POEM: Not the Straight & Narrow

Twists and turns, kinks and curls, unexpected bends and swirls.

Sounds familiar, right?

Black people, you know what I’m on about right? When we raise our hands to our heads

Or look in the mirror we see it growing out of our very scalp, don’t we?

Well that’s not what I’m talking about, though it’s kind of related.

It’s not immediately clear but that’ll soon be explicated.

You see: hair symbolises life, and different hair types symbolise different life paths.

The path to eternal salvation and bliss is the straight and narrow,

Straight because it’s direct, clear-cut, linear,

Narrow because it takes skill and effort to stay upon it,

Like your life depends on staying on this one and only path like a tightrope walk across the Grand Canyon.

But real life doesn’t go like that. Not for me, not for you, not for anyone.

Nobody always knows where they’re coming from and even less where they’re going to.

Destiny, life, whatever you want to call it, goes in different directions.

Some we like, some we don’t, but at least there’s always options.

How many options? More than the hairs on your head, and new ones are constantly growing.

See a spider’s web? One thread breaks, others are woven in its place.

The journey doesn’t end because the destinations don’t stay still.

Where do they come from? Where do they go to? Don’t know, can’t always know.

1 path, 1 straight and narrow path, leaves no room to turn back or turn aside,

No room for change, no space for adventure, nowhere to manoeuvre to turn the tide of past mistakes.

But countless paths, countless twisting knotting curling ways

Inspire adaptability, give the chance to start afresh,

And increase our spatial awareness like we’re looking at a maze.

That’s why I don’t believe in the one and only, the straight and narrow path,

And after hearing this, do you?




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