Saturday, November 9, 2013


the inside
of his chest
must look like
the coal mines
of West Virginia
he muses
as he shuffles
on chartreuse
tennis balls
underneath the legs
of his walker
to the nearest
bench in Washington Square
Park. His body,
riddled with arthritis,
begins his descent
but then gives up: he doesn't sit
as much as he falls
upon the wooden slats.
It's a cold fall
semi-slate gray day,
but he's worked up a sweat
just getting to his spot
and mops his forehead
with his claw hand.
He squints,
shielding his eyes
from the sometimes sun
trying to muscle its way
through the bones
of summer.

Off to the side
the children gather.
They've been waiting
for the past few hours.
They're very patient.
Even in these smart phone times
much of the game
is the same: Wait
and wait some more.

The old fuck
sees them, but is in
no hurry. There was a time
he had to wait too.
But he waited for fat
deuces or trey bags
of dope, good
dope, uptown
dope, dope
that could keep you high
for days.
His legs
were strong,
so strong
he didn't have to think
about his next step
or the vascular disease
and neuropathy
that informed him now.

He took Dante
out and here
they came;
slowly, giving
the one before
to linger
to chat
to have
a laugh
or plead
their case,
drop a twenty
into a plain brown
bag and
They got good reefer
at a fair price
on a righteous count.
They knew
the old fuck
was trustworthy
and safe.
The scene
was a throwback
to better times
for all.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2013

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