On your skull, precious brain casket
Plenteous hair is glory.
Your face: a contested border zone.
Below, hair is animal, sex, sin
Inferior races, soul-less females, the dirty, the dumb.
Though even the hair on your head offends many gods:
Shave it like Buddha, cover it up like Mary (you have to like pale blue)
Or come with me on a hairy little ride.
Take the merkin, pussy peruke, down-under rug:
In the days when men liked their women bushy
A working girl could be blonde for Tom and ginger for Harry
Or cover up the pox she got from Dick.
-- but now Word tells me there’s no such word as merkin.
I must mean merlin – the magician that shows and hides
Or marking – map of Tassie if you’re an Aussie, the hair that marks the spot
Or jerkin, getting closer – all some of us need to see for a happy ending
Or merkid – frolicking child mermaid, brushing her hair
Or the shame of those too young to sprout a cover
For what they need to sell
Or marlin – yes, proud, muscular, hard to catch, hidden. Go fishing if you dare.
I digress, but I’ve long loved the merkin.
A large black Halloween beard is an exuberant merkin,
Under something skimpy and frilly at parties.
Being of a cantankerous feminist bent, it’s a favourite outfit of mine
And it hides my own hair -- I’m far too feeble to show that.
Furry rollercoaster, fluffy punctuation
1970s: I have to give my mother leg waxes on the kitchen table
- this goes onto the list of things to never make my own children do.
1980s: swimsuits cut from labia to waist.
1990s: the rise of the metrosexual - men discover pain, and post-wax acne.
The twenty-first century, everyone goes Brazilian
Clear-felled cunts, smooth sacs and silky cracks:
Every last hair plucked for men who like women who look like little girls
And Peter Pans who never never want to age.
Body hair ripped out by the roots, shaved, shaped, tinted, bejewelled – vajazzled:
Catch your screams behind your teeth and imagine
Rekindled fire in your lover’s eyes
As he or she finally gets to fuck Barbie or Ken
Or a very naughty fairy.
Hairy rollercoaster, fuzzy punctuation
1970s: pre-internet porn – beaver and split beaver in the pages of men’s magazines.
1980s: legwarmers exactly cover the hairy part of my legs.
1990s: boy-leg swimmers, I never need to trim again.
The twenty-first century, stick-on pink merkins on YouTube.
A fine line of dark hair climbs up a smooth belly:
I’m entranced, follow it with lips and fingertips
Soon after, she leaves me.
Boys become bushrangers, lumberjacks and patriarchs
Bewhiskered, muttonchopped, or at least permanently stubbled
I wonder, do they still wage war on fur south of the chin?
Eurovision, a glamorous Austrian drag queen wears my merkin on her face, and wins.
I take advantage of a long winter
And the devotion of my beloved
To see how long my armpit hair can grow:
About five centimetres, fine and fluffy as the first hair on a baby.
I stroke it at night, two small nestling cats
I can almost hear them purr.
I shave off my furry friends
Victims of fashion.