Poetry Wednesday, Vol. 39

This picture has nothing to do with today’s poem, it’s just a good picture. I imagine Josie will turn 14, cut and dye her hair herself, strap on her tutu and combat boots, pierce something strange and still be the sweetest girl around. I hope she will leave her porcelain doll cheeks un-ornamented, but I may be hoping for too much.

This poem has been sitting on my dresser for a while now. I hesitate to print it because the poet curses! And my mother reads this! But he manages to capture exactly how I feel about poetry, well, and about food too, if we’re being honest. I think we’ll have salad for dinner.

The Iceberg Theory

Gerald Locklin

all the food critics hate iceberg lettuce.
you’d think romaine was descended from
orpheus’s laurel wreath,
you’d think raw spinach had all the nutritional
benefits attributed to it by popeye,
not to mention aesthetic subtleties worthy of
verlaine and debussy.
they’ll even salivate over chopped red cabbage
just to disparage poor old mr. iceberg lettuce.

I guess the problem is
it’s just too common for them.
it doesn’t matter that it tastes good,
has a satisfying crunchy texture,
holds its freshness,
and has crevices for the dressing,
whereas the darker, leafier varieties
are often bitter, gritty, and flat.
it just isn’t different enough, and
it’s too damn american.

of course a critic has to criticize:
a critic has to have something to say.
perhaps that’s why literary critics
purport to find interesting
so much contemporary poetry
that just bores the shit out of me.

at any rate, I really enjoy a salad
with plenty of chunky iceberg lettuce,
the more the merrier,
drenched in an italian or roquefort dressing.
and the poems I enjoy are those I don’t have
to pretend that I’m enjoying.


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