Saturday, September 5, 2009

for lindsay

after reading my friend lindsay's blog i was reminded of a poem i wrote over a year ago after a trip to New Orleans. I miss my friend terribly and am so so envious of her focus and ambition and courage. so for lindsay, i wanted to post this performance poem. as a sidenote, i cut my hair six months after performing it.

The Aftermath Barber Shop: The Notion of a Haircut
By Tony Anthony

They say that the first thing a woman does after a heartbreak is to cut her hair
Me…I like to let it grow-
Long and unruly with lots of split ends and sometimes roots-
Put back on my size ten boots
and walk that pavement like a misguided punishment-
Damn that concrete.
They say that a haircut is liberation
As if my Medusa tendrils were a knotted web of broken promises and rehearsed apologies deceiving me for all that hard time.
Kind of like the floor of a familiar Congress
Governing shackles for an identity that no longer exists-
The handcuffs between “us and we” and “you and I”-
Belie what is meant to be “me”
Some women color their hair as if to reintroduce themselves to a new world-
a world that is unaware of the sins of the former hair-
A type of delousing of the soul.
I was once blonde for six months.
Chop, burn and dreadlock it all away
To keep them bullshit memories at bay
I will not choke by the noose of soiled sheets
Wash. Rinse. Condition. Repeat.
I prefer to cut my hair myself, keep it uneven and untamed to remind me of the series of tragedies and comedies from where I was born
And sometimes I reach around and pull the tips of my hair dangling down my back just to see how far I’ve come
From all the rights and wrongs and mistakes I’ve done.
Split ends wave like a flag of triumphs and defeats
I tug them gently to honor their strength.
Wash. Rinse. Condition. Repeat.
Or maybe a haircut is just that.
The cutting of or releasing of what is essentially a dead cell
Or perhaps a healing of the ego
A reconstruction of the heart
A revival of the poker face-
Never underestimate the poker face.
We venture down an exhausted country
Fragile with the weight of loss
We enter its bullet wound still bleeding almost three years later
But somewhere on a lawless street with the car windows down and my hair in my face
I hear the sounds of Rebirth rumbling in the distance
A bone-shaking bass and a cacophony of screeching horns in a city buried by the slit veins of a deep-rooted racism
Drowned in the water of a cancerous Earth
And something strikes me in this living ghost town
“The Aftermath Barber Shop” proudly hangs their sign on a sparse New Orleans street bordered by collapsed rooftops and re-painted Victorians and I smile at the unrelenting humor of this town
There is something victorious in this sign-
Like a bloody middle finger to the notion of defeat
And I start to think that maybe a haircut is just what we all need.

1 comment:

linzer said...

I love it!
I've been thinking of cutting my hair and dying to see Rebirth...miss you so much. c'mon down here!