Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Paul Demets

SHORT BACK AND SIDES

The hairline is silver-plated. You catch a whiff of my blueprint.
I nod at the one having the trim, sit down and settle in.
Take it all in, this winter salon,
this mirror where soon a pair of scissors
 
will slide through the image. Slowly the blade,
the scalp, I’m ground down with foam.
You rub your stories into me. Scalp-snow.                                                        
A calmness draped around my neck. The head
 
that has reached maturity sinks transparently
into the washbasin between arms of mercy
and the seven sorrows I allow myself to undergo.
Underneath the gown, the torso in dusk.
 
All that moves in my breath, porous pelt,
underneath the trimmers punishing the scruff.                              
You fix the image on request. I wangle it. Brush you down,      
the tufts tangle. Cast off the towel                                       
 
in the shape of the other.

SNIT

SNIT

De haargrens verzilvert. Je vangt van mij een blauwdruk op.
Daarvoor de geknipte, neem ik plaats en zetel ik.
En kijk me de ogen uit in een wintersalon,
een spiegel waar straks een schaar

door het beeld heen glijdt. Langzaam het lemmet
de scalp, word ik vermalen onder schuim,
masseer je me verhalen in. Schedelsneeuw.
En rust hangt om mijn hals. Langs armen

der barmhartigheid en zeven smarten
laat ik me mij aanleunen, zinkt in een teil
transparant het hoofd dat tot wasdom kwam.
Onder een schort de romp in schemerzone.

Wat in mijn ademen beweegt, poreuze vacht,
onder de tondeuse die het nekvel straft. Op verzoek
leg je vast. Ik besta het. Veeg je weg,
klit het verknipte. Leg mij als een ander dan

de handdoek af.
Close

SHORT BACK AND SIDES

The hairline is silver-plated. You catch a whiff of my blueprint.
I nod at the one having the trim, sit down and settle in.
Take it all in, this winter salon,
this mirror where soon a pair of scissors
 
will slide through the image. Slowly the blade,
the scalp, I’m ground down with foam.
You rub your stories into me. Scalp-snow.                                                        
A calmness draped around my neck. The head
 
that has reached maturity sinks transparently
into the washbasin between arms of mercy
and the seven sorrows I allow myself to undergo.
Underneath the gown, the torso in dusk.
 
All that moves in my breath, porous pelt,
underneath the trimmers punishing the scruff.                              
You fix the image on request. I wangle it. Brush you down,      
the tufts tangle. Cast off the towel                                       
 
in the shape of the other.

SHORT BACK AND SIDES

The hairline is silver-plated. You catch a whiff of my blueprint.
I nod at the one having the trim, sit down and settle in.
Take it all in, this winter salon,
this mirror where soon a pair of scissors
 
will slide through the image. Slowly the blade,
the scalp, I’m ground down with foam.
You rub your stories into me. Scalp-snow.                                                        
A calmness draped around my neck. The head
 
that has reached maturity sinks transparently
into the washbasin between arms of mercy
and the seven sorrows I allow myself to undergo.
Underneath the gown, the torso in dusk.
 
All that moves in my breath, porous pelt,
underneath the trimmers punishing the scruff.                              
You fix the image on request. I wangle it. Brush you down,      
the tufts tangle. Cast off the towel                                       
 
in the shape of the other.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère