Saturday, February 8, 2014


I got a bum left ear.
A week ago it just blew out.
Just like that:
one second stereo,
next mono.
I said,
what now?
I'm sixty-six
and say that
most every morning
tying my laces,
but it's mostly
I would like to think
I'm ready
for death;
it's these small fucking increments
that give me trouble.

things have broken apart;
I've been cracked-up,
been inside, done time,
busted, torn-up,
dazed, stupefied,
loony, stitched
together, re-wired,
with cat's guts
and party ribbons; and, yes,
most I've brought upon
myself and some
were bestowed from the gods
and a gene pool
of mongrels.
I've concerned myself less
with tomorrow
than today's immediacies,
but the ear
spooked me.
You see,
I'm in love,
for the first time,
I believe,
with a lady
as nutty
as me
above the border
of disorder
and she's been through
some shit, too.
The last thing she wants
is an old fuck
with more shit
than she has:
A body that requires
care and a mind
thinking he
deserves it.
For growing up sick
makes the body selfish
to its own needs,
narrows the brain
to go on
alone. And even though
you want to be loved,
you know that no one
the sick.

I'm a trickster;
sleight of hand sharpie;
a magician; an artist
of bullshit. I've kissed
the lips I've wanted to kiss and
have allowed many lips to kiss mine:
my fears
permitted everything:
I've downshifted Porsche'
going into a 25 m.p.h. turn
doing 50, a cigarette burning
my cheek, hands easy on the wheel
and the inside of a soft thigh;
I've put my name on thousands
of poems, novels, stupid
with arrogance and some
originality as I committed
suicide slowly
with what I thought
was style,
but I was wrong.
I was really drinking
and shooting coward's blood
in large enough quantities
to avoid forgiveness
for life's imperfections.
How I lived
is more a testament to science
and doctors
and luck
than I want
to admit.

And now you.

And now this:
little white tumors
springing up
in my brain
like lily's
in the rain,
shutting off
fucking with vision,
and balance, and whatever reason
I have left. What follows?
sloop drooling from my mouth?
pissing in my pajamas?
speaking in tongues?
My schized mother
angry because
I'm sick
and she
gave it
to me?
My father
depositing me
in a damaged can basket,
sold for a nickel?
a dime?
whatever you can get?

It's funny
the ways I've tried
to get rid
of my life.
I've failed.
And I'm glad.
If successful
I really
would have failed
by never knowing
you. I'd never know
what had caused me
to be so foolish
and reckless;
I never would have known
why I went on
when everything
was telling me
to stop.
I'd never know
that my ache
was your ache;
that what I thought
were my own whispers
were yours;
that my isolation
was locked
next to yours;
that my anger
was matched
with your defiance
and a bone china
I'd never know
how holding
another's shit
was like cradling
muddy diamonds
and how there is no
in love. Only love
in its mess
and imperfections
is love
at all.
This frightens you
as I know it should.
You're tired
from the responsibilities
of your own body.
Your largess
is limited
to specific places
and times. You'd rather
keep love,
this kind of love,
at arms distance.
And you will.
Even though
you know
you shouldn't.
We all lose,
finally. That can't
be helped
no matter
how well we scheme,
plot and plan,
and rationalize,
or twist ourselves
into tight little knots.

Take heart,
my love.
Enough to know
we've had a year of it.
And though I'm sure
that other's have had it too,
I'm also sure
that we've never had it
quite like this--
up 'til now.
So let your Greek Gods dance
and I'll allow my Jewish God
to sit back and grin;
once in a great while
they get things

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

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