Patricia Lockwood was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and raised in all the worst cities of the Midwest. She is the author of two poetry collections, Balloon Pop Outlaw Black (Octopus Books, 2012), and Motherland, Fatherland, Homelandsexuals (Penguin, 2014), which was a New York Times Notable Book and chosen as a best book of the year by The Boston Globe, Flavorwire, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.
There’s an elasticity to Lockwood’s work, the kind a cartoon body displays when turned into an accordion by a plummeting anvil or as demonstrated by the endless transmutations of Daffy Duck in Duck Amuck.
Is the last man alive on this earth. He has the cities
to himself, and even has the blondes, who are over
his shoulders not kicking or screaming. He carries
them wherever he carries the gorilla. “I can see straight
through and past your mask,” the gorilla-suit actor
tells himself. “I can see your eyes twinkle way up
with the stars. Between two skyscrapers I can see them.
By the end the audience will recognize you. By the end
they will see you as one of them, by the end they will see
their faces in your face,”
and the audience feels themselves lifted up too,
and the audience leaves one by one. “Where is the movie,
where is my movie?” the gorilla cries in despair. He beats
his bass chest, there is only silence. He opens his mouth
and makes the loud frightened music the score makes
when we first see him. He is taller than even he remembers.
Comets streak through and through his head. All the blondes
are thrown over his shoulders, the blondes he never even
liked, the bunches of blondes he mistook for bananas. What
he likes is the Chrysler Building, all nipped and shirred
at the waist. What he likes is the cool copper Statue of Liberty.
What he likes, getting bigger, is that high-heeled continent.
What he likes, he thinks, sweat dripping sky to the ground,
is the great gorilla-suit itself and its long great line of inhabitants.
The late great is alone, is alone on the earth. The sun approaches
hotter than hot, the last and screamingest of the blondes.
The last of the great is as big as deep space, the last of the late
is as big as the night, he reaches out and grabs the sun, he is
stuffed with the stars of gorilla-suit acting, all gorilla-suit
actors are moving his arms, all gorilla-suit actors are moving
his legs, and we make the sad music the score makes
when the gorilla is shot full of holes, and “Remember me!”
we cry to no one at large, and burst out of the suit at last
to breathe, last of the late great gorilla-suit actions