and uppercase M count as different letters? and Dan is D but isn’t David, and Joel is J but isn’t Jules, and Jared is also J but Jared isn’t Jules and Jules isn’t Joel and Joel isn’t Jared and I’m not even sure Jared’s Jared and now Joseph’s back in town which is great but you can’t all be J! At least Bethany is B and I can’t think of another B, but I bet Bethany wishes she were Œ. Gale is safely G and Cynthia might soon have C to herself, oh except Cat and the other Cynthia are also Cs… Tony and Tom can tussle for T. Patrick might be the only P, Endi is a cinch for E, Sam can be S, but Ashley and Alicia are both As, and Lisa and Laura have been Ls in this town longer than Lindsay has… and maybe Maryrose could be MR but she is no mister and she’s certainly not mentally retarded. And this is hardly everyone! If this is supposed to be the alphabet, it’s not an exhaustive list, it’s in no particular order, and it has left off important letters like O and Y and certainly hasn’t considered any Æs or &s… This is not the alphabet marching in rank and file atop the chalkboard in an elementary school classroom, it’s a bundle of signboard letters found in a decaying briefcase in the basement of a long-abandoned church, the sort of thing that would get snapped up at a garage sale in this town.

(This should automatically post right around when my flight leaves to Toronto. Thank you all, again and again, those mentioned in this piece and those not, for being my alphabet.)


  1. Chris said...

    Boo. I had links for everyone. Well, I'll fix it later. I'm at O'Hare now, where they've turned off the music at the people mover.  

  2. troylloyd said...

    Frank O'Hare?  


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