Beards

 

Last time the beard was really in force and pure

Was on the prophet on the mountain –

Ignoble religious savages wear long beards today

The crazed rabbis of Zion, the muftis and khans of Asia

They wear them for wrong reasons, believing misty mumbo-jumbo

When the real meaning of beard is beard itself

Let the beards grow: whole mountain horses on your chin

The fat lakes from sips of beer drip

The wealthy rounded ripe too-much-hair

The healthy winter coat of old goat on the escarpments

Long beards, wild beards, the full gathering face-full

The enormity of the faces with beards

The warmth and encompassing of these faces

How they round us out, they make a solid human shape of abundance

 

I have never met a man with a beard (not the god-mad kind)

Who was not a likable man, who did not smile at the least thing

His hand on my shoulder went never lightly

And neither forcefully, there was not one single lie in him

I know this of beards: more men should wear them

 

And the more I think of good bearded fellas I’ve known

I mean the fat-bearded unkempt camels, not the mirror trimming and five o’clocks

I mean the lick-strands and crumb-hairs and jut-chins and Abe Lincolnesques

The burly bear big fire-red or black opal pube-faced

The coffee-colored hanging-garden-faced

The mild dripping-poontang faced

And the black-bear-who-walks-in-the-North-Woods-dripping

Honey-faced and who smiles with white teeth and grace

 

With the latest news, we have the grim beard

Stories from the Taliban, strictest of Islamists, mad sectarians –

If the beard is too short, they beat you, maybe they shoot you, maybe they eat you

 

This is a policy directly contradicted in the rules set down

Among men with beards

Whose only rule is that you cannot stroke another man’s beard

                                                           

                                                                                                            -Christopher Ketcham