Saturday, September 13, 2014


in AC
was damp,
a slate-gray sky
and bluish black waves
with a cockscomb of white foam
leaving the sand with a froth.
We sat,
as we had
forty years ago
when everything
was in front
of us.
The failures & madness
and a suicide world
filled with regrets
sat behind us
& greedy still.
It felt good
to shiver
with all those lives
in the

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Saturday, September 6, 2014


The Betty Poems

the oldest
& most effective
anti-psychotic agent
for shiczophrenia,
bi-polar disease,
might help;
where they literally
take out the brain
& wash it,
might help;
I doubt it,
but it might.
But I hope
you never get it;
I hope you get
yours...and you will.
is just too insidious
a disease for that not
to happen--eyes, kidneys,
brain are subject
to complications. But that's
too easy: bone cancer, maybe,
hemorrhoids would be poetic;
that let's you know
it's there & you're there.
I've loved you too much
not to hate you a little now--
more than a little.
Even though you'd warned me:
that picture of you detoxing
should have been enough
to scare me off; your maniacal paranoia
in finding instances of all the women
I've fucked should have suggested a
fevered and unsettled mind at work; your drinking,
hiding under the covers, lack of friends,
your divorce from an ex who was always an ex
and getting a look at his emails,
should have done it--
but nothing did. I'm nuts, too. Too far gone
with what I thought was love and maybe
it was. When somebody tells you
that they don't deserve you
they're usually telling the truth.
But I sure tried to dispel & dissuade
your feelings of being a piece of shit,
got you up and out of bed and out your house
and working again... but
you are a piece of shit (I've never said that
so directly to anyone before). You're just
a bundle of misery, darkness, and so every time a kind of love
comes your way you have to regurgitate it--it's your hedge
against more hurt, more love, more disappointment--
just like the food you once deposited in bathroom stalls.

Canadian you are, bourgeois you are--
working in banks, writing speeches & dumb little articles
so that the rich get fatter and you can hire
dog walkers and think, while hating them
you're not them, but you are. Try to enjoy
it, my dear.
It's all
you have.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


I don't remember the class,
nor the subject,
nor the teacher,
but I do remember the boredom.
I remember reading something...
a short story,
a poem,
a novel,
but I do remember the line:
"we are what we're least afraid to be."
It stopped me.
It resonated.
I read it a few times
and obviously
committed it to memory.
I was not a good student.
Easily bored,
distracted, ashamed
of my awkwardness
and inability to fit
I had a brashness
a bravado
to try and balance
the scales,
but I knew
deep down
just what a jerk-off
I was.
I knew I could not make it
in the straight world,
normality was not "my thing"
and so cultivated any
and everything that took me
outside it: gambling,
unprotected sex, brown paper bag
drinking, reefer, and finally
dope. I was a "traditionalist."
Drinking without ice, without
chasers; women with no particular
discernment; dope that needed
to be shot.
I managed to survive:
good women, mostly.
And somehow
I grew-up
and realized
just how true
that high school line
was and is.
There are those
hiding under a guise
of isolation,
more afraid to be loved
and less afraid to be rancid;
those who wonder
what those outside lines
mean and what it is
to cross them;
I am more afraid to live
and less afraid to write
about living; and those
who live with quiet urgency
and keep their desires
loud inside them.

I still have needs
that need to be met;
I need to be told
that surgeons
do not need scalpels
to make you well
and whole
I am not abstract;
I am a straight line
that grew-up
crookedly; I've made
with a will
not my own
better something
that loves me.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

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