Hats, Heads and Hair
by Mary Paulson
My people may have odd-shaped heads. They may have hats or wigs, hair or not; they may be consumed by a desire for long blonde locks, maybe a shag. They may insist on perfection, undertake exhaustive searches for a barber who will do as he’s bid, clean the neck, a little off the top, long on the sides. One woman takes a hair pilgrimage every few months— NY to Montreal— eight hours drive for just the right bangs. Whatever else is said about them, my people are committed. One person may wear platform sandals, another abhor plastic tableware, yet another may have trouble tying their shoes. There may be someone whose favorite song is something truly atrocious: Air Supply’s “All Out of Love” for example. There are those who switch subway cars, avoid people they know. There may also be sociopaths, charmers too, slippery as goldfish, butter-tongued. Too smart as my mother says, for their own good. They may attract stalkers. Some may be grossly even-tempered – inscrutable, infuriating. For myself, I desire very long hair. Hair I can sit on or wrap around my wrist like a leash. Thick, dark waves, undulating, running water hair that takes days to dry. I know people who like hats, hair AND expensive watches, shoes, two-hundred dollar etched glass jars of milk white face cream blended with eucalyptus and cucumber. Some go broke liking such things. Most of my people have overworked, overwrought brains in heads that weigh heavy on their slender human frames. They resemble sunflowers, slim necks bent forward like they are busy talking to their feet. At the end of a long day, they might wish to remove that head, as they would a hat. Lift it off, lay it down on the hall table next to the money clip and keys.
In gobs, red meaty strips like lizard skin, red veined rivulets rampant in my head. Red taser shock casting me back, back— trigger red trauma punching holes in my chest. Red for detest, disabuse, disregard. Red for devalued, disrespect. Red that drains, red that stains, pomegranate remnants of my lunacy— red desert Sphinx spiral, scarlet vertigo over saturated, overwhelmed, too much much technicolor color. Red strobe light, red wide moon, sharpened ruby shivs breach my skin before the roof comes crashing in. Red dragon dark, deep, bottomless blood lake. Cartoon red, laugh in your face, I’ll spit in your face, take a red hard whip slap in my face. Red imprint wound, sick cell, ripe tomato, lip bite. Red pain, red rain, crimson liquid viscous, thick. Drowning in it. Dying in it. --- Mary Paulson’s writing has been featured in multiple publications, most recently in Arkana, Tipton Poetry Journal, The Metaworker, Months to Years and Chronogram. Her chapbook, Paint the Window Open was recently published by Kelsay Books. She can be found on Facebook: mary.paulson.35/ and Instagram: my_tigerlily.