Poetry + Praise of the divine and the Feminine

Battle-Axe

I suppose the pixie cut was a subversive call to arms.

If my hair was a character in Texas Chainsaw Massacre, she would be the one who narrowly escapes, not unscathed,

limping and hoarse,

with a story to tell.

She was once long and golden, with a natural body wave.

When clean and brushed, my dad made me sit still for a photo, because she was rarely clean and brushed.

I did not deserve her and, over time, she mutinied.

She first resisted when I turned ten and, obsessed with Wilson Phillips, I tried to impose Chynna Phillips’ short

blonde hairstyle upon her.

She grew back punishingly slowly.

In high school, I dyed her with blue and purple streaks, and she retaliated by taking me by one arm,

my mom taking me by the other,

and landing me in a counseling session, where my mom broke down in

tears.

I wasn’t even cutting myself.

I could never shake the feeling that my hair conspired against me and tried to sound a false alarm.

In college, there was that dreadful attempt at dreadlocks, all of which had to be sawed off

one by one,

but we needed a fresh start, she and I, and we agreed to start at two inches.

Things were going well between us, until I let a man demand she grow long again.

She responded to intimidation, the obedient wife I wished I could be, and she grew out fairly quickly, greeting my elbows like old and weary friends.

Here we are, again, Here comes the straightening iron.

She whispered in my ears for five years,

“We deserve better than this”.

So we switched places and, with our elbows intertwined, I let her drive for once.

When a woman surprises even her inner-circle with a new and drastic hairstyle, insisting she “just needed a change”, allow me to take the

liberty of translation.

Unless a woman simply acquires bangs or changes her hair color from one natural shade to another, you’re probably safe.

But if she utters the phrase “just needed a change” while fingering the newly-exposed nape of her neck, what she is really trying to say to her closest confidantes is,

“I am trying to regain control of some aspect of my life”.

To her adversaries, she is saying,

“Gird ye loins; Prepare for battle”.

Consider the way chauvinists are low-key threatened, or vaguely turned-on, by a shorn woman.

We are the reverse of Samson.

In shearing off our hair, we often find our strength.

[2017]


Period Piece

Who Prepared the Last Supper?