Poet Samar Abulhassan on a historic beauty salon in Seattle’s Central District

Gerard Ortiz

Every working day during the thirty day period of April, KUOW is highlighting the do the job of Seattle-centered poets for Countrywide Poetry Month. In this collection curated by Seattle Civic Poet and Ten Thousand Issues host Shin Yu Pai, you are going to come across a choice of poems for the intellect, heart, senses, and soul.

In “Sacred Bowl”, Samar Abulhassan contemplates the dwelling record of the the DeCharlene Salon, a Black-owned shop with more than 50 several years of being in company in Seattle’s Central District. In the course of the pandemic, the rapport that Abulhassan recognized with the granddaughter of the salon’s first owner assisted her to experience linked to other individuals and herself.

Samar is a poet and educating artist residing in Seattle. She’s a Hedgebrook alum, Jack Straw Writer and holds an MFA from Colorado Condition University. She’s labored with Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools because 2008, and for Hugo House’s Scribes method and the Skagit River Poetry Basis since 2010.

Sacred Bowl, Central District

Commence at the shampoo bowl at the elegance salon on Madison. But start off skyward, so
language rolls again and forth as a result of a smooth, spray hose. Quite a few sounds in time transform
oceanic: ceiling admirer revolutions nod to bodies in motion, to blown out lightbulbs which
sit shut to the motor. Crystal holds my head at the bowl in a pre-language condition. Rivers
of lather pool and distribute. The chairs all around us gleam with an vacant fullness. Her
grandmother, a one woman of coloration, a community pioneer who ran for mayor, ran
this constructing for fifty percent a century before passing absent a couple a long time in the past. I near my eyes
in the course of this ritual, the duration of a track. My center ears which have a tendency to in excess of-total turn out to be
instantly delicate, brimming with memory. The sides of my head body a guide with a
playground at dusk: I am swinging , pumping my legs to touch the experience of tree’s
pinnacle. For many months, salons and swings ended up invisible or crossed out by warning
tape. Even now, a trace of danger encircles this assembly. Memories are complete of surface area
dust circling the tilted porcelain bowl. Crystal kneads my scalp, jarring awake the top of
my head. Her fingertips are padded with songs and tale. “That is when I grew to become
Grandma Crystal,” she gives of her experience as a teen, twin brushes with death that
led to catapult. Our speech effervesces underwater, fusing with the scent of rosemary
mint conditioner. I am dizzy, and slow down the swing set in my brain. Chains hung continue to
at night and shook gently until they were clipped. Towels are re-tucked in under my
neck. Immediately after poem’s likely electrical power floods with not sure breathing, swung superior as well rapid,
wooden chips provide a soft landing. At night time salons stayed lit but ancestors swept in. The
speaking human body, is mosaic, sheen. Phrases pop via broad-toothed combs. I trace
words like water beads.

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