Barber Shop Solo

A Poem By Rita S. Losch

Red, white and blue swirling barber pole out front,

my barber shop is classic, both old fashioned and

cutting-edge, with few scissors but many clippers,

straight razors, trimmers, edgers, fine or wide

combs, but no sink, no shampoo, no cream rinse.

Enter, and the place is throbbing with testosterone,

pulsing with vibrating yang, no soft humming yin

whatsoever, darkly masculine, not sunny feminine.

I am the only female in the place, and I can feel

how very few women have ever sat in this chair.

Your back is to the mirror here: like the barber,

I glance at silent TV football while boy-music plays

loud and unclear, so when the barber speaks to me,

maybe asking about my weekend, I just nod or grunt,

which seems to work, in our minimal conversation.

He names current bands, and I say I really dig Elvis.

It’s okay, though, since we cannot hear each other.

A foreign language is spoken by the young men in the

other three chairs and the buzzing barbers behind:

very very fast, with topsy-turvy adjectives, like

sick meaning cool or really good, modern male lingo.

I think they are trying to tone it down for me, not

dropping their usual load of pinup-girl boy-slang.

It’s okay, though: I can’t hear what they’re saying.

The dudes leave, sporting slick-backs, fades, bursts,

tight tapers, man buns, undercuts, line-ups,

french crops, bro flows, quiffs and pompadours.

When he spins me around to face the mirror, I see

John has actually heard me: he’s given me exactly

what I requested: fountain spilling neatly over

from top to sides and edgy curves curves curves.

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