Sunday, March 13, 2011


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
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
than your father's belt
or fist
or silence.
you could never call,
there could never be,
a do-over;
just an accumulation
of little murders
each day
in your soul
you no longer knew
whose soul
was being punished.

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

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

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