Tuesday, July 14, 2009

STICKING IT IN, and STICKING IT OUT

I stuck it out
and got lucky
with the words.
I always knew
I was good,
but also knew
that being good
never mattered
for much.
Certainly,
I got nothing
from the cunt
who spit me out,
or the cock
who stuck it in.
You have to be
just a little crazy
to want something
bad enough
so that the madhouses, hospitals,
firings, sabotages and self-
destructiveness makes
sense.
But even then
you still
have to get lucky.
It's never all talent:
it's being able to breathe
in those dark
and awful spaces;
kindness of some kind
from women
who knew better;
it's all manner of things
that rise
or fall
without permanence
or meaning.

The end will come
soon enough
for all of us.
I know that mine flirts
with me
like never before.
I know this, too:
I've already got mine;
now go
get
yours.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

THE CUNT

is everything:
the beginning and the end.
We crawl from it
and to it,
for all our days.
Damned is the man
who resists
and damned is the man
who doesn’t.
The bees who flutter
and the mice who crawl
caught in immeasurable madness
now
and forever.


Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2003

Friday, July 10, 2009

THE TALKING HEADS

scream from the left
and from the right
about Michael,
and Sarah,
and fucking,
and sucking,
and covert,
and overt,
and inert,
actions
concerning
the whole sick stew
while
we bleed
from boredom,
ennui,
fear,
hopelessness,
silently
within
our own screams
as we try
just to stay alive
and out
of a cardboard box,
or a wooden one which,
at times,
would do
just fine.

But we deserve
no better.
We have not been good
to ourselves
or others.
We easily betray
the most basic
kindness'.
Thinking
is all
too easy,
and dying
is never done
well; it happens
slowly, in
cre
men
ta
ly:
ah, no, no, ah,
a bit, ah,
please, no--
as the praying
mantis
rears
up
and devours
not heads
but souls
like
mine.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009

MICKEY, MARLON, & ME

I drove with my King
in the King's chariot
into the Kingdom
to see a bigger King
play an even bigger King
in a movie
about the Kings of our time.
But my King
was secretly
a disappointed King,
a pretend King,
a fake King,
a false King
(but still,
he was
my King),
and I've been
in jail
ever
since.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

MY FATHER, REVISITED

cloaked
in a loving garb,
having fully realized
the reasons for adulation
single-mindedly succeeded
in redirecting my paths
to approximate a lumbering,
diseased and labored mixture
of blood and bone.
his thick and corpulent flesh
helped repel
a tissue thin, pin shaped,
needle of truth
that insistently jabbed
against his fleshy grain:
as much as he was a lover,
was he a sinner
to those who loved
and trusted him.
he used
their love,
their trust,
in indecent ways
repugnant,
even to himself,
that a balm
of constant consumption,
was one of the few remedies
to rid himself of the disgust
that ate at him as he,
ate at them,
satiated the starkness
of steel.

if he knew then,
that he’d lived,
beyond
matrimonial slavery
and familial idolatry,
he’d have turned Jell-O
into concrete,
ice cream,
into lava
hot from the core
to his gullet,
money,
into bullets,
Cadillac's,
into shotguns,
to effect
an exit
for an audience
of one.
my mother
who,
in her last two
poker playing decades,
knew,
in her heart
of hearts
she needn’t run,
or even walk,
to win
at his own game
of self-serving
whinery.
she knew,
she’d proceed
him, knew,
how much
he’d detest
her coming
in first.
his thoughts
distracted
by the whir
of sickness’
inconsistencies,
unpredictability's,
that needed signatures,
exactness, a chosen,
if not intelligible,
nightmare, harsh
in daylight’s principles,
unforgiving in their erratic pejorative
of moving all
of what they might,
tunelessly,
try to move him.
the nerve of her,
to leave him
so fat and breathy.
the audacity
to just stop
caring
unable to think
beyond her next
minute.
always
so stingy
in the ways
of sex;
always
so unaware
of his needs
beyond
his next feeding
or outburst
of disappointment
of disapproval
in the sounds
of voices
only he could hear
of crass, but soothing,
eastern european inflections,
intimating deep and luxurious
goose down and feathered
armaments.
french toast festooned with churned,
and freshly made,
barrel butter, cinnamon, the dark cloves
and tracks, running down lanes,
with recently tapped
maple syrup, singing,
almost gurgling, in their crevices.
there’d be eggs,
if he wanted them, bacon,
of course,
if he wanted it, and
coffee, black and hot,
with a steamed mixture
of sweet milk, and honey, and,
home made
sticky buns, if
he wanted them.
how could
so much love
go unpunished?
and still,
he felt,
picked on;
still,
he felt
unappreciated
by all he felt holy:
money
and memory.

now,
the onion gears,
once so sharp
and pungent,
whirl away
in a soft pulp
unable
to catch
and control
what had come
so naturally to him.
of course,
he was bred
from it
and for it;
bred
to control
a spiked
and wicked, duplicitous,
untrustworthy,
capricious,
and an inchoate
world with what power
he could muster
or bluff.
he bullied,
bought,
bungled,
and blighted
his private landscape;
he watered some,
ignored others,
reversed fields,
began again until
each blade of grass
groveled and fought
against every other blade
for whatever drop of water
was kept hidden
in a bucket
he professed
had leaks
and would
eventually
go dry.

now,
most things
are dry.
now,
the exception
is the constant.
now,
he cannot control
not even his bowels.
in this,
his cataract times,
his hardened wax times,
as his colors drip and run,
washing themselves free
of creation’s embrace,
as his sounds of songs and sex
get muted and lost
in the straw and sawdust
of creation’s wheeze,
he counts the minutes
to his next feeding,
he tosses aside
those minutes
as the day
diminishes
and the night
grips him
with geometry
stripped
from memory
or desire.
now,
he keeps
a light on
at his bedside
while the television
roars,
as if
demons
are afraid
if someone is awake
or has company. they see
his naked lumbering
on legs jiggling with fat
and weakness; they see
the flesh from his belly
belittling, and hiding,
his genitals,
as he rummages
for anything
to chew on. they see
him lumber back
and into bed, a bowl
or dish,
or plate, in one hand,
a glass of liquid
in the other. they see,
as he nods, his head
falling side ward, with and to
the wine,
the barbiturate,
the analgesic
he had ingested
earlier, and consistently
to give the screen
the opportunity
to become blank
and soundless.

one day,
much like today,
or tomorrow, a day
that might have held
a laugh,
or a promise,
he will go,
without especially meaning to,
beyond me, beyond
all of us,
but won’t be
disappointed.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2004

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

MY FATHER

will slowly lumber
from wherever
he is standing
or sitting
or sleeping,
and snuggle
next to a worm
or the charcoal hothouse
with as little
or with as much
understanding
as when he slid
down the wet fleshy mouth
held opened
and fastened
by pain
and promises.
if he does
indeed fall,
which is much more likely,
he’ll not notice
the bounce
of objects
near,
how they will lift themselves
and sometimes fly
from their moorings;
he will not feel
the heft of three hundred pounds
making room for itself;
he will not hear the sounds
that bodies sing when kissing
concrete, or woolen carpets,
or floorboards, tiles, linoleum,
or the soft feathers
of pillows
scarred by the indentations
of dreams.
he will have died
without being suckled
by all the women
who held him
through endless days
and nights; he will
have died
without his sons
who suckled him
in ways
they shouldn’t have,
coming to rescue
a panoply of errors
of judgment,
of haste,
of impulsiveness,
of lies, deceits,
betrayals, of pitting
one against the other,
in self-serving cruel
and merciless acts
of benevolence.
when his breath
cuts the dust of rest
and reward, he will have gleaned
no further understanding
of who
or why
this is,
only a lament
to a world
unaware
of how fine
and generous
a gentleman
he truly was.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2004

Monday, July 6, 2009

THE REPLACEMENT GAME

The leaves looked the same:
banana spotted brown, withered, rotten--
but they would return.
The rusted cars and cans
would be replaced.
The loves who’d abandoned you
would knock
in one form or another
some night, perhaps
in another form--
All was right
with the world.


Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2003

Sunday, July 5, 2009

MY WIFE'S CONUNDRUM

She ran,
like a convict,
seeing a sliver
of chance
at what
she didn’t know.
All she knew
it was away
from the bars
of a marriage
gone sour.
Her mother,
alone
and praying
for her
aloneness,
was her
guide.
Her father,
drunk
and faltering
held her
in his sway.
She had loved him.
She had hated him.
She had wanted him
to know
her name.
I knew
her name,
but did not
remember
and worse,
understand
how important
her name was
to her.
I did not
love her
like he
did not
love her
with a warmth
that begged
for a kind of intimacy
that drunks
have drunk
away.
I was almost him
though.
I met his age;
I met his anger;
I met his disease;
I met all
her fantasies.
What she could not
understand,
and what gave her
pause,
was that I spoke
English;
that I knew
her soul
and what
and how
her soul
thirsted for.
It confused her.
It took many years
before
she realized
that I would never
go away
which meant
she
could never go away
unless
she tore
the flesh
from both
our bodies.
Which, she did.
It is over a year now,
and the only thing I still fear
is the fear
of infection,
or worse:
barometric
isolation
in a ward
that has neither
time
nor space
for healing.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2004

Saturday, July 4, 2009

TRYING TO SPLIT

Blood caked moon
sits atop the eyes
of a praying mantis
whose head
is inside
the mouth
of his lover.
Whoever goes to pray
needs no coins
or sins.
It snaps
like a guillotine
cleaving,
memory,
from desire.
My wife
long ago
removed
herself
from our lives,
takes seriously
her vows
of language.
A language removed
from meaning while
the ants meander
and the flies gather
upon the corpse
of failure.
The corpse
who reads
these words
as if stitched
inside the lids
of eyes,
and acts
as reminder
or foreboding
to what will come
from what
will not.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2004

Friday, July 3, 2009

COULD I JUST TALK TO YOU?

for K.S.

forever,
if I promise
not to take up
too much
of your time?
would you hold
my hand
in your strong
workmanlike hand and fingers
and squeeze
when I come
to the hard parts?
could I smell
the sawdust
in your hair
and count
the callous’
on your palms
while I speak to you
of secrets
and lies
of a heart
that has forgotten
how or why
to beat?
will you allow me to see
how your soul
is ingrained
with what you build
and show me
how you build
your soul
piece by piece while
my fingers feel
the excitement
of your tears
as I trace your mouth
with your own salt?
can I go
yakkity yakking
into the night
while you remind me
where I lost
my place?
can I just talk
forever
with you? I need
little else: food,
water, air are all
so boring,
so superfluous,
so bourgeois and you know
how much I hated and feared being that. I feared that
more than dying--perhaps living
would be better stated, but not better
served. could I
arrive on my word chariot,
my horse’s mouth full
of foam and nostrils flared,
and whisk you off
for however long
forever is?
in this time,
this time now,
I will content myself
by talking
to the strangers
inside me
knowing
with as much surety
as I’ve ever had
that one
of those strangers
is you.



Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2004

Thursday, July 2, 2009

THE BATHROOM AT SLUGS'

in the far east,
on third, between B & C
was hot. It was over thirty years ago
that even taking a piss in there
fucked with your imagination. It smelled
of sex, quinine, morphine, reefer, body odor
and wastes. Before sets, inbetween, and after
there were lines. Sometimes singles, often times
couples of the same or different orientation.
There was a kind of understanding: sometimes
it took longer to get hard, or find a vein,
or role and fumble with a stick, and so you waited.
The ones with priority were the players. They needed
to do their business and get the hell back. Besides,
in truth, that’s why most of us came to Slugs
in The Far East. The other joints where cats could work
ideas into riffs for weeks or a month at a time,
like The Five Spot or Half-Note,
were already dead.

One night late Lee was on the bandstand blowing hard
sweating into the collar of a stained white shirt that had
pin-pricks of dried blood in the crook of his arm
when his common law entered. She walked up, opened
her purse, took a gun from it, and shot him dead
during his solo. She turned, walked calmly back,
placed the revolver on the wood-scared pock-marked bar,
and ordered a drink---scotch, I think. And waited.
The bartender, Frankie, served her without saying a word.

After awhile people started to breath, some whispered, and others
went back to the bathroom.
“That no good motherfucka sonofabitch deserved that killin’,”
an older chick nearby said, “that junkie bastard usin’ her bread
for his vein was bad enough, but his bitch’s vein too, that’s even worser...
someday he be back though, hope he learned his motherfuckin’ lesson.”

The ambulance came, and so did the cops. They took out one living
and one dead; which was which I couldn’t say.

I don’t know if Lee ever did come back. I do know this:
men will be men,
and women women; that is the task,
and that, my friends,
is the terror.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1997

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

POEM

To move
with the ease of eels
gossamer shrouded
snakelike charmer
beguiled and fashioned
from grace and memory
voracious, slippery
and shaking
like aluminum
crinkled
and shimmering
in a spectral sun.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1998