Thursday, February 6, 2014


The Betty Poems

sitting in doctor offices
with just your thoughts
for company.
We are much older now,
but still so much
the same child
having the same fears
and the same tightening
in the gut
and the small
of our backbone.
still leaks
and puddles
around us.
We are past the age
of saying, "What?"
"What now?" is where we are.

Last night
to hear
if my hearing
will ever come back
to my left ear,
I thought of you.
I did as I always do:
watch others,
trying to figure
out who they are
and why they're here.
The waiting room was full
but no one sat as couples do,
no one was with anyone.
No one spoke
there was no "hand holding."
to our own consignment.
trying to make it
I turned to you
as a premenstrual teen,
not even a black hair
below your belly
creating the mystery
and magic of women.
there were forms to fill out,
or questions to answer:
each answer, a failing,
a rebuke from your body,
an abnormality,
an inference of disease;
a germ of anger
and later, defiance.

Waiting rooms
are designs in discomfort.
Every turn our mind makes
meets geometry. Things
are neatly placed; tones
modulated. Our confusion
is left to circulate freely
inside us.
There's a Lysol smell,
an antiseptic scrimmage
between fluids, but still
somehow you feel
death sitting on you
like a second skin.
And a sweet sickening odor
is matching your beautiful young body's
blossom. For who, when young,
diagnosed with disease
does not feel ugly
despite youth's beauty?
For as soon as the body
becomes ugly
the world
becomes hideous
And hostile,
and dangerous.

Those in the waiting room
with me were probably thinking
many things: what to have for dinner?
did she call? would he call?
my prick boss is a moron? what would
the church think? some hot cocoa
would be nice. I was thinking of you
and the hundreds of waiting rooms
we've been in; and the hundred of forms
we've filled out. We could do this
in our sleep: same disease, same medications,
same address, same previous doctors, same co-morbidities,
a year or two older, but same birth-dates. And mortality,
so foreign to us 50 years ago,
sits like a crow squawking
in our ear. In my case my right ear.

For some
we develop
a second skin
a third, a fourth
skin under that
that holds us dear
that allows no light
no other slights
except the ones
we will begin to do
to ourselves.
We learn to listen
and dismiss
all those authoritarian
who pretend to tell us
our own best interests.
We nod.
We try to smile.
We try to look serious.
And we want to play.
We want to be young,
but we know we're really not,
but we know we really are;
our directions
are fucked
trying to walk
a straight line.

we've accommodated
We made room,
found a space
that allowed
a spark to thrive.
all our attempts
to suicide out
our childish irrationalities
kept us alive:
there must be an answer,
there must be pleasures,
there must be more
to find out.
There must be a reason
for Zeus' thunderbolt
to have struck us now.
We go where we go
and take our learning slow.
We've had a great amount of patience
and luck.
We've shown courage
and discipline
beyond what we thought
we could.
Even our anger
kept us alive.

I will see you
very soon
and ask you
to the prom.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

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