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Poems On / About HAIR  5/27/2015 12:43:13 PM
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  157.     

Hardly Cool

White women flip and flop their hair,
embarrassing black ones whose hair is curly,
while white men in the showers stare
at black men they consider to be surly.
The straightness of one’s hair can make
a person who has curly hair upset,
and showers cause men to mistake
the attitude of strangers who are wet.

What bothers others about you,
especially if you’re a difference race,
is often not the things you do
but just the fact you have a different face.
White and black may feel they’re quite
entitled to be prejudiced and foolish
and see the world as black and white,
but this is hardly cool, or even coolish.


Maureen Corrigan reviews Lena Williams’ “It’s the Little Things: The Everyday Interactions Under the Skin of Blacks and White” (Harcourt) (“The Perception of Race, Real or Not, ” the NYT, September 4,2000) . “White women go around flipping their long, straight manes in public, which annoys surrounding blacks, who are sensitive about their hair, while in the locker rooms across the land, white men cower in corners when black men undress.” The book is influenced by Deborah Tannen’s “You Just Don’t Understand, ” which ascribed misunderstandings between the sexes to different male and female linguistic styles. Corrigan disagrees with the book’s conclusions, citing Orlando Patterson’s observation that Afro-Americans are quintessentially American in their values and traditions and have as much intragroup heterogeneity as the many European-derived variations of white Americans.

9/5/00
 
gershon hepner

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  158.     

Dreaming Of Hair

Ivy ties the cellar door
in autumn, in summer morning glory
wraps the ribs of a mouse.
Love binds me to the one
whose hair I've found in my mouth,
whose sleeping head I kiss,
wondering is it death?
beauty? this dark
star spreading in every direction from the crown of her head.

My love's hair is autumn hair, there
the sun ripens.
My fingers harvest the dark
vegtable of her body.
In the morning I remove it
from my tongue and
sleep again.

Hair spills
through my dream, sprouts
from my stomach, thickens my heart,
and tangles from the brain. Hair ties the tongue dumb.
Hair ascends the tree
of my childhood--the willow
I climbed
one bare foot and hand at a time,
feeling the knuckles of the gnarled tree, hearing
my father plead from his window, _Don't fall!_

In my dream I fly
past summers and moths,
to the thistle
caught in my mother's hair, the purple one
I touched and bled for,
to myself at three, sleeping
beside her, waking with her hair in my mouth.

Along a slippery twine of her black hair
my mother ties ko-tze knots for me:
fish and lion heads, chrysanthemum buds, the heads
of Chinamen, black-haired and frowning.

Li-En, my brother, frowns when he sleeps.
I push back his hair, stroke his brow.
His hairline is our father's, three peaks pointing down.

What sprouts from the body
and touches the body?
What filters sunlight
and drinks moonlight?
Where have I misplaced my heart?
What stops wheels and great machines?
What tangles in the bough
and snaps the loom?

Out of the grave
my father's hair
bursts. A strand
pierces my left sole, shoots
up bone, past ribs,
to the broken heart it stiches,
then down,
swirling in the stomach, in the groin, and down,
through the right foot.

What binds me to this earth?
What remembers the dead
and grows towards them?

I'm tired of thinking.
I long to taste the world with a kiss.
I long to fly into hair with kisses and weeping,
remembering an afternoon
when, kissing my sleeping father, I saw for the first time
behind the thick swirl of his black hair,
the mole of wisdom,
a lone planet spinning slowly.

Sometimes my love is melancholy
and I hold her head in my hands.
Sometimes I recall our hair grows after death.
Then, I must grab handfuls
of her hair, and, I tell you, there
are apples, walnuts, ships sailing, ships docking, and men
taking off their boots, their hearts breaking,
not knowing
which they love more, the water, or
their women's hair, sprouting from the head, rushing toward the feet.
 
Li-Young Lee

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Read more: hair poems, father poems, autumn poems, sometimes poems, kiss poems, tree poems, childhood poems, mother poems, fish poems, dream poems, purple poems, brother poems, dark poems, women poems, death poems, star poems, summer poems, sleep poems, water poems, beauty poems
   
 

   
   
 

  159.     

Crabapple Blossoms

SOMEBODY'S little girl-how easy to make a sob story over who she was once and who she is now.
Somebody's little girl-she played once under a crab-apple tree in June and the blossoms fell on the dark hair.

It was somewhere on the Erie line and the town was Salamanca or Painted Post or Horse's Head.
And out of her hair she shook the blossoms and went into the house and her mother washed her face and her mother had an ache in her heart at a rebel voice, 'I don't want to.'

Somebody's little girl-forty little girls of somebodies splashed in red tights forming horseshoes, arches, pyramids-forty little show girls, ponies, squabs.
How easy a sob story over who she once was and who she is now-and how the crabapple blossoms fell on her dark hair in June.

Let the lights of Broadway spangle and splatter-and the taxis hustle the crowds away when the show is over and the street goes dark.
Let the girls wash off the paint and go for their midnight sandwiches-let 'em dream in the morning sun, late in the morning, long after the morning papers and the milk wagons-
Let 'em dream long as they want to ... of June somewhere on the Erie line ... and crabapple blossoms.
 
Carl Sandburg

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  160.     

Eyes Of Blue

My heart gave a sudden sigh for those eyes of blue
more beautiful than the deep blue skies
It was love at first sight for this old fool

And how I loved her shiny blonde hair
just like her eyes her hair shined like the sun
she looked absolutely beautiful I had to stare

But then I stole a peek in her bathroom medicine chest
proof of blue tinted contacts and bottled blonde hair
I now wonder if her large bosoms are padding at best
 
John Gabriel

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