In Eddie’s Barber Shop, a good haircut. The drone of the clippers, the way they dance up and down the nape of the neck or the temples like chunky geometric insects exploring flowers. They also snarl and snort, like dwarf Hondas or Vespas revving, but the room’s overall vibe is one of great peace.

The young men are charming. They are good-natured, talkative in their chairs, but I am silent like an idol, studying my lined face and the whiteness of my hair. I think of a cod Japanese proverb: Snow lies always on the higher mountains.

Am I mountain, now? Proust’s characters, extended in time, were giants, though in the flesh they were twisted and shrunk, arthritic, sapped. Like coral in a bottle.

All the way up the mountain, to the cold peak, there to find a shapely bottle, very clear glass, with a branch of faded vermillion coral displayed inside it.

Forget it, no worries, bro

The young man next to me is umming and ahhing about his look. The goatee may be a problem.

Barber: I thought we were taking it away here?
Young customer: Yeah, but now I’m having a look at it, I’m changing my mind. Can I keep the moustache long?
Barber [With a soft laugh]: You can have whatever you like, man, but we need to make a decision, because we need to know what we’re doing.

We are being transformed: trimmed, pruned, shaped. I wish to look younger, or at least a bit smarter, the young wish to look cool. They are unashamed, relaxed, do they know about mountaineering, about the whiteness of the snows against the resolute blue of the clear sky, the nature of summits? — they probably do! Of if not, they can find out.

I like it man, it suits my head shape

I notice later when doing searches that Facebook tells us:

Jun JB Baraquiel was at Eddie’s Barber Shop / 21 December 2013. I am drawn to the name, it has the intricacy and music of netsuke, of carved boxwood or ivory, and I hear the ripple of guitar strings, in a mist spray before the cut, a scent of the ocean, marlin and ozone.

Sentences beckon us forwards, refer us backwards. Framed by a mirror, and by the mirror’s secret. I stare, an old man, familiar with heights, finding it a little hard to remember the mild climate of the valleys, the green, the ravishing monotony of spring rain, tractors in mud: the village girls, rather provocative, daring the vampires to come.

Then the mirror’s curtains swing closed, and there is the darkness that is slipped, like a fine black plane, between the unnoticed explosion of each thing into its place, the grasp of the point, the way the sticks of Mikado fall and their unique array.

Product placement:

Jack Black Pomade (Beeswax and sunflower oil give your hair shine and hold, while mango and shea butter keep your scalp clean, smooth, and moist)

So this is part of the mountain — Maybe in the course of Japonism in the 19th / 20th century the “Zitterwackel” game had changed to “Mikado” (probably first named “Tsuchimikado”).

The weight of snowflakes, the weight of the snow.

I dream of the valleys. I wake asleep. The perimeter of the dream is fluid, by patrol is it defined. When there are no guards, there is no perimeter, and into head, the mountain rears.

The weight of each snowflake…


from Semapolis | City of Signs
(series of poems, unfinished, 2012–present)