NaPoWriMo 4.6: Model


Yup, this is me after my haircut. (NB – OBVIOUSLY IT’S NOT, from my ‘hair model’ Google, it’s apparently the alarmingly-pristine and very-possibly-computer-generated Jerome Kutscher…)

I went for ’round two’ of a ‘model’ haircut this afternoon.

This does not mean that I was then going to be taken photos of (as in the above illustration), but that I was just a human head, with hair on it (and quite a lot, thanks, at 32), meaning you get a cheap haircut from a (very pleasant) trainee.

While I’d love to claim this stems from a desire to nurture the next generation of Vidal Sassoon’s (or whoever the key coiffeurs of our times is/are) – it’s largely for a cheaper, yet rather better, haircut. (And it is a really good haircut, the details of which were slavishly attended to, for nearly two hours…)

When I say it was ’round two’, that’s because the last time I went in, they said my previous barber’s haircut was so poor, that they did some trimming, said to go away for a few weeks, then come back…Like a potter deciding to splat their clay back onto the river bank for a bit, before even attempting to make another vase. Or something.

It’s all very far from the Chloe Sevigny experience of ‘mo-delling’ (I’m trying to master the ‘Concerned Councellor’ and ‘Scratch’ poses for when I’m next there though…)

So then: a poem about the experience of being a ‘model’, in this fairly unglamorous way…


In the porcelain brace, I try to pretend
my neck usually bends this way, to be
a model model. Teacher and student
stand either side, each with a dryer
in my ear, like being dropped
from great height somewhere tropical. 
Tilting my head (‘funny-shaped’)
I’m rotated 360 degrees, like Mr Potato 
finally meeting the microwave. They stand 
mirrored above either shoulder, neither
angel nor devil to glassless me. 

The shibboleths begin: of blending and wedging 
and not-wedging and un-wedging (and I’m
back through a baggy centre-parted curtain
to the Nineties); of overdirecting my hair 
(like some B-Movie star); of scooping 
with the clippers (like my occipital ridge 
is raspberry ripple); of my hyperactive crown 
which must be a compliment (I am 
Errant Prince Van der Graaf!).

While she snips and clips and scoops and tries and trips
it’s as though she is a carpenter, as though I am being made:
a clothes horse, whose ears have suddenly grown
fur – and a hammer, an anvil, a stirrup.

NaPoWriMo 2.22: Barb

“Her name is Barb. She’s never shut. The one-sided sign on the door reads: OPEN.”

So a ‘children’s poem’ very much in the vein of Roald Dahl or Tim Burton’s Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy (OK, maybe that’s not even for children).

My partner noticed a handwritten sign yesterday (in the small town we’re presently based), advertising ‘Hairdresser’s chair for hire’ (in my head, it then said, ‘by the hour’). It was directly above a butcher’s shop. And so, with Demon Barbers in mind, transposed to Mirfield…

It’s a work in progress and as such, the story is not yet complete. It’ll either get longer, or shorter…




In a blank little town

with a flat grey river

that curves across it like a frown

is a sight that’ll make you shiver.


Her name is Barb. She’s never shut.

The one-sided sign on the door reads: OPEN.

And she’ll give you the worst haircut

you’d never even imagined.


That Barb’s a beast, a crow with scissors.

Don’t go to Barb for a careful trim:

You’ll get yourself caught in a Barbara-blizzard –

a snow-dome not only of hair, but of skin!


‘Butcher Barb!’ that’s what they call her.

‘The Demon ‘Dresser’, the children say.

So what’s the explanation all the

parents look the other way?


“Oh hel-LO Mrs Trent, do come in!”

As shuddering Taylor gets shoved through the door:

“Would you like to try my savoury tiffin?

It’s a recipe I haven’t tried before…”


‘Cos Barb’s got all the parents hooked

on the troublesome treats she bakes.

That Sinister Scissorer! Guess what she’s cooked?

It’s not just the smile that she fakes…


To Be Continued…?