(un)natural: Ideas about naturalness in public and political debates about science, technology and medicine
The year waves came in, when we sang
you’re sweet like chocolate, boy
without shame, everyone had a method
for taming even the most rebellious head
of pepper grains into slick, crazy-paved,
deference to R ‘n’ B stars who loomed
large from hoardings, pasted into diaries
and exercise books, their lyrics written
out on the backs of hands. We wanted
to be wanted like that, so we slept with
our mothers’ head wraps tight round
our heads to keep the façade in place.
Some learned the grace of clippers,
the better to keep their edges in check,
others would get the barber to shape
them up with a razor blade so the skin
stung and the stubble stayed hidden.
But for all we tried to hide our natural
hair it came back, rising unbidden
from our scalps, as if each follicle
knew that soon we would covet shaved
lines in sideburns, eyebrows, anything
to set ourselves apart, betray our roots.