By Nick Chhoeun.

“An eighth grader once told me, “You’d have a nice haircut if you didn’t put in white people stuff.”

Artwork by Jason Boyd Kinsella.

An eighth grader once told me, “You’d have a nice haircut if you didn’t put in white people stuff.” The weapon of Don Draper, James Bond, and Steve Rogers. Their fiction is their hair. They’ll never lose a battle of wits, or fists if sleek hair keeps their success. We see them bleed. We see them undress. We see them in bed, but we don’t see when they truly wake up. “Bed head” a weakness of perception. The Vice Principal once suspended this same eighth grader for a racial slur— Mr. Ching Chong. Zero tolerance for discrimination reflected by the gelled shine of his thinning hair combed over a balding scalp, and coming to work at 5AM—students don’t know if he sleeps. He disciplined her under his two framed diplomas from Vassar and Dartmouth. Names she struggled to pronounce. My hair didn’t shine until I got my first job and I accepted pomade as power. The relationship between head and pillow a pleasure. We suffocate the evidence with chemicals that will eventually leave us bald—will leave us to find power in plainness. Then, she won’t see characters with sleek hair, but people who wake up, just like her.

The Blood Pudding – July 1, 2021

Nick Chhoeun is a graduate from American University’s MFA program. He is an English instructor at colleges in Connecticut. His work seeks to explore culture and identity from an Asian American perspective.

Artwork: Jason Boyd Kinsella’s work is concerned with the constituent parts of the human condition. This brand of hyper-contemporary psychological portraiture aims to deconstruct the personality traits of the sitter, using geometric shapes as building blocks to convey the complexity of human emotion, and bridge the gap between our internal feelings and external appearance. You can find more about him here.