The Hypno-Domme Speaks, and Speaks and Speaks

By Patricia Lockwood Patricia Lockwood
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.

Source: Poetry (December 2013).

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This poem originally appeared in the December 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2013
 Patricia  Lockwood

Biography

Patricia Lockwood’s poems have appeared in the New Yorker, the London Review of Books, Tin House, and Poetry. She is the author of Balloon Pop Outlaw Black (Octopus Books, 2012).

In April 2014, Patricia Lockwood was a featured writer for Harriet.

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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