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At The Boneyard

7 Ways of Looking at 77


77 Sunset Strip, Kookie and Suzanne,

Stuart and Jeff, all those groovy ‘50s

hijinks until the show got canceled in ‘64,

the year I graduated high school.


1964 … when everything changed in 77

different ways, racing 1000 miles away

(let’s call it 1007) from the ‘burbs, passing

through at least 7 grubby Wisconsin rentals

before landing years later in a 1770-

something brick house on Coffey Lane,

New Paltz, founded 1677 (actually 1678)

by French Huguenots fleeing persecution.


Early ’77 on Coffey Lane was a nightmare—

no telling why—but it (’77) brightened up

that June when Clover was born upstairs

in the yellow wallpapered bedroom, our

family doc, Herb, stepping aside, allowing

me to receive the gift of life, the weight

of that slippery baby still on my palms

almost 47 years later (give or take a year)

and as Kookie might say, running a comb

through his slick hair, it was the ginchiest.


77 makes me the same age as Tupperware,

polyethylene containers with airtight “burping

seals” to preserve food for weeks, let’s say 77

days, but as the company just went bankrupt,

moldy after 77 years of Brownie Wise parties,

it’s a sign that we can’t preserve ourselves.


I was like 7 (and, if you follow my drift, also 77)

when Raoul Cita and Hy Weiss wrote “Life is

But a Dream” for the Harptones (not the Earls),

likely the age I first figured the past isn’t real,

just a gauzy dream, a paint-by-numbers water-

color that washes off in the bath, disappearing into

a future that exists only on Ouija boards, Zoltan Fortune

Tellers, on the tongues of annoyed adults muttering

“We’ll see,” Magic Eight Balls: “Reply hazy, try again.”


Channeling Frank Sinatra, who btw lived 5 years

past 77, I’m lip synching “When I was 17…”

calendar pages riffling like in old movies

past 17, making a quick stop at 27, Patti pregnant

with Addie, our 3rd, me clueless, witless, insensible

to what would be 4 more to come, 7 total, 17 grands

if you’re counting, then blithely fluttering on through

37, 47, 57, 67, all of it lost in the dreamy ether/or

of pointless remembrance of things past, things to come,

especially 77, yes, especially, though not especially, 77.


Let’s say at least 77 complete strangers have told me

I look like Larry David, who btw will be 77 next year,

my 7 kids snickering at my bruised vanity, not even

behind my back, Elizabeth getting me a “Not Larry”

baseball hat, so here I am today (today!), not Larry, 77

(today!), the only day there is, communing with a 7

year-old (see #5) who lives inside of me as I live

inside of him with all the rest, peering out a window,

sun, clouds, rain, lightning, no matter, no past,

no future, pleased as punch to say today (yes, today!)

we’re not canceled like Kookie, like Tupperware,

like Curb Your Enthusiasm, yeah, all that … and more.

—SL, Port Royal, SC, April 30, 2023

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May 22, 2023

Looking forward to read what you will write at 87!

Belated congrats.

May 23, 2023
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