Cute and Dirty and Innocent and Experienced


The Exorcist, Warner Bros., 1973

From The New York Times:

In her candy-colored new memoir, “Priestdaddy,” Patricia Lockwood describes her father’s conversion this way:

“Put yourself in his place. You’re a drop of blood at the center of the ocean, which plays a tense soundtrack all night long, interspersed with bright blips of radar. Russians are trying to blow up capitalism and you’re surrounded by dolphins who know how to spy and the general atmosphere is one of cinematic suspense.

“All of the sudden you look up at a screen and see a possessed 12-year-old with violent bedhead vomiting green chunks and backwards Latin. She’s so full of a demon that the only way to relieve her feelings is to have hate sex with a crucifix. You would convert too, I guarantee it.”

These sentences are prime examples of Lockwood’s looping and elastic style. She injects whimsical imagery (spying dolphins, “violent bedhead”) into weightier reveries in a manner that can make your head, like the unlucky little girl’s in “The Exorcist,” perform what in ice skating they call a double axel.

Lockwood’s prose is cute and dirty and innocent and experienced, Betty Boop in a pas de deux with David Sedaris. When her stuff is good, it is very good. Witness her poem “Rape Joke,” which put her on the map, and much of the other verse in her sexy and endearing bummer of a collection, “Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals” (2014).

“Patricia Lockwood Is a Priest’s Child (Really), but ‘From the Devil’”, Dwight Garner, The New York Times