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?