Hair Shanks Tobbyguppy

The work became huge
extending out from the wall
where it began
as if entirely decorative
like a cross-hatching of small cuts
on the back of my hand

a life lived
as if purely decorative
like a cross-hatching of small scars
on the back of my hand

The wall had few features
concrete block
a water main went up it
the side of a warehouse
and few passed directly below it
but it was visible from the main road

for this reason some not very
imaginative graffiti
had come to be painted on it
and for this reason
I slowed down

I began by placing a metal grill
on top of the graffiti
that showed individual letters
through its squares

And then a curved pipe
branched out from the water main,
hanging off it further arabesques
of found material

Better yet.
The graffiti began to disappear
under layers of objects,
wire, wires, pipe, wooden things,
metal things, dead things,
like the branch of a tree
leafless twigs
bleached by the sun
left on the footpath.

Bright pieces of plastic
broken off parts of letters,
red, a blue rubber glove

The glove hung lifeless
at the end of a projection
I saw exactly what was needed.

A hair salon lay nearby
where I bought
I had to pay for them
discarded locks
and shanks of hair.

I stuffed the glove with them.
They were the only things I bought.

One finger of the glove
pointed at the ground.
I raised a pile of powder under it
in a perfect cone.

Of all the curlicues and arabesques
of found material this was the last
and from it the work as a whole
took its name:

Hair Shanks Tobbyguppy.
An explanation for the final word
may be found in its inclusion of the
letters for ‘to buy.’

Hair Shanks Tobbyguppy.