hair, a love language

— Edgar Degas, Combing The Hair

Long, black waves

Flow down and down and down.

Waves part with the teeth of a comb,

But come together again

Like the diasporic separation of my own

Identity

I watch the black and brown

Fall to the ground

Like leaves fall from their

Branches, from their

Roots, calling it quits before the

Winter and the world freeze over

Feeling the strength within each hair

The collective strength of my hair

My kes

Rolling it together, folding it inwards

Making it stronger and more resistant

To the questions we will face

The challenges we will overcome

My roots

My hair wrapped up

Lovingly

In layers of fabric

Each a representative for the sacrifices made

For me

For you

For Sikhs

The mirror shows a friend

And a stranger

Someone unknown to you

Perhaps one you should fear

The dastaar I see as fabric of my identity

You have been taught to fear as a turban of resistance

A symbol of terror

A sign of pain

My keski has made you fear me

Knock me down and keep me down

Denying my lineage

And yet, I still rise

— Kes(ki):Resilience, Harleen Kaur

— Harnoor Suri

When we were younger // We thought everyone was on our side // Then we grew a little // And romanticized the time I saw // Flowers in your hair

See it takes a boy to live // Takes a man to pretend he was there

— The Lumineer, Flowers In Your Hair

Desi parents don’t say I love you, they express love through awkward gestures, and I think that’s beautiful. My father’s love language is a champi. Emptying half a bottle of hair oil in my head and massaging it until the lines on my forehead have smoothened out, and all my worries have vanished. I walk away, my hair slick with oil, complaining he always uses way too much. But how I truly feel, I will never let him know. For this emotionally restrictive love language, I have learnt from no one but him. Instead, I will be there again next week, with a bottle of hair oil and a head full of worries.

— Snigdha Bansal

— Xinyi Cheng

Who knows how to make love stay?

Tell love you want a momento of it and obtain a lock of its hair. Burn the hair in a dime-store incense burner with yin/yang symbols on three sides. Face southwest. Talk fast over the burning hair in a convincingly exotic language. Remove the ashes of the burnt hair and use them to paint a moustache on your face. Find love. Tell it you are someone new. It will stay.

— Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker

you ever look at a thing

you ain’t make, but become

a mother in the looking?

our blood is a thread tied

around my finger, tied

around her finger, that helps

me love. when her knees

swell, when her joints rust,

when her hair thins & flees

making a small continent

of skin on the side of her head,

i am witnessing her in whatever

state her body will allow.

Bismillah to the brain that

put my name next to her name

and said look at this girl your

whole life and know some kind

of peace. littlest bald spot, that no one

expected or knew how to love

you remind me of us.

i know Dalya’s thinking, how ugly

what a shame, but i wanna

build a mosque right then

& there. make an annual

hajj to that brown meadow.

slick as a coin. little planet

uncolonized. flagless.

her awful, but her own.

— Angel Nafis, excerpt from Ode to Dalya's Bald Spot

"Not everything about my hair is a political statement. Sometimes I just want to have fun with it."

— Lebohang Lang Motaung (@lebohanglang)

When we asked women what female rage looks like to them, it was always Medusa, the snaky-haired monster of myth, who came to mind ... In one interview after another we were told that Medusa is 'the most horrific woman in the world' ... [though] none of the women we interviewed could remember the details of the myth.

— Mary Valentis and Anne Devane, Female Rage: Unlocking Its Secrets, Claiming Its Power

"Hair the color of lemons,'" Rudy read. His fingers touched the words. "You told him about me?"

At first, Liesel could not talk. Perhaps it was the sudden bumpiness of love she felt for him. Or had she always loved him? It's likely. Restricted as she was from speaking, she wanted him to kiss her. She wanted him to drag her hand across and pull her over. It didn't matter where. Her mouth, her neck, her cheek. Her skin was empty for it, waiting.

Years ago, when they'd raced on a muddy field, Rudy was a hastily assembled set of bones, with a jagged, rocky smile. In the trees this afternoon, he was a giver of bread and teddy bears. He was a triple Hitler Youth athletics champion. He was her best friend. And he was a month from his death.

Of course I told him about you," Liesel said."

— Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

— Itay Magen, Woman With Abstract Hair

Wert thou as young as I, Juliet thy love,

An hour but married, Tybalt murderèd,

Doting like me, and like me banishèd,

Then mightst thou speak, then mightst thou tear thy hair

And fall upon the ground, as I do now,

Taking the measure of an unmade grave.

— William Shakespeare, Act 3 Scene 3, Romeo and Juliet

His hair tells a story.

You see a little brown boy with long hair and you say it’s “just hair.”

...

He sees Native boys get their hair cut by their teachers in front of the class because “boys have short hair.”

He sees his all white baseball team pull him out of the boy’s bathroom and throw him in the gravel.

He sees them laughing and calling him a girl.

He sees none of the adults do anything about it.

He sees the grown men accost his family at a restaurant to tell them their “daughter” doesn’t belong in the men’s room.

He sees the grown men get mad and confused when they walk into the men’s room, too.

He sees the racism directed at him by children and adults alike.

He sees their words cut into a wound that is 500 years old.

He sees his ancestors.

He sees those who fought invasion and colonization.

...

He sees resilience.

He sees strength.

He sees resistance.

...

You look at him and you see “just hair.” He sees ALL of that.

— Kelly Tudor, Excerpts from His Hair Tells a Story

LINKS:

Introducing a section of recommendations and suggestions, where we plug a local artist, business, and piece of writing/music/anything we think you might like.

  1. Fun New Project: Museum of Material Memory is attempting to keep the vanishing elements of the material culture of the Indian subcontinent alive by tracing family histories and social ethnography through heirlooms, collectables and objects of antiquity. They're accepting your contributions of tangible and intangible forms of untold stories of women and queer identities until January 17 via this form.

  2. Small Business: https://www.instagram.com/gloriouslyhandmade/?ref=lbb

  3. Music: Good as HellSar Jo Tera ChakrayeBlack Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair

  4. Event: The Hound of the Baskervilles

  5. Article: A Visit to the Head Spa

This week's newsletter is curated by our new team member, Snighda Bansal!

She's a journalist and writer with a keen interest in art. You can find more of her work on her website and twitter.

As always, you can find more art & poetry on our website ~ unographymag.com

Marina Abramović - Art must be beautiful...