From the dawn of time,
To the dusk of the present,
Man has warred internal
Over matters of many,
From the depths of his wallet,
To the tip-tops of his very head,
Raging against new horrors,
Nitpicking at the mundane,
Yet feeling lost at all points
Here and in between.
This personal strife
Has not abated quietly,
For the man must fight daily
With those demented elements
That come hotly against him,
Designed to inconvenience,
Or simply to put him out
Into the cold, dark world
This war internal
Has not been a lone battle,
But a war of singularity’s parts,
A test of will against the pieces,
The pieces that define him,
And the bits that form him,
Internal and external,
Of blood and mullet alike.
This war has raged
Since the beginning of time.
But today, perhaps,
Man shall, at last, see its end.
He may put his strife to rest.
Given that nothing happens
To compromise the peace he seeks
With those pieces of himself
That have remained at war.
Perhaps, today, if all bodes well,
Man will be at peace with his mullet.
Will our madness ever cease,
This perversion of taste,
Such antithesis to peace?
Or, are we destined to skirmish,
All day, into night
Like some confused dervish?
Uncomfortable with our sight,
Steadfast in identity,
Clashing over who’s right?
We fight with the mirror,
You and me, against sanity;
O’ the results couldn’t be clearer.
Our war is attrition,
Where neither is a winner;
We both deserve admonition.
Yea, a mullet you may be,
But my hair you still are,
And baldness escapes we.
In a world where image reigns,
And respect is found in covering,
We must take our salt in grains.
Peace between us must be found.
Shall we truce then, dear mullet?
Shall we reach our common ground?
Oh, you wacky simpleton,
I never wanted to fight.
My job was to protect you,
From birds, bugs, and light.
It was you who hated me,
Not I who hated you.
I just wanted a chance to live,
To claim my right as hairdo.
Dear confused man, you,
So short of your seeing,
Your scalp is my dwelling place,
A canvas for my being.
Why shall I battle
Against my very home?
What purpose is it for me
To strip myself off the dome?
Man of vanity, sir of strife,
Our war is doth misplaced.
Much else demands your attention,
My aggression is but chaste.
Riots, speech, and bloodshed,
True problems in need of release.
Shouldn’t those be your sadness?
Can’t you grant me peace?
Ooh, a quarrel among soulmates,
How juicy, how saucy!
I must scrutinize this drama
As one swirls a fine wine.
Analyzing the players of this story,
Shall grant me a great pleasure.
Oh, yes, the play-by-play, sublime!
How may I capture this event forever?
Behold! One of you is a vessel,
Designed to carry the other.
The other of you, a passenger,
Designed to ride like a leech.
You fight! You make up!
A narcissistic fever dream.
The spitting image of my own battle,
A battle you’ve also fought with me!
Oh, no! What interloper is this?
Has horror visited me twofold?
Has decency gone amiss?
I lie speechless at this entrance,
At this, intrusion, at this mess—
The mullet interjects!
You! Cross-pollinated monster!
Who invited you to our party?
This battle has kept sacred
Our intimate anger quarte!
The man duels. I duel.
A gentleman’s war with image.
But you, oh foul beast!
You have no place within our scrimmage!
Be gone! Be gone,
Horrid golem of insanity!
You are perversion of style,
Man’s folly for vanity!
How dare you infect it,
The sacred image of man?
How dare you supplant me,
Hair most foul in all the land?
My, my, somebody’s testy today!
You say to me I’m unwelcome?
Have you the right to tell me off,
Infamous “Do” of the eighties?
I think that I think not, dear un-sir!
Cast a stone at me at your peril.
I am no pushover to hairbound justice!
I can tangle with the best of you!
The night is young and so am I.
With a twist and a pop, I exist!
Listen to me, yesterday’s news,
My physique needs no shears to shine!
All I need is a rubber band and a will,
And maybe arched shoulders and pride.
The best of men wear me, you hear me?
The best of men wear me for truth!
Oh, no! This interloper is man bun!
It has its grips set upon me.
Save me, mullet, for I am done!
They say the enemy of my enemy
Is my friend, ice cream scoop head!
But man is no longer my enemy,
And you, top knot, are not my friend.
I know your game and what you seek,
And this peace you shall not invade.
Reconciliation is my order of business,
Not a threat from a twisted man braid!
Dear Mullet, you misinterpret me;
I do not seek to invade your space.
You see, I am the new kid on the block,
Observing a world in which to fit in.
The places around me abound in wonder,
And the joys I bring are geometrically sound.
I come to satisfy the hunger of man,
To shape into anything he shall imagine.
But that is not all that I am, Mullet, I hope you see.
No, there is more to me than meets the eye.
So, please listen, intently, to what I wish to share,
As early judgment against me will fulfill no victory.
This message, I insist, benefits us both,
And you shall know why our peace must exist.
Now, look me in the bulb, dear Mullet.
Take hold of my ponytail and see!
Do you not understand where I come from,
Or the ignorance of your lambast against me?
I have not come here to start a war with you.
No, friend, that is not the goal I keep.
The imperativeness of my clarity, I hope you know,
Is paramount to our mutual trust.
So, please understand my message, friend Mullet.
Please listen, as I do not wish to enrage you again.
Yes, I choose not to pull you into aggression, my pal;
No, no, no! An engagement of battle I do not seek.
We shall have no beef on this or any other day,
For you and I were born of the same place.
Yes, dear Mullet, we are brothers,
Like fraternal twins, but better.
Do not fight against me, or the future.
Instead, join me, and let us make this world of men stronger together.
Oh dear, what do we see,
But the internal war
That hair has among itself?
Is it true then, dear humanity,
That vanity is a vicious circle,
Set to fight all who oppose it,
Even when the source of vanity
Is just another victim of vanity?
Shake your heads, men.
Shake your heads in shame!
For the man bun is upon you,
The man bun has come to stay!
(To be continued…)
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And now we come to the “Back to the Future” Day Week celebration’s main event:
In the year 2000, I began My First Mullet, a series of poems about man’s epic struggle with his hair, the nefarious mullet that somehow becomes part of him, a four-part skirmish in which he attempts to vanquish his foe through the shear might of…well, a pair of shears. In the year 2011, I came back to finish the chronicle of the man who is now at full-scale war against his trashy shaggy nemesis, where the battle is no longer personal, but a clear struggle between good and evil. And even though I wrote well past the eight poems that told of the war to chronicle the “collateral damage” caused by the event, I wanted to celebrate Back to the Future Day with the installments that tell of the direct conflict.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you My First Mullet, parts 1-8, in their complete, unaltered forms. Enjoy and comment at the end.
My First Mullet—The Prologue
I thought it was a nice day to start again,
Since the past dished rough times on my head,
Blowing fierce wind all through my hair,
Tangling long locks in front of my eyes,
Blinding me to the truth that hid on my scalp;
Revelation that a jungle weeded out from within me.
I discovered the hard facts when my reflection vanished,
Which resulted from losing sight of my mirror,
Blocked by the curtain hanging and tangling before me,
Leaving maybe glimmers of the image I looked for,
But screaming that I was wasting my time trying,
Therefore awakening the need for some chopping.
I took a trip to the upscale downtown shear shop,
Where guys in white coats snipped and cut people’s heads,
Trimming former shrubs into sculpted bushes of art,
Applying buzzers against the narrow lawns near naked ears,
Dropping dead strings and body mulch to the floor,
Leaving a new kind of carpet for the scissors people to sweep.
I was called to sit in the chair of reconstruction,
Where the Sultan of Shears held his tool against my neck,
Asking what kind of transformation I expected that day,
Which I suggested just cut and go and maybe surprise me,
So the metal edges of the chop device began before my eyes,
Clearing out the obstruction that blinded and annoyed me.
I twiddled my thumbs underneath a plastic sheet,
Waiting for the job to be done without complication,
But something occurred to me in the middle of my surgery,
That I liked the length of my back and desired to keep it,
So I asked the hair doctor to leave my reverse side alone,
Just to sculpt me so that I could have vision before I left.
I left the building when the project became success,
Proud that my vision returned and my hair maintained control,
But my joy had depleted after going home to watch TV,
To see one of the trash talk shows coming on air with high volume,
Revealing its guests in all their bickering glory,
Each wearing the same haircut I knew I just received.
I looked in the mirror to discover my folly,
Shaping what should have been a normal style of trim,
Into something that was disproportional and found on truckers,
Which would’ve been okay if I drove diesel behemoths,
But I didn’t so I could not handle the barber’s new creation,
So I decided to find some scissors and remove my first mullet.
My First Mullet—The Transition
I never used to care about hair,
It was always something that was just there.
But when I knew it was getting long,
Ignoring it would’ve just been wrong.
I decided I would get it chopped,
Down at the local barber shop.
But when I felt the trim completing,
I could feel my dear dignity depleting.
I thought short was the way to go,
Since that’s the only style I know.
But scissors stopped above my brow,
Leaving the back of my head to grow.
Now my hair flows a funny way,
Stuck to the top with back blowing away.
It’s like a raccoon cap glued to my head,
Without the stripes or fur to shed.
It also makes my neck feel hot,
Especially since I sweat a lot.
But I’m disappointed about this no matter what,
Because I wish I never got my first mullet.
It forces on me an achy-breaky heart,
Tempting me to rip it savagely apart.
Now that I have scissors in hand,
I’m slashing the back to fit my demand.
I may not care a whole lot about hair,
But I know when people start to stare.
My First Mullet—The Aftershock
Why do you torment me,
Hair among hair?
You flop short of my forehead,
But flow like a cape down my back.
Waves twist around my neck,
As you are careful not to touch my eyes.
Now I know what it feels like,
To be an eighties rock star.
I did not expect your arrival,
Hair among hair.
Barbers informed me of a new style,
Insisting it would be cool.
Then they cut me in places,
Leaving others alone.
I demanded scissors at each angle,
But they lost their tip instead.
My heart is now sunken,
Hair among hair.
I wanted total hair shortness,
But must deal with shortcoming.
I used to find enjoyment,
In the way the wind touched you.
But now you’re so uneven,
And people just want to make fun.
You may be my first mullet,
But with these shears I must make you
My First Mullet—The Apocalypse
A pile of you lies on my floor,
As I hold shear victory in my hand.
My blades scoff at your weakness,
Taunting back the curses you spat—
Curses aimed at the top of my head,
Insults you hurled from the back of my neck.
You thought you could hurt me,
With your devastating look of lunacy.
But your attack failed by my hand,
So now you must suffer your fate—
To be swept up and thrown away,
Like careers of musicians who once wore you.
You lost my respect at the barber’s chair,
But there was nothing I could do.
You convinced the stylist you were cool,
Secretly crossing your fingers and laughing—
Those strands that tangled behind my neck,
Which I could never see without angled reflection.
You may have won that first victory,
When the stylist ignored my plea to cut.
But the scissors in my hand says never again,
Your decimation proven by my face in a mirror—
Which reflects back a short uniform hair helmet,
Completely free of extra mullet residue.
Somehow I can see you trying to attack again,
Creeping your way down the back of my neck,
Without coming anywhere close to my eyes,
Making me wish that you would blind me.
My First Mullet—The Immaculate Collection
Ten years ago the mullet died.
Clipped from the source of life it fed upon,
Fallen to the linoleum earth,
Bagged and shipped to the landfill of time.
Fifteen years ago it abandoned style.
Gone was its fame, dying was its fate,
Missed by none, duped by some,
It lost its grace,
Heading for the wasteland of time.
Twenty years ago it tempted fate.
Born on the head of a Lethal Weapon,
Dancing on the head of rock star generals,
In the breeze it swayed,
Riding on the glories of time.
Caught in time’s spiraling vortex,
The mullet spun out of control,
Clawing its way to the present,
Fighting to survive its apocalyptic fate,
Vying to conquer the world again.
Today it experienced rebirth,
Gaining new fame online.
From business in the front, to parties in the back,
The mullet returns from the grave.
Immaculately, it rises.
My First Mullet—Shear Brutality
They rise up, seeking hair.
The blades of justice,
The blades unfair.
They seek the scent
Of misshapen style;
They search for trashiness;
They invade without guile.
Modernization under cover
A quiet closet eighties lover,
It was a rock-born sympathizer,
A trailer park’s lucky clover;
Jeopardy, it shrieks at scissoric threat
The blades had cast from the net,
And the fear makes it sweat;
It hides, but cannot run.
Madness comes, chaos ensues;
The blades of shears come flying.
The hairnet breaks, the mullet quakes;
A hairpiece has fear of dying.
Tragedy falls from the gown to the floor,
A sink washes life out the door.
Lament the mullet at the hands of fate,
Shear brutality forces a cleaned-up slate.
My First Mullet—Failure of a Stylist
Eyes peer at me through the mirror,
While a smile feigns delight,
Her expression becomes a twinkling,
As her clippers say goodnight.
My stylist bounces from the chair,
To the victor go the spoils.
Does she think I want to pay for this?
She hardly even toiled.
“What were you thinking?” I begin to say,
Out loud in a lucid daydream;
Of course she doesn’t hear the question,
For she’s focused on her styling cream.
I attempt to ask another question:
“Could you take a little more off the back?”
As she squirts the cloying foam in hand,
She grimaces; do I lack tact?
“Oh come now,” she says with a cackle,
“The girls are gonna love it,
You’ll be the talk of this crazy town,
No woman can resist a mullet.”
A fear begins to grip me,
For I’ve been in this place before.
Is my stylist just an idiot,
Or does she have an agenda something more?
“I’d really like a shorter cut,”
But my words fall on deaf ears.
Before she gives me my chance to object,
She puts away her shears.
“That’ll be thirty bucks,” she says with joy,
“But here’s a kiss for luck,”
Of course she can hardly control her lips,
For her laughter becomes untucked.
She must know she won’t see a tip from me;
Only madmen reward a fool,
But as her fingers remove my tainted gown,
I realize I must remain cool.
There’s one more chance to counter, I realize,
Last one before we hit the sink,
Once the shampoo dampens what remains of me,
My heart will be in the drink.
As she swiftly wheels my chair around,
And beckons me forward off my seat,
My heels stamp the stark linoleum floor,
And my body whirls from my feet.
Once again I’m facing the cold, clear mirror,
Eyes locking gaze with reflective eyes,
Her hardened expression dares my action,
But my hand ignores her cries.
I reach for the dormant and silent clippers,
Taking matters into my own hands.
But then my distracted head jerks backward;
She’s taken my mullet into her own hands.
“Revenge,” she whispers into my buzzing ears,
“Sickly sweet, my handsome dear,
Never distrust a stylist’s rightful eye,
If you want to know no fear.”
I shudder to think what she’s thinking about,
And then it dawns on me.
I once questioned her on that “cool” bowl cut,
And challenged her integrity.
Idiot maybe, but not a fool;
She had me in her hair-stained grip.
Once again I screamed that she was right;
Then she forced me to give that tip.
My First Mullet—My Second Mullet Rises
“What’s that thumping sound, little boy?
The beating of your fearing heart?
Did you reverse your hillbilly beard this morning?
Your back hair grow upward into your brain?”
I’m not listening to you, mullet;
You do not exist.
“Why are you running so quickly, little boy?
Did your barber fill your heart with dread?
You think your feet won’t trip over those locks of yours,
Do you think you can escape my grip?”
I’m not listening to you, mullet;
You do not exist.
“Come, come, little boy, come listen to my tale,
You hear my voice calling, do you not?
Pounding like the thunder on an oval racetrack,
Or the roar of victory over roadkill done shot.”
I’m not listening to you, mullet;
You do not exist.
“A wizard who lives in a trailer park, little boy,
That wizard gave me my super power today.
With a flick of your barber’s muddled brain,
Your history will now wash, rinse, and repeat.”
Go away, you wretched mullet;
You will not exist.
“Now, now, little boy, can you hear the pounding of your fearing heart?
I can hear it stammering deep within you,
Deep inside your chest, stammering,
Like poisoned lice wanting to escape.”
Continuing with a Back to the Future theme, in a loose kind of way now, it’s time we turn to one of the greatest action movies to come out of the 1980’s, Lethal Weapon, and more importantly, to its greatest legacy left on pop culture, the mullet.
Ah, yes, the mullet, the greatest hairstyle to hit a generation since the Moe Howard bowl cut, which I guess was just a revision to the old Caesar cut, which was likely the revision to an alpaca’s hair–I’m no hair historian, so I don’t know. From the mullet we have learned a great many thing:
Bad guys tremble at the sight of a mullet.
Ladies melt at the sight of a mullet.
Mel Gibson was at his best in a mullet.
The Lethal Weapon series died with the movie that did not give us a mullet.
Bonus Fact: George Clooney and John Stamos gained fame under a mullet. (Not really Lethal Weapon related, but still an accurate observation born from the eighties.)
As you can see, the mullet was important to our culture and to the longevity of Lethal Weapon, Mel Gibson, and maybe the eighties?
Let us never forget the power it had on 1980’s cinema and the stars that had graced our screens.
Long live the mullet!
Want more mullet drama? Come back at 9:00 to read about the epic battle between man and his hair, told in poetry.
With summer just around the corner,
Unless you’re reading this in September,
You may want to try something new
To spice up your season.
Yes, you can play baseball or football,
Or go fishing or drag racing.
With the possibilities endless,
You may want to try a little of everything.
But, may I suggest something?
Try my favorite recipe:
Southern Fried Mullet!
It’s simply delectable.
Now, don’t let the name intimidate you.
It is much simpler to make than you realize.
You just need a pot and a few ingredients,
And you can be on your way to summer spice.
Before you can manage a hot, crisp mullet,
You need to acquire these items;
Remember, we do things differently
Down here in the South.
If you want a “Northern Fried Mullet,”
You’ll simply have to change your ingredients
According to your style.
But I don’t recommend doing anything “northern.”
First you need a medium-sized pot,
Perfect for holding plenty of water.
You’ll also want to grab a fry pan or skillet,
Perhaps the one you threw at your spouse last night.
Without these necessary kitchen aids,
You won’t get much frying done on that mullet,
So make sure you’ve got at least one of each.
It doesn’t matter if they’re clean.
Next you’ll want some “southern ingredients,”
Like onions, okra, peppers, and cheese.
Frying mullet is a celebration.
If you don’t have the “right” ingredients,
Then you can use the next best stuff.
Most importantly, be sure you have the mullet.
You can’t fry a mullet if you don’t have the mullet.
Terrible people have tried, and disaster befell them.
Don’t fry a mullet if you don’t actually have the mullet.
Also, stock your cabinets with oil and breadcrumbs.
Down here in the South,
We love our breadcrumbs.
We bathe in breadcrumbs.
Once you’ve confirmed your ingredients,
Fill the pot with ten cups of water
And bring it to a slow boil.
Or, bring it to a fast boil; it doesn’t matter.
While you wait for the pot,
Spread butter and oil across the skillet,
Then set your burner on “high.”
Mullets need to sizzle before they fry,
And nothing says sizzle,
Like a mullet set to “high.”
Once you hear the gentle rolling pops,
Turn the burner down to “medium.”
By then the butter should be oil thin,
And the mullet should be ready
For its ten-minute date
With the fry pan.
When the pot water boils,
Toss in all your ingredients at once.
You may have noticed we skipped a step:
Measuring the amount of onions, peppers, etc. you need.
Like the speed of the boil,
The amount you use is contingent on preference.
Use as much as you’d like.
Remember that more onions means more spice,
And more peppers means more heat.
When you fry your mullet, you’ll want heat and spice.
Once your kitchen fills with steam,
It’ll be time to put the mullet in the pan.
Slow the boil down to “low,”
Then cover if your pot has a top.
Between the onions, okra, peppers, and cheese,
You’ll have a soup in the making.
A good fried mullet goes best with soup.
It’s how we do things here in the South.
Did you remember to grab a bottle of oil?
Now’s the time to bring it to action.
Measure two cups of oil with your favorite cup
And gently begin pouring it onto the mullet.
The mullet should be doused in oil
Before it hits the pan.
Doing so will soften its texture.
Then roll it through a plate of breadcrumbs.
Once the mullet is properly prepped,
You may finally set it in the fry pan.
Now, be careful with this step.
Be very careful.
For, you won’t want to burn yourself
On the pan or skillet.
Always use caution when frying a mullet;
I recommend you call on a parent or a friend
To help guide you to the pan,
As you gently lean over and tilt your head—
Grip the edge of the stove tightly,
For you’ll want to keep balanced,
As your oil-soaked hair sizzles in butter
For the next ten scary minutes.
That burning smell is expected.
Once your ten minutes are up,
Promptly remove your hair from the pan,
And grab a dishtowel to protect your neck
From the excruciating heat that may follow.
Just stick it between your hair
And the back of your neck.
It’ll be enough to prevent a rash.
But you might still have a red neck.
Finally, as your fried mullet begins to cool,
Lean over the pot and remove the lid.
You should be ready to soak it in the soup
And give it its final texture.
Let it sit in the cauldron for about three minutes.
Once the gooey cheese soaks in,
And the onions, okra, and peppers marinate the hair,
You can pull it out of the pot and turn off the burners.
Then: Viola! Southern Fried Mullet,
Just in time for summer,
Or fall or winter or spring.
Perfect for that fashion statement,
You’ve been wanting to make,
Proving that chicken nugget-skinned hair
Is just as stylish as gel or purple dye.
And that’s how we do it here in the South.
Oh, and just to be clear,
If you thought this recipe
Had anything to do with frying fish,
You should know by now,
I mean really know by now,
That we don’t care about that kind of mullet.
That’s not how we do things
Down here in the South.
You should really do your research
Before simply following orders.
Note: This is part of series I’ve been working on in spurts since 2000, called “My First Mullet,” a collection of poetry (and other writing styles) about man’s struggle with trends, popularity, bad decisions, and bad hair. The majority of these works were written this year.
I’m aiming to have these assembled into a printed collection sometime in November. More information on that in future blogs.
Wrote a new poem today. This one is the 9th installment of my infamous “My First Mullet” series (the other eight are not yet on WordPress). This follows the conclusion to the epic struggle between man and mullet and serves as the first of four postscripts to that tale. This one in particular summarizes the conflict that a man has with his most awful of haircuts.
Note: It’s supposed to be ridiculous.
My First Mullet – The Bonus Mullet
Maybe it’s not such a bad thing, I thought.
It’s not like it was a disease I’d caught.
Perhaps fine fashion is what I’d sought:
My endeavors, clearly, were all for naught.
My first mullet, a mistake, to be certain.
Wearing my hair like a nape-neck curtain,
Cause for the cursin’ I’d been blurtin’,
No dignity, no composure, just shame I was spurtin’.
Living with it longer than sophistication allowed,
May as well’ve made me hopelessly disavowed,
From any sense that one could be wowed,
By the devoid brilliance of the trailer crowd.
I must’ve been duped by a crafty lie,
Perhaps on the whims of a saboteur or spy,
Employed by the ranks of the fashionably spry,
Eager to watch a man’s dreams die.
I could no longer stand the sight of my blindness,
My complete ignorance to fashionable kindness.
I should’ve considered my stylist’s guidance,
Rather than stare at him blankly and mindless.
He told me my mullet would cause me trouble,
Said I’d be better off with baldness or stubble.
Perhaps I was just living in a fashion bubble.
My stupidity sure left me with emotional rubble.
I was willing to give it a fair chance,
As all things deserve their time to dance,
But mullets eschew the great expanse
Of wisdom employed; that is my stance.
The results, I thought, were expectedly disappointing.
A mullet, for shame, for my heart, was disjointing.
A prayer I would need, or a stylist’s anointing,
To end the humiliation, the laughing, the pointing.
In truth, I’d had enough of that insufferable blight,
Hair so bad that I’d go out only at night.
My sense of style had not been right:
A provocative mess I had to fight.
I told my stylist to cut it or pay;
I would not suffer indignity today.
He brought out the clippers without delay,
And shaved that dastardly thing away.
Now I wonder if I’d done the wrong thing,
Since no haircut is truly that disgusting.
But, I digress, with much understanding,
That to some atrocities I should not cling.
Maybe I’d feel bad about my heartless trimming,
Over a disturbance in which I’d been wading or swimming,
Where my anger or dread had been brimming,
And hope for a reprieve had quickly been dimming.
But perspective is a powerful force,
As I’d once read in a wise man’s discourse.
Plenty of tragedies had been worse
Than my urgent need for a mullet divorce.
Maybe it’s not such a bad thing, I thought.
It’s not like it was a disease I’d caught.
Perhaps fine fashion is what I’d sought:
My first mullet, I’d bought, I’d fought.
My choice, my bad haircut, today is gone.
Mullet zero; me one.