Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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.


Beth Hanna said...

Hey! I read books that have those "four letter" words in them! I just don't use them! Ha! Excellent poem - I think we're having salad for lunch too, but not iceberg - we go for the "other" kind! In fact, we bought out our favorite market stand's spinach today - and that's A LOT of spinach!!

Beth said...

I admit I am guilty of passing over the poor old common iceberg for its healthier counterparts. Great poem. Put a smile on my face! Now for some doughnuts with the boys.

Molly Sabourin said...

Hee,hee! I,too, appreciate a solid, well written poem that makes me think - one that can be understood all on its own without some sort of secret decoder ring. Although, if someone wants to take the time to explain to me their appreciation for a more obscure piece, I am always happy to listen!

Michelle said...

Love the poem Kris - I prefer spinach to iceberg, but that's just me. :) My kids prefer no salad at all - but I was thinking salad for dinner tonight too!

paige said...

Aw man, if you want me to comment - include a food metaphor. Love it - love the poem, the metaphor. and of course crisp white lettuce.

anna j said...

Count me in on the fun this week :-)
Thanks for all your fine administrative work: it's good to have a reason to celebrate poetry!

Emily Lorelli said...

Kris -- Another fun, raw poem. I have to admit that I kinda agree -- iceberg lettuce is just so satisfying!

Jenny said...


I really love the idea of a poem in praise of iceberg lettuce, and also the idea that just because something is ordinary, that doesn't mean it can't be great. And I totally agree with the line about poetry--I tend to like the simplest ones best!