Eddie Priest’s Barbershop & Notary

By Kevin Young b. 1970 Kevin Young

Closed Mondays

is music    is men
off early from work    is waiting
for the chance at the chair
while the eagle claws holes
in your pockets    keeping
time    by the turning
of rusty fans    steel flowers with
cold breezes    is having nothing
better to do    than guess at the years
of hair    matted beneath the soiled caps
of drunks    the pain of running
a fisted comb through stubborn
knots    is the dark dirty low
down blues    the tender heads
of sons fresh from cornrows    all
wonder at losing    half their height
is a mother gathering hair    for good
luck    for a soft wig    is the round
difficulty of ears    the peach
faced boys asking Eddie
to cut in parts and arrows
wanting to have their names read
for just a few days    and among thin
jazz    is the quick brush of a done
head    the black flood around
your feet    grandfathers
stopping their games of ivory
dominoes    just before they reach the bone
yard    is winking widowers announcing
cut it clean off    I’m through courting
and hair only gets in the way    is the final
spin of the chair    a reflection of
a reflection    that sting of wintergreen
tonic    on the neck of a sleeping snow
haired man    when you realize it is
your turn    you are next

Young, Kevin. “Eddie Priest’s Barbershop & Notary.” Most Way Home. Published by Zoland Books, an imprint of Steerforth Press of Hanover, New Hampshire. Copyright © 1995 by Kevin Young. 96-97.

Source: Most Way Home (Zoland Books, 1995)

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Poet Kevin Young b. 1970

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Activities, Jobs & Working, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Cities & Urban Life

 Kevin  Young

Biography

Kevin Young was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. He studied under Seamus Heaney and Lucie Brock-Broido at Harvard University and, while a student there, became a member of the Dark Room Collective, a community of African American writers founded by Thomas Sayers Ellis and Sharan Strange. He was awarded a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, and later earned an MFA from Brown University. Three of Kevin Young’s books form what . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Jobs & Working, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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