Wednesday, 24 September 2014

New poem: Hair

I was in the barbers.

When the barber had finished cutting

my hair, he was about to flap my overall

and flick the offcuts on to the floor when

the bloke sitting next to me said,

‘Hang on there, can you save that?’

The barber stopped.


‘Yes,’ he said, ‘just hold it a moment

but can I have that hair?’

We all looked at each other

We looked at my hair sitting on the overall.

The man got up, took off his overall

and went over to his bag. He rummaged

about and took out a box. He

collected up my hair and put it in the box.

I found myself wondering whose hair

it was. Wasn’t it mine? Or did it now

belong to the barber? After all, it was

the barber who had cut it off and it

was the barber who was going to

sweep it up and put it in his bin.

I looked at the barber. Though I

remember I looked at the barber in

the mirror, which is not quite the same

as ‘looking at the barber’. The barber

said to me, ‘Is that OK with you?’ I said

to the barber in the mirror, ‘Is it OK with you?’

The man went on collecting up my hair.

‘What do you want it for?’ the barber

asked the man.

‘Tea,’ he said. ‘I make tea with it. This

is very good hair for tea,’ he said.

‘Most people’s hair is no good. This is

very nearly perfect.’

He collected up some more, closed

his box and sat down. I looked at the

barber - face to face this time. We

kind of shrugged with our eyes, didn’t

say anything. I paid him, said goodbye

to the man and walked out.

On the way home, I thought, what did

he mean ‘very nearly’ perfect? Why

wasn’t it ‘perfect’? I looked at the hair of

of the people on the bus. Is his hair

perfect for making tea? Or hers? Or his?

Or hers?