S.S. Haircut

They opened up the parlors.
How can we work with angry hair?
Barber dryer,
tendriled wires,
German chatter,
electric glamour.
Hair like soil from high boots;
the massacre of dead ends,
piled on tiled floor
after months of skin and dust.

Today, there’s the fluttering
cushioned carousel chair,
my son’s body diffusing,
curled into twirling leather,
amid pandemic blether.
Gleeful in his last moments
of unruly hair.
The comb hissing and flying
through his lockdown locks,
an Oktoberfest swing.

The light flutters–
a silver butterfly
oscillating,
freeing dead things
that fall in sweet surrender
to the grateful ground.

Then, I remember
the hallway of hair,
the D.C. Holocaust Museum,
warehousing a massacre
of people’s minks
sheared to shame.

Today, the swift silvers
bring cheer and relief.
No mention of its history as thief.
Yet… there are plastic walls in each,
layers of unconfessed loathing.
Hushed truths of a barber booth
and the curt,
cautious cuts
of self-care that
free our eyes
to finally see the truth.
Hairless,
safe for the cyanide,
or the other lies that lie ahead.

Erich Heckel “Babierstube”

16 comments

  1. Wow. There I am reading this poem, enjoying the rhythm and it’s imagery, then zap, you hit me with that twist halfway through. Like a rabbit punch in the gut. Very powerful and very well crafted. It’s very early doors, but I am adding this to my shortlist for favourite three posts of 2021.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow, I am so honored, Hobbo. I thought to myself, no one is going to comment on this one; you’ve gone a bit too far. This is sure to scare all away. Thank you. This one was a tough one to pen because it meant a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I remember as a schoolkid in the early sixties being shown black and white films of bulldozers shoveling bodies into huge pits at the concentration camps. An awful thing to show young kids, and it certainly made a lasting impression.

        Like

  2. Reblogged this on Mister Bump and commented:

    One of the things I find weird about WordPress is the range of emotions it evokes. By that, I mean that just like Forest Gump said, Life is Like a box of chocolates. You really don’t know what is coming next. I follow something over a hundred other blogs and revisiting WP from time to time, there is bound to be a new collection of posts to read. One post might be the funniest post I ever read, the next could be the saddest, and my awareness has to be able to flip between those two extremes, one post to the next.


    I’m gonna give you fair warning, this post is the latter. As serious as they come. So, if you’re not in the mood, please bug out now.


    The post that got me even suckered me in. I’d just finished writing a bantery comment to someone, so I still had a smile on my face. I noticed that the title had the word haitcut in it, and I automatically thought that it would be somebody whining that their hair had gotten too long during lockdown Don’t get me wrong, some of these whiney posts can be quite witty, so I opened it, still smiling from the previous post. And then I started reading…


    And I just choked, there and then.


    I posted the other day about my mum-in-law, who was having issues, let’s say, with the groundbreaking technology of a mobile phone. I’d like to talk some more here.


    World War II was brewing for a long time before it all kicked off. So much so, that ships were arranged to evacuate as many children as possible from the potential war zone, to the relative safety of the UK. This programme was called KinderTransport. That word has a very obvious meaning to me, but I appreciate that it might not, to some of you.


    Mum-in-law was actually born in Belgium. She was one of the last generations of children to come across on the KinderTransport. Now, she was born in January 1939, so she must have come across aged less than six months, because that’s when the war started. That in itself should raise a red flag to any parents out there. How on earth do you give up your six-month-old baby? Even if there is a war coming?


    Once in the UK, she had no relatives so grew up in an orphanage. Mrs Bump talks about it, obviously from handed-down tales. Growing up, her life’s ambition was to get married. Here, now, I can look on that scornfully and say “is that all?” but it makes perfect sense. When your background is an orphanage, you crave the relative stability of a settled, married life.


    So I look at this and, knowing full well what went on to happen in Europe, mum-in-law might so easily never have had the chance to live a life. And no m-i-l, no wife. That’s what made this post personal. That’s what made me choke.


    We hear from time-to-time these days about holocaust-denial. I’ve got no time whatever for this argument. I am convinced of what actually happened in a nanosecond. If the Holocaust didn’t happen, would somebody please come and explain to my mother-in-law why sho has no family?


    This poen was beautiful. Thank you, KK. I didn’t feel able to comment on it at the time, this post is my comment.

    Liked by 1 person

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