You know, to tell the truth, I am often horrified by Lockward's poems. I'm afraid she'll write one about me, and it will be called “To a Potato,” and I will have to find a small space to crawl into and die.
Bit of a bother, actually, and rather dull on your own,
always in need of enhancement.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph defend us. You know you're in trouble even before the anathema:
You are a fat, dirty spud, a misshapen blob
of starch, carbohydrates, and useless calories,
disreputable nightshade, consort to blight and famine.
The Potato has a second coming in this book:
The Jesus Potato
. . .
She envies women the signs in their munchibles
The St Petersburg woman who saw Jesus in a potato
chip, crisp wafer preserved like a relic, but salted.
It's things like “but salted,” at the end of that line, that prevent me from being an atheist. I simply don't believe that a merely human mind could come up with something so clever, unexpected, and right. More things in heaven and earth.
One of my favorite poems so far is “When Pigs Flee.” There's something of a punk Blake about Lockward. She runs amok. This celebration of the porcine body, and of the escape from bondage, is very Blakean, both in its thoroughgoing radicalism, and its location squarely within Christianity. At the same time that she is blasting church and piety, her language goes inevitably to sin (though never, so far, to redemption.) Her escaped hog is more gleeful at trampling convention than any merely feral animal could ever be. I'd set a video montage of “When Pigs Flee” to Joan Jett singing “I love Rock n Roll.” You can't be a bad girl without someone to call you one.