Thursday, October 31, 2013


There's no real way
to do that,
but we try.
We'd like to believe
in mathematics,
the addition
or subtraction
of things,
that it all
makes sense
and was not
a waste of time.
But it usually
doesn't make sense
and usually was
a waste of time.
I think,
I should have knotted
my tie differently,
or told less lies?
I should have learned
to bat lefty
or throw righty
and walk on the other side
of the street
where the sun
was directly in my eyes?
Or fall in love
with women less mad
or less mad
about me?
The Bible might have worked,
but I needed more answers
than faith, more mystery
than reason
not realizing
that simple things worked
I do not know much
about oxytocin, or cortical,
dopamine, or serontonin,
and measuring spoons
though I've used too many spoons
to measure life with.

I've known more
with less, but have done less
with more than most
have a right to have
or do.

I will leave it
to others
to find
my mistakes.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013


on my forearm
ran only one way: in.
No one
got aboard
except me
and my other selves;
that was the point.
It gave us a chance
to know one another
without outside distraction
like air, food, water.

At first
many people tried
to jam in
with us,
but after awhile
it was only us lovers
who waited on the platform.
Some might say
that's just a typical
jerk-off, ego, self-
centeredness, narcissistic,
fucked-up, selfish blah,
blah, blah, etc. etc. etc.
I'd say
it was my way
of relaxing.
I was able
to stretch out
my legs,
and put my feet
upon the facing seat
which was,

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2013


Every once in awhile--
rarely really
--you come across a person,
or a person comes across you:
woman, teacher, friend,
who shares something
of their soul:
words turned
to color turned
to music
til they swirl
and dance
to an unknown
wholly their own
and before
you're conscious of it
it's taken up
and lives
of you
Your body moves
from then on;
your brain
discovers new byways
and passages
and chemicals

All of a sudden
Vachel Lindsey fucks
with you,
or Jerry Hopkins or
his cousin Lightning,
stuffy T.S. becomes a hip
kitty along with Stevens,
Hem and W.C.W.
Louis C dances with Hank B,
they marinate
with each other,
simmer and season,
with Bee and Bach and Gustave
while Cecil, Duke and Pops
and Thelonious tap their feet.

Each time those doors opened
was special: a red scarf
over a yellowish light
in a chambermaid's room
in Provincetown
turned-on Prufrock; a reefer filled,
East Village, tub in the kitchen
five floor walk-up presented Trane;
a long-distance call with Hank
in some L.A. shit hole
freed Jeffers.
Different times,
different ages,
but the same feeling:
getting hard.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013


The Betty Poems

for cupcakes,
the icing; she's weak
for coconut.
She favors
the more morbid
the better:
concentration camps,
abject suffering,
But there must be
a tiny tiny light
of redemption.
One of her organs
is dead.
It died
when mine did
a decade earlier.
She fears nothing
except being second
to her lover's love.
She's fierce,
ferocious really
in her objections,
and refusal
to let go
of slights
and slippage.
When she smiles
her youth
is there
in all its vulnerability
and trust
despite herself; she
is always on guard
and fails
for good reason; pain
has always breathed with her,
beside her,
through her.
I've been fortunate
to witness fountains
of love
come out of her
secret places
I'll never know
and puddle
in the palms
of my hands.

she's a motherfucker:
too smart,
too deep,
too complex
for me
to matter.

And that's
for both of us.
Nothing to do
bury the bad
with the bones
and remember
everything else--
and that's enough.

It has to be.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013


For Diane

You stamp
and kick
and twist
around my swollen soul
while I curse
my bloated belly,
ankles and heart.
You know how much
your beauty haunts me.

the picture
so that it can,
of course,
be studied.

are hip
to that

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1978-2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013


The Betty Poems

I know that feeling well:
you can't wait
to be alone
inside a room,
a stall,
a hallway,
where no one
can see you,
find you,
talk to you,
confront you,
pressure you,
upset you,
deconstruct you,
unmask you,
torture you,
demand of you,
finger you,
command you,
annoy you,
remind you,
deny you,
kill you,
love you,
acknowledge you,
praise you,
cherish you,
worship you,
adore you,
look at you,
measure you,
accept you,
cheat on you,
misplace you,
lean on you...
and just sip
from the lip
or inject a tip
of a bottle
or a syringe
of mother's milk
into your mouth
or vein
that soothes
the creases
in your soul.
It's like walking
into a Chinese laundry
on a blue winter's day,
and the steam heat
embraces you as does
the old familiar Chinese couple
behind the counter
for a hundred years,
and you know
their love
has its own rhythm and
you'd love to have
that rhythm
but you don't;
and then
you smell the steam
from the old irons
held in their beautiful crooked hands
swollen with arthritic pain
as you drop off your stains
knowing they will come back
pressed out and you can once again
be clean and fresh.

Be sure
not to lose
your ticket.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2013


with bleeding pockets
and a busted-up heart.
Both conditions
are my fault.
I've been a very
unwise man
much of my life.

Of course,
I've been broke
and out of love
before. I've also
been younger.
This morning,
my blood sugar
read over 400
and my stomach
churned and pained me.
My head was fuzzy
and my eyes unfocused.
I couldn't afford
to stay home from work,
but I did.
At this point
I no longer panic about much--
I just do what's in front of me,
expect it to work,
but know it won't.
Until it does.
Which is always
a surprise.

I knew I'd get the sugar down
and things would clear
as if by magic.
The other two conditions,
"work" and "love",
never obeyed
my magical thinking
probably because
I couldn't titrate them
as I do my insulin.

The day will unfold
as it always does
and I'll use it
as I choose:
finish this poem,
shop for toilet paper
and other necessities,
read and try to work
on other poems.
At one time,
every day I didn't punch
a time-card
was considered
a victory,
now not so much.
And when I wasn't shacked-up
with a babe or "in love" with a love,
I had my dead lovers: booze and dope
for company and comfort.
And sometimes,
I had all of them
at the same time--
what an orgy
of pleasure!

there are wisps
of images thinning
into the air
like cigarette smoke.
My god,
how I still enjoy

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013


We're always
the target.
There's always
somebody or something
taking aim.
It could be a sniper
not yet born,
or a virus
not yet mutated.
Better it be over
quickly, like a plane
landing in your coffee cup;
or your heart
exploding; or your brain
aneurysm imploding.
It could be a bullet
meant for someone else,
or a ricocheted shard
off the sidewalk
into your eye.
a schizophrenic
thought you were God
and pushed God,
the false God,
under the train?

But usually
the crosshairs
is looked through
by you.
You're the best
shot in the world.
You never miss.
You know where
your soft parts are.
You might do it quickly--
if you're lucky
--or do something
that bears fruit
six months later.

It does not much matter
the method or the means.
We're all good
and we should be:
we practice
all the time.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2013

Saturday, October 12, 2013



a little time--

I'm still young
--double sixes;
a new bud
on the cusp
of sanity.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013


a gob
of thick
sweet tasting
gooey blood-laced
and felt
Not much longer
for this shit,
he thought
and breathed
for the first time
since he took
his first breath.
No more reading,
no more writing.
No more hiding,
no more lucidity,
opacity would be shunned
and a dawn would break
behind eyes
soon to be

This illness
was legit.
It was earthly,
and just--
just like life

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


in a taxi
while going
to work
is no small feat:
smelling the presence
of the woman
who sat there
before me
is intoxicating,
the spots
she placed
her fingertips
to; her legs
so shapely--
a highway
to the gods
nylons aching
to be touched;
a hint,
so sweet,
of mint
on her breath
as she nibbled
my lower
lip and pulled,
ever so slowly,
as she climbed
over me
to the sidewalks
I watched
as she walked
into the eyes
of others.

Not many days
have the flavor
of this one
even though
I get up
and out
most every day
and hail
many many

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2013