top of page
  • write4hire

Turning 78

Leaving My Copy of A Coney Island of the Mind

at a Bus Stop

It’s not the years in your life but the life in your years that count.

            —Chinese cookie fortune (found in my grandson’s wallet)



Sorry Lawrence, I’m walking away from this misbegotten

bus shelter, your poem scratched into the walls, the one

you’ve been chanting in my ear for nearly sixty years.


I can no longer wait for that renaissance of wonder to show up.

I won’t stand here one second longer under this leaky roof

listening to the muzak of your sweet and hopeful lines


about a withering away of all governments, or how the meek

will be blessed and inherit the earth. I’m tired of leaning

around the corner, Lawrence, searching for green mornings


and youth’s dumb green fields to return, for the lovers

on the Grecian Urn to catch up and finally embrace.

It’s never going to happen. And if our cliched human history


is any guide, pigs will fly, cows will come home, and hell

will freeze over before the war will be fought

which will make the world safe for the Golden Rule,


JewsChristiansMuslimsAgnosticsAetheists boarding

your celestial bus, everyone in their places, smiles

on their faces, no more genocides over who God loves best.



Frankly, I should have walked off decades ago, Lawrence,

every time another philistine fire-bombed the shelter,

leaving me out in the cold and rain, wet, shivering, waiting


like some dumb cow for retribution for what America did

to Tom Sawyer, for the Great Divide to be crossed,

for the storms of life to be over. I am sorry, my old sage,


eternal poet of my lost youth, I’m dropping your book

on the bench and walking out of your Brooklyn dreams,

trudging across the bridge, up gravel shoulders of highways,

across open fields, each day following then dragging

my shadow into whatever is ahead, the spirit of Emmet Till,

Matthew Shepard, the sweet Newtown babies,


our beloved Rory, as my guides, their clear voices speaking

over yours, Lawrence, telling me I am no Abraham, no Simeon,

no Didi, no Gogo, that nothing good comes of waiting around


for what is never to come, time to turn away from childish dreams,

from hope that is hope for the wrong things, living each day

not as if it’s the first or the last, but the only day there is.


           —SL, Port Royal, SC, April 2024

161 views12 comments

Recent Posts

See All


May 03

This poem was hard to get through as it felt like getting a gut punch. But the punch skipped my gut and instead landed in my heart. It hurts.

May 04
Replying to

I know. And I am sorry. It was a hard one to write until I stopped trying to find an escape route and let the poem show me the way out


Apr 30



Wendy Townsend
Wendy Townsend
Apr 30

I've got to pass this along to my mother's husband who is turning 78 and coming to terms.


Apr 29

" each day, not as if it's the first or last, but the only day there is."

The unspeakable loss of your beautiful boy has helped you find the truth that's been sitting in right in front of us all along.

Sending love to your wounded heart and gratitude for your wise words...

Apr 30
Replying to



Nancy Smith
Nancy Smith
Apr 29

Love your words forever more. Your words are a warm embrace.

Thank you, dear Steve.

Apr 30
Replying to

So good, so heartening to hear your voice here!

website header.jpg
bottom of page