3:30 am

Ginny’s gone, but here’s a pome from before all that, in commiseration with all my Facebook friends who post in the middle of the night.

3:30 am

the witching hour



Get up to pee

take my thyroid pill


tuck myself back in

with three pillows


Chris and our dog Ginny

snuffling and puffing


in their dreams. All is right

in this best of all possible worlds.


Maybe you know what comes next:

You’re out there like me


in your warm bed but the swarm

arises in your head and


all the tricks you try only

stir the frenzied buzz.


Who batted the hive

between your ears?


Regrets are the worst:

How could I have done that?


What was I thinking?

OMG, what an ass.


So then at 4:30 am

maybe you get up again


go to the window

where a full moon throws


tree-wide stripes

across the lawn and an owl


swoops past like some

cowled and fretful wraith.


Go downstairs

pick up a book


a diversion in hopes

the hornets will gentle


which they sort of do. But now

it’s dawn. Chris is up


and in the shower, coffee’s on,

Ginny stretches and yawns


and finds you lifting a heavy head

to the new day with gratitude


for sunlight, for imposition,

for all the honeyed routines that keep


things humming. The hours

unwind with things to do with


effort this time to do better

maybe learn from past mistakes


then fall to your pillows

and let it all flee


until at 3:30 am

you get up to pee.

Tiptoeing with Scissors: Verbatim Chat with My Barber

Did you hear that thing the President’s daughter said, about how he does this whole ice cream cone twirl or something to pull hair up on his head so it doesn’t look so bald?

I did. It’s all the talk in here. We call it the comb over of the gods.

How about the spray tan and the eye goggles? What’s he trying to prove?

Well I don’t know.  One thing with this President. He’s the only one came in and he’s doing what he said he would do. They don’t know how to control him. 

He is mixing it up. I just wish. People are so angry now. I just wish everybody could stop fighting over every little thing. Seems like the first word out of people’s mouths these days, it’s a fight.

Not like the one before. He tried to change everything, but they’re fixing that now. They say racist. Black people are more racist than white people.

How is that? I don’t hear about black people going into white churches killing people. Black cops shooting white people in the back.

Oh it happens. They just don’t put it on the news. And look at this. You’ll never see a black person let a white stylist do their hair. I can do black hair. I wasn’t taught to do process, but I can do weaves, but nope, not a one.

But have you ever seen a white woman go to a black hair salon?

They can’t do white hair! That’s why.

Funny, it seems like it’s churches and barber shops that are the most segregated things these days. 

Oh you don’t touch a black woman’s hair!

Did you see that Chris Rock movie about that? Before I saw that movie, I never knew what a weave was! Now I see them everywhere.

Oh yeah, and some of ‘em wear wigs! You don’t touch a black woman’s hair!

It’s like these old white ladies you do perms for, isn’t it?

It is. Sit up in bed to sleep, so you’re hair won’t go flat.

What’s going to happen to the hair salon business when the old women die and perms and blue rinses go out of style?

Oh, I’ll be retired on a beach by then. Most of my big jobs these days are streaks and hair colors. The younger ones don’t want to see a gray hair.

I just don’t see why they have to call themselves African American. You’re either American or your African, make up your mind. Or go back to Africa. But the African countries won’t have ‘em. If you’d even want to go back to such a place.

Donny, seriously? Do you remember, growing up, it was colored? And then black?

And before that it was Negro.

I went to a show at the science museum a few years ago that taught me a lot. Learned that this whole idea of categorizing people by the color of their skin was invented right here in Virginia back in the 1600s. When slavery started here. Before that, in Europe, skin color was not a racial category. They had prejudice. Mostly around religions. But they didn’t recognize race like we do now.

If you say so. I just wish we could all get along. Mind our own business. All lives matter is what I think.

We’ve got a long way to go to get there.

We do. You want your eyebrows done?