Monday, June 11, 2018


meathead barbershop

the meathead barbershop
always has muscled italian dudes
hanging around in front

playing on their cell phones and talking shit

i’m not a fan of loitering
but i don’t own the joint

i wish i could say to the muscled italian dudes

hey, don’t you have somewhere else
that you have to be?

they’d probably kick my ass if i said that
or they’d say, what the fuck do you care?

which is a good argument

because i was just passing by on 3rd avenue
on my way to the liquor store for vodka and wine

i wasn’t even going to get a haircut

and i don’t really care in the grand scheme
of life and death and everything in between

it’s just that i don’t like muscled italian dudes who loiter

this is america
everyone has their prejudices
and those dudes are mine

them and irish dudes on st. patrick’s day

also, if i was even in the market for a haircut
i wouldn’t get one from that joint

the meathead barbershop
makes everyone who gets a haircut
wear an apron with the american flag on it

as if patriotism is somehow linked
to getting a number two fade
and keeping the top kind of loose and shaggy

i don’t want to mix patriotism with getting a haircut
there’s too much patriotism in america

most days i choke on flags
just trying to get from point a to point b

like at the post office when i needed stamps
and the clerk reached for the flag stamps
and i said, without thinking,
anything but the goddamned flag
and she practically threw kwanza stamps at me

i couldn’t imagine being in the meathead barbershop
and saying, anything but that goddamned flag apron

but imagine how mad it would make
the muscled italian dudes?

they’d probably run me out of brooklyn
a bunch of muscled italian dudes kicking at the air
and shouting, get the fuck outta here!
as i hustle my ass over the verrazano bridge into jersey

no, i get my haircut in a place run by spanish and russian dudes

they play 1980s songs on the radio
and sing them in broken english

they have normal aprons there
and there isn’t an american flag in sight

i don’t even have to talk when i’m there
i just show them a picture

and they cut my hair just like it most times

last time i was in there they had a young latina woman working
she smelt of roses and fresh meadows

when she finished cutting my hair
she held up as mirror to my face and said,
just like leonardo dicaprio

he’s a famous actor who dates models half his age
and probably pays a thousand dollars for a haircut

a lie is a lie
but, look, if i look even remotely like him
i’m taking the compliment
and making an appointment way ahead of next time

which is another way of me saying
you can keep your meathead barbershop
your loitering italians
and your american flag aprons

you can shove them
up your red, white and blue ass
for all i care.

--John Grochalski


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