Toulouse, Maurice, François of Wofforth
Poems by Walt McDonald
They come to make a name, towns without beauty parlors.
Wives mad for Dallas styles keep them alive
for a whileFrançois, Maurice, Toulouse of Tulia.
Between Venetian silks, they snip and squeeze,
customers soothed by creamy shampoos, scalps bathed
in exotic oils and phosphates. Men without pasts
massage and gossip, smoking, sending groomed women home
reeking of secrets and nicotine, to bedrooms
fogged with cigars. Ranch husbands sniff
as if the wind had shifted from feedlots.
Drive out and see stores empty for years,
glass shattered, signs sprayed with graffiti
and buckshot. Barber shops stay open late
with shampoo bottles and razors for ranchers
and farmers who wait for wives who stopped
down the street at the widow's, who keeps
a basin and magazines for customers who return
for a wash and set, a trim, the usual perm.
previously published in Urbanus (Summer 1997). 1622