While we’re on the subject of my hair . . .

Hi everyone,

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
Will decimate
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.

Paradise has a crack in it

Hi everyone,

Into every home owner’s life some problems must enter now and then. At the moment, our place needs attention. When a tree cutter came out to remove the hackberry that fell in our back yard, his heavy equipment ruptured a buried pipe, probably part of the sprinkler system. Now the ground bleeds water so I’ve called our sprinkler folks to come find and repair the leak.

Mortar in our chimney has decayed in spots so that a heavy rain with wind from a certain direction presents us with water on the hearth. A mason is here with scaffolding onto the roof and is fixing the problem. When he finishes, we have a roofer standing by to replace several places where sun has found its way among shingles and destroyed the underlying felt.

Meanwhile, our pool has developed a problem caused by the loss of casing around the heating element in the furnace, exposing copper that is chemically binding with free chlorine to cause high acidity. We have someone coming out to replace the element and exchange the silica sand in the filtering tank with new.

The in-pool vacuum device can’t work anymore because somewhere under the house the original pipe transporting water from the filtering system to the pool has malfunctioned. For two or three years we’ve relied on an electric robot you have to plug into an outdoor outlet and drop into the water. We’re on our third one and each has been worse than the one prior. I have a plumber coming out to crawl around under the house to search for the problem pipe and fix it so we can go back to the original system.

Our gorgeous cherry tree in the front yard has been dying for two years and we’re near the time when we’ll have to take it out and replace it. It has been one of the prettiest trees I’ve ever seen when it blooms in spring. And remember our old timer globe locust near the driveway? I’ve shown you pictures before and have written about it several times but here it is again. Lately the gallant old gent has been leaning more than ever toward our neighbor’s yard and it’s a matter of time, I think, before we’ll be saying goodbye to it too.

Seems like a lot of stuff happening at once, but they’re all fixable and the sooner we get them behind us the better, he sighed manfully.

My bugs are creeping away

BULLETIN: Congratulations to our friend Mary Nida Smith who just received the following review of her book, HEROES BENEATH THE WAVES. Way to go, Mary Nida. Proud to know you! http://loiaconoliteraryagency.com/al-konetzni-jr-vice-admiral-us-navy-retired-reviews-heroes-beneath-the-waves-submarine-stories-of-the-20th-century-by-mary-nida-smith

Hi everyone,

As I say goodbye to some of my old favorites, here are a couple of poems from BUGS, published by WordSong, 2007, and illustrated with brilliant humor by Rob Shepperson. http://www.robshepperson.com.

My editor for BUGS (as well as PIRATES) was Stephen Roxburgh. Both titles were selected by NCTE as notable books of poetry. Other nice things that happened to BUGS included being chosen for the “Seeing Stories” exhibition at the Westchester Art Center, 2007 and making the New York Public Library’s annual list of “100 Children’s Books for Reading and Sharing,” 2007. In 2014, BUGS was featured (cover on overhead screen, poems read on stage) in the Dayton, Ohio Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Dayton Ballet II concert, under the direction of maestro Patrick Reynolds. They named the concert: BUGS!!

Here’s a picture of the concert hall. It was quite a deal and I was sorry I couldn’t attend. My book was on sale so I could have even signed a few.

Bad Beetles

Beetle hooligans
Under rocks
Wear smelly boots
And dirty socks.

They beat up bugs
And knock them flat,
Cuss and yell
And things like that.

But toads know how
To deal with beetles —
Be they beegs
Or be they leetles –

With one slurp
They gobble them.
“Urp!”

(c) by David L. Harrison

Centipede

Never kiss
The centipede,
Pick him up
Or hug him.

The centipede is
Humorless;
All you’ll do is
Bug him.

In his youth,
The centipede
Never learned
To play,

Never learned to
Hug
Or kiss.
Now he’s
Odd
That way

So never kiss
The centipede.
I say
Not once
But twice,

The centipede’s
A waste of time.
He simply
Isn’t
Nice.

(c) by David L. Harrison

A day rummaging through files

Hi everyone,

A few days ago I received the article written about my work that will be appear in an upcoming edition of SOMETHING ABOUT THE AUTHOR. This will be my fourth time in the publication (1999, 2007, 2013 and this one) and each time I’ve been impressed by the work an assigned writer puts into it. I added a few updates, wrote a short essay about my work (at their request) and sent it back yesterday. Without illustrations it runs twelve pages. Probably more than anyone wants to know about this author. Anyway, it’s done.

Then I turned to updating my vita, a chore I hadn’t tackled since 2014. Now and then I need such a document to accompany submissions for conference proposals and such. That task took three hours and the document now runs nine pages, proof of my age if nothing else.