Thom Ebbitt is a one-time Scottish national hairdressing champion who now runs Touch Salon in Annapolis, Maryland, with his aesthetician wife, Isabel. He is also a tyro poet. “It just came out one night, don’t ask how,” Ebbitt says, regarding his accompanying closing-time reverie on the secret life of hair. As near as he can figure, 30 years infatuation with his profession, alongside an appreciation for Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde, must have burst a literary vein. “He’s pretty passionate about hair,” Isabel says. Four tarantulaic poems spun from Ebbitt’s pen during a two-week period in November, and he hopes to keep developing the motif. His soft-spoken goal: “I’m trying to establish a style.”
Removing hair it is our game,
What we leave behind will be our fame,
Combing, cutting, measure for measure,
Twisting, curling, flowing mane
In my hands. They must prevail,
Inverted brushing, Bobby’s pin,
Flowers colour caught within.
Misty fragrance fills the air
Perspiration in this chair.
Hair is up Fair Maidens Guild
Bequeathing signs aloft to show.
Champagne’s veil to hide your fears,
Maids in waiting shroud your tears.
Pictures taken, bells have rung,
Confetti speeches later come.
A tear may fall,
The cake is cut,
For all of us it matters not
If she said “yes” and tied the knot.
I pray the work that we do
Did last the course and with it too
The beauty filled the eyes of many
And kept the hair from falling any.
-Thom Ebbitt © 1996
Hair on the Floor
Passages of hands
Stroked through these
Tresses. Whispered words
Jingled curls wisps of
Tinsel thronged through,
What light has touched
These tortured lengths
Shared with enraptured
Chains of glaze amid
These strangled strands.
Heat shredded evidence
Of Unbridled passion
Vexed to unwitted bliss.
Forsaken tributaries of
Beauty amass on this
Thorned crown. What
Seat of majesty blooms
Alas – Hair on the floor.
-Thom Ebbitt ©1995
-Thom Ebbitt ©2003
It was in the Forties
Tom, age 7
I was nowt but a lad,
Me and Dave and my old dad
Once a fortnight we got our cut...
Our heads shaved down to the wood.
Short only on the back and sides...The rest is left to its own demise.
When its done my ears stick out it makes me want to shout STOP!!!!!!
Up the stairs into the shop
Buzzing and lather and razors being stropped...
Waiting, we are part of the "next."
When the word is heard I feel a shove, "It's you now," says brother Dave, I move forward still in a daze.
"Climb up on the chair," says Barber Jock.
"How are ye Son?" "Good..." I lied.
Now his hands are on my head...The buzzing in my ears
Hair is falling in front of my eyes and sliding down the tears.
I feel like shouting! I look like a clown.
All those colored bottles and jars he's spraying on my head...
His hands are stopping at a pump that says "Brylcream in you hair"
Slapping my nut on either side I feel like a fool.
My face is blushing...Down the stairs onto the street.
Through Woolworth's crowd I hold Dad's hand and look at all the girls, they look back and smile and say "Where are all your curls?"
Up the street to Boots the Chemist.
God knows why we are here!
But I get lost in all those colored bottles and perfume...Girls and lipstick again and dream...Then I see...
A poster it's about flying to brazil, a man in a brown suit and a lipsticked woman in green with lots of leather luggage ready to be transported to their destination. Hair is dark and shiny and clean.
I catch my reflection in a mirror hair is slicked down all shiny and clean.
That's me I thought...I am Brylcreem Boy.