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Before going to the Barbershop

By Gabriel Ramirez

I gotta call my barber Eric to
let him know I’m pullin’ up. Yo hello?
Yea yea who this? Ahhhh yo what up homie?
How you been kid?
Would say he asks a lot
of questions for a barber but he been
linin’ me up ‘fore I knew who I was.
I asked for stars and two lines on both sides
of my head in middle school. I asked to
keep the stars unfinished. I asked to see
the mirror and as botched as I had been—
‘cause I ain’t let him finish—he and I
knew this was the first time I got to choose
how I looked and since I was told not to
call a boy beautiful, I was my first.




Listen as Gabriel Ramirez reads, "Before going to the Barbershop."

Added: Friday, August 9, 2019  /  Used with permission.
Gabriel Ramirez
Photo by Brian Brigantti.

Gabriel Ramirez is a Queer Afro-Latinx poet, activist, and teaching artist. Gabriel has received fellowships from The Conversation Literary Arts Festival, Palm Beach Poetry Festival, The Watering Hole, CantoMundo, and Callaloo. Gabriel has performed on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre, United Nations, Lincoln Center, Apollo Theatre, and other venues & universities around the nation. Gabriel was featured in Huffington Post, VIBE Magazine, Blavity, Upworthy, The Flama, and Remezcla. You can find his work in various spaces, including YouTube and in publications like The Volta, Winter Tangerine, WUSGOOD, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, and VINYL. He is included in ¡MANTECA!: An Anthology of Afro-Latino Poetry (Arte Público Press, 2017), Bettering American Poetry Anthology (Bettering Books, 2017), and What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump (Northwestern University Press, 2019).

Other poems by this author