Monday, October 31, 2011


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
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.
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

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011


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
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
through its depths
and can be moved
by longhairs
and crewcuts.

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

And still
I wonder
is that
the pen?

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011


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,
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
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
in pints
that are easily
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

Older men
have their ways.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011


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

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011


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


I want to thank
the few who
wished a happy birthday
to me...
but I especially
want to thank
the hundreds
of millions
who did
you all know
who you
are: the good,
the bad,
the ugly.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011


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
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
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