Government Spending Poem by Patricia Lockwood

Government Spending

The government spent a Patricia on me,
"a huge waste," it lamented, "when we could
have been spending it on another Nixon,"

the government spent all its beauty
on the great light leap on the deer-
crossing sign — there was hardly any
beauty left for anything else in America,
and looking around them the government
"Is there none left? Print more,"

you are born, you barely contain yourself,
you grow, inside you, someone spends
a billion to make prison more luxurious;
inside you, someone spends a billion
to keep libraries open one hour later;
then oh god, you feel wonderful,
you must be on welfare,

the government spent its whole education
on me, at least that is how it feels right now,
I am bursting with educational dollars,
I am bursting with other dollars as well,
I'm rounded up, I'm one long row of ohs,
I get so many commas
that the sentence doesn't stop,

the dollars in me are a map of  Missouri
my mother can't fold back up, oh no the map
is everywhere, but I know the way, I am hot
on a trail, I am bursting with the dollars
that put that knowing breath in drug dogs,

all the spending of  the space program is in me,
the stars seem especially close, this is because
they are a government handout, they are spending
millions on moonlight research, when I am President

I will cut the arts and let my right arm flow downhill,
I am ready, there is nothing trivial about me left,
I am eliminating the penny every second,

a dollar is peeled off a roll of  thousands,
it is the day, the mint of  it is in my mouth,
I open it, completely fresh.

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Patricia Lockwood

Patricia Lockwood

Fort Wayne, Indiana
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