© Farouk Asvat
The township comes to townIn their Saturday best
To a calendar full of foreign places
I have stopped dreaming of
Where it is still a wonder to behold
Amitabh Bhachan embracing Elizabeth Taylor
On the peeling walls of the barber shop
In defiance of the laws of the land
"We Do Not Allow Credits Here"We know all too well
Watching Overcoat Chacha reading the horses
Through a magnifying glass
While hen-pecked barber clip-clips away
In spite of the modern unisex salons across the road
As Enver Notorious
Who still bumps with the swagger of his youth
And takes his usual seat rather obtrusively,
While the child looks with apprehension
At the dentist's chair upholstered in maroon:
Clerk, wife and two children,
All seated neatly in a row
Patiently waiting for their turn
Dreaming of the fading promises on the green wall
Before returning to their homely ghettoes
'I have been in allThe racecourses of the country,'
Mandrax Kapoor boasts,
'I know about horses, I tell you;
And I know about bets.
You just ask me.'
'Yes. But don't ask me for money.People don't give you money
To pay your rent;
In that I've passed my matric,'
The Balding Barber asserts
With forced dignity.
"Allahnah Goodana kassam.But Hot Curry got no chance,
I tell you,"
Junior Shariff predicts with confidence,
"Biryani is the horse for today's race;
And if you don't believe me,
But where is that squint bastard anyway?
I haven't seen him for weeks."
'Kaka is in jaihl,'Mandrax Kapoor informs him absently.
"Yes, I've heard.Pulling time at the Fort;
At Number Four,"
Enver Notorious confirms.
"Is that true heh?"Junior Shariff feigns surprise;
"Kaka in jail heh?
But what was wrong with that bastard,
Staying with us?
But very independent,
I tell you.
And what he does?
Gets involved in drugs.
Is that now something for our people to do?
I ask you,"
Junior Shariff continues
As the snip-snip of the barbers carries onAnd the bright colours
Of another Saturday morning
Pass by in their hustle-bustle
To the cinemas
© farouk asvat
composed 1995 [Johannesburg, South Africa under new apartheid]
Majestic Hairdressing Saloon was previously published in:
The Wind Still Sings Sad Songs (piquant publications, p62, 2006).
____________________________________________________________ WIETIE WHAT-WHAT
Bra Frooks is ... nes 'n skollie
 'n egte skollie
 'n tsotsi
 a real scamp
 the jokerman
Bra Frooks ... praat soos 'n skollie
 wietie soos 'n joster
 wietie what-what
 tunes like a durbanite
 speaks like an englishman
© farouk asvat. All rights reserved.
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