Wednesday, August 27, 2014


that a nine year old girl
from New Jersey
would be on a firing range
in Nevada,
outside of Las Vegas,
firing an Uzi
with the burly instructor--
who stood next to her
slim shoulder
with his arm
wrapped around
her tiny waist
--and still manage
to shoot him
in the head?

The name
of the range,
Bullets & Burgers,
is family friendly
you're the family
of the shooter,
or the family
of the dead,
or the little nine year old
who saw the blood & brains
of her instructor on her little pink shirt,
or the eyes & brain of her instructor
in the second when he realized he
was no more.

If you own
Bullets & Burgers
you're in good shape:
more business
for a hot table.

I've heard
the bookmakers
have taken this
off the board
for tomorrow's
a pity--I thought
I had an angle
on this one.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


wood, coal,
flesh to flesh
heating sparks
smoke upward,
lathering up
bodies pumping
against each
other's proximity
rubbing inside
furnaces shoveled
by thick-armed
& ravens & broken wings.
Without contact
frozen, left to freeze
in bone's zero.

There must
be "musts."
There must
be love's oil
to lub
the workings.
Without that
there is the nothing
there was
& the nothing
that is
and the nothing
that awaits
all who yawn
& lift their sorry spirits
to the nothing
up above.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014


We'll hit
Marcus Garvey Park
on Saturday,
& Tompkins Square
the day after,
to listen to Bird
& some of those
who came out of him.
We'll have a good time,
I'm sure,
though it will be
a little sad--
she's found a new home
(but will have to take
her old life with her),
to Clearwater,
where she'll try
to make
some kind nest
for her & her son.
I bought her a box
of reinforcements,
those little white cylinders,
to lick into place
in her new loose-leaf book.

We'll pretend
that we were something more
to each other
than we were--
solving some complex problems
and needs
of expediency & circumstance,
& listening to each other's voice
in the wilderness.

We'll promise
to keep in touch
but won't.
Some things,
no matter how important
they were
at the time
were only important
for that time; the oceans
know this; the leaves
know this
as it rolls
in & out &
changes color &
we know this
too, despite
the illusion. Humans,
if human,
are nature's hybrids.

We helped each other
out for a few months,
didn't hurt each other,
had a few laughs.
Nothing wrong
with that.

Just listen
to that solo.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014


There was Seymour
and now Robin. Before
those two gents
there was David,
Ernie, Sylvia, Anne,
John & John and,
I'm sure other
John's; & please
don't forget Vinny,
Dino, Marilyn, Amy,
and many lost fools,
like myself, who couldn't
find their way home
with a map.

It has always been
a hard life; work,
love, bread, adulation,
has little to do
with it; it's just
fucking hard.
You can turn over
the rocks & discover
a new enzyme, a new hormone,
a new molecule, insanities
lurking around the corners
of your birth, teachers
with bad breath & dandruff,
mustard sandwiches & Draino chasers,
and would be no closer in discerning
the link and linkages
of how you view yourself
or the world.

if you're not knotting
a rope or loading a shotgun,
if you're not shivering
in your closet more afraid
of the light than the dark;
if there's a pop tart
or a pancake or a cup
of black coffee for
tomorrow morning or
a slice of almost green bologna
for tonight's fare...
that is enough, it is enough
to turn on your radio
& blast yourself away
& into a space
that gives you space
and that will be
good enough--it has
to be.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Sunday, August 10, 2014


I learned how to speak,
without stuttering,
when I wrote.
My insides
were so jumbled,
so chaotic,
so poisoned,
so fearful,
that even when I knew
answers I'd never
raise my hand
in school
or offer them
to those around me.
I kept to myself
thinking that as long
as I didn't have to talk,
I was safe.

Writing became my currency,
my art, my ability
to control
without appearing foolish.
It allowed me to try
and identify
what I was feeling
without choking for air,
getting red in the cheeks,
wanting to die.
I practiced and practiced
and practiced putting it down,
getting it out, studying it,
trying to get the words
to stop wriggling
in order to know
who I was
at any given moment.

Without planning
I aimed at writing
those words as if
I spoke them; having
a naturalness
that belied
the alien
I was.
The more I practiced
the better I got
until the page
& my mouth
were one.
My pen became
my dick, my words
as hard as an adolescent's
erection. I managed
to build a life
around an artifice.

That artifice
is deconstructing:
first the body
then the mind.
Janis was right:
get it while you can.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Mirrors were not kind
to me: distortion
stalked my senses:
too fat,
too small,
too ugly.
But then
the obverse:
too handsome,
too smart,
too quick.
mocked my every step,
every twist,
every turn. And there
were many of each.

I had no real affinity
for anything
having to do
with life or
making a living:
being one
or many, a cog
in the nightmare.
"Work" and me
were not friends.
I did not get on well
with others.
I was fluid, though,
at fantasy.

It was remarkable,
in this Charles Laughton of a life,
when my arrogance
and defenses were
kept at bay,
that so many women
loved me.
They deceived me
in wanting
to stay alive
a little longer:
so many whispers,
so many promises,
so many confidences
that turned ugly pain
and self-abnegation
into words
into an art
of deformity
that soothed
and glued the divided
self from self.

This last one,
though, loved
me in a different way:
deformed as well,
but as a lioness.
Female. A deeper
distortion. Without
an outlet. Imprisoned
by her body,
in her body,
she escaped only
by implosion.
She has a bottomless
distrust of humans.
And still
has to go
into the jungles
of civilization
& stalk the food
& cook it
& feed the children
who wait for her
while being
the same creature
who possesses
no valance
no firm
in this brick
& mortar life.

I am glad
I am older
then her, nearer
the grave.
I will not have
to think of her
nearly as long
as she will think
of me.

like this poem,
is often times
not beautiful.
Our spirits
nearly extinguished
the forms.
And the music
we made--even
the notes
that were
--leading up
to this poem
were beautiful.
I've never heard them
sung this way before.
I would believe
they're sung once
by the gods
and then
are gone.

I have nothing,
my dear,
& I want to share it
all with you.
If someone makes you
a better offer--
take it.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014


"Que encuentres un cono a tu medida!"

Had a buddy, Harry,
who put that curse
in the mouth of Fernando,
one of his characters.
Harry came from the red clay earth
of rickets country, south Georgia,
grew up poor and learned to write
reading the Sears catalogue because
that's all he got of printed material
at his shack & allowed him
to make up stories
of escapes & other lives.
I grew-up in Coney Island, rich
compared to most middle-class folks
and learned to write because
I had to
or go crazy
in my silence.
He was living in Gainesville
and me in the Village
when we ran across each other
in a saloon across the street
from me, The Cedar Tavern.
At the time it didn't matter to us:
either the spike or the shot glass
made about as much sense
as anything else & we shared those
and our histories
in equal measure.
When the subject came to women,
I listened closely.
We each had more than our share,
but he seemed to have paid some heavy
love dues over a few of them.
I shook my head
pretending I knew
what he was talking about
& feeling, but I was really
just trying to keep up.
He was the better artist
and the better man
and I knew it.
One particular woman
had him upsidedown in love
and wouldn't quit
his system
no matter how many others he'd fucked,
no matter how much dope he shot,
no matter how many drunk tanks
he woke up in & no matter how
much notoriety he garnered.
I listened,
shook my head,
and knew
I'd never let it
get that bad.

Harry is dead.
And I've come close
a few times before
and since.
I know now
how he felt:
I cannot get
this certain woman
out of my pores.
Haven't seen
or really spoken to
or written her
in six months
& it feels
like six minutes.
Her breath, her body,
her movements, her insanities,
her sound, her inanities
& insecurities &
her beauty are branded
into me like a birthmark.
My pleasures
with others
are fleeting
& boring; my time
spent alone
is spent
to a spirit--
a hollow echo
from church steeples
gone mad,
overthrown by a renegade Christ
& his disciples.
Admittedly, the sin
I committed was a love sin;
too much even I admit,
but love it was.
If you don't believe me
read the poems,
listen to the songs,
count the jelly beans,
the Swedish fish,
measure the ineffable,
read the emails,
eavesdrop on the conversations,
hear how she said my name,
watch her squirt her joy,
experience her laugh,
her wonderment,
her little girl
vulnerabilities & understand
her fears
and still
you'd be dumbfounded,

How you couldn't matter
ultimately didn't matter.
All you know
at the end
is absence.

I've stripped layer after layer
of flabby ego off me
& will carve some more
before I'm done.
Maybe the next one--
if there is a next one
--will allow
the danger inside.
Who knows
about that?
What I do know
is that I'm
as human as Harry now:
I'm paid up
& will,
if asked,

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014