The Purple Nurple

A.k.a.: The Titty Twister.

Summer, 2001 / No. 5

There is nothing else in nature so effective,

a tornado of seizures bound

in a knuckle. It’s easy:

Simply pinch the nipple

between the thumb and pointy finger

and wrench it around

four hundred degrees or so.

Yes, child, the flesh is weak. See,

on skin so loose the bruising takes

the shapes of little sunbursts.

The nipple is where the nerves have built

little balconies into the world

from which to expose themselves.

Ask a nipple if it knows

the feel of gravel

embedded in the skin.

Now ask your knees.

Primate behaviour has

unaccounted for variations.

For instance: young male

chimpanzees will

wrestle and fight and punch and

bite to establish dominance,

much in the way of adolescent boys,

but for some reason

our cousins the apes have not included

the purple nurple in their rituals—

perhaps they’re not evolved enough.

Ask Calvin Little, age thirteen,

breathless on his knees

in the gravel, crying uncle,

if he doesn’t believe it takes a certain

amount of logic and reason

to conceive of torture.