Wednesdays are when I disgorge a first draft of a poem for your perusal/monocle-popping disgust. Just doing my bit to correct the terrible shortage of underedited poetry on the internet. If you have any requests for poem topics, please let me know via the ‘Contact Me’ button on the right, or drop a message into the Comments below.
Barber Of The Year
He strops a cutthroat razor on a red belt, spine-first,
with the fluid, muscle-deep strokes of a cellist;
its flip and glide a carp fin, flashing.
The mirror matches him sweep for sweep;
beneath the condensation, his bald spot bobs
like a boiling egg.
Steam coils from the Commissioner’s face,
a hot towel draped like a shroud, his mouth a shallow pit.
The barber’s fingers slip between chins like bookmarks,
separating chapters of moist supple flesh,
tracing goldleaf stubble across windpipe. Dae Hee says
the barber could flense the karma from a Hungry Ghost
and leave a lean forest abbot, wise and replete.
The razor splits a sunbeam, bending light
onto the framed award,
the Commissioner’s many clacking rings.
His hands are small and soft.
Wet heat has made the press cuttings buckle under glass;
sentences bunch round knuckled gullies the colour of tea.
The barber cuts everyone.
Black and white photos of glum men in cuffs ripple and gape.
Here, a dozen smugglers go to the gallows freshly shaved:
the stark O of the rope, the toes pointing cleanly downwards.
In one picture, humidity has smashed the barber’s face in
like the nest of a pit viper. In another, the Commissioner
– young, grave – is pumping the barber’s razor arm.
A heat wrinkle swallows their hands at the wrist;
it looks as if their arms are joined,
as if the cutthroat sleeps in the meat
of the Commissioner’s crook, hot as a fracture,
Regardless of whether you enjoyed this piece, you may well enjoy my debut collection, Pub Stuntman. Buy it, now, and imagine my doubling over in pathetic, Elephant Man style gratitude.