Volume Four, Issue 3

Hair Regimen ///////

Dana Venerable

Quoted excerpts from Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair In America, Revised and Updated by Ayana D. Byrd and Lori L. Tharps

This work is dedicated to the process of coily and curly hair-doing and all the intertwined thoughts during—strands of elapsed time interrupting to be remembered and forgotten. Also, this is for those who get tangled in their hair, as a form of therapy and meditation, after years of learning to accept and “home” care hair before affordable and reliable treatments were available in stores.

Step 1–drench the hair in cool to warm water—apply Shea Moisture Manuka honey & Mafura oil intensive hydration hair masque w/ African Rock Fig & Baobab Oil or Jamaican castor oil, wrap in a bun, put on disposable shower cap, let sit for 1 to 4 hours depending on how busy you are

Step 3–try not to touch it too much, it will grow as the day goes on, and yes every curl is different, every curl will position itself separate from the others and move in its own ways

step___- try not to shave your head

Step 1


You never posted pictures of us
On Instagram
Was it because of my hair???????

I guess you change your mind everyday
wish you didn’t           & set it in motion before I arrived

Don’t take photos of me during the rest of my 20s
As a fun little game to pass the time

I may not have a list of terrible things you said  
Or a reliable memory                         
But maybe my hair remembers
It will testify on my behalf                
Like the time you patted me on the head   

As a goodbye
Like I was a dog

“In the early fifteenth century,
                      hair functioned as
                           a carrier of messages in most West African
                    societies...Within these cultures, hair was an
       integral part of a complex language system...” (2).

But I am learning to remember
It’s a tidal wave of cruelty

I remember in fragments out of order
Usually while doing routines, like I do
                                               Like my hair
                                               What is this bodily connection w/ trauma
Everytime I do my hair-choreo some self comes out

                                                      reads between the blinds
                                                                      BDNF wiki page
how the gut microbiome affects the brain and mind

sitting down to write anything or do this is a form of movement
very animated sitting hips
& I’m all about self & sacrifice

Step 2–rinse hair mask out, pat dry with “Live Free or Die” NH cotton t-shirt, put up on head for another hour to watch a show on Hulu

Step 4–occasionally check, casually in the mirror, seeing if the hairs you like are placed in a way that respects them, see them in the light, if the shape of the hair-body is fully being itself

step___ - try not to shave your head

Step 4

Information about trauma memory / shows the split ends

                                                                  “a” and “z”
               Outline all nick/names in my dreams
 Isn’t that weird?

“...there is a lot of comfort and meaning in Black hair culture. The word ‘culture’ often gets misused and overused,
                 but with Black hair there is a real culture, in the way that
anthropologists would define it:
       the learned patterns of behavior and thought that assist a group in adapting to its environment and include ritual, language, memory, and evolution...”

No one really dances in the street anymore,
                               not as much as I would like.

                                  There’s only an abundance of junk-food-music
           that you get to feel pretentious about

What can I do with all my old tap shoes? they’re used
Sometimes the taps fall off & I lose the screws
Step 3—divide the hair into fourths, apply sm raw shea butter extra-moisture detangler w/ sea kelp & argan oil (optional), put three of the fourths in buns, leave the one on the back-right side out

Step 5–play with your hair at all times, feel free to touch it but let no one else do it, don’t let it happen, don’t don’t dont do not

step___ - try not to shave your head

Step 5

               I guess 1 mixed woman wasn’t enough 4 U
                         More girls in the mix

                 To balance out the universe


Did you realize you will never know “this” feels

          telling me I would never “win.” Ever.
Because I’ll always be wrong.
Isn’t that nice?

“‘The hair is the most elevated point of your body, which means it is
                                      the closest to the divine,’ Mbodj explains as an
                               indication of the power the hair holds. Because the
                        hair is the closest thing to the heavens, communication
               from the gods and spirits was thought to pass through the hair to get to the soul” (4).

I watch every season of Living Single alone, as praxis

“And since history is a collection of yesterdays, this Black hair history continues...” (xiii).

The quote “Never resent growing older. You may not be given
the chance” is next to a picture of a young couple nailed
into a tree with hanging jewelry and crosses

culture shock phase honeymoon phase disintegration phase

I want a fence made out of Crayola

Is that too immature for you

                                        A woman breastfeeding to the right of me,
                                               another to the left
                                                              cracking every finger she has
                                                                             Which one will I be now

All I can do is make a three-leaf clover with my tongue

Step 4—detangle for as long as it takes

Step 6–tie it up or back for a while if you get too hot, if you want a full fancy free pony that looks like a bouquet of flowers or a cloud of your choosing

step___ - try not to shave your head

Step 4

Let’s guess—

     Yes, you did that to me
   Literally stripping spit away a-wash

Hard to tell hard to listen hard to look hard to too hard to not

All over my face

I get irritated every time I have to explain to someone
          that you can’t really stop assault while it’s happening. Your body goes into a state of shock where you can’t move
       the way you want to anymore
Antoine Dodson reacted to a very concrete fear.
The autotuned-meme overshadowed his own
     bodily tragedy and trauma

Is it possible to overdose on your own emotions?

Weeping sounds and laughter—that’s almost sleep-inducing

Getting really tired of being forced to listen to it for hours

                         You told me I was “obsessed” with my hair
Not sorry
       that I enjoy the process really

“The story of Black people’s hair begins where everything began—in
              Africa. Not surprisingly, the birthplace of both astronomy and
                                   alchemy also gave rise to a people in perfect
harmony with their environment. Indeed the dense, spiraling curls of
       African hair demonstrate evolutionary genius.
              Like natural
                                          this frizzy, kinky hair insulates the head
       from the brutal intensity of the sun’s rays...”

Step 5—apply hollywood beauty jojoba oil to the hair and to the root, alternate between meraki oil or jojoba oil or pure aloe vera gel at the root, massage thoroughly for minutes

Step 7–let it be, at night, they say put it up in “pineapple” on top of head, go with that, use a silk or satin scarf, bonnet, cap, pillowcase

step___ - try not to shave your head

Step 7


I feel like you cheated on me every second on CP time


I’m not just a physical representation of trust issues!


Watches the film Losing Ground by Kathleen Collins for the 18th time

                      Thinking about how one of my former editors in 2015
       changed my suggestion of watching the show A Different World
                    to Friends in one of my articles named (quote)
       a digital care package to open when you’re depressed (unquote).

This has to be the 300th time I looked up “trauma” in Google search results.

My former roommate accidentally punched my door in while knocking

You look tired
Maybe you should stop
Cue losing momentum

                              Let me do my hair in peace, ttyl, text you maybe

                              I Leaves U on read for 27 days

You Retweeted (one of your favorite Scorpios)
Shamir @ShamirBailey   Apr 2
“Hi, I spent 20 hours braiding my hair. ☐”

               “The complicated and time-consuming task of hair grooming included                                     washing, combing, oiling, braiding, twisting, and/                                     or decorating the hair with any number of adornments including cloth, beads, and shells.
       The process could last several hours, sometimes several days...”

Step 6–apply ogx coconut milk anti-breakage serum with ultra whipped egg white proteins, focus special attention to the ends

Step 8–next day next day, wake up, take it down, shake it out, freshen with a spray bottle, distilled or previously boiled tap water, and the manuka honey and yogurt spray

step___ - try not to shave your head

Step 6

                           You said “90% of your eggs are dead anyway”

I think that my hair only looks good when it’s wet
                                              It shines, it curls, it stays down
It smells like what you’d imagine “wet” to smell like,
which is mostly bearable????????
I take knotted chunks & finger detangle for hours as a default setting
Every time I brush my hair, I feel like I lose a lot of it

Step 7–apply sm raw shea butter restorative conditioner w/ sea kelp & argan oil or sm Jamaican black castor oil strengthen & restore leave-in conditioner w/ shea butter, peppermint & apple cider vinegar

Step 9–after about four days or so, you’re gonna have to deep condition it to get all of the knots out, without it, it will be painful and you will lose at least a fourth of your hair. Do not straighten it to make this process easier. Do not straighten it.

step___ - try not to shave your head

You Retweeted
If Beale Street Could Twerk @camerouninema    Jan 23
“How have black people been getting braids for hundreds of years but somehow in this last decade hairstylists are telling us that they’re impossible to do unless you flatiron or straighten your hair?”

       “Clearly hair has never been a purely cosmetic attribute for the West African people.                             Its social, aesthetic, and spiritual                             significance has been intrinsic to their sense of self for thousands of years” (7).

Step 9

You Retweeted
If Beale Street Could Twerk @camerouninema    Jan 24
“We braided our hair long before perms existed”

let me sleep it away away
   on the sand from your —-
       on your piles seeping up through my floor

I want to put a door over your mouth so I can exit and enter
       as I please

All of the closest people put states and oceans between

You proposed to me on a bar stage
              You gave me a ring out of a soft fleshy-white material
with intention

is it all just gestures of the notions of the feelings of the mood of the

it’s art-necessity, nourishing a self-styling of failover

“Because a person’s spirit supposedly nestled in the hair, the
hairdresser always held a special place in community life.
                  The hairdresser was often considered the most trustworthy
           individual in society” (5).

Years of living in & loving the bubble of confidence you created
        Cycle continues in the move from mutual validation
 to off/on transfers
              A choreography of give & take, the return, the embrace
Show me tell me want me come to me again again again again again
Abandonment, abandonment, abandonment all written in other words
                   A periwinkle haze & convinced certainty of a masterpiece
The intensity builds until you forget you’re both hurting already
            & the fugues of anger & intimacy become interdependent
—maybe we don’t have to process it, maybe—

Step 8–twist up as desired, twist toward the middle, either 2-4 per section, repeat through all sections of the head, style in two pony tail buns or one side bun keeping the two halves—take right side twists and wrap them in a bun with slinky-esque hair tie, take left side twists and twist them around in the direction of the mid line, bring it around and wrap it around the right bun, secure with second slinky-esque hair tie. Or secure with bobby pins.

Step 1–drench your hair in warm water in the sink, pat dry with New Hampshire “live free or die” t-shirt...you only have 15 minutes

step ___- shave your head

Step 1

Everything became violent cycles of sweat and blood

I got tired and started to feel resentment

Kept going back anyway, not level headed

  I forgot to moisturize
   I forgot to take my birth control for five days

Screaming as loud as I could
I was over

Standing in bathroom 4 hours detangling
    while roommate waits patiently to pee

Step 9–untwist and pull apart, fluff as needed, flip over and head bang a few times, freshen up every now and then with distilled/previously boiled water and sm manuka honey & yogurt hydrate + repair multi-action leave-in w/ Mafura & Baobab Oils, maybe use a diffuser

Step 2–apply sm manuka honey & yogurt hydrate + repair multi-action leave-in w/ Mafura & Baobab Oils, rub in gently with hands, crunch and flip back and forth as needed, but don’t overdo it, this is a wash and go after all—let the drying do the forming

                                       step___- regret shaving your head,

let it grow back,
                                       get a few cute wigs, at least one that’s

                                       try not to shave your head

Step 9

You said I wasn’t queer “enough”

And that was that

No one is dying for her
                              Women of color in this play
lose their faith from overcompensating, dying to escape

Moves all photos to trash

Hair-doing is meditation, just like walking running listening to music sitting dancing yoga-ing etc.

Each curl has to find itself

“The one constant Africans share when it comes to hair is the social and cultural significance intrinsic to each beautiful strand” (1).

                                     I want a corduroy-velvety type luv
                              One that adorns me in overflowing warmth
                      In addition to what’s on my head
               plus the sun

Deep conditions me with Manuka honey for 7 hours, gets me lost
        in the sweetness work

Fingers set at an angle, they apply me like jojoba oil and coconut
                                                                                          milks me egg organix
Then leaves me to condition & loc in before I twist out

+I think I found a (n) 1+

Dana Venerable: "I am a writer, an occasional tap dancer, co-editor of P-QUEUE, and an English PhD candidate at SUNY University at Buffalo. My dissertation explores black performance, dance, notation, social choreography, and sound through their intersections. I am invested in how marginalized communities resist against the archive/record, while (re)inserting themselves within it. I have written for Snail Trail Press, P-QUEUE, The Journal of American Drama and Theatre, VIDA Review, and Zoomoozophone Review."

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