Abdul Ali

Carl’s Barbershop
December 16, 2016 Ali Abdul

Carl’s Barbershop


The peppermint stripes spinning
The shaving cream
The crowding around the TV
The razor
The photo of Malcolm X and Dr. King
The Coco Cola machine
That still accepts dimes
The radio playing the Oldies
The trash talking
The “nobody can touch Otis Redding
& that’s a fact jack”
The bullet hole
The empty chair
The fades
The rust colored tile
The high tops
The baby photos
The pointing, that’s my little girl when she was a baby
The neighborhood—everything—changing
The slopes, The fro-hawks, the hierglyphs
The scissors slicing the air
The fragrant coconut afro sheen
that makes you choke each time
(You never complain)
The parts
The small rectangular handheld mirror
The vanity, The one-two look & vogue
The folded twenty plus five
The handshake
The pause—

Abdul Ali is the author of Trouble Sleeping, winner the 2014 New Issues Poetry Prize, judged by Fanny Howe. His poems have appeared in Gargoyle, A Gathering of Tribes, New Contrast, Poet Lore, Academy of American Poets and elsewhere. He currently is a faculty member at The Bryn Mawr School where he teaches English in the Upper School.