gerald locklin | it gets done & I still don’t write itself

3 12 2007

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Poetry Dispatch No.162 | April 13,2007

Today’s poem and note go back to a previous Poetry Dispatch (No. 151, February 10, 2007) titled “Doing It” where the topic at hand was yet another reflection on a rather obsessive main theme of mine: “The Writing Life”. The poem discussed in No. 51 centered on writers who do it (write), and those who merely talk about it, not to mention just how or why it gets done. Here’s a reprint of the that Locklin poem from No. 151 to refresh everyone’s memory. Followed by the poem for today’s dispatch. Norbert Blei

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It Gets Done by Gerald Locklin

a friend of mine, george carroll,
has this phrase, “It gets done.”
he means it in the sexual realm,
that before the bar closes
you will somehow end up with a woman.
it always does seem to be the case for him.
somehow it never happens to me.

but I like the extension of his idiom
into other areas, like writing.
if you’re a writer, the writing gets done.
if you’re not a writer, it doesn’t.
the non-writer can site innumerable valid reasons
why it isn’t getting done,
such as wives, kids, jobs, distractions,
unconducive working conditions, broken typewriters,
and the heartbreak of unrelenting rejections.
the writer will,
in spite of all of the above,
write.
no, let me return to the periphrastic passive:
it gets done—no one quite knows how.

from, CHILDREN OF A LESSER DEMAGOGUE, Wormwood Review Press, 1987

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The subject for today’s Dispatch, N o.162 is yet another Gerald Locklin poem, and yet another idea worthy examination in any writer/artist’s life: what we write about. And what (for whatever reason) we will not allow ourselves to write about. Norbert Blei

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IT STILL DON’T WRITE ITSELF by Gerald Locklin

some of my young friends
think you can be a writer
without fucking up your life.
they don’t want to write any poems
that will hurt anyone’s feelings
or be an embarrassment to themselves
or their families.
they don’t want to waste time writing
that could be better spent with the kids
or making a few extra bucks or making
someone or other a little happier.

I like my kids and I scramble
around for money too, and I generally
try to keep the peace,
but if I get too far from writing
I’ll still pick a fight with a wife
or mother or girlfriend or best friend,
or all on the same day,

just to have something to write about
and nothing else to do
but write about it.

from CHILDREN OF A LESSER DEMAGOGUE, Wormwood Press, 1987

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My only disagreement with the poem above are the last two stanzas: the idea that a writer would/should deliberately create an experience for the purposes of later rendering into writing—or hopefully “art.” That, to me, is a false as choosing to write about the bluebird of happiness in your eyes rather than the hawk in your heart. Norbert Blei

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