I SAW you looking at my hair yesterday! Okay, it’s not as thick as it once was. It’s not quite as brown. So I comb it over. So what? Years ago Sandy and I went to Bunratty Castle in Ireland where we ate in their medieval banquet hall. Lots of lusty food and busty maidens with tatas galore. Our server came up behind me, began running her hands through my hair and, in a loud voice, teased me for thinking that by brushing my hair over the top of my head I was fooling anybody.
Here’s the problem. I’ve brushed my hair like that for decades. When a man’s hair begins to go, he continues brushing the same way he always has. What other choice does he have? Anyway, I did what any man would do. I gawked down her neck. Years later I wrote the following poem in memory of the occasion.
CROSSING THE DOME
Reflections in a Mirror
Behold the few that dare alone
To cross the dome
Where once an army proudly marched
With cream and comb.
Eventually relentless time
The thinning ranks of veterans
That cross the pate.
They know their fate yet valiantly
They soldier on.
The dome will win, they’ll wisp away,
Be gone anon.
Isn’t it interesting how and where ideas form? Looking back, I wonder how many other poems or stories or novels could spring from that singular experience. For sure one could write about that maiden with the low neck and severe push-up bra. I think of her as she arrived home that night to a husband weary from a long day’s work and hungry kids. Changing from her work costume into jeans and a comfortable top, she goes about setting out a late dinner, puts out the cat, and falls into bed, another night too exhausted to cuddle, much less to feel like a sexy maiden.
Maybe she says, “Tonight I ran my fingers through an old guy’s hair and told him he wasn’t foolin’ anybody with that comb-over. I got to thinking I’d come off a bit much so I rubbed the girls on the back of his head. Judging from his tip, I’d say the damage was already done.” Soon she is snoring beside her balding mate, who drifted off while she was talking.