Sunday, July 20, 2014


I like her scar
underneath her chin
from a bicycle mishap
when she turned seven
& her first blind corner.
I like how her ankle
curves into her shoe
when she wears heels
and the way she announces
her shapely calves to the
& women who follow
her. I like
how she questions
what she already knows
& expects to be disproved
or challenged.
I detest her poise
but take comfort
in her insecurity.

So far,
we're letting it
unfold like a good mystery
should--a real page turner
we're taking our time with
& savoring. Soon,
I'm sure, we will get up
on the cross
of ambivalence.

Until then
I'll pretend
& so will she--
like this morning:
freshly showered
she stepped from
the steam wrapped
in a towel,
smelling soapy,
hair dripping,
& tip-toed past me
into the bedroom;
we caught each other
from the corners
of our eyes
I'm sure,
small grins
played across
our lips
but kept
our mouths

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014


The Terminal Hotel stays busy:
overnight stays, hour stays,
fifteen minute stays,
a week at a time,
a month,
or years.
Always booked.
All the time,
everyday, every minute,
every hour on the hour some
come in, others
go out.
It's the first stop
or the last.
Some arrive
or depart
with fanfare: trumpets
& flags & heads
of state or captains
of industry
and are lingered over,
gossiped, groped
or drooled on,
but most
barely make a ripple
they wash
over your shores
and create
a tidal wave
that carries you
or carries you over
any and all coastlines:
& the like.
They are our sea-gods,
our Neptune's
sometimes and sometimes not
devouring their own children.
The stone deepens,
widens, asserts itself,
intertwines with the fibers
of god, and with them,
turns love into grief,
grief into longing,
longing into pain,
and all to reminiscence
which overwhelms
& hardens
& becomes
a stew of regret.

Each day
one goes through it:
Some react quietly
others not so. Some
feel undeserving
of succor & seek
none; others yammer
for days on end
& find a kind of relief.
What balances one,
tilts the other.
And sometimes "love"
is too selfish
to share.

Births are supposed
to make us happy
while death is supposed
to make us sad. So easy
to think
like that.
I know that as I write this
there are those caught
in a place between words
and have not a hand
to hold.
I can manage
another's life
very well--
it's mine
I have a problem with.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014


We're in pain;
we're desperate.
We've all done it
if I get away,
if I change it,
change something--
it's gonna lift,
the pain will ebb,
the desperation
will flame
out & only the sick
damp smell of
an extinguished fire
and that, too,
will go away if
we just get out
get away
from the place we're at
it's gonna change
the place we're in.

I've done it
a million times
& seen it done
a million more.
I've gone from scotch
to vodka to gin to cognac
to anisette to wine to beer;
I've switched from dope
to coke to reefer to pills
& back again; I've backed-up
the woman I was with
to a woman waiting; I've gone
from New York to New Orleans
to San Francisco to Los Angeles
to upstate downstate in state out of state
to nuthouse in house jail house to ping-pong
to amnesia & nothing helps. Nothing.
Especially with love.
Don't be fooled:
love is a substance
harder to kick
than any substance I know.
It messes with the cool runnings
of the system, fucks
with your heartbeat
because it is your heartbeat.
I can take any addict,
any booze hound
& get them off the shit
in a matter of days. Easy.
But love, uh ugh. No.
Not real love.
You could be fucking someone else
tomorrow & it don't matter.
Real love loves
the imperfections
as well as the hook:
it's a molecular thing:
the scent, the smell, the taste;
the small dick & stubby fingers,
floppy tits, protruding belly,
insane pretentions, narcissism,
perfectionism, isms up the ass--
you still love them.

But try it.
By all means try it.
Try any goddamn thing.
I'll go to Kentucky
& become a redneck,
chew tobacco, shoot guns,
pray to a Confederate god;
or go to Australia & fuck
a Kangaroo. Around the world
& in the world.
Your mind,
if you have one,
does what it does,
perceives what it will,
connects what it connects
pretty much
without your help.
It's not even a matter
of standing your ground
& fighting. No.
You need not do anything.
Staying alive
is enough.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014


I'm getting picked-up
in an hour
& being taken
to her home
on the island.
I've bought
an old man's bathing suit,
and I'll put my old man's body
inside and trudge through
the hot sand, oiled up,
uncomfortable, a bit lost,
a bit disorientated, on scarred legs,
thinning arms, balding head,
to sit in an unforgiving sun & play
a young man's game--
seducing & allowing
her to seduce.
It's like watching
that old kid's show:
Let's Pretend.
And thank the gods
the poet still does.

It's been easy with her
so far.
No inkling
of the whirlwind
of the last one.
She takes what is
& doesn't bother
with what isn't--
so far.
I'm still
but that, too,
will pass--
if what I see
& what I don't see

That's the best
I can do--
right now.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Men feel it before,
and more acutely,
then women,
I think.
Athletes male
or female,
feel it first, followed
by artists
& skilled
laborers (though
I'm not sure
about the artists
& skilled laborers part).
It happens
before you're aware
of it happening:
you know what you want to do,
you can see it,
but you just can't do it,
you see an opening
but can't take it;
you see a punch coming
but can't duck it
or slip it.
There's a kind of rust
on your reflex; your body
is a beat behind
the rhythm section.

The first time (or two,
or three) it happens
you'll reject it; you'll resort
to bullshitting yourself
& believe it,
(but not really),
you'll say:
just one of those days,
stop fucking around,
get more rest,
go on a diet,
get into the weight room,
shut-off distractions--
friends, family, hangers-on,
--stop chasing
skirts, concentrate--
& that might work...
for a bit.
But where once your youth was
has now looked
& found
greener pastures.

I'm well passed
my prime; I make
what I make
by skill & wits,
a reluctant intelligence,
a stubborn neurosis,
& guts, all enfolding me,
embalming me into
a state of grace.
Like today:
I saw these young beauties
walk by. I knew what I wanted
to do
to each
& every
one of them,
but cannot do a thing. How unfortunate
for all of us.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014


I love you,
you love me;
I do for you,
you do for me;
I hate you,
you hate me;
I make-up with you,
you make-up with me;
I kiss you
where it hurts,
you do the same
for me;
what's mine
is yours,
what's yours
is mine
You will shut-off
my oxygen
when it becomes
too painful
to breathe
without it;
or it's too painful
for you to breathe
being near me.
What's fair
is only

Please sign
here, here,
& here,
& date it.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Sunday, July 6, 2014


I have left you
one cigarette
in its obviousness.
You pretend
not to smoke
when I'm not there.
However, the hole
will suck you
into it
We both know
you could not help
making this mistake--
it is what
you've been built for:
Many have been made
for that. Even myself.

You'll reach
for me
& find
a cigarette:
tubular pleasure
By simple reason
you'll not need
to smoke it
but you will:
reason, you see,
my dear,
like love,
is irrational
and most difficult
to reason

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014