Why I Dyed My Hair Red

The following poems are excerpts from the self-published poetry chapbook, Why I Dyed My Hair Red, which I released in 2004 as my honors project during my senior year in the English program at Wright State University in Dayton, OH.

Red Dye

I watch her fire engine streaks
fade between
gingerbread brown growth

a false identity
baking under
artificial sunlight

younger fibers push
their way through pores
dead cells collaborate
conspiracies to vanquish
the branded locks
birthed on Devil’s night

the lipstick-red strands
smudge into brown and blonde
filtering her mask with watery
streams eroding electric desire

oversetting an orange dusk


(In response to William Wordsworth’s
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting)

We shed our translucent jelly shell
the malleable armour wrought to us
through rebirth
passing into fragile bodies
awakening into one realm
forgetting another

Asleep to the golden gates
the chorus of souls behind them
lives we spent in the heavenly void
timeless among friends and waiting

Eternally patient
to forget the Lamb
the light
the stillness

Asleep to one realm
awake to another
children of the wingless
the imperfect ones
who justify chaos
birthing from order

The pure open their eyes
to the blue-veined flesh
only to hear fluttering of wings
from the wind blowing dust

He Moves Me

blessing his dance like religion
he moves me with hypnotic waves
hands like white lightning

tracing luminous lines
beneath draping willow branches
lingering syrupy swirls
cross-stitched invisible motions

perched on woodland’s high point
this boy-child stares into the city skyline
haunted by violence and fate

his eyes are molasses
rich with memory and wild abandon

The Right Words

from behind glassy eyes I grabbed a hold of you
so tight my fingernails pierced your fleshy waist
you picked me up and kissed my clammy lips
dried blood in your mouth
one last moment of passion
before you drowned your car in gasoline
strapped me inside
rolled up the windows
locked the doors
smiled your canine grin
and with hands upon the steering wheel
you turned the key in the ignition and
I closed my eyes
and wept
I’m so sick of goodbyes

Leave Me in a Glass Case

within this mirrored pyramid cleveland shrine
i sprawl on theatre cushions
surrounded by walls of voodoo
child black-lit paint & cases
holding handwritten sheet music

jimi’s canary yellow translucent
stage shirt stands ruffled above
mack the knife, gold-plated guitars &
sun records pinned like tacked stamps

i stumble out-of-body & sober
in a faint familiar trip
heightened by Jimi’s mystic
healerman herbsman
islandman visage on a flat film screen

bally’s rolling stones pinball
tattooed with mick’s lips,
opens mouth to machine
full of red sin & salvation
cult figure anti-filth
electric ladyland seashells
glass beads & feathers

three screens 100 feet high
throw bowie to my feet
louder than glitter
and rhinestones
white suede scarves
black & white wallpaper snapshots
burnt drumhead rock relics

awake in a psychedelic netherworld
melting through aphrodisia silver & wood
leave me to clasp an unplugged mic
near drums on metal platforms

closed off by velvet theatre ropes
& do not touch signs

let me loose let me
obsess & admire
boundless reinvention
remember & worship
sartorial style like a
brit-mod japanese kabuki
rainbow-knit kimono
& glass spider collage

store my ashes in a silver box
with a nameplate and birthdate
leave me as an artifact
of our generation
hung in a glass case
near broken radios circa 1940
and 1960’s copies of rolling stone

my blood passion pumps
black magic odes
in this rock altar graveyard
red-lit by idols of years past—
a self-indulgent memorial

1 thought on “Why I Dyed My Hair Red”

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