Thursday Poem

The Pinch

I said out loud for the first time ever, I want to deface a car. I
wanted other things too, as it happened — the things I wanted were
so specific.

You see I was looking at the bodies all day. The unrolling skins of
the politicians. Due to recent developments I could see every pore,
and a moistness at the corner of the eyes.

I thought I would like to make that moistness.

The speaker of the house came on, I thought I want to forcibly
remove every piece of beard from your body.

The counselor to the president came on, I thought I am going to
unbend you like a Barbie knee, until you make that creak.

These were new thoughts. Before, it had always been myself that I
imagined: slashed to ribbons, pressed to the griddle, spinning on
the tip of a sword. Peeled like a grape for a haunted house.

But now the feeling had been let out. A pure pinch between two
fingers, and shocking how soft it was.

A brazen desire to deflate the turtle, to surprise him to the point of
squealing, to pop the lenses out so he couldn’t find his way to

To rip the suit off stitch by stitch and burn it in one of those cans
that homeless people and gang members are always warming their
hands over. In the movies.

Where do you buy baseball bats, I asked.

Is there a store that sells only the red spray paint.

The secretary of education came on, I saw her clinging to an
oversized novelty pencil as she went over Niagara Falls. I had
somehow engineered this, through my cleverness.

The attorney general came on and I thought I will aim the ray and
shrink you down and put you in a model train scenario. In a hat
with blue stripes, which will be your hell.

The former governor of Arkansas came on, I thought I will sit on
you like a fart cushion until you have bllbbted your last bbblpptdt.

The White House chief strategist came on the screen, I said I will
feed you pieces of nazi memorabilia one by one until you start to
gurgle. I want them to find you wearing Eva Braun’s bra.

The second in command appeared, and I thought, what I do to you,
they will name it the Indiana.

My hand was shaking, it was a fist, inside it was the shape of a
human being I had squeezed into a chess piece until it could not
move, it could not move against us.

What us, my parents voted for him.

When I was very young, in the house with the swing set, my mother
put me in charge of one of the sweet shampooed Lauras that she
babysat, whose ponytail slid like fresh runoff down one shoulder. I
thought hazily, she must know that I mean business, then swung a
diaper bag square at her trusting rump, whomp, and raised my
voice and said you go sit in time out!

Until I say!

This means I have the seed in me, or something.

You need to learn to defend yourself, my mother told me, and so the
next time my brother snuck up to torment me I dug my nails into
his forearm until I almost broke the skin, and my father said, I
always knew you were nasty.

The first lady stood at the podium and I thought, I will plant you
very very deep, until your head is a sunflower even Kansas doesn’t

The wife I didn’t picture doing anything to, it had all been done
already. Her teeth were broken from eating jewelry.

The son I actually wept to see — the unscripted movements of his
hands were so familiar. Due to recent developments, my tears were
brighter than usual.

Still the bodies continued. It was no longer enough to think they
had once been babies, that seeing them I would have become a
thousand tickling fingertips and not this flashing kit of sharp

I felt myself a sack of what could happen, while all around me flew

Then the husband himself marched onscreen, and a great sound
opened in my mind like a pair of scissors, and I said I am going to
do it, I am going to cut your hair.
I will lift up the longest strand and
snip, will chase you to the roof of your own self and slice like the
wind through your last hiding place. In America you can be
anything, suddenly I was anything, my nails broke the skin of
his arm. He opened his mouth and I said, I’m condemning your building
for rats.
I’m going to put you in a bed at the border, I am going to
brutally cut your lunch, I am going to remove the word big from
you, surgically, I am going to tighten your silk, past pink and blue to
purple, I am going to make you young again, at the moment when
you said she must know I mean business, I am going to take a
lighter to the money, I am going to snap the golf club on my knee, I
am going to lift the daughters off your lap, every one, I am going to
leave a thumbprint in all that gold

Which is so soft, remember

by Patricia Lockwood
March, 2016