Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I was lying
in an ICU
in the Bronx
out of my mind
from a controlled combination
of pain
and morphine
when a magician
came into the room.
She put a syringe
into an IV line
and a blast
of hot breath
into my system.
Kind, I thought,
her giving me a dose
before my four hour
I watched
her pull the lip
of the white gauze
that clung to the top
of my foot
where my four toes were
a moment ago.
My neck stretched
as I was about to see
what was so obviously
a trick.
She delicately gripped
at the first
half inch
the blood
was maroon,
and somewhat dry
as the pain
around my system;
and as she pulled
and pulled
and pulled
and pulled
it grew
and wet.
I thought,
how much fucking gauze
is in that thing?
It truly was
magical, but please,
God, can the trick
be over.
I now had propped myself up
on my elbows
and felt my shoulders
and back
become bruised
and stiff. Still,
she pulled
and pulled
some more.
it was done.
She disposed
the bloody gauze
into a receptacle,
opened a new package
and packed the whole thing
in. I marveled
at this; the simplicity
of taking out
and putting in.
If only living
and dying
were that simple.
But we know
nothing is that simple,
not even breathing.
The flowers know this,
the matadors and pimps,
the landlady' struggling
in their rooms alone,
while their tenants struggle
with the rent
and a way,
know this.
Even the fish,
who might have gotten a treat,
that evening,
with four toes,
had to wait
a long time
for what
to them
is surely
a delicacy;
you might even say,
a privilege.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2010