Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Nhã Thuyên

WHEN WILL THE SHEDDING END

stop dropping hair can you, you say, tired or pitying, on hands and knees scraping the wooden floor, weaving beneath chairs, inspecting the mattress, shaking out pillows, digging through clothes, groping each page, to pick up measure and count all 282 strands of hair dropped this late afternoon, exceeding the allowed quota of brokenness for a day, my heart winces, stop dropping can you please hairs, i’ve stopped the little jokes, the fun’s dried up, then we’ll knot the fallen into a tapestry, count them as evidence of our amourous days, my bout of love approaches its split, you can hardly endure anymore, this scene of hair recurs every late afternoon, a roadside call sounds for anyone's leftover long hair, i too approach the brink of despair, hairs rub on the back of my neck whispering, don’t worry, your hair quantity reaches roughly two hundred and some odd thousand strands, also exceeding the allowed quota that usually lives on a head, i’ve never fully grasped the mysterious strange life of the hair community on my head, an isolated black community, a gloomy private fiefdom, the hair bodies smoothly lengthen beside each other not tangling, the sprout-to-shed journey not spanning months and years but moments, the self-lived self-destructed, no, when have i ever changed styles, just cut the surplus, a season of interminable length, a season of floatingly brevity, ten years i haven’t sat in a salon, haven’t used any chemical besides shampoo, even harbor the dream of lime and lemongrass leaves from once upon a time, no, not so, unimaginable that my hair collided with the strange scissors or poisoned combs of street witches accomplices to the seductions of cheap green red purple yellow cosmetics, i am the cross-century idler, laziest of land and sea, i’m lazy to change the nature, i’m lazy to oppose the original, i’m lazy to hack at the status quo, so it seems an eternity in this little corner of a house, ever ever unchanged, i’m not considerate enough to arrange unnatural me’s to pique your curiosity, i live self-indulgently, though i at the same time am a meticulous scissors-handler, am busy carving myself to not offend anyone’s eyes, but mostly to suit your eyes, to please your heart, but i want you to stroke caressingly breathe in my hair without needing any ooh la la chemicals, i want my hair intact innocent unafraid frail in your hand, i long for perfection but will idle away the seasons, laziest of land and sea, i’m lazy to change the nature, i’m lazy to oppose the original, i’m lazy to hack at the status quo, especially the hair’s status quo, my hair is a jungle, i wanted to let hair innocently imperfect, inviolable, i wanted to let hair shed all four seasons, self-live and self-destruct, but my bout of love approaches its split, stop dropping can you please hairs, no, not at all, and it’s hard to blame the tropical smog specialty of this River city, my head bare, but hair clashes with dusty streets so rarely two three fingers can count the times i’ve stuck my face outside in how many years, mother groans, neither rain on face nor sun on head yet still this withering, i still want to let hair shed all four seasons, self-live and self-destruct, no, definitely not at all, i’m indifferent to mirrors and combs, the house has no imitation ivory or toxic plastic kind, not a single comb needs me and not a single comb do i need, my fingers are prepared to make a comb-lite, hair either hanging feral, or tied tight, i abandon hair a desperate mother abandons child, hair is a jungle, wild grasses rise, my body thins flimsier by the moment, barren, a dangling reed supports hair the jungle, supports excessive density, a neck wants to break, mother groans, hair and hair everywhere, draining all that nourishment into hair, vain labor vain feast, mother cares for my heavy hair heavy head, you alone know hair protectively hugs my head, you alone know to care for the ones who’ve been shed, tired or pitying, on hands and knees scraping the wooden floor, weaving beneath chairs, inspecting the mattress, shaking out pillows, digging through clothes, groping each page, but you can hardly endure anymore, i too approach the brink of despair, this scene of hair recurs every late afternoon, this bout of love approaches its split, only at the deadend do i contemplate how to manage the disaster, i buy nourishments, i bring home a comb, i acquire a mirror, vain labor, nothing’s rescued at all, you’ve ended your counting of the strands, you’ve ended your collecting and comparing how crowded how scarce the scene of dropped hair every afternoon, you were despondent on hands and knees scraping the wooden floor, weaving beneath chairs, scrutinizing the mattress, shaking out pillows, digging through clothes, you were getting sick of the notebooks cluttering everywhere dropped hair, my dropped hair offering a bountiful harvest, stirred into the bowls of soup i cook, swimming in the drinks i mix, dropped but still smoothly long, still jet black, still peculiarly healthy, still not accepting death, i loop tight coils around my fingers, i cut straight across a chunk, i peel one into four, i ball up a snarl, i scrutinize the microstructure from beginning to end, i fantasize a love venom hair dipped in a tempting wine, still nothing rescued at all, hair loss is still loss, hair growth is still growth, still densifying black on the head, still scattered everywhere, you desperately tie hair to the bed to so it cannot keep whipping your lips in the night, my hair pricks your flesh, my hair swells, my flesh swells, your flesh swells, damn knot of lethal hair, my heart whimpers, if you won’t die damn hair then i'll be the damn one who does, my hand scissors snip strand by strand, then chunk by chunk, piece by piece falls mangled into my hand, hair whispers, don’t worry, emptied then filled, balding then sprouting, infinitely, without end, weeds in the jungle, my hand scissors enraptured, wanting more in every snip, a hunter drunk on blood, panicked steps quickening through the deep night of jungle, my hand scissors manically intrude on the blindness of the isolated black community, the dark private domain, the incessant dance of my hand scissors, hair is not flesh, it’s just weeds, just a feral species, balding then sprouting, emptied then filled, infinitely, without end, my hand scissors enraptured, i’m not hurt, hair can’t be flesh, my hand begins to pull, a pair of fingers hypnotically pluck strand by strand, the strands withdraw from the scalp without a single cry, hair can’t be flesh how can it know of hurt, just an unfeeling uprooted species, until a piece of scalp flashes, blushingly, forlornly a piece of feral land, is that your voice rising up somewhere, sobbing, no more please dear, can still recover right, can just abandon it there right, can stop destroying right, i no longer know how to pity my body, i no longer know how to pity, black pieces shed on the house floor, lonesome, who could count, a deserted dense black, and now you’ve left already, who knows how to care for the loss, who will sit gathering the dropped hairs, who will sit counting the dropped hair as evidence of my days, who will envelop me in a scene of hair every late afternoon, who will call for the leftover long hairs, and now with mother gone, who will groan that i don’t know how to pity my body, who will curse my foolish self-withering away, my head bald as a grassless mounded grave, hair lying feral beneath the floor, murmuring, no hair left for you to mourn mother, to mourn this bout of love, to mourn me, orphaned hair, the mourning without witness, couldn’t i somehow end the shedding

WANNEER STOPT HET VALLEN

kun je dit uitvallen van haar niet stoppen, zeg je, moe of gepijnigd, kruipend over de houten vloer, laverend tussen de stoelen, de matras onderzoekend, de kussens uitschuddend, door kleren woelend, elke bladzij kerend, de 282 haren oppakkend verzamelend en tellend die deze middag laat gevallen zijn, voorbij het dagelijks quotum voor vallen en breken, ik beklaag me van binnen, haar kun je het vallen niet stoppen, ik doe niet meer aan onzinnige grapjes, mijn plezier is opgedroogd, we gaan de gevallenen vlechten tot een deken, tellen en noteren als bewijs van dagen en maanden van liefde, mijn liefde is zo nabij de breuk, je kunt het vrijwel niet meer verdragen, elke middag laat keert dit harenlandschap terug, buiten roept de inkoper van lang haar, ook ik ben zo nabij de wanhoop, het haar streelt fluisterend mijn nek, wees niet bezorgd, je telt zo’n tweehonderdduizend en nog tienduizenden haren, voorbij het quotum voor haren levend op een hoofd, het mystieke en geheime leven van dit harencollectief op het mijne heb ik nooit doorgrond, een zwart deviant collectief, een duister privaat terrein, de lange steile lijven naast elkaar zonder klitten, het beloop van groeien en vallen telt geen maanden jaren maar seconden minuten, ze leven vanzelf sterven vanzelf, nee, ik ben nooit van kapsel veranderd, knip alleen het surplus, oneindig lang het ene seizoen, kort hangend het andere, tien jaar lang zat ik niet bij de kapper, geen andere chemische stof dan de shampoo, heimelijk nog de jeugddroom van limoenbladeren en citroengras, niet, dat niet, dat vreemde schaar of giftige kam van stadsheksen met hun handlangers van matige schoonheidsproducten verleidelijk groen rood paars geel mijn haar zou vatten is onvoorstelbaar, ik ben eeuwig nalatig, ter land en zee de luiste, lui om de natuur te veranderen, de oorsprong te weerstaan, de status quo te breken, ik zie eruit als een gekluisterde, levenslang onveranderlijk, ik ben niet bedachtzaam genoeg om je nieuwsgierigheid te wekken met onnatuurlijke ikken, verwaarloosd leef ik, ondanks mijn zorgzame kniphand, zelfs als ik mijzelf houw om andermans ogen niet te krenken, maar vooral om de jouwe te bekoren, je hart te behagen, maar ik wil dat je mijn haar streelt opsnuift zonder oh en ah door chemische stoffen, ik wens mijn haar onschuldig moedig zwak intact in je handen, ik verlang naar perfectie maar ben nalatig door de seizoenen heen, ter land en zee de luiste, lui om de natuur te veranderen, de oorsprong te weerstaan, de status quo te breken, vooral die van haren, mijn haar is een woud, ik wil het onschuldig imperfect laten, onschendbaar, ik wilde het de vier seizoenen laten vallen, het leeft vanzelf sterft vanzelf, maar mijn liefde is zo nabij de breuk, haar kun je het vallen niet stoppen, nee, dat niet, moeilijk om tropische rook en stof de specialiteiten van deze stad te beschuldigen, ik ga blootshoofds, maar zelden bereikt het stof van de straat mijn haar, telbaar op een paar vingers de keren dat ik mijn gezicht buiten toon in jaren, moeder jammert, regen raakt je gezicht niet zonlicht valt niet op je hoofd en toch verpieter je, nog altijd wil ik mijn haar de vier seizoenen laten vallen, het leeft vanzelf sterft vanzelf, nee, dat is het zeker niet, spiegels en kammen laten me koud, bij mij geen nep-ivoor of giftig plastic, geen kam heeft me nodig geen kam heb ik nodig, ik heb mijn vingers bij de hand, de haren los, of vastgemaakt, ik laat mijn haar braak liggen zoals de moeder haar kind, haar is een woud, onkruid tiert welig, mijn lichaam steeds dunner, onvruchtbaar, een rietstengel draagt de bos haar, overmatig dik en zwaar, de nek dreigt te breken, moeder klaagt, niets dan haar en nog eens haar, alles wat je eet en drinkt voedt alleen je haar, vergeefse moeite vergeefs goed, moeder beklaagt mijn zware haar en hoofd, alleen jij weet hoe mijn haar mijn hoofd beschermend omhelst, alleen jij weet de gevallen haren te beklagen, moe of gepijnigd, kruipend over de houten vloer, laverend tussen de stoelen, de matras onderzoekend, door kleren woelend, elke bladzij kerend, maar je kunt er bijna niet meer tegen, ik ben zo nabij de wanhoop, elke middag laat keert dit harenlandschap terug, deze liefde is zo nabij de breuk, pas in het nauw gedreven wil ik het drama ontknopen, ik koop voedende stoffen, ik breng een kam naar huis, ik schaf een kam aan, vergeefs, niks meer te redden, je bent gestopt met elke haar te tellen, elke middag in te zamelen en de score te vergelijken van de landschappen met veel of weinig gevallen haar, je bent het zat te kruipen over de houten vloer, te laveren tussen de stoelen, de matras te onderzoeken, de kussens uit te schudden, door kleren te woelen, elke bladzij te keren, je wordt ziek van overal rondslingerende boeken en gevallen haren, nu bieden mijn gevallen haren een rijke oogst, kronkelend in de soep die ik bereid, zwemmend in de drankjes die ik schenk, gevallen maar nog steil en lang, pikzwart nog, bizar sterk nog, willen nog steeds niet sterven, ik draai ze strak om elke vinger, breek ze in stukjes, splijt ze in vieren, breng ze in de war, ik onderzoek hun microstructuur van wortel tot punt, ik drenk mijn met gif van liefdesverdriet verzadigde haar in uitnodigende rijstwijn, niks meer te redden, haren vallen als ze moeten en groeien als ze moeten, nog pikzwart dik op het hoofd, nog overal verspreid, wanhopig bind je mijn haar aan het bed zodat het je lippen niet brandend treft, mijn haar prikt je vlees, mijn haar zwelt, mijn vlees zwelt, jouw vlees zwelt, een harenmassa moordenaars, ik jammer van binnen, haar zelfs als je niet sterft sterf ik toch, mijn hand knipt tastend elke haar, dan elk segment, dan valt elk plukje onregelmatig op mijn hand, het haar fluistert, wees niet bezorgd, leeg dan weer vol, kaal dan weer begroeid, doorgaand, eindeloos, het onkruid in het woud, mijn kniphand zet door, hoe meer het knippen hoe sterker de wil, de jager dronken van bloed, panische voetstappen nog gehaaster in nachtelijk bos, mijn kniphand dringt geboeid de blindheid binnen van het deviante zwarte collectief, het duister privaat terrein, mijn kniphand danst onophoudelijk, haar is geen vlees, slechts onkruid, wilde soort, kaal dan weer begroeid, leeg dan weer vol, doorgaand, eindeloos, mijn kniphand zet door, ik heb geen pijn, haar is geen vlees, ik voeg een hand toe die uittrekt, twee vingers samen extatisch elke haar, zonder schreeuw verlaten zij de hoofdhuid, haar is geen vlees haar kent geen pijn, is slechts een harteloos ontwortelde soort, tot een vlakje blote hoofdhuid zich toont, rozeachtig bloed, een eenzaam braakliggend stukje grond, ergens barst je stem uit, snikkend, genoeg zo liefje, kun je niet weer opknappen, het zo braak laten liggen, het vernietigen stoppen, ik kan niet meer mijn eigen lichaam pijnigen, kan niet meer pijnigen, zwarte plukjes vallen op de grond, eenzaam, wie kan ze tellen, pikzwart, nu ben jij weggegaan, wie weet het vallen te beklagen, wie zit gevallen haren op te rapen, te tellen en noteren als bewijs van mijn dagen en maanden, wie omgeeft me in dit harenlandschap elke middag laat, wie roept nog om lang haar in te kopen, nu is moeder heengegaan, wie jammert dat ik mezelf niet kan pijnigen, wie vervloekt mijn dolle zelfverwelking, mijn hoofd is kaal als een bol graf waar nog geen gras groeit, haren liggen verlaten op de grond, fluisterend, geen haren meer voor de rouw voor moeder, voor deze liefde, voor mij, de verlaten massa van haren, de rouw zonder getuige, kan ik het vallen niet stoppen

BAO GIỜ THÔI RƠI RỤNG

em ngưng rụng tóc được không, người nói, mệt hay xót, người lồm ngồm sàn gỗ, lách luồn khe ghế, soi đệm, rũ gối, bới lật áo quần, dò dẫm từng trang, nhặt và vun và đếm cả thảy 282 sợi tóc rụng lúc chiều muộn, quá định mức gẫy rụng cho phép một ngày, tôi than trong lòng, mi ngưng rụng được không tóc ơi, tôi đã thôi đùa nhảm, đã cạn vui, rồi mình kết những rơi rụng làm mền, đếm ghi số lượng làm vật chứng ngày tháng yêu đương, cuộc tình của tôi đến vỡ mất, người sắp không chịu nổi nữa rồi, một quang cảnh tóc tuần hoàn mỗi chiều muộn, ngoài đường vang tiếng rao mua tóc dài, tôi cũng đến nước tuyệt vọng, tóc cọ cổ tôi thì thầm, đừng lo, lượng tóc của người xê xích hai trăm mấy mươi ngàn sợi, cũng quá định mức tóc thường sống trên đầu, tôi chưa bao giờ tỏ tường đời sống lạ lùng ẩn mật của cái cộng đồng tóc trên đầu tôi, một cộng đồng đen dị biệt, một lãnh địa âm u riêng tư, những thân tóc suôn dài kề cạnh mà không bắt rối, những mọc rụng lộ trình không tháng năm mà giây phút, những tự sống tự chết, không, tôi có bao giờ đổi kiểu, chỉ cắt bỏ những dư thừa, một mùa đằng đẵng dài, một mùa lơ lửng ngắn, tôi mười năm chưa từng ngồi tiệm, chưa từng hóa chất gì ngoài dầu gội, còn ngấm ngầm mộng tuổi thơ lá chanh lá sả, không, không phải, chuyện tóc tôi trúng kéo lạ hay lược độc phù thủy phố phường đồng lõa mỹ phẩm xoàng xanh đỏ tím vàng quyến rũ là không tưởng, tôi kẻ trễ nải xuyên thế kỷ, lười nhất quả đất quả nước, tôi lười thay đổi tự nhiên, tôi lười chống lại nguyên thủy, tôi lười phá bỏ hiện trạng, thành thử trông như muôn thuở xó nhà, đời đời không đổi, tôi không đủ nghĩ ngợi sắp đặt làm người tò mò những phi tự nhiên tôi, tôi buông tuồng sống, dù tôi cũng đồng thời một tay kéo kỹ lưỡng, cũng bận bịu đẽo gọt mình cho không tức mắt người ta, nhưng nhất là cho vừa mắt người, cho vui lòng người, nhưng tôi muốn người xoa vuốt hít hà tóc tôi mà không cần ồ à hóa chất, tôi muốn nguyên vẹn tóc tôi hồn nhiên can trường yếu ớt trong tay người, tôi khát khao toàn hảo nhưng trễ nải mút mùa, lười nhất quả đất quả nước, tôi lười thay đổi tự nhiên, tôi lười chống lại nguyên thủy, tôi lười phá bỏ hiện trạng, nhất là hiện trạng tóc, tóc tôi là rừng, tôi đã muốn mặc tóc hồn nhiên bất toàn, bất khả xâm phạm, tôi đã muốn mặc tóc rơi rụng bốn mùa, tự sống tự chết, nhưng cuộc tình của tôi đến vỡ mất, mi ngưng rụng được không tóc ơi, không, không phải đâu, cũng khó lòng đổ tại khói bụi nhiệt đới đặc sản Hà thành, tôi đầu trần, nhưng tóc va chạm bụi đường họa hoằn đôi ba ngón tay số lần tôi thò mặt ra nhiều năm ròng, mẹ rền rĩ, mưa không đến mặt nắng không đến đầu mà tàn tạ, tôi vẫn muốn mặc tóc rơi rụng bốn mùa, tự sống tự chết, không, nhất định không phải thế đâu, tôi thờ ơ gương lược, trong nhà không có loại giả ngà hay nhựa độc, chẳng lược nào cần tôi và chẳng lược nào tôi cần đến, tôi đã sẵn những ngón tay làm lược chải, tóc hoặc xõa hoang, hoặc buộc túm, tôi bỏ hoang tóc bà mẹ tuyệt vọng bỏ hoang con, tóc là rừng, lên um cỏ dại, thân mình tôi mỗi lúc một mỏng tang, cằn cỗi, ống sậy lòng thòng đỡ tóc một rừng, đỡ quá chừng dày nặng, cần cổ muốn gẫy, mẹ rền rĩ, những tóc là tóc, ăn uống đổ cả vào tóc, hoài công hoài của, mẹ thương tôi nặng tóc nặng đầu, chỉ riêng người biết tóc ôm lấy đầu tôi bảo bọc, chỉ riêng người biết thương đám tóc rụng, mệt hay xót, người lồm ngồm sàn gỗ, lách luồn khe ghế, săm soi đệm trải, bới lật áo quần, dò dẫm từng trang, nhưng người sắp không chịu nổi nữa rồi, tôi cũng đến nước tuyệt vọng, một quang cảnh tóc tuần hoàn mỗi chiều muộn, cuộc tình này đến vỡ mất, chỉ cùng đường tôi mới ngẫm cách xử lý thảm họa, tôi mua dưỡng chất, tôi mang về lược chải, tôi sắm gương soi, hoài công, cứu vãn gì đâu, người đã thôi đếm từng sợi, người đã thôi thu lượm và so đo điểm số quang cảnh tóc rụng đông vắng mỗi chiều, người đã nản chuyện lồm ngồm sàn gỗ, lách luồn khe ghế, soi đệm, rũ gối, bới lật áo quần, người đã phát ốm những sách vở ngổn ngang nơi nơi tóc rụng, tóc rụng của tôi được mùa bày biện, ngo ngoe bát canh tôi nấu, bơi lượn thức uống tôi pha, rụng rồi vẫn suôn dài, vẫn đen nhánh, vẫn khỏe kỳ dị, vẫn chưa chịu chết, tôi quấn vòng xiết từng ngón tay mình, tôi dứt ngang từng đoạn, tôi tước làm tư, tôi vò rối, tôi săm soi vi cấu trúc từ chân tới ngọn, tôi mộng tưởng tẩm độc hoa tình tóc nhúng rượu mời, cứu vãn gì đâu, tóc rụng vẫn rụng, tóc mọc vẫn mọc, vẫn dầy đặc mãi màu đen trên đầu, vẫn vương vất nơi nơi, người tuyệt vọng cột tóc vào thành giường để tóc khỏi quất rát môi người mỗi tối, tóc tôi đâm da thịt người, tóc tôi sưng lên, da thịt tôi sưng lên, da thịt người sưng lên, mớ tóc giết người, tôi rên trong lòng, mày không chịu chết thì tao cũng chết tóc ơi, tay kéo tôi lần cắt từng sợi, rồi từng đoạn, từng mảng rơi xuống tay tôi nham nhở, tóc thì thầm, đừng lo, hết lại đầy, trụi rồi lại mọc, vô hồi, bất tận, cỏ dại trong rừng, tay kéo tôi mải miết, càng cắt càng ham, thợ săn say máu, bước chân hốt hoảng rừng khuya càng hối hả, tay kéo tôi cuồng mê xâm nhập cái mù lòa cộng đồng đen dị biệt, cái lãnh địa âm u riêng tư, tay kéo tôi múa lên không ngừng, tóc đâu phải thịt da, chỉ là cỏ dại, chỉ loài hoang, trụi rồi lại mọc, hết lại đầy, vô hồi, bất tận, tay kéo tôi mải miết, tôi không đau, tóc đâu phải thịt da, tôi thêm tay nhổ, chụm đôi ngón giật từng sợi mê man, những sợi rút khỏi da đầu không một tiếng kêu, tóc đâu phải thịt da mà biết đau, chỉ loài bật rễ vô tình, đến khi một mảng da đầu lồ lộ, ửng máu, trơ trọi một mảng đất hoang, có phải tiếng người bật lên từ đâu, nức nở, thôi em, hồi phục được không, bỏ hoang đó được không, ngưng tàn phá được không, tôi không còn biết xót thân mình, tôi không còn biết xót, những mảng đen rơi rụng trên nền nhà, trơ vơ, nào ai đếm được, màu đen đặc cô quạnh, thì người đã bỏ đi rồi, ai người biết thương nỗi rụng rơi, ai ngồi nhặt tóc rụng, ai ngồi đếm ghi số lượng tóc rụng làm vật chứng ngày tháng tôi, ai bọc tôi quang cảnh tóc mỗi chiều muộn, ai rao mua tóc dài, thì mẹ đã mất, ai người rền rĩ tôi không biết xót thân, ai nguyền tôi rồ dại tự lụi tàn, đầu tôi trọc nấm mộ tròn chưa lên cỏ, tóc nằm hoang dưới sàn nhà, rì rầm, chẳng còn tóc cho ngươi chịu tang mẹ, chịu tang cuộc tình này, chịu tang tôi, đám tóc bơ vơ, nỗi tang tóc không người chứng, tôi có thể nào ngưng rơi rụng không

 

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WHEN WILL THE SHEDDING END

stop dropping hair can you, you say, tired or pitying, on hands and knees scraping the wooden floor, weaving beneath chairs, inspecting the mattress, shaking out pillows, digging through clothes, groping each page, to pick up measure and count all 282 strands of hair dropped this late afternoon, exceeding the allowed quota of brokenness for a day, my heart winces, stop dropping can you please hairs, i’ve stopped the little jokes, the fun’s dried up, then we’ll knot the fallen into a tapestry, count them as evidence of our amourous days, my bout of love approaches its split, you can hardly endure anymore, this scene of hair recurs every late afternoon, a roadside call sounds for anyone's leftover long hair, i too approach the brink of despair, hairs rub on the back of my neck whispering, don’t worry, your hair quantity reaches roughly two hundred and some odd thousand strands, also exceeding the allowed quota that usually lives on a head, i’ve never fully grasped the mysterious strange life of the hair community on my head, an isolated black community, a gloomy private fiefdom, the hair bodies smoothly lengthen beside each other not tangling, the sprout-to-shed journey not spanning months and years but moments, the self-lived self-destructed, no, when have i ever changed styles, just cut the surplus, a season of interminable length, a season of floatingly brevity, ten years i haven’t sat in a salon, haven’t used any chemical besides shampoo, even harbor the dream of lime and lemongrass leaves from once upon a time, no, not so, unimaginable that my hair collided with the strange scissors or poisoned combs of street witches accomplices to the seductions of cheap green red purple yellow cosmetics, i am the cross-century idler, laziest of land and sea, i’m lazy to change the nature, i’m lazy to oppose the original, i’m lazy to hack at the status quo, so it seems an eternity in this little corner of a house, ever ever unchanged, i’m not considerate enough to arrange unnatural me’s to pique your curiosity, i live self-indulgently, though i at the same time am a meticulous scissors-handler, am busy carving myself to not offend anyone’s eyes, but mostly to suit your eyes, to please your heart, but i want you to stroke caressingly breathe in my hair without needing any ooh la la chemicals, i want my hair intact innocent unafraid frail in your hand, i long for perfection but will idle away the seasons, laziest of land and sea, i’m lazy to change the nature, i’m lazy to oppose the original, i’m lazy to hack at the status quo, especially the hair’s status quo, my hair is a jungle, i wanted to let hair innocently imperfect, inviolable, i wanted to let hair shed all four seasons, self-live and self-destruct, but my bout of love approaches its split, stop dropping can you please hairs, no, not at all, and it’s hard to blame the tropical smog specialty of this River city, my head bare, but hair clashes with dusty streets so rarely two three fingers can count the times i’ve stuck my face outside in how many years, mother groans, neither rain on face nor sun on head yet still this withering, i still want to let hair shed all four seasons, self-live and self-destruct, no, definitely not at all, i’m indifferent to mirrors and combs, the house has no imitation ivory or toxic plastic kind, not a single comb needs me and not a single comb do i need, my fingers are prepared to make a comb-lite, hair either hanging feral, or tied tight, i abandon hair a desperate mother abandons child, hair is a jungle, wild grasses rise, my body thins flimsier by the moment, barren, a dangling reed supports hair the jungle, supports excessive density, a neck wants to break, mother groans, hair and hair everywhere, draining all that nourishment into hair, vain labor vain feast, mother cares for my heavy hair heavy head, you alone know hair protectively hugs my head, you alone know to care for the ones who’ve been shed, tired or pitying, on hands and knees scraping the wooden floor, weaving beneath chairs, inspecting the mattress, shaking out pillows, digging through clothes, groping each page, but you can hardly endure anymore, i too approach the brink of despair, this scene of hair recurs every late afternoon, this bout of love approaches its split, only at the deadend do i contemplate how to manage the disaster, i buy nourishments, i bring home a comb, i acquire a mirror, vain labor, nothing’s rescued at all, you’ve ended your counting of the strands, you’ve ended your collecting and comparing how crowded how scarce the scene of dropped hair every afternoon, you were despondent on hands and knees scraping the wooden floor, weaving beneath chairs, scrutinizing the mattress, shaking out pillows, digging through clothes, you were getting sick of the notebooks cluttering everywhere dropped hair, my dropped hair offering a bountiful harvest, stirred into the bowls of soup i cook, swimming in the drinks i mix, dropped but still smoothly long, still jet black, still peculiarly healthy, still not accepting death, i loop tight coils around my fingers, i cut straight across a chunk, i peel one into four, i ball up a snarl, i scrutinize the microstructure from beginning to end, i fantasize a love venom hair dipped in a tempting wine, still nothing rescued at all, hair loss is still loss, hair growth is still growth, still densifying black on the head, still scattered everywhere, you desperately tie hair to the bed to so it cannot keep whipping your lips in the night, my hair pricks your flesh, my hair swells, my flesh swells, your flesh swells, damn knot of lethal hair, my heart whimpers, if you won’t die damn hair then i'll be the damn one who does, my hand scissors snip strand by strand, then chunk by chunk, piece by piece falls mangled into my hand, hair whispers, don’t worry, emptied then filled, balding then sprouting, infinitely, without end, weeds in the jungle, my hand scissors enraptured, wanting more in every snip, a hunter drunk on blood, panicked steps quickening through the deep night of jungle, my hand scissors manically intrude on the blindness of the isolated black community, the dark private domain, the incessant dance of my hand scissors, hair is not flesh, it’s just weeds, just a feral species, balding then sprouting, emptied then filled, infinitely, without end, my hand scissors enraptured, i’m not hurt, hair can’t be flesh, my hand begins to pull, a pair of fingers hypnotically pluck strand by strand, the strands withdraw from the scalp without a single cry, hair can’t be flesh how can it know of hurt, just an unfeeling uprooted species, until a piece of scalp flashes, blushingly, forlornly a piece of feral land, is that your voice rising up somewhere, sobbing, no more please dear, can still recover right, can just abandon it there right, can stop destroying right, i no longer know how to pity my body, i no longer know how to pity, black pieces shed on the house floor, lonesome, who could count, a deserted dense black, and now you’ve left already, who knows how to care for the loss, who will sit gathering the dropped hairs, who will sit counting the dropped hair as evidence of my days, who will envelop me in a scene of hair every late afternoon, who will call for the leftover long hairs, and now with mother gone, who will groan that i don’t know how to pity my body, who will curse my foolish self-withering away, my head bald as a grassless mounded grave, hair lying feral beneath the floor, murmuring, no hair left for you to mourn mother, to mourn this bout of love, to mourn me, orphaned hair, the mourning without witness, couldn’t i somehow end the shedding

WHEN WILL THE SHEDDING END

stop dropping hair can you, you say, tired or pitying, on hands and knees scraping the wooden floor, weaving beneath chairs, inspecting the mattress, shaking out pillows, digging through clothes, groping each page, to pick up measure and count all 282 strands of hair dropped this late afternoon, exceeding the allowed quota of brokenness for a day, my heart winces, stop dropping can you please hairs, i’ve stopped the little jokes, the fun’s dried up, then we’ll knot the fallen into a tapestry, count them as evidence of our amourous days, my bout of love approaches its split, you can hardly endure anymore, this scene of hair recurs every late afternoon, a roadside call sounds for anyone's leftover long hair, i too approach the brink of despair, hairs rub on the back of my neck whispering, don’t worry, your hair quantity reaches roughly two hundred and some odd thousand strands, also exceeding the allowed quota that usually lives on a head, i’ve never fully grasped the mysterious strange life of the hair community on my head, an isolated black community, a gloomy private fiefdom, the hair bodies smoothly lengthen beside each other not tangling, the sprout-to-shed journey not spanning months and years but moments, the self-lived self-destructed, no, when have i ever changed styles, just cut the surplus, a season of interminable length, a season of floatingly brevity, ten years i haven’t sat in a salon, haven’t used any chemical besides shampoo, even harbor the dream of lime and lemongrass leaves from once upon a time, no, not so, unimaginable that my hair collided with the strange scissors or poisoned combs of street witches accomplices to the seductions of cheap green red purple yellow cosmetics, i am the cross-century idler, laziest of land and sea, i’m lazy to change the nature, i’m lazy to oppose the original, i’m lazy to hack at the status quo, so it seems an eternity in this little corner of a house, ever ever unchanged, i’m not considerate enough to arrange unnatural me’s to pique your curiosity, i live self-indulgently, though i at the same time am a meticulous scissors-handler, am busy carving myself to not offend anyone’s eyes, but mostly to suit your eyes, to please your heart, but i want you to stroke caressingly breathe in my hair without needing any ooh la la chemicals, i want my hair intact innocent unafraid frail in your hand, i long for perfection but will idle away the seasons, laziest of land and sea, i’m lazy to change the nature, i’m lazy to oppose the original, i’m lazy to hack at the status quo, especially the hair’s status quo, my hair is a jungle, i wanted to let hair innocently imperfect, inviolable, i wanted to let hair shed all four seasons, self-live and self-destruct, but my bout of love approaches its split, stop dropping can you please hairs, no, not at all, and it’s hard to blame the tropical smog specialty of this River city, my head bare, but hair clashes with dusty streets so rarely two three fingers can count the times i’ve stuck my face outside in how many years, mother groans, neither rain on face nor sun on head yet still this withering, i still want to let hair shed all four seasons, self-live and self-destruct, no, definitely not at all, i’m indifferent to mirrors and combs, the house has no imitation ivory or toxic plastic kind, not a single comb needs me and not a single comb do i need, my fingers are prepared to make a comb-lite, hair either hanging feral, or tied tight, i abandon hair a desperate mother abandons child, hair is a jungle, wild grasses rise, my body thins flimsier by the moment, barren, a dangling reed supports hair the jungle, supports excessive density, a neck wants to break, mother groans, hair and hair everywhere, draining all that nourishment into hair, vain labor vain feast, mother cares for my heavy hair heavy head, you alone know hair protectively hugs my head, you alone know to care for the ones who’ve been shed, tired or pitying, on hands and knees scraping the wooden floor, weaving beneath chairs, inspecting the mattress, shaking out pillows, digging through clothes, groping each page, but you can hardly endure anymore, i too approach the brink of despair, this scene of hair recurs every late afternoon, this bout of love approaches its split, only at the deadend do i contemplate how to manage the disaster, i buy nourishments, i bring home a comb, i acquire a mirror, vain labor, nothing’s rescued at all, you’ve ended your counting of the strands, you’ve ended your collecting and comparing how crowded how scarce the scene of dropped hair every afternoon, you were despondent on hands and knees scraping the wooden floor, weaving beneath chairs, scrutinizing the mattress, shaking out pillows, digging through clothes, you were getting sick of the notebooks cluttering everywhere dropped hair, my dropped hair offering a bountiful harvest, stirred into the bowls of soup i cook, swimming in the drinks i mix, dropped but still smoothly long, still jet black, still peculiarly healthy, still not accepting death, i loop tight coils around my fingers, i cut straight across a chunk, i peel one into four, i ball up a snarl, i scrutinize the microstructure from beginning to end, i fantasize a love venom hair dipped in a tempting wine, still nothing rescued at all, hair loss is still loss, hair growth is still growth, still densifying black on the head, still scattered everywhere, you desperately tie hair to the bed to so it cannot keep whipping your lips in the night, my hair pricks your flesh, my hair swells, my flesh swells, your flesh swells, damn knot of lethal hair, my heart whimpers, if you won’t die damn hair then i'll be the damn one who does, my hand scissors snip strand by strand, then chunk by chunk, piece by piece falls mangled into my hand, hair whispers, don’t worry, emptied then filled, balding then sprouting, infinitely, without end, weeds in the jungle, my hand scissors enraptured, wanting more in every snip, a hunter drunk on blood, panicked steps quickening through the deep night of jungle, my hand scissors manically intrude on the blindness of the isolated black community, the dark private domain, the incessant dance of my hand scissors, hair is not flesh, it’s just weeds, just a feral species, balding then sprouting, emptied then filled, infinitely, without end, my hand scissors enraptured, i’m not hurt, hair can’t be flesh, my hand begins to pull, a pair of fingers hypnotically pluck strand by strand, the strands withdraw from the scalp without a single cry, hair can’t be flesh how can it know of hurt, just an unfeeling uprooted species, until a piece of scalp flashes, blushingly, forlornly a piece of feral land, is that your voice rising up somewhere, sobbing, no more please dear, can still recover right, can just abandon it there right, can stop destroying right, i no longer know how to pity my body, i no longer know how to pity, black pieces shed on the house floor, lonesome, who could count, a deserted dense black, and now you’ve left already, who knows how to care for the loss, who will sit gathering the dropped hairs, who will sit counting the dropped hair as evidence of my days, who will envelop me in a scene of hair every late afternoon, who will call for the leftover long hairs, and now with mother gone, who will groan that i don’t know how to pity my body, who will curse my foolish self-withering away, my head bald as a grassless mounded grave, hair lying feral beneath the floor, murmuring, no hair left for you to mourn mother, to mourn this bout of love, to mourn me, orphaned hair, the mourning without witness, couldn’t i somehow end the shedding

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