Sunday, June 24, 2012


to shovel out of.
It's best to learn early
whose shit is whose.
Not that there's much
you can do about it;
either you deal with it
or not. Every which way
has its consequences:
try to avoid it,
navigate around
or through it, or
pretending it's not yours
on the natural
or pharmaceutical,
usually nurtures more
of a mess and stink.
But, by all means,
each and every twist.

If you're reading this
you're already
up to your neck
in it. Don't stop,
dig a little

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012


is dumb,
is bullshit,
not to mention
cruel. Better learn
to give it up
early or
at least
tame it
when you smell
its sweet breath.
It's the devil's trick
that god has sanctioned.
If you let it
it will make you ill;
with promise,
it will make you
with a child
who hates you
and rapes you
against reason's
pitiful rightness.

Hope is a lover
with closed legs;
it is the cunt
of disappointment,
a cock full
of lies,
a watchman who sleeps,
the gatekeeper who watches
the dead sleep;
an armed guard
whose fingers
are arthritic.

Just give it up
I tell you.
you're a better
and a degenerate one at that,
or a writer,
a player
of music,
a spinner
of tales,
hooked on the risk,
the gamble,
defying the odds,
laughing at the odds,
and the vig at the end,
what the city, state, fed,
your wife or husband or mother
or father or priest or butcher
carves from the bone
of your success
matters less
than a pimple
on an elephant's
You need that mania
to be any good
at any of it. Don't complain
when the devil comes
knocking through god's
side door. Hope
is pricy.
There's only
one other choice:
a Smith & Wesson
against the temple,
but even that,
knowing that the door
is never completely shut
might be enough
to keep you here.
It's worked for me
and some others I know.
Why not

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I'll find
in my in-box
a note
written by a reader
of mine
expressing a desire
to either write
or visit me
in the future.
it's in an email box
that I open infrequently
and have set up
for the purpose
of communication
with those whose presence
are better left
on the page.
write with interest
others with ardor,
most, however,
are flat
or stale
or profess knowledge
of my soul
which, thank god,
remains hidden
from myself.
It's why
I've been able to continue
to write
these many years.
Some tell me
how crazy
they were,
how alike we are,
how, when we meet,
(which the gods
have predestined),
we will have
a most treasured
remaining years
of bliss. They are emailing
from Canada, Japan,
Europe, next door;
arriving six, eight, nine months
from the time of writing
and would like,
to make it more exciting,
be able to just knock
on my door
if I give them
the address
and/or mail them
the key.
I have to tell those,
that while I have talents
in abundance,
being with people
I don't know
is not one of them.
Even those I do know
I, more than not, fail
to connect with.

You cannot work
at isolation;
many things
have had to conspire
for you to enjoy
what most others loathe.

Most other animals
and birds and reptiles
know this already;
seldom do you see them
going over to the lairs
and caves and holes
of others and having anything
except dinner;
and even that
was need, not desire.

I used to take those threats
seriously, but no more.
Most lack courage.
Most have very little to say.
And the ones who have much to say
won't waste it
on other humans. So...
I get those emails
once in awhile,
and respond,
and never hear from them again.
It's an exercise
that poets do:
it's called:
"let's pretend."
I still
like that.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012


used to be
the province
of the pro
or whore
when I was coming
of age late fifties
early sixties.
You'd hear the whispers,
knew it existed,
but also knew you'd have to travel
far and wide
(and probably have to have cash
in your pocket), to see, let alone,
experience those special angels
of mercy
who bothered to learn
this technique of pleasure.
Even the gangster ethics
of my Jewish father
and his Italian wise guy friends
wouldn't allow their wives
to suck cock--
(not that my mother wanted
to touch a dick,
much less suck one),
that was for their mistress to do:
I couldn't kiss the wife, ya know
what I mean, if I knew her lips
wrapped around a cock,
even mine. I let the other one
take care of that.

Sure, there were French decks,
titty magazines and stag films
for us kids,
passed around from time to time,
but not often, or often enough,
for a young man's molecules.
And if the little girls knew
about this stuff
they didn't let on;
sucking a dick
during those years
was about as romantic
as appearing with a used condom
stuck on your body
after coming out of the Coney Island

But pleasure
like death
marches to its own beat
brokered, and played with,
by a cultural imperative:

The artists and cultural
pimps pushed against
a now flimsy foe, god,
and by the mid-sixties
the only thing that was optional
was swallowing.
men had to eat pussy
and not in that Tom Sawyer
painting a picket fence way
but with style and verve
or had better learn
and develop both--
the goose and gander thing.
at some point
it was not a surprise
but expectation.

you can't read a book,
see a movie or TV show,
hear a comic,
without someone going down
on someone else.
It's an orator's madhouse.
Everyone's a poet;
everyone's an artist;
everyone's sexy,
and smart,
and attractive.
Every joke is risque,
or has a double entendre,
late night
is early night,
and early night
is every night.

I have no right
to complain
about cocksucking;
I've gotten more
than my fair share
by mouths beautiful
and educated.
And for all I know
the young boys
still look with astonishment
on their luck
the first hundred times or more.
But I don't think so.
The easier something is to cop
the less value it has. Things
work like that.
If you don't believe me,
try writing
a poem
like this.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2012

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Many years ago,
and continuing
for many years
thereafter, I'd travel
to those areas of grief
and misery and dreams
that only tease,
to cop
for three or four hours
at a time. Usually,
they were black areas
or Puerto Rican spots--
later Dominican, Haitian,
Mexican--and all had common tells:
gnawed chicken bones, ribs, bottles,
trash, tenements, fishbowl apartment windows
with the fat arms of old ladies watching
the show. I'd wait on corners
or on cop lines
being herded by thirteen year old'
who told us we better have our money straight
or get the fuck off the line.
I'd go into abandoned buildings,
up decayed flights of stairs lit
only by candles, with hundreds of others
full of need and desperation; or extend my hand
with the correct amount of money
through a hole in a door
or a bucket lowered from the roof
saying something like:
"4D and 2C" and wait until a hand dropped
some bags and tin foil into mine.
My bowels loosened
as I made my out and hoped
nobody stood
in my way.

I cannot cook a potato
or heat up a piece of fish or meat
without great anxiety. I look at the clock
as if electrocution was near, and count
the minutes.
Everything I do
scares the shit out of me.
I'm ready for;
it's the getting there
that I mind.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2012