The Poem

June 30th, 2012

The poem that brought us together

“Some things that happened for the first time, seem to be happening again.

And so, it seems we’ve met before, and laughed before and loved before,

but who knows where or when?”

Rodgers and Hart, 1937

I didn’t see it coming, but HE did. He predicted it, without knowing that the prediction was about him. It was 10 years ago, and it came in a birthday poem he wrote for me.

One of the beautiful things about this life is that the mystical and the magical do happen. They usually happen to me when I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, or doing exactly what I was meant to do. One of those moments happened to me when the millenium was new, and no one knew what that would bring.

Karen and Eric Blumberg came into my life in 2000, when they were new to Sioux City, having arrived from their home in Austin, Texas. From what he tells me now, when his long time station in Austin, where he was a talk show host, changed their format, he found himself looking for another place to land. So, improbably perhaps, they landed here. I met Karen first, and we immediately connected. Karen was unforgettable, fiery, passionate, and intense, as well as warm and nurturing to those she loved, and she loved me, as I did her. Eric was more difficult to get to know, or at least that’s what he projected. He was tough on the air, and seemed tough in life, with a New Yorker’s bit of attitude and a formidable intellect that could intimidate He kept people at a distance, but because I’m good at lightening up tough characters, he and I developed a friendship as well. I was with my ex husband Steve at the time, and the four of us began spending a lot of time together. We were all right brained people in a left brained world and found much to like about each other, as well as finding much to learn.

Karen was a poet, and a good one. What I didn’t know was that Eric was a poet as well, but hadn’t written anything for years. When I found that out, I asked to see his work. It was stunning. I think it was May or June and I challenged him to write me a poem for my July 3rd birthday. he took the challenge, but I didn’t hold out much hope that he would deliver. But he did. One day, my phone rang and he told me he’d finished my poem. I was surprised he’d made the effort to call, as Eric’s social calls were pretty non existent. The telephone, for Eric, was a tool. It’s how he got his interviews, tracked down stories, and communicated with his listeners in that amazing radio voice he has, but away from work, I sensed, correctly, that he used it sparingly. We met and he showed it to me, typed up and put into a letter sized birthday card with otherwordly fairy creatures on the front. Being Eric, he didn’t sign it…it just said, “May your heart always be young and your dreams live forever”.

Still a bit surprised by this mystical card and its message, I got to the poem. The title was simply, “To Cindy”. It began:  Silence covered the landscape, a misty shroud of unfulfilled expectations. Is he talking about me?, I thought. It went on to describe a woman who is aging, is trapped in a tower of her own making, and hopes to find love before what looks she has go completely to rack and ruin…“My beauty needs recognition as the forest cold closes in”. Yes, indeed, he’s talking about me. How does he know all this, we aren’t that close, really…but it seems, he did, and on some level that didn’t come from conscious knowledge, but a deeper, more intuitive place. He sensed that I wasn’t as happy as I seemed and he put it into these beautiful words.

It went on…”Suddenly, the horse drawn hope…” there was a graying man heading towards the tower…some hope, I think, someone coming, damn, this is getting good. It was as if he was projecting his wish for me, and saying “I get it, I know where you are, but here’s what I hope for you as your friend. Don’t give up.” His “prediction” wasn’t conscious at all, it was simply his wish. He was someone who recognized my quiet pain, and wanted to write a better future for me into existence. Little did he know that he called it and called it right.

Years went by, and in 2003, after 5 years with the radio station, he was summarily fired for expressing his anti war views on the air. That seemed to happen to a lot of journalists in those days. He and Karen eventually returned to Austin, and she and I stayed in touch. She called one day, in early 2006, and in a heart stopping moment, told me she was seriously ill. She was gone by April. I felt so lucky to have gone down to see her, to close the chapter and to bless a great friendship. I kept in touch, as she had asked, with her daughters, but Eric kind of faded out of all our lives. I would think of him now and then, and hoped he was all right. I attempted a connection once, but heard nothing back. He was being Eric, the part of him I didn’t like, and as I came to find out, he didn’t like either.

In 2009, after a break up with Steve, I was cleaning out my home office and I ran across an old piece Eric had written about my late father a week or two after he died. In Eric’s way, he’d seen things in my father that I had seen, and expressed them perfectly, as he usually does most things. It reminded me of the poem he’d written, the one about my future, and I looked all over the house to see if I still had it. Being suddenly single, I wondered, at this late stage, would his poem come to life….was there someone around the corner that I didn’t see yet? I finally found it in the strangest place. It had been in a end table drawer, on the bottom of a pile of papers I’d saved, for at least seven years. A day or so later, a friend of mine told me she was going to Austin for a wedding, and I thought she might want to look up Karen’s family. When reminders of the past pile up, or I run across something a number of times, it usually means something to me. I followed the signs.

I found him, still in Austin, now working in the mental health field happily for 5 years, living with the oldest daughter. We talked for a long time, longer than I’d imagined. I had a lot to say, as I usually do, and he was still a great interviewer. He still got me, even though I hadn’t totally figured him out. Somewhat impulsively, I invited him to visit, and even more impulsively, he booked a ticket the next day. He stayed for 5 days, came back, stayed for 10, and came back in 2009 and stayed forever. And… there you have it.

We were old enough, and smart enough, to know very quickly that it was right. We talked about the poem, which he said was simply his wish for me back then, not knowing that the aging ”horse drawn hope” was himself.

One night, shortly before we were married in 2011, I told Eric about a sign I’d been having for years, that I had decided was my good luck sign, and particularly the sign that a great love was someday coming. The sign was… a pink car, not something you see too often. It came out of a near accident in London, where a man in a pink cab shouted out to me to “take care”. I told him that a few weeks before he came to visit, I’d seen a pink car and thought….hmmm. He thought that was interesting but asked if I hadn’t seen another pink car the day he arrived here on his first visit, the first time we’d seen each other in 3 years. I told him I hadn’t. He said, “Yes, you did, I was wearing it”. He went to the closet and pulled out an old jacket he’d had forever, and the one he wore the day he got here. It was a black denim jacket, well worn, and I’d seen him wear it. I’d never noticed the back of it, which said, “The Geezinslaw Brothers” ( a band he’d played with), “Shiny nineties world tour.”

And under that, was a car. It was pink. He always was more observant than I am.

12 Comments on “The Poem”

  1. kimberly said at 9:13 am on June 30th, 2012:

    Charmuta, that was absolutely beautiful. You are a romantic. I guess I shouldn’t give up on that love either! I’m so proud of all the steps you have come forward on–you are one of the most amazing women I’ve ever met. Please continue to have many more wonderful years with your Eric. Much Love, Kimberly

  2. Anne Caroline Drake said at 1:14 pm on June 30th, 2012:

    Synchronicity. The best lovers are best friends.

  3. cindy said at 10:41 pm on June 30th, 2012:

    Kimberly, thank you so much, and yes, I am a romantic!

  4. cindy said at 10:43 pm on June 30th, 2012:

    Caroline, you are absolutely right! When the romance wanes a bit, the friendship should be what keeps it together.

  5. Reba Donahue said at 5:23 am on July 1st, 2012:

    Lest we both be raving lunatics, the account of the pink cab was a revelation for us both. As longtime friends, we have both been through the proverbial ringer and back, and have had some very magical experiences; the many sightings of your pink cab, your “horse drawn hope”, and my Angel named Jimmy (the pink cab driver). Your story made me want to reminisce.
    Rewind 15 years ago: He first manifested at the hospital in the middle of the night where my late husband passed the following day. While Mike was still on this side, he kept saying, “I can’t get out.” I know, it’s a little confusing here. The crux of the story is this ANGEL and his ANGEL partner were there, at the hospital…opening doors, offering the THREE cigarettes that were to be the forbearance of things to come. Isn’t that what forbearance means? So, as I walked the dimly lit hallway, HE opened the door for me, saying “Good evening, M’am.” I entered the smoking house outside of the stupid hospital at 3 a.m., -4 below zero to smoke a cigarette. When I walked to the center to extinguish the smoke, the two introduced themselves–Jimmy in his cabby outfit (jean hat, jean coat and bluejeans) and Marlene with her dwarfed hand. We chatted. They talked about the East as she reached into her pocket with her dwarfed, disfigured hand and pulled out a silver case offering me 3 Kingston cigarettes. I politely refused, but they insisted; three stupid cigarettes. Then they just disappeared into the night. Mike had three episodes: talking about the cigarette he dropped, where his cigarettes were, and how he needed a cigarette. Then he checked out. I mean, checked out, to the other side, out.
    Fast forward trip to London: Our very early morning stroll to Buckingham Castle and St. James Park…in the midst of London’s early rush hour traffic. Perhaps the flight and sleep deprivation affected our unusual experiences. Nevertheless, after you were nearly hit by a black cab, it seemed we were lost on a sort of round-about. And then, I heard you say, “We can’t get out.” Well, we got out. Moments later we climbed down a parapet and landed on that most narrow sidewalk, single file-type sidewalk, near the stoplight. Yep, and that’s where it happened…the pink cab stopped at the light (known to me as Jimmy the Angel) and his pink cab, your good luck omen.
    Now: I love the synchronicity; Eric’s insightful poem, your pink cab sightings, and Eric’s denim jacket with the pink cab. Love, it was meant to be for you two!!!!
    “Take great care,” the Angel said.

  6. cindy said at 7:09 am on July 3rd, 2012:

    I don’t even remember saying “I can’t get out”, but it makes sense. Whatever earth angel it was was watching out for both of us. Earth angels do that…they protect us and bring us closer to love, even after loss. Thanks for being an earth angel to me and to so many around you……

  7. Martha said at 5:55 pm on July 3rd, 2012:

    That is a wonderful story. I am so glad you and Eric found each other when you did. The pink car is so amazing

  8. Reba said at 1:21 am on July 4th, 2012:

    You are so sweet! It is so good to see your happiness shine through. Hugs, reebs

  9. CPS said at 9:00 am on November 8th, 2012:

    I know you were in pain, and now you seem healed, and I am grateful for that !

  10. cindy said at 9:41 pm on November 8th, 2012:

    I love your poems that you’ve been sending to “Loves of your life”

  11. Name (required) said at 4:35 am on October 19th, 2015:

    Just read your love story beginning with Eric! I’m so happy for you! You so deserve such a great love! Hopefully we can all meet and I can’t wait to tell Dierk! I know he’ll be so happy for you!

  12. cindy said at 3:40 am on March 14th, 2016:

    Thanks for the kind words, Laura and give Dierk my best!

Leave a Reply