Steinway Street: portraits from the past: my life in retail: addendum: CODA: The Phone Calls

CODA: The Phone Calls

you try to tell them what you’re doing
only they’re not listening to what you’re saying
just listening for clues
as to why you’re not seeing them any longer
how to explain
this stalling of time
as you regroup your resources
after all you’ve lost
all you’ve walked away from
so you tell stories of shoplifters
amusing incidents of customer relations
of the holdup and the gun
waved in your face
and though you try to tell about the people
how could they understand anyway
insulated in their age
their positions in life
how could they understand how these kids
these young people
are changing you
not the mind because that was changing anyway
but the heart
that was the surprise
and the walls
where are the walls when you need them
but these ladies can’t hear
one understands the people not the job
one understands the job not the people
and the third understands nothing
the ears were deaf long before you started talking
you think Jane would understand
then think no
she would just listen
then walk away blank as before
you say to the shot glass
have never been my forte
and the sadness starts to settle in again
another shot
another wasted phone call
another staring at the printed page
life goes on
and you go with it
writing and reading and watching the light
on the Empire State Building
turn off
and thinking
I must hold out longer
she will come
she will come
so you close your eyes
take a drink
and listen to the clouds
fall asleep on the couch
and wake with the wind in your face
sometime near morning

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