Patricia Lockwood: The Hypno-Domme Speaks, and Speaks and Speaks

The great thing about National Poetry Month is the chance to not only revisit some old favorites, but to take the opportunity to search out some new voices as well. While I’ll never tire of reading Tennyson’s “Ulysses,” it’s also fun to come upon a poet I’ve not read before. And, as a sign of the times, I found Patricia Lockwood first through her witty and often (very) irreverent Twitter account.

(posted after a robbery)

Lockwood brings that same humor and tongue-in-cheek sense to today’s poem:

The Hypno-Domme Speaks, and Speaks and Speaks.

I was born as a woman, I talk you to death,
                            or else your ear off,
 or else you to sleep. What do I have, all the time
 in the world, and a voice that swings brass back
 and forth, you can hear it, and a focal point where
 my face should be. What do I have, I have absolute
 power, and what I want is your money, your drool,
 and your mind, and the sense of myself as a snake,
 and a garter in the grass. Every bone in the snake
 is the hipbone, every part of the snake is the hips.
 The first sound I make is silence, then sssssshhh,
       the first word I say is listen. Sheep shearers
               and accountants hypnotize the hardest,
 and lookout sailors who watch the sea, and the boys
 who cut and cut and cut and cut and cut the grass.
 The writers who write page-turners, and the writers
 who repeat themselves. The diamond-cutter kneels
 down before me and asks me to hypnotize him, and
 I glisten at him and glisten hard, and listen to me and
 listen, I tell him. Count your age backward, I tell him.
 Become aware of your breathing, and aware of mine
             which will go on longer. Believe you
       are a baby till I tell you otherwise, then believe
 you’re a man till I tell you you’re dirt. When a gunshot
 rings out you’ll lie down like you’re dead. When you
 hear, “He is breathing,” you’ll stand up again.
 The best dog of the language is Yes and protects you.
 The best black-and-white dog of the language is Yes
 and goes wherever you go, and you go where I say,
 you go anywhere. Why do I do it is easy, I am working
 my way through school. Give me the money
              for Modernism, and give me the money
 for what comes next. When you wake to the fact that you
 have a body, you will wake to the fact that not for long.
 When you wake you will come when you read the word
 hard, or hard to understand me, or impenetrable poetry.
 When you put down the book you will come when you
 hear the words put down the book,
                       you will come when you hear.

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