Rowan Ricardo Phillips
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
PROPER NAMES IN THE LYRICS OF TROUBADOURS
My parents never call me Rowan.
I'm Ricky, from Ricardo.
But not Ricky Ricardo.
I'm also the first Phillips in my family.
My mother decided Phillip, my father's
family name, sounded too much like a first name.
(In America, at least).
Rowan Phillip would lead inevitably
to Phillip Rowan. That was her story, and she's sticking to it.
For the record, that's an Old Norse first name,
a Spanish middle name,
and one of those faux-English-faux-Dutch-sounding last names
that's really Greek for lover of horses.
“Rowan Ricardo Phillips”:
another of those names that straddles seas in the sails of unseen
ships. Still, it sounds typically West Indian to me.
And like “the West Indies” indefinite.
An indefinite noun in an indefinite poem.
It took me a while to accept it.