Saturday, February 25, 2012


you'd adjusted
to the cruelty
of your birth--
the brutality
of your father;
a derangement
of the senses
felt in the lash
or his absence;
just when you thought
you'd habituated yourself
to your mother's preference
for stray cats and dogs
or three-legged orphans
that you heard pawing
and clawing through endless nights,
tattooing the "no place like home" tapestry hung
inside your eyelids
and above the dinner table
where we're least blind;
just when you thought
you stopped believing
in conductors and teachers
and railroad escapes and streetcar conductors,
lawyers and doctors and magicians
and started having a limited faith
that your words made sense,
when you began to make them
yours, birthing them, nursing them,
raising them, teaching them
to sometimes behave;
and they, in turn,
trusting you
to come out
of hiding, jumping at you
from impossible angles,
through hoops and loops of memory,
across caterpillar armies,
until your defeats
became butterflies, their wings
intact, and beating like a tiny heart,
just then
you dreamt six numbers
and Ralph, the corner newsboy,
told you to check your ticket,
as he handed you a fresh deck
of smokes and you
became not you
and the words fled
not recognizing
who thought them.

It was a nightmare,
of course. Yet, I've dreamt
this often, in many forms.
And, occasionally,
I've even had "fuck you" money;
a parade of pussy;
an absence of bosses
or overseers. All I could do
was get high and drunk,
laid and lazy.
And the words split
to greener pastures.
I was a fraud, a criminal,
a squanderer of opportunity.

The hard part
is needing
the nightmare
to achieve
the other.
Some would not want
to do it. And most can't.
The old ones, like me,
who do this
without fame or money attached,
who are used to this,
this being ignored,
are dying off.
There are some good ones out there;
they are young
but so is the mortality rate.
My advice: dream rich
stay poor
while you learn the craft;
take the pricks and cunts
where you find them,
and can get them,
but don't go out looking;
let the game
come to you;
the gods are generous,
don't force their hand;
and know that most,
if not all advice,
is bullshit
to do with
what you

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2012

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