Seven Ways of Looking at the Line “You Want a Piece of Me” from the 2007 Hit “Piece of Me” by Britney Spears

Jenna Jaco


An observation

We do; we do want a piece of you, Britney.
You were right all along. Forgive us.
Britney as a scientist watching us vibrate in our petri dish
as she scribbles formulas in a chart.
We have seen the vast jumble and want more,
our palms lifted, grabbing and praising at the same time.
Give us some plus hallelujah.

A command

Yes, sir.
Show us how to feel and how to bop; we beg you.
The oracle has brought us here;
Recommended for You knows our essence, so we
fizzle up to your surface once more and present ourselves.
Stretch us, spin us like bubblegum in a Walkman.
It is time again.

A plea

Now she is the one begging. We like this.

A taunt

Now it has changed. She is on top again
and dangling trinkets in our faces – pom pom balls
like the ones from her hair in the schoolgirl music video,
a Ring Pop that’s down to the nub, a Teen Vogue perfume insert,
and even with the mud on our knees it feels right.

This iteration is a self-portrait in red,
the closest she will come to bravado. We know
it is temporary, yet we are terrified. Her gaze is thick,
searing, and oh so impasto.

Take us down a peg, yes. 

A pitch

The power flips again:
We are with her in an elevator. It has stalled.
We are powerful executives in skinny suits
and she is young again, dewy and small,
suggesting we put our faith in her.
She has a canvas tote and big ideas, and we

A question

Without pretense: well, do we want it?


An observation, but a different one

She is straight-faced and telling what she believes
is an objective truth. She sips her Pepsi
through a straw and picks her cuticle, 
adjusting the radio with her toes.

We want a piece of her, yes, but only
one piece. No, no, not that one. That one.
Britney as claw game, balloon counter, wedding cake.
Don’t you dare give me a corner.

We want her lips, her silver eyelids, egg-smooth abs,
temples with grazing fingertips, and all accompanying metaphors.
But, please, one at a time.
Otherwise we’ll choke.



Jenna Jaco is a technical writer from Texas who primarily documents a visual programming language. She is also pursuing a master’s degree in information systems. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in What Fresh Witch is This?, The Sorin Oak Review, and Fulbright Korea Infusion.

Return to Contents