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Happy Birthday to Me: In My Extreme Age

Turn around, a decade [plus one two] is gone. 70? 71? 72? Doesn’t feel so old. I’m told that it is but it doesn’t feel that old. At the same time I confess I’m not exactly sure who this geezer is who shows up in the mirror every morning — or where he came from. The thing is he keeps writing notes like this and leaving them where I can’t help finding them:

In my extreme age —
In my age extreme —
Skin planed to glassine,
Bone buffed to crystal,
Light locked in the marrow,
And memory melded to images only….

Of my extreme age —
In my age extreme

In my extreme age —
In my age extreme —
Thoughts thinned to one
And dreams dimmed to soul;
To that one shred of thread
Which stitches the shroud

Of my extreme age —
In my age extreme.

In that age extreme,
That extreme edge of age,
There shall still
In such stillness
Ring in my ears
One echo of now;

Of my extreme age —
In my age extreme.

In our age extreme
Your echo shall glimmer
Ever on the river that streams
Through time’s silted canyons
Of my extreme age —
In my age extreme.

Of our extreme age —
In our age extreme.

— Vanderleun for Emma Jean.

Alert the Authorities!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Casey Klahn December 26, 2017, 12:49 PM

    Many, many, many more. Happy Birthday, Gerard.

  • Terry December 26, 2017, 12:51 PM

    Happy birthday Gerard! And I wish you many more!

  • Dave December 26, 2017, 1:18 PM

    You have three weeks on me, Gerard, however, I prefer to think of it as forty-something. It just happens to be forty-thirty-two.

  • Sam L. December 26, 2017, 1:45 PM

    It’s those Damned Chinese mirrors being snuck into our bathrooms, replacing the American-made mirrors that show us how we really are!

  • MOTUS December 26, 2017, 2:12 PM

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
    “How terribly strange to be seventeeeeeee…two”

  • Rob De Witt December 26, 2017, 2:34 PM

    You’ve caught up at last; with any luck I’ll surpass you again in four months.

    Congratulations, old man, and many happy returns of the day, whatever that means.

  • Howard Nelson December 26, 2017, 3:19 PM

    Gerard, you keep brightening in the Light.
    We all wish you to keep on keeping on.

  • Dr. Jay December 26, 2017, 3:34 PM

    Be thankful: You still got the body of a 71 year old.

  • w barna December 26, 2017, 3:51 PM

    Happy Birthday! I’m not far behind you. Thank you for your wise and occasionally snarky rhetoric….keeps me thinking and laughing.

  • Leslie December 26, 2017, 4:06 PM

    Has it already been a whole year? Happy, happy Mr V!

  • Bunny December 26, 2017, 4:12 PM

    Roses are red,
    Violets are blue,
    Getting old beats the alternative,
    Happy Birthday to you!

  • pbird December 26, 2017, 4:24 PM

    Happy Birfday GV. We’re all pushing it.

  • Bill Cox December 26, 2017, 4:49 PM

    Happy birthday Gerard, I hit 70 a month ago. It’s a little strange.

  • Phil in Englewood December 26, 2017, 5:44 PM

    Happy Birthday Gerard! Something wonderful indeed… Here’s to many more, buoyed by your enthusiastic readers.

  • Julie December 26, 2017, 5:53 PM

    Happy birthday, Gerard. May you be blessed beyond all reasoning in the coming year.

  • Ga Gator December 26, 2017, 5:58 PM

    A tip, Gerard. When I hit 69 I started counting backwards.
    I’m 64 now and feeling a helluva lot better. Cheers anyway!

  • Joan of Argghh! December 26, 2017, 6:50 PM

    Fortunately, you’ve chosen your parents wisely. I wish you many more happy returns of the day!

  • ghostsniper December 26, 2017, 7:52 PM

    Happy birthday to you….
    I don’t care what they say, you don’t look a day over 70.
    But then, I stopped caring about age about 20 years ago.
    Except to just stay away from people that appear to be 40 or less due to inherent incompatibility.
    ….and many more!

  • ChrisP December 26, 2017, 8:25 PM

    I’m right there with you brother.
    Strange days, and, who is that old man in the mirror?

  • KMM December 26, 2017, 8:41 PM

    Happy Birthday Gerard!

  • JohnPeg December 26, 2017, 11:11 PM

    Happy Birthday, sir. I’m older than you . . . . and always will be. And you’re still the best writer in America. Come north and visit some day and we’ll have a blast!

  • Mumblix Grumph December 26, 2017, 11:12 PM

    Hey, happy birthday and all the requisite sentimental folderol.

  • leelu December 27, 2017, 7:09 AM

    Happy Birthday. Here’s to many, many more!!

  • Monty James December 27, 2017, 7:12 AM

    Happy Birthday.

  • Kevin Dickson December 27, 2017, 7:26 AM

    Nice words.

    Have a happy happy!!

  • Snakepit Kansas December 27, 2017, 7:56 AM

    Happy birthday sir! I wish you many more years to continue your writing! Thank you!

  • Jim in Alaska December 27, 2017, 8:47 AM

    In my extreme age…
    At 79 I still read and laugh
    At that young whippersnapper
    Vanderleun.

  • John The River December 27, 2017, 8:51 AM

    72! Never!
    I myself look forward to the 29th Anniversary of my 39th Birthday.

    But Happy Birthday anyway Gerald!

  • BillH December 27, 2017, 9:39 AM

    Have a good one kid. I was a shiftless 14 year-old when you came along.

  • NealinPomerene December 27, 2017, 11:08 AM

    I will be 19 this January and wish you a sincere Happy Birthday. My suggestion is to just start over with the age thing when you turned 50 (that’s what I did). So you are 22, correct?