Friday, August 27, 2010


Getting My Hair Done

This is distinct
from "having it cut"
or "getting it trimmed".
"Getting it done"
involves much arty
consideration, the mentor
advising the student:
what's the shape
of this face? what effect
do you want to create?
and see here (that bit
I can't see without eyes
in the back of my head)
the problem: what colour,
do you think?

The colours denote
roller-sizes; the hairwash
is brisk (massage later,
she assures). Painstaking
- I call it fiddly - the securing
of scraps of wet hair.
Mentor adjusts, advises.
The fixative, the heat:

I remember my mother
in a dark hot kitchen
draped in a white sheet
the eye-watering cascade
of ammonia fumes
my mum getting her hair done
by Great Aunt Ruby at the pub.

Afterwards the dryer, the combing,
the sculpture that emerges from
wayward cowlicks, un-cared-for
tresses. I see the effect:
softening my severe face.
I get her to photograph it.
Later, printing the image,
I see the grimace.

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