Sunday, March 11, 2018


have complained
that the poems
have not come
with the frequency
they expect
from me.

I don't blame them;
I have the same complaint.

A poem
is like a boil
on your private
parts--you better lance it
before your privates poison
and everything goes:
The puss
needs expression
in the open market;
it needs air
It needs to suffuse
the reader
with its shit.

I, for one,
will feel better.
And you,
quiet as it's kept,
will, too.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2018

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Cold & dark
I make my entrance.
Emerging from the waters
of sleep. I know
it's Sunday because
it feels like Sunday:
still & God like.
I'm getting ready
to go to work
in the Bronx
where I'll bullshit
about myself
& writing
to former jailbirds.
After a few steps
my legs start to work--
I put up my coffee;
brush my tooth;
take my shower;
pour my cup;
bring it to my desk;
open my Mac; & read
my paper.
It strikes me
how I really believe
that everything is mine
with a foolish exuberance...
then I hear the sirens...
they rip & claw & tear
Christ from the cross--
somebody else
is in trouble:
in the shower,
heart blew up,
lover blew up,
wires got crossed,
nerves gave out.
One day
it will be me
they'll come for.
I could have been
scrambling eggs
or remembering you
or chasing the butterflys
in my wallpaper...
they'll have to blow-up
the paranoid lock
on my front door
and wade through a confusion
that makes sense only to me--
the way it should.
They will try to get a beat;
they will try to figure out
why they're there & why I'm there;
they'll see if this sad piece of meat
is bleeding & how best to get me
down the slender slope of stairs.
Where I'll be
I don't know.
It's better
that way.

Norman Savage
Greewnich Village, 2018

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Tommy Sig
took me
to the Roosevelt,
an ancient hotel
on Madison & 45th
one year when straight pool
was still king
& those who had nicknames
reigned: Stumpy, Wimpy,
Weepy, Miz, Jersey Red,
Sig was a great shooter
himself--what he could do
with one hand, I couldn't do
with two. He didn't want to
hear that: Great? No,
I ain't great, they're great,
they play two speeds under God,
but I know why they're great:
They see,
and they know,
and they are able to do.
Savage, he went on, you write
a good sentence, but you know
what a great sentence looks like,
and what went into it,
but you ain't part of that stratosphere.
I might be able to handle a stick,
but I can't chop down no fuckin forest.

We sat on some rickety chairs
in a balcony thick
with smoke & kibitzers
& watched as Miz was well into
running his third rack.
He has young legs,
Sig said, he's gonna take it.
And he did.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2018

Sunday, February 11, 2018


I was already in love
with another woman.
In fact,
I was crazy in love with her.
It moved pieces of me around.
But then,
junk took over,
and made the living
dead & the dead more real
than the living,
but the dead didn't dance
for decades--
until my ex
became my now
& now became new
& shiny.
But then,
the junk took over.
And darkness fell
on a soft
& useless
These women,
loves of my life,
were born three days
but twenty-six years
One was straight-laced New Jersey finishing school;
the other radical Japanese artist Nagasaki poor.
The common denominator
was me...
& poetry.
Always is.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2018

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


Dark & dreary
bleak & black
chilled & drizzly,
we humped along Park
downtown & across
the bridge to score
some tea & time
& heat & eats
& maybe,
just maybe, a little sex
on our kid's break
from whatever smacked
of responsibility.
Any day, really, was a good day
for pot. But especially days
like this as the ice rain ticked
along the windows
& pinged & ponged on the roof
while a young friend,
but old lover leaned
past my shadow & into the folds
of our laughter as the bridge
& her cables rose before us &
the fog seeping into the ground.

Some days
are made for pot,
& some days for dope.
Rare are the days
that give coke a good name,
but anyday, everyday,
is an alcohol delight
if the saloon is dark
& those who bottom there
know you well enough
to leave you be.

We got out
into the mist
& Amy paid him.
There was a skinny Rican
we knew selling
Panamanian Red
by Hoyt & Bergen:
good count for the price,
& rich sweet earth tasting
pot. But we still needed
to throw a few sevens: he
had to be there; the reefer
had to be there; & a cab
or car service needed to drift by
or be found. Everything in this life
is a matter of timing. Edgar's was piss-poor
and he paid dearly; that day
ours was better. How was yours today?
How has your life gone?

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2018

Friday, February 2, 2018


I've cornered myself.
Shorted myself.
Stuck myself up.
Outfoxed myself.
to myself
go on
for too long
saying too little.

And I'm doing it again.

A dunce-capped fetishist
I'm in a new place
just an old body;
a fool
on a fool's errand;
a squandered hedonist
loving moments
imagined, but soon,
soon enough,
this place will retch
from fears familiar
to the touch,
a mink claw
of specious need.
I will know
this place
soon enough;
it is the place
I've known
soon enough
all my life:
home--for tourists
& other strangers.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2018

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


to her neurosis
like a velcro strip--
no matter
how many times
I tried
to extricate
my foot
from my mouth,
or her ass,
it held fast.
I pulled
every muscle
in my goddamn body
and have been
in traction
for the past
three years.

So much
for therapy!

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2018