Wednesday, November 10, 2010


It is early
November: a damp, cold
and blustery day; a Dickensian zero
in the bones.
I push away
from what is probably my last
dead-end job
and go down
for a smoke.
Park Ave South
looks as miserable and dirty
as a Rio favilla
without the humor
or violence.
My life
is 63 years spent
and fleeting fast
into the absence
of all desire:
sugar has eaten
parts of me
for half a century:
my toes swim
with the fish';
a pump rewired with cat guts
and twine;
all my women,
young and old,
have smartened up;
my friends my few friends,
have died or simply
vanished or
have troubles of their own.
I stand,
or almost stand,
leaning against a pillar,
pull a fresh deck of smokes
out of my breast
pocket and before
smoke can reach my West Virginia lungs
the pigeons begin
to gather: black pigeons
and white pigeons, brown pigeons,
and gray pigeons, one-legged pigeons,
broken-winged pigeons, deranged pigeons,
nervous pigeons, dirty pigeons, and desperate
pigeons: rats without tails.
I know each of them
well. I, too, have lived like a tailless rat; born into
it, nurtured by it, held fast to its insane breast,
lived with it, guzzled it, in cells, in rooms
of daily rent, in my specially fashioned fence.
I've got by by luck
and instinct
and a curious
A security guard
comes out
to protect me.
He chases away
the ones who were slow
to get fed.
He looks at me.
I smile
and offer him
a cigarette.
He needs
to get out
of this world
I know
the impossibility
and foolishness
of that for now
as I inhale
breathe out
and marvel
how good it feels
to be

Norman Savage
New York City, 2010


  1. As I read this, I stand with you, or almost stand, every day, every year, every decade. And out of my pocket, I smoke one for you dear one.