Saturday, December 31, 2011

AS THE WORLD TURNS

These sixty four years
that marched unflinchingly
around and through me
were often enough times
cruel and mindless,
but often beautiful
(lovely, even),
have settled easily
like a cat or a dog
resting at my feet.
The jails and institutions,
nuthouses and hospitals
as bad as they were,
had their moments
of solace, sometimes reprieve
from the madness
that scorched the inside
of my skin.
Even the worst of times
have gone too quickly,
for each defeat
showed victory
no matter how dim,
ordinary,
or of no lasting
consequence.
Each love was better
than no love;
every hate
had power,
persistence,
and a sublime
pleasure;
and each pleasure
no matter how destructive
gave the pure dream
language, and a gambler's
hope.

I have liked most of you better
than I let on,
and loved some better
than they thought I should;
the pirate sees treasure
at a ship's mast
before the deck
is boarded or crossed.

Tonight, at midnight,
while hundreds of thousands,
asshole to elbow,
wait to celebrate
in Times Square,
I'll have the covers pulled
up to my neck.
I'll know it's over
when I hear
car horns,
screams,
whistles,
as my fellow humans
divide themselves
from themselves.
I've never understood much
of their joy or hope or faith,
but this far
I've made it; more
I can't say.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

BLUE CHRISTMAS

One of the problems
with being
me
this time
of year
is:
I've perfected
all this bullshit
without
many people
to tell it to.

Of course,
that's one
of the benefits,
too.

Listening
to Etta James
singing,
Someone To Watch
Over Me,
tears you
up
as you think
of her
lying
tethered
to some wires and tubes
snaking
this way and that
blind and demented
weaving herself
into the darkness
you'd like
someone
to know
what the fuck
you're talking about.

But fuck it--
I'll go to Chinatown
and dine among
big families
seated uncomfortably
between crying babies
and mothers
and grandparents
and aunts
and uncles
without pretending
I'm slant eyed
and single.
I don't believe
in illusions
for me
or
you.

I've always been
a fool.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

SHE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME NOT

Women are girls
and men are boys
in matters of the heart.
Each walk down the street
clutching their cell phones
as if they were mirrors
of worth;
each ring,
every silence,
all text,
confirming
size
and suspicion.
They cannot believe love
nor its absence;
each past moment
trails them
from bed
to bathroom
to bar
to boardroom
and back
again.
It's as if they mainline
affection;
each dose
needing
need
to be quicker,
stronger,
last longer
than before.
Only the poet knows
for love to last
it must be lost
lest it lose
its otherness
and deny you
you losing yours.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

SANTA'S SYPHILIS

unfortunately,
has grounded him.
It's been tracked
to a lone chimney
somewhere
within the borders
of North America.
Apparently,
this chimney
was decrepit
from constant use,
or not subject
to regular inspection.
No matter--
needless to say
a regular diet
of painful
and constant
penicillin intervention
is necessary.

It goes without saying
that the bottom 99
point 5 percent
of this population is,
once again, fucked
and forgotten.

C'est la guerre,
C'est la vie.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

VARIATIONS ON A TUNE FOR THOSE IN CONSTANT SORROW

(Sung to "When You're Smiling")

When yer creatin,
When yer creatin,
The whole world slinks from view;
When yer creatin,
When yer creatin,
The sun sometimes comes peepin thru,

But when yer stewin,
It brings on the pain;
Quit yer stewin
Be anti-social again.

Cause when yer creatin,
When yer creatin,
The whole world leaves you too.

Thank you
Thank you
Thank you...

(don't ask...

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

PARENTS--

who can imagine them
doin it?
I, certainly,
wouldn't want to go
on that kind of limb.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

KNOCK KNOCK

(Don't
answer
it.
Don't.
I'm tellin ya,
don't.
It could be loud
like a sonic boom
or as quiet as an ant
pissing on cotton;
it could be frantic
or like someone on their knees
praying
or rolling the dice
or breathing
heavily
from the climb
or sincere
like Clinton
or persuasive
like your last lover,
just don't
respond. Pretend
you're not there
and maybe
you'll make it
to see
another day,
a different
opening
open.
That might be
all you'll need
but probably not.

The knock
finds you.
Even if you stay
in bed
covers up
to your chin
it slides
next to you.
It could be
a white cell,
a renegade
looking
for a home;
your gums
could bleed,
your teeth
ache, your prostate
swell your uterus
drops, your muscles
atrophy.
No. Get up.
Tie your laces.
And if they don't snap,
go out.
Look both ways.
For cars and trucks and busses
and trains and people and dogs
and messengers and crazy Chinese
delivery bikers. Step over
cracks and avoid the pits.
Sit at one of those wonderful garden spots
in NYC outside and have a relaxing ten dollar
coffee or exotic tea concoction lost
in the exhaust fumes and diseased microbes
from inside the landfill of your neighbor's body.

And just when you thought
you made it,
just when the ten dollar tea
breaks your tongue's sweat,
a black sedan
seating five turbans
opens its curbside windows
to make a mistake
that won't be found out
for hours.)

Whatever it is
it's looking for you,
coming
on little cat's paws,
all
the
time.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

GOING HOME

is a lot like death:
an instinct,
a drive;
it's where
the fever
started
and where
it broke;
it's those embers
that refuse
to go out.

As you return
from your weekend
with your genitals
intact think
of the carving knife
and the surgical precision
possessed by the hand
having Parkinson's
and thank
the gods
for the good luck
of making it
this far.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

ONE FOR PHILIP MARLOWE'S DADDY

Knowing you're great
does not mean
you're not great,
and it does not mean
you don't hate yourself
for believing it.
Being a fraud
is being an artist.
Truth lies
everywhere:
among the pleasures,
among the pains,
a mixture
of a maddening brew.
Nurse it
or guzzle--
it can never be
distilled.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF NOW

You don't think
you'll get through,
or make it,
or fade it,
or manage,
or survive
another minute
let alone hour,
but you do
somehow;
somehow
you squeeze
all the pain
all the sorrow
all the hurt
into the corner
of your eye
and groove
to the pain
of each
moment
each
exactly
pristine
rendering
of sorrow
of hopelessness
finding
a kernel
of pleasure
mixed
like vermouth
just waved over a martini
shaker showing itself
as if
by just appearing
it will somehow cut
the gin's kick.

The hours
and the days
and the years
bloody you
but provide
backbone;
a spine
against which
bones shatter
and dreams lodge.

The bad loves
are simply bad,
and the good loves
are only sometimes bad.
But to each
we turn toward
before we turn
away
or around;
each
have their moments
for and against
which the seasons struggle
to assert.

We only think
each moment impossible
to make the next moment
possible. It gives us
room
to flex
to stretch out
to hedge
and dodge
and plead
and promise
and hate
and accept.
It is the space
that death
does not
inhabit.
It is our space
inviolable
safe
the minute
between rounds.

You must have heart
to take heart,
take heart
to have heart
in the many bad times
and even the few good ones
as well.
To know
that we simply cannot acquire
too much
is the wisdom of the gods.
There is a kind of balance
that we are not privy to.
That is a good thing if
you listen
and look,
and look
again
and often.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

TRUST ME

on this:
you will be there,
too,
all too soon,
bemused,
altered,
confused:
the end
of those endless days
now has an end
in sight;
where you left your
time
as a big tip,
or laughingly thought
about how to "kill it,"
is gone,
camped out
on someone else's
doorstep.
Those good ol' Detroit orgasms
full of muscle
and horsepower
one day turned
into South Korean piffle
and soft steel.
An imperceptible erosion
of the you
you thought you were
and would
always be.

Do what you have to:
lie, rationalize,
use steroids,
pay
to be lied to,
sleep,
keep jogging,
eat healthy,
fuck the smokes,
the booze,
the powder,
get to bed
early
and alone,
rise early,
also alone,
vitamins,
wheat germ,
squat thrusts,
whatever,
and still,
it dribbles out,
without force
or much
meaning.

Trust me:
it's enough
to make you sick,
and,
if you've been lucky
enough, just
enough
to make you
smile.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I DON'T KNOW MUCH BUT...

Two ugly men,
one white,
early sixties,
the other Chinese,
late forties,
walked
hand in hand
down Ninth Street
in Greenwich Village
earlier this evening.
They said
next to nothing
as a light rain
began to fall
on their fingers.

I don't know much
but I know love
moving
to its own
rhythm.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

ONE FOR SMOKIN' JOE


I'd just heard
on World News
that Smokin' Joe
had entered
hospice.
Liver cancer
had taken him
out.
How they go,
how they go,
all the ones you thought
would never go,
but they do. In this case
a rogue white cell
got to him; for others
it's simply old age
or natural decay,
For still others
a loss
of bravery
or spirit. Others feared
a drying up
of what made them
who they thought
they were
and took
an early
exit
like Ernie.
No matter,
how they bought it
it cost all of us
something--a diminishment
of a world
that has less and less
nourishment.
It is all TV now,
all scripted.
Fighters fight
once a year, maybe.
Poets are sucked
toward mics
& slams;
artists, auctions.
While junkies junk
and alchies drink
the sickness spreads
to precincts without
jurisdiction.

I saw Joe
up close once
in front of the old
Americana Hotel
on Seventh Ave.,
in the fifties.
He wore a full length
white mink coat and
a black felt pimp's hat
in a pimp neighborhood
before Disney
sanitized it
and made it safe
for fat Minnesota tourists.
I saw him fight live
four times, three
on closed circuit.
I rooted against him
the first three
and for him
at Nassau
when he fought Foreman.
He came out that last time
hooded
in white satin.
His head
had soaked
in brine,
as usual,
for half hour
before he dressed
for war.
He danced, he bounced,
he rolled his arms and shoulders,
took off his hood and shone
his stubbly head and face
to the crowd. Nobody knew
how much Ali had taken
out of him
until Foreman
marched across the apron
and hit him
once
and he slid back
as if he was sucked back
against the ring post.
Joe slithered
slowly
like brown cement
to the floor
and stayed
like that until
they came for him.

He tried to fight
a few more times.
And lost them all
badly. Even
the crooked doctors
would not sanction him
after those fiascos.
He opened a gym
in the poor slum
he came from
and slept near
the bags and the lineament
and the scars and the wins
and the cheers
and the women
and the men
and the jewelry
and the clothes
and the parasites
in a tiny room
plastered
with fight posters
in the back.

He said he hated Ali
but I don't think so.
The cruelty, yes;
the stupid humiliation
to sell seats, yes.
But not the fights, brother.
Not the fights.
To view them is a coward's sport,
a spectator's high.
But to be in them.
My God. To be in them,
round after round
and know
that nothing else existed
except death
is something that most of us,
unfortunately,
will live without,
never knowing
that kind
of bravery.

He was broke, of course.
But he had it once:
ate well, tipped well,
made love
to all manner
of creatures,
slept in beds
under silk
and perfumes,
and talked talked talked
to the shoeshine man
and presidents.
And that beats
not ever having it.
And so tonight,
I think of Smokin Joe,
and his last
few nights,
dining on morphine
instead of rare steak,
sipping tepid water,
through a bent straw
instead of champagne
in a flute,
I salute you
and those other heavyweight gods
who came before you
and the very few
who have yet
to arrive.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

I'VE PRETENDED

to be whole
when I was fractured;
pretended to heal
when I was stitched.
I was a poet
before I knew
what poetry was.
I seduced
myself;
I studied
what I wasn't.
I won
seventh games;
threw hard
like Sandy
and batted
like The Duke.
To each face
I became
a different face
and to each face
I listened
and I lied.
Survival
is a hard won
art. The ants
know this as do those
jailed inside
their own fences.
We do not need a day
set aside
to pretend.
I've bravely
injected the unknown
into my arm
and woke with women
crazier than me
and grew crazier
at the gods reprieve
and pretended
this somehow was preferable
to the other.

I have given little
and expected much
though you'd never
know it. Those insurrections
were played to a mirror
of a narrow landscape
in a land
that is uninhabited
by hearts,
just masks.
And this is the day of masks:
jester masks, king masks, queen masks,
slut masks, masks of bones, masks of gods,
masks of idiots, of animals, beasts, gremlins,
masks of love, of lust, of fealty and prohibitions.
I've pretended
I was me
all my life.
I can take today
off.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I KNOW EVERYTHING

except how to live.

I know how to bank
a pool shot,
but can't save a dime;
I love women,
but can't live with one
and have always kept a reserve
should the one I was trying with
crap-out,
become bankrupt,
or, prematurely,
want to close
her account.

I can easily titrate
my insulin
to get my sugar fix
or heroin
to fix my soul
with the best of them;
I can navigate a black landscape
in pursuit of the former,
or charm physicians
if those skills diminish;
I can downshift
a Porsche
into most any elbow
at most any speed
while reading The Old Masters
after turning off the ignition.

I've turned a phrase
or a sentence
with some grace and style
and have left
more than my share of flesh
on the page.

I have an eye
for good boxers
and artists
of all divisions; I know
superficiality
through its depths
and can be moved
by longhairs
and crewcuts.

Yet money
and love
turn me
Houdini like
and I
disappear
and no book
no painting
no song
have I learned
and taken
to heart
prevents
it.

And still
I wonder
who
is that
holding
the pen?

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

HAAGEN-DAZS IS THE ONLY PUSSY I LIKE TO LICK NOW

for Joey Skaggs

You don't have to worry
about freshness
or taste; it is youthful,
unlined, uncreased, unencumbered;
it's not etched
by experience
and so its face
does not snarl
or bite
from wounds inflicted
by those whose hands
and head and cock
had got there before
and staked claim.

The Dazs tells you nothing
about parents
and boyfriends
and ex-husbands
planted or not; there's no mention
of friends
who've betrayed them
or who ask
for more
than they give;
there are no jobs
and so no bosses
who grab at their ass
or their time
and stake claim to your time
by having you hear
their little betrayals after
a day of your own.
There's no risk
of syphilis, chlamydia,
yeast
or urinary infections;
no pounds
they have to shed;
nowhere they
have to be.
They do not care
what you've eaten
before you get to them,
nor what it is you're watching
as you wait
for them to soften
(or that you're already soft for that matter).

At my age
I do not care for arguments,
only to stay alive
a little while longer
to catch some more grace
from the gods. I still need
something
to soothe
and morphine and booze
demand too much
of my time
and money.

At one time
I was in love
with the chase,
the battle
of wits,
the jousting
in new mirrors
in strange bathrooms
where the souls
of women are hung
and displayed.
I loved the conquest
and sometimes love
that lasted as long
as two people
having compatible neurosis
would let it.

But now I like my love
measured
in pints
that are easily
replaceable.
If I got five bucks,
or ten,
and I usually do,
I can pull a pint or two
off the frozen shelf
and take it home with me.
I will not have to hear
about the day,
about the kids,
about the disappointments
or the disillusions.
And I will not have to hear
about all the things,
many things,
different things each day,
I'm not doing.
But could do.
If only
I cared--which I usually never did.
I just put them
in the freezer. And there
they'll wait
until my need becomes desire
and I'll strip them bare
and devour them
with a cultivated
style.

Older men
have their ways.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

I NOW GET A BLOW JOB

once a year
on my birthday.
It's a good thing
at my age
the years go by
quickly.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

NO PORN TODAY

no master-
bation for me;
I've decided not
to diminish my day
of awakening
by taking myself
on a cheap date.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

ON TURNING 64

I want to thank
the few who
(pre-
maturely)
wished a happy birthday
to me...
but I especially
want to thank
the hundreds
of millions
who did
not---
you all know
who you
are: the good,
the bad,
the ugly.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011

BENEATH THE LAYERS

of anorexia
she hid;
underneath the tweed skirt
that billowed
and swayed
in rhythm
as she walked,
to the thick-ribbed first chilled taste
of autumn weather
in an over large autumn sweater inside
an earth toned body-
stocking that contrasted
smartly
against her foliage
leading upward
joining a multi-layered
muted colored scarfed
Audrey Hepurned throat
supported by pencil legs
sprouting up
like the youngest green stems
from brown leather boots
she floated
through Washington Square
trailing wisps
from a cigarette
dripping
with neurosis
and was courted
by two young
freshman beaus
eager to get next
to a girl already thick
with danger.

I couldn't blame them,
but I'd already taken
that course.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

THE BONES OF GRATITUDE

Most men marry
the first woman
that fucked them
for no money
not knowing
that hookers
were the better
and more honest
catch.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

THERE IS MAGIC

in your mind's wilderness
whether in forests
or the gutter magic of cities,
provided you're alone,
most alone,
listening
to the winds wail
of laughter, or the screaming
tears of a siren;
you can never outlive yourself,
but you can cheat death
a little; you can fuck
with the gods provided
you make them laugh
and shake their heads
at your folly;
make them bestow some grace
despite your meanness
and narrowness of understanding.

the gods coursed in my veins
or sat next to me
in my gin mill stew;
they gave me women
who loved me despite
my stupidity
and lack of civility
and even now,
(though not too often),
they knock,
sometimes late,
sometimes early,
to bring silliness
to a body
and being
that should have
long before
stopped
but
didn't.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

HEMINGWAY

made me cry
in junior high school;
it was the last time
I read him.

I think I'm ready
to take him
now.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

"FUCK YOU" MONEY

At times,
the thought of having "FUCK YOU" money
intoxicated me.
Usually,
I was broke
or intoxicated.
Still,
it warmed me
like a kitten
curled up
around and inside
a dope sick brain.
It comforted me
before it grew
into a cat
and became
itself.

That love rush
of anger
before walking
out of a job
or a woman
is circumscribed
by age.
I've done it
at twenty
and at sixty.
It's the same deal
as it was for Huxley
when he spoke
of genius:
"any man can be a genius
at twenty-five,
at fifty it takes some doing."
Maybe
I'm still strong
or more possibly
still stupid,
but I'm still broke
and I still
walk.

Batter up.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

YOU CAN'T KICK LOVE

as if it were dope
or booze or coke
or reefer or pills
or money or any other thing
that's dead.
It takes more
than work
or incarceration
or substitutions
or institutions
involuntary
or chosen.
It doesn't leave
through the same doors
that piss or shit travels;
love laughs
at seventy-two hours
and it's out of your system jazz,
or days
or weeks
or years.
Love clings
to your guts
and wrenches you back
against your will
or better sense.

But you will try:
you'll think you've put it
out to pasture
or on a leash,
letting it graze
or tugging it the fuck back;
you'll try to frighten it
or massage it
sweet talk it
or beg it;
you'll laugh
you'll promise;
you'll lie
to it
and yourself;
you'll say
all that stupid shit:
a day at a time,
an hour at a time,
then a minute,
a second
at a time
and you'll still be
dumbfounded,
grinning like a man punched
in the stomach,
left on a platform
in the rain,
all the trains
full and hopeless.

When it happens
to you
I hope the dope was good,
almost pure, not cut
with shit. If you're gonna kick
you might as well kick over a love
that costs something
that gave as good as it got,
that gave you something to measure
a diminishing world against.
You want to kick over something
that puts your ass in the streets
again.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

THE ART OF BEING MISERABLE

A sign
of mental health
they say
is how quickly
you can turn
away
from things
that make
you unhappy.

I've never been
more miserable
in my life.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

TIGHT HOT EVERYTHING

It's 80+
in NYC
today.
It was 80+
yesterday
as well.
Winter
has finally given way
to a less worthy opponent: hope.
Each new thaw
is like love
arriving
for the first time
fevered
with expectation.

Young girls
and older women
have bared
themselves
of everything
except mystery;
tits and hips and ass,
arms and shoulders
and backs and legs
are in abundance.
Only the pussy
is hidden,
but men have never been good
at finding it anyway.
Besides, women
will try and save it
for a real illusion.

Old fucks
like me
are eternally young,
but most are thought
to be harmless,
while young hounds
are stiff
with howling. Rarely,
are there a shortage
of suitors.
Soon,
there will be
free fireworks
on boardwalk evenings,
fumbling with a bra strap
and zipper;
the stickiness
of two souls
spinning together,
then break-ups
and make-ups,
and promises
and new starts
and false starts
and restarts;
some making it
for awhile
most bowing out
to look again.
It's the same with short-order cooks
in diners
around the world:
scramble two
and don't
burn
the toast.
You hope
you can last
the shift.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

JOPLIN, MISSOURI

has seen
its share
of disasters.
Recently,
a twister
mangeled
its inhabitants
silly.
It seems
the city
has a pedigree
for this kind of thing:
In 1945
my parents
got married
there.
He, a private
in the Army;
she, a sheltered
Jewish babe
from Brooklyn.
She traveled
in that hot summer
to do the deed
at his urging.
I suppose he used
the same line
that other G.I.'s believed:
c'mon baby,
before I die;
or words
to that effect.
It took her
all day
to find a room
that rented
to Jews.
He was learned
in the ways
of the world
and knew
that cash
spoke at least as loud
as Christ.
They were matched
and mismatched
from the start.
Probably
the same disturbances
that create
tornadoes.
The proof of that
is that neither I
nor my brother
recognize
each other
but remember well
what we used to
look like.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

TRYING TO BE HIP

when younger
had me rubbing
up against
older artists
and bohemians
of many flavors:
painters, poets,
and musicians
mostly.
They showed me,
informed really,
about how to smoke
reefer, eat Japanese,
and shoot dope
in the mid-sixties
with a nonchalance
that was meant to attract
little notice.
They schooled me
about what to read
and how to read;
what to see
and how to see it;
how to listen
to the past
and hear the future
identifying voices
and motives.
I was told one day
about a film
(it was called "a flick" back then),
Jazz On A Summers Day.
I did as I was told
and saw it.
It helped my hipness,
but hurt it as well.
I pass it on to you,
but not
for your hipness
only your
enjoyment.
That's all
we really
have.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011
http://www.youtube.com/embed/L36AhSocVlc

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Reincarnation

for K

I'd like to come back as song,
(this song)
(any song)
inside you
and feel
as you sing
me...

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I'VE ALWAYS SAT

near exits;
an easy escape
from myself
and other dangers.
A quick survey
is all I need
to size up
any scene
and its inherent
hostilities: too much
brain or
too much brawn;
I love my neighbor
with the same absence
of light
as I love myself:
skeptically,
impenetrably,
imperfectly,
while knowing
we are
capable
of anything.
And I'll always
take those odds.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011

HINDU

Home, you knew,
was always impossible;
and so you tried
to fashion a life
away from it.
You were able
to make up rules
that had nothing to do
with reality
except yours
usually
at the moment it was happening.
For the guys
playing sports
or gambling
it was Hindu.
If a ball
would hit
a crack
or submit
to a sudden gust
of wind,
or the dice
hit a rock
or somebody's foot,
you could call, "Hindu"
and that would mean it's
a do-over.
No questions asked.
Sometimes you knew
it was bullshit,
whether from you
or someone else,
but the lie
was tolerated.
Perhaps we all knew
that soon
we'd have to go back home again
and hear
bigger lies
that cut
deeper
than your father's belt
or fist
or silence.
There,
you could never call,
"Hindu;"
there could never be,
a do-over;
just an accumulation
of little murders
each day
in your soul
until
you no longer knew
whose soul
was being punished.

Gradually,
you grew
into the coat.
It offered
a certain kind
of warmth
and even though
you knew that warmth
had the smell of death about it,
it was a smell that smelled
like home.
I became good
at recreating that smell
everywhere I went
until I didn't need anyone
to kill me anymore;
I did a pretty good job
by myself.
In fact, if someone
was as bad to me
as I've been to myself,
I'd have killed them. Instead,
I've only killed
the kind ones.

I was too dumb,
too stupid,
too scared,
to know
or understand that;
too many people
stood in harm's way
who I never meant
to harm, but meant it
all the same.

I'd call a Hindu now,
but there is no one left
who'd hear
or care.
With no plan
or help from me,
it's worked out
very well
indeed.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE

I was always attracted to weird weather
of any kind, but especially rainstorms,
ice storms and blizzards. The crazier
the better. I was always praying
that the gods would be good to me
and allow me to stay home
from school. Any excuse
was good, but legitimate ones
were better.
I'd be glued to the TV
to get every and all updates.

It took the major stations forever,
but they finally had to hire black
and Puerto Rican reporters. It was to those
hearty souls
to get their ass'
into the meat of the matter.
Whatever storm there was
you could count on the local stations
to sacrifice a black offering
to the sponsors
who loved disasters
of any kind.
The white sages of local wisdom
would cut to those poor fucks,
and place them
at the edge
of an ocean,
or in the middle
of a four lane highway,
car and truck crashes
piled up at either side
with ice ripping into his eyes:
"Now we go to JJ Gonsalez at Jones Beach.
JJ, how's it going out there?"
JJ looked like the leaning tower of Pisa
as he fought to remain erect;
the wind and rain or sleet and ice
whipping through his clothing and around his balls;
a black mic clutched to his gloved hand,
the hood of his parka falling off his head
as his Afro was spiked straight into the sky.
"Kinda rough out here Chuck, kinda rough,"
as he struggled to even be heard through the gale forced wind
pushing the waves closer to his feet.
"Gonna be bad out here tonight, Chuck;
the whole community has been evacuated. Gonna be bad."
"Thanks JJ; we'll get back to you later. Be careful out there
you hear me."
But JJ couldn't hear shit;
he couldn't wait to get back into the truck
or fucking car
or any goddamn thing
that had four sides.
And then you saw Chuck,
back in the studio and you wondered
whether you'd see JJ tomorrow.

It's been a rough winter this winter
and tonight
with storms ripping the shit out of most of the country
some snow some rain
inches of water fell here in the northeast.
This time it was Brian
kicking it over to some other poor black fuck
who I saw last night
in the same new river
saying generally the same thing as JJ did
all those many years ago: "Gettin bad,
gonna be rough,
folks are out of here," etc. Instead of a parka
he wore hip waders
and a cool looking microfiber of some kind
probably waterproof;
but Brian was still Chuck,
safe and warm
while the poor black fuck
was still JJ
wondering
how he could hold on
to a gig
that was saved
especially
for him
promised
after years and years
of journalism
school.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011