The Iceberg Theory and Other Poems

(Excerpts from the book by Gerald Locklin)
The False Rhapsody of Art

a phrase from ondaatje's english patient:
perhaps why "odysseus never wrote a word."

a purity of mind of the man of action
that we of words might emulate.

what pound sought;
what william carlos williams set out for:
to demonstrate we did not need it,
that poetry can do quite well
without the false.

oppen, edward field, bukowski--
they all sought to avoid it
while keeping their ears cocked,
their voices clear and clean,
for the new music
of the truth
of the never old emotions.


(as heard on MPR's The Writer's Almanac!)
The Iceberg Theory 

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 goddamn 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.


the days go awry

it's a beautiful southern california day:
eighty-six degrees in january and i'm swimming
at the heated outdoor pool of the local ymca,
gazing up from my sidestroke,
like a giant sea otter
(even sporting the whiskers)
at the perfectly blue skies
and the deep green pine trees
etched against them,

and the combination of weather, aesthetics,
and endorphins puts me in such a benevolent
mood that i want to do more nice things for
her, go places with her, have romantic
outings again,
but then i realize that at this very moment
she is probably in a vile temper and
blaming it on precisely this early summer,
as her allergies flare up,
and her students grow unruly,

and i remember what bukowski used to write me
about women--how he'd wake up to a new day
in a generally positive frame of mind--
and yes that's possible even when hungover--
and then he'd notice that whatever woman he was
with was sitting there, silent, stewing, just
waiting to ruin it all,
and he couldn't figure it out about women,
what it was about women that impelled them
towards unhappiness--i suppose today we'd
just say "hormones"--and as i contemplated how
often she has brought me down,
with her complaints and complications,
my heart begins to sink,

and i sneeze.


About the Author & Book

About the Author

Gerald Locklin is the author of over 80 books of stories and poems. His work has been published in over a thousand literary and poetry magazines and anthologies worldwide. Some of his most recent books include Hemingway Colloquium: The Poet Goes To Cuba, Down And Out, Go West, Young Toad, and This Sporting Life And Other Poems. Heís also had an important (some would say major) influence on the face of small press poetry due to his rather impressive tenure at Cal. State University of Long Beach as an English and Creative Writing Professor.

Dr. Locklin has encouraged me, both as poet and publisher, over the last few years, so itís an honor to be able to return the favor, so to speak.

About The Iceberg Theory:

Ernest Hemingway believed that a writer can write of what he knows very well in such a way that a few perfect details on the surface imply a great deal that can be left unsaid. He compared this method to an iceberg, four-fifths of which is hidden beneath the surface but sensed on an unconscious level by anyone who views the visible twenty percent.

About the book

TITLE: The Iceberg Theory & Other Poems

AUTHOR: Gerald Locklin

PUBLISHER: Lummox Press, Little Red Book #18

Text is set in Century Gothic. Titles are set in Calisto MT. This is one of a first edition of 300 copies. It was edited, laid-out & assembled by Raindog for Lummox Press.

ISBN 1-929878-17-6

COST: Five Dollars + One Dollar postage


Guide to Other LRB pages

More LRB info: ummm...
Little Red Books (LRB): LRB numbers 3,4,5 & 6
Scar Tissue by A.D. Winans: LRB #6, excerpts
Meat Eater by Bill Shields: LRB #5, excerpts
A Journey Up the Coast by RD Armstrong: LRB #11, excerpts
RD Armstrong's Bio: What makes me tick... what ticks me off
The Final Bukowski issue of the Lummox Journal: 35 contributors honor the BUK!
The Wren Notebook: LRB Master Series #1 by Rick Smith
On/Off the Beaten Path: a new "road" poem by RD Armstrong
Nomads of Oblivion: Another foray into the mind of Scott Wannberg
The Corpse is Dreaming: The final chapter in Todd Moore's epic poem
Blue Collar Work: Errol Miller's ode to the workin' man...
Eyes Like Mingus: Jazz Poetry Anthology w/ Locklin, Weber, Armstrong & 11 others
Paper Heart Vol. 3: Love Poems by Raindog? You betcha!
Bombed in New Mexico by Todd Moore & Mark Weber: The Poet Larriats of ABQ, NM ride again!
How to become a Lummox Patron: How does this work?

RD "Raindog" Armstrong

lumoxraindog@earthlink.net
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San Pedro, CA 90733-5301
United States