The Howling Owl
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The Howling Owl

Poetry / Ekphrasis

Your Hair or Mine — Babbling on The Stage of Salons

a poem reinterpreting gu wenda’s artwork

united nations — babel of the millennium, detail. artist: gu wenda. 2012. SFMoMA / © Pseu Pending (Seu)

tin foil bits hanging on
highlights lowlights no sole rights —
dark strands blonde? grey strands rebound.
a hair salon is — should be — a happy place —
merry talks and humming sounds

who’s swooping on the floors
sorting truncated bunches abound?

no one knows
but the all-knowing hairdresser —
unwanted they snip unsightly they sheath
your burdens they shoulder secrets they keep.
three hundred twenty-five salon floors he creeps
careful not to mix the sweep —
racing round the globe
chasing behind ear lobes —
did he find an orange strand? Ooooooo…

united nations — babel of the millennium, detail. artist: gu wenda. 2012. SFMoMA / © Pseu Pending (Seu)

eighteen countries the artist trailed —
ash beige chestnut russet hailed —
each silk enters stage — their bells reverberate
on gluey screens vibrations intimate —
bonding bounding mid-air jingling

chinese english arabic or hindi?
picto pecto portal pseudo —
the world a giant salon
babel on all levels —

contexts convoluted no one knows
now or ‘morrow —
the language you think you know
you think is thorough


dna long written in history
no such thing exists as purity —
egyptian etruscan italian
in a mummy secrets reveal.
sino-roman intertwining —
old silk road brings rich rearing.
berlin wall tumbles for reasons brilliant.
ghengis kahn’s male descendants 16 million.
in sickness or health our world a consortium —
not to mention american ventures last millennium

’tis a fantasy of virtual self
a presumed identity
of culture in purity —
not letting go
not letting in

in time
all hair turns platinum
if comes wisdom — — if — —
united nations happening?
says the hairdresser —
it lives in
babel of the millennium

Baffled? Check out this video by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for details of Gu Wenda’s installation:

video by SFMoMA

© 2022 Pseu Pending (Seu)

Thanks to Zay Pareltheon, Viraji Ogodapola, and Marilyn J Wolf at The Howling Owl for a nurturing nest!



The Howling Owl is a juried publication featuring poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews. The publication is committed to quality creative work from a diverse group of writers.

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Pseu Pending (Seu)

Leisure is a path to the thinking process. Museum Educator/ Contemporary Art Researcher/ Lover of culinary arts. Top writer in Poetry, Art, Creativity, Food