Joe the Barber PRIME MOVERS photo copy
@ Joe the Barber’s
by Lisa Wiley

We walk into this world
wallpapered in Marilyn Monroe—

Audrey Hepburn is Sabrina
on the only screen in the shop.

You wouldn’t let her go to Paris alone?
Would you guys?

I’m the only girl in the shop.
Joe grips the electric razor like a mike,

Fly me to the moon,
let me play among the stars.

Don’t tell your father I’m singing to her;
don’t wanna lose you guys as clients,

he winks, bending over between haircuts
to tie his sneakers.

A page of his 1955 Golden Eagle yearbook
is taped next to Monroe leaning over a balcony,

he still wails like the top-scoring dreamboat,
hands us all red lollipops on the way out.

PHOTO: Joe the Barber in his shop pictured with the author’s son (December 2019).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Joe the Barber returned to the front lines with his razor and scissors to serve his many beloved clients as soon as Governor Cuomo allowed barber shops to reopen after COVID-19 shutdowns. This poem is a tribute to Joe, who lost his valiant battle with cancer in early August 2020. He served as a barber for more than 65 years.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Wiley teaches creative writing at SUNY Erie Community College in Buffalo, New York.  She is the author of three chapbooks, including Chamber Music (Finishing Line Press, 2013). Her latest chapbook, Eat Cake for Breakfast, a tribute to Kate Spade, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press.  Her poetry has appeared in The Comstock Review, The Healing Muse, Journal of the American Medical Association, Mom Egg Review, Silver Birch Press, and Third Wednesday, among others.  Visit her on Facebook and Twitter.