Since They Like to Touch Hair

If you touch my hair,
The skinny lady sang about it
And I say:


I hope my dandruff falls like the heavy dust from a window’s ledge unto your Madewell Sweater.


I hope the greasy shea butter sticks to your fingers while you are too far from a bathroom to wash your hands.


I hope the edge control that you wipe on your pants leaves an oily stain.


I hope I smack your hand into a red embarrassment.


I hope the bobby pins pinch your long ass, pale ass, narrow ass fingers.


I hope you smell castor oil throughout the entirety of your day.


I hope the thinning rubber band ‘round my tresses pops you in yo cheek.


I hope you’re allergic to my almond oil treatment.


I hope when you rub your eye, the tea tree oil leaves it to burn, no water near or far for relief.


I hope the mint from this morning’s wash feels cold.


And when you find little curlies in your shoes, strangling your pink ass toes, I hope this gives you the blues.
Think twice when you reach for my fro.


You were reminded, ignored, told
Demanded, reprimanded, told
Screamed at, cried to, told
You were told.
So shall this violence unfold.


Listen: Taylor Bland performs “Since They Like to Touch Hair


Author’s Note: “Since They Like To Touch Hair” is an attempt to highlight the violence that occurs when one’s hair is touched without permission. I cannot say it enough: someone finding your hair unique, interesting, or eye-catching is one thing — they can just….say it. Someone finding it worth the spectacle of unwanted touch and pulling is a dangerous notion. Most street harassment starts with a smile and a “compliment”, but don’t be fooled. Someone who conflates the beauty of your hair and scalp with that of a petting zoo or toy shop does not value your humanity.

Taylor Bland is an educator, animal lover, and long time writer and poetry performer that has always used storytelling as an open journal to lament or reimagine the intersectional effects of femaleness, blackness, queerness, and mental illness. She has published with Blavity, Kalopsia Lit, and Free Your Mind, Body & Soul Inc., and hopes to continue sharing and sharpening her art through performance at open mic events across the DMV. Taylor writes as a means of resistance–‘to fill the broken cup that always appears to be both pouring while it is leaking’– inviting the critical, radical, and whimsical reader and thinker to challenge their own phenomenality.







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