The Healing Improvisation of Hair
by Jay Wright
If you undo your do you wóuld
be strange. Hair has been on my mind.
I used to lean in the doorway
and watch my stony woman wind
the copper through the black, and play
with my understanding, show me she cóuld
take a cup of river water,
and watch it shimmy, watch it change,
turn around and become ash bone.
Wind in the cottonwoods wakes me
to a day so thin its breastbone
shows, so paid out it shakes me free
of its blue dust. I will arrange
that river water, bottom juice.
I conjure my head in the stream
and ride with the silk feel of it
as my woman bathes me, and shaves
away the scorn, sponges the grit
of solitude from my skin, laves
the salt water of self-esteem
over my feathering body.
How like joy to come upon me
in remembering a head of hair
and the way water would caress
it, and stress beauty in the flair
and cut of the only witness
to my dance under sorrow's tree.
This swift darkness is spring's first hour.
I carried my life, like a stone,
in a ragged pocket, but I
had a true weaving song, a sly
way with rhythm, a healing tone.
(me, on the way to work.)
black women & hair is as complex as astrophysics, as deep as the atlantic ocean, and as contentious as discussing affirmative action. our hair, just as our bodies, have been agonized over, objectified, and gentrified to suit the needs of society.
even with all that surrounds us, we manage to do our 'do in countless ways & look FABULOUS in the process. my hair has been natural (sans relaxer) for some years now. i decided to stop relaxing my hair back in college, just to see how my natural texture felt. i'm not one of the militant ones that argue that ALL black women should just let their hair be. i feel like we are intelligent/complicated women. we should have the right to choose our hairstyle based on our personal tastes. i DO have a problem with those that ask, "why don't you get your hair pressed? it would be so cute!" as if my natural kinks ain't cute.
honey, i'm FLY. so i let it be.
anyway, i love this poem & i wanted to share it. bless!