Snowing outside—bright, glazed white porcelain snow glinting diagonal streaks across the dull, matte white, horizontal blinds. Warm inside, light grey steamy mists rising perpendicular to darker grey, vertical heating pipes. Cold sunlight crosses hot lamp light, casting a lace collar on the faded, ash-blonde wood floor. A chiaroscuro painting.
My black hair drifts in clumps to the floor—point, counterpoint, snippets alternating with the white, old man’s hair falling outside. A mulch-covering ritual of renewal.
Clip, clip, snip scissors, the shears shearing. A perfect haiku: white spring snow and me, thick, black hair on a diminutive Japanese girl. Or, thick, harsh snow burning a cold January day and me, tall, heavy-boned black woman, crimps of wiry hair, hair in glassy, black waves—an ocean tangling into the African ivory coastline. The snow’s cruel light gleams, thick and gagging, a chalky milkshake, threatening to choke and kill. Or, a dense, onerous snow trudging across the Russian Steppes, asphyxiating the land, crushing the houses, and me, moon-faced, unblinking—staunch. And inside I am warm, surrounded by tufts of hair, molting clumps from a stuffed Panda Bear.
I tenderly collect hair to braid into a rug, to cover with dust, cover with cat hair, cover as it covers—to be worn down back into the elements. Or, this gathering of hair, I will weave as the bottom of a wicker chair, supporting friends that come and go, supporting dust, supporting cat hair, supporting as it is supported. Thus start the years of collecting hair, hair constantly pruned short to fulfill such purposes.
I beg (steal) hair. Rescued from lovers, from friends, from strangers, …. swept from beauty parlors finely stained wood, from barbershops dust-covered, dull linoleum floors, from waste baskets in bathrooms, from brushes and combs patiently culled without breaking the knots and tangles. Workrooms deep in drifting, shifting color-spectrumnal hair—cotton white to Tupelo honey, Poppy red to the deep purple of ripe plums, leisurely loops to ringlets, electric shock waves to water flows. A wondrous fey-lock palette.
Space and history, I weave, time and emotion, I weave—shirts, jackets, dresses, pants…. Chiaroscuro body maps lined with purple amethyst Chinese silk. Hair-knittes huggings holding humans against the cold, the dirt, the outside that sometimes taps, sometimes scratches against my windows. My closests spill stories of dead cells shorn to be renewed, journeys of celebrations and mournings, of beginnings, changes, and ends—people I have never met, people I thought I knew, people I knew for only a while, and the very few I knew forever in the rhythm of their heartbeat. No, they never stay….. But I have their hair—and all that encompasses.
by Riki Mathews. Check out her blog at The Trickster Tells.
Ye cravest certainty in a world
Ye knowest as boundless;
Thy dismay bleedest
Through the cracks in thy rusty and shackled armor
ye refuest to discard.
Thy time hast passed, yet ghostly ye cling, forlorn and lost.
Worn buckles fumbled shut,
Old steel boots mauled onto fungied feet,
Thou preparest thy latest onslaught.
Thou hast trodden into our minds for many a decade
Thy hatred for all;
Harvesting fear and frenzy, seeding anger to fester and explode.
In droves thy recruits swarm behind thee.
Proudly bannered in the American flag.
They slogan forth, fangs dripping Patriotism,
Death to terrorists,
Death to Muslims,
Death to the Other,
Death to all
that lights this wondrous world,
Death to it all
But your dictums.
Though thy faith leadest to the valley of death,
Though thy faith leadest to the Killing Fields,
Though thy faith
thou into befouled alleys,
Heaped in thy stinking deceipt,
Beset by bigotry, envy, grisly greed, lust, and dreadful deeds
that most surely will end in contrition,
Ye travelest it leaning on blind dogma—eschewest reason
and wonder not to justify the vile means nor the ends for that
which you seek.
Doest thou not thinkest of thy God thou invokest so facilely?
Doest thou truly believest thy God adorest thy offerings:
Did Christ not enjoin thy vows of love?
Methinks thou hast lost thy way,
To gather at the birthing of thine own making,
Yet not of the foretold nor desired Second Coming.
Thou hast abandoned thine children
Foresworn thy duteous caretaking,
Forgotten the words of thy Savior,
The meaning of
to woefully follow the
—a Pied Piper—
A Traitor Made in Thine Image,
A most private
Thou Designed for Thee.
By riki mathews