Edward Steinhardt

Rookie (August 16,1961 / Wayne, Michigan)

Por Amour, Ryan: I'M Used To You Now - Poem by Edward Steinhardt

for Ryan

The Southern Belle Supper Club.
A pianist, an ear-ring
Dangling from his ear,
Plays Jazz with some
Broadway thrown in.
His tip jar is full.
Everyone who leans
Against the bar is animated.
The quiet ones
Are seated alone.

Someone says 'We've got
To sing Happy Birthday! '
The pianist does a quick refrain,
Jazzed-up. It's suddenly
Radio City Music Hall.
Everyone is singing.
Then the pianist goes into 'Cabaret; '
'Life is a cabaret, ol' chum,
Life is a cabaret...'

Yes, life is a cabaret...

I don't go out as often anymore.
I'm writing again.
And the tug and pull
Of daily life seems
To beckon more...
Other things, especially
After September Eleven,
Seem more important...

* * *

Frank Merlo never said
He loved Tennessee Williams.
What he did say, near the end,
Was, 'No, don't go.
I'm used to you now.'
That's the way
I think of you now, my dear-
Although I do find myself
Hoping to sort-out your face
From among the crowds,
The grocery, or the dim din
Of the clubs.
I hope now to just maintain
The look of your face
And the sound of your voice
In the empty rooms
I now find myself
Before you become
Just a steady blur-
Since I have no photo of you...
And you just become
(In memory)
My Lawrence of Arabia
Fading away
In some incomprehensible
Midwest sandstorm...

While I am now content with myself-
(As one must be who is left alone) -
I still miss your tender kiss
And tight embrace.
And in the lonely hour
I think of you,
And wonder where you are,
And hope you have
Found the salve
You sought for your soul-
And can now sidestep the trains
That used to come straight at you.

I wrote to you two months ago.
And while I ventured
We work out our differences,
Your silence spoke
Of the depth of your pain.
...And I feel it.

But I did thank you,
Remember, for your love?
I said, from knowing you,
That love can be noble.
For the blame is no one's.
Things just happen.
For I see you now, dear,
As part of Laura's menagerie:
The glass unicorn,
Fragile, delicate-
And very breakable.
And for that,
I love you all the more.

Even as I age, I still explore
The quiet countries within me.
But I didn't know
That in our travels
We are accompanied
By the ghosts of who
And where we were.
It is a gentle memory,
Like a drizzling rain of reminder:
Of regret, yes,
But also of the smiling soul.
For emblazoned
On the retina of the soul
Is the Polaroid
That freezes once and for all
What we elect to remember.

My dear, I will always carry you
In the satchel of my heart.
I smile at the thought of you
As I open doors and go
Down roads I have not seen.
For though love may undergo
The purgatory of time and distance,
Myth and remonstration
Of such soul-good passion
Becomes the engine
For all that may follow...

* * *

Donnie, the bartender,
Has replenished my drink.
'On the House, ' he says in his wink.
It is the momentum to continue,
Even as I go forward,
Going down the interstate
Of this life,
Stopping at the stands,
The rest stops,
Filling-up with fuel
To continue on.

As I continue on...

Here, at the Southern Belle,
Diana Krall sings
'Cry Me a River.'
I'm getting ready
To head toward the door,
Where the sidewalks
Go each and every way.
I will take my practiced way home,
Past the sleeping houses;
The windows like eyelids
Lowered in sleep.

It's getting late.
Donnie is going to close-up tonight.
'Edward! ' says Cole,
The other bartender.
He gives me a firm handshake.
'Goodnight! '
He's leaving early,
Out into the night
Into which I too must go.
'Goodnight good Cole, ' I say.
And I mean it- 'cause he is.
I'll give Suzi a hug, too.
And then I'll be on my way.
I will leave behind me
The gentle synthesis
Of music and soul:
Keyboard and percussion
Calculated to the beat of one's heart...
The album is 'The Look of Love.'

(Fade-out)

The bar's being wiped down.
The CD goes to the next selection.
'I've forgotten,
Just like I should, '
Diana Krall sings.
Yes. I've forgotten,
Just like I should.
And I pray for a steady, restful
Dreamless sleep.


Comments about Por Amour, Ryan: I'M Used To You Now by Edward Steinhardt

  • (6/24/2008 2:16:00 AM)


    Some would say this is too long, but I was enchanted! You didn't waste a word, and I got the feeling that everything was trickling down the last few lines. UIt was a gorgeous poem with a perfect ending

    X's and O's
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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Poem Edited: Saturday, October 23, 2010


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