Sunday, April 16, 2006

I know why the caged beard sings

I never shave on weekends. Stocking up on groceries Friday night (my true intentions hidden behind a perfectly respectable 5 o clock shadow), I spend the next 48 hours locked away in my room, feeling myself grow pricklier and more stubborn in my solitude.

As my beard ripens, the mirror changes with it, grows older, darker. I feel as though I'm going back in time - way, way back - to an age before razors and self-image, when my ancestors roamed the wilderness and wore the foliage of Man proudly on their jowls. Beards were not artifice then, not some burlesque disguise that you tacked on to your cheeks, but a living organic part of the human face. Running my fingers along the line of my jaw, feeling it raw against my palm, I can't help feeling that this beard of mine is a secret code, engraved under my skin by long ago cavemen, waiting to be deciphered.

What does it all mean? (Like Whitman, I wish I could translate these hints about the old beards and the new beards)

Sometimes I feel like I want to paint walls.

Sometimes I feel like I want to get drunk on cheap red wine and write like Hemingway.

Sometimes I feel like I want to throw stones at birds, only there are no birds in this city, only planes, and those are too far away.

Sometimes I feel like I want to be a hedgehog, bristling my spines at the world.

Sometimes I feel like I want to play long, groovy solos on a pedal guitar, losing myself in the minstrelsy of cocaine.

Sometimes I feel like I want to discover a new planet. Or Ginsberg.

Sometimes I feel like I want to write long free verse poems about the Revolution, and print them out on leaflets on some basement press and declaim them loudly at railway stations until the police come to arrest me.

(But what if they don't come to arrest me?)

Sometimes I feel like I want to wear stained camouflage uniforms and a beret and live off the jungle with only the long, cool barrel of my rifle for company through those parching summer nights.

Sometimes I feel like I want to lock all the doors and windows of my apartment and just ROAR.

(Hail! Rintrah! Hail the perilous path and the hungry clouds! Every good library should possess a lion).

The book I am trying to read has hidden itself away under my bed. I crouch for hours on the floor trying to coax it out, but it only burrows deeper into the corner. Could it be that it is afraid of my beard? Can it not see that its words too are only stubble, grown over long, long years?

I know I'm pathetic, living out my prototypical neanderthal fantasy alone in my 15th floor apartment in the heart of urban America. But hey, these things grow on you. And I swear I'll punch the first person who even thinks of mentioning the 'concrete jungle' on the nose.

Come Monday morning, I shall return to the reign of safety razors, my face shaved into neutral conformity. Having destroyed all the evidence of my weekend mutiny, having cleared myself of all its prickly charges, I shall lose myself easily in the commuter crowd.

And no one will ever know that underneath this mild-mannered exterior lives the ferocious, depraved intelligence known to barber-shops (and DC comic fans) everywhere as:

The Beard.

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confused said...


''so what if they don't come to arrest me?''


I have never read a better ode to the beard.

Now, I can almost look at the mirror and feel proud.

Heh Heh said...

and underneath this mild-mannered exterior lives the ferocious, depraved intelligence known
The Chest Hair

Inkblot said...

good to see you being a child and laughing too. cool post!

Bombay Addict said...

Finally someone is proud of saying this !! Falstaff - I belong to your camp and do not shave on weekends. If only shaving could be banned. Btw - hahahah, v. funny post.

PS - agree with you on Bombay over Delhi (ref. DK2 post).

drifting leaf said...

so... you want to paint on walls... wow... you? would not have guessed...!

Falstaff said...

confused: thanks.

heh: hmmm...I don't think I like where this trend line is going.

inkblot: thanks. but what do you mean child? I'm growing a beard dammit! this means that *adopting plausible imitation of Muddy Waters* "I'm a Maaan! I'm a Hoochie Coochie Man!". Mummy, she says I'm acting like a child! sniff

bombay addict: thanks. Always to good to hear from a comrade

leaf: only while my beard lasts. oh, and assuming I don't hold myself to your aesthetic standards. I'm thinking blood red bisons, not flowers in pretty pink.

km said...

Falstaff, that's a real bad-ass title there :)

Ahem..this minstrelsy of cocaine...are they accepting new members?

Falstaff said...

km: :-). Thanks. I was quite proud of it myself. I was hoping someone else would notice.

Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY! » »