Thursday, June 07, 2007


I got an invitation to join Balaraw, an online journal "that attempts to capture the Philippine contemporary poetry scene by featuring works or translations by young or established poets." You can send your poems (maximum of 3) to Please include a short profile write-up. And when I opened the website, this is the poem that popped up. What joy! A poem on Koken's from Luisa!
Koken's Barbershop | Luisa A. Igloria

Session Road, Baguio City

The smell was always of talcum powder and pomade,
the smell of shaving cream and warm water

into which the barber with the bow tie shook
precisely six drops of lavender. He rubbed the white

nap of terrycloth on a service face towel across customers' cheeks,
chins. Their necks lay open on the headrest, trusting

the blade to scrape hard stubble away in a sweep of foam.
Then, no women came here except the manicurist, a girl

with one blind eye and the same pink cardigan worn day
after day. She rinsed the towels in an enamel basin then bent

over each finger to file and buff their nails and lacquer
clear. Where they went afterward in their wool

and gabardine or pinstriped suits was of no
concern to her, nor that the barber's chairs each

came from a different factory—engraved metal plates
on trestles proclaiming Ohio, 1905, or Illinois 1910,

their footrests covered with grime, the wine-colored
upholstery twice refurbished in a local shop.

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Anonymous menchu said...

hi there,i'm menchu villanueva the grandchild of tony villanueva the owner of koken's barbershop,i just want to ask if you will allow me to print this poem?

9:24 AM  
Anonymous menchu said...

i am collecting memorabilias of our barbershop,i hope you could allow me to print this and maybe put it in a frame for future use,i will of course put your name as the author,thank you

10:00 AM  

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