Gerald Locklin: Four Poems

Gerald Locklin is the author of The Sun Also Rises in the Desert, from Mendicant Bookworks; a collection of poems, Deep Meanings: Selected Poems, 2008-2013, from PRESA Press; three simultaneously released novellas from Spout Press; Volume One of the Complete Coagula Poems; a new edition of New and Selected Poems, 1967-2008 from Silver Birch Press; and a well-reviewed French collection of his short stories and Bukowski memoirs, Le Dernier des Damnes, from 13eNoteEditions,Paris.

*****

It’s a fine book, but…

I read in a blurb that To Kill a Mockingbird
Has been named Best Novel of the Century.
It doesn’t say who has named it that,
But I suspect that the Selection Committee
Was composed exclusively of those who read it
In junior year of high school and haven’t
Read another novel since.

***

A Blasphemy

In the course of our panel discussion
Someone disses L.A. and someone else says,
“But I love San Francisco.”

So, with my usual tongue-jerk reaction,
I fire back. “I hate San Francisco.”

Even as I hear myself uttering the words,
I’m kicking my own butt
Because I know I’m going to have to spend
The rest of the conference answering the question:

“Why do you hate San Francisco?”

And the answer of course is two-fold:
Because San Francisco loves itself quite enough
No to require any strokes from me;
And because no one there has dared
To have an independent thought,
Let alone voice an unpopular one,
Since long before Tony Bennett
Left his brains there.

***

Brokeback: The Musical

I was looking for a recording of
Send in the Clowns
But I couldn’t find the ones by Sinatra,
Streisand or Judy Collins under Pop, Jazz,
Show Tunes, Contemporary, or Easy Listening.
When I finally gave in and
Asked for help, I was directed to a section
I never knew existed called

LIFESTYLE.

Not even the plural.

Whose lifestyle? Mine is a combination of
Teaching, writing, family, swimming, movies
Opera, art museums, travel, fine (but budget and
High fiber) dining, bottled water (laying off the
Diet Pepsi, at least for now), and rooting for
The Yankees and the Lakers (bicoastal but unhip).
Also, giving poetry readings where I inflict upon
The faithful my performances of a limited repertoire
To which I am attempting to add Send in the Clowns.

Suddenly it dawned on me:
Maybe Lifestyle means Gay?!
Maybe it’s all an extension of Strangers in the Night
And k.d. lang duets with Tony Bennett.
Who knew?! (Probably everyone but me.)

A bisexual buddy of mine used to quip,
“Just sucking an occasional dick doesn’t
Make you queer, does it?”

I wonder if enjoying ( and performing) Sondheim does?
If so, I hope it also makes me rich.

***

The Ungrateful Dead

I would imagine
Most of them are.

Photograph of Gerald Locklin by Alexis Rhone Fancher.

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