Monday, March 31, 2014


Saturday was:
cloudy, gray, rainy
in the right mix--
not too much of each
--and warmer; the near side
of chilly.
I needed to take care of
this miserable fucking chest cold
and flu I'd brought back with me
from Canada along with a sick soul
that had whittled me down
to a nub
going on a month now.
Rarely do I get in touch with my doc
more than once for the same illness,
but I was teetering between real
and paranoid and needed
a cooler head than mine.

Mr. Savage,
I told you
for the last ten years
never to bother me
on the weekend. I'm old,
but I'm not dead.

It's me that's dying doc,
I whispered,
I need something for my journey.

(My doc is eighty plus,
and he has a younger pretty wife
who still does it for him.
He's about to call it quits--
too much computer shit, too impersonal,
too many older friends checking out
--and just concentrate on her
and other pleasures.)

I'm gonna give you a cough syrup
loaded with codeine--you should like that--
and a heavy duty steroid. You should like that,
too. It'll fuck up your blood sugar,
but you'll adjust. The steroid will do the trick
and the cough syrup will keep you in the clouds
until it does.

Codeine was my least favorite
narcotic: rough
on the stomach, the bowels, a
jangley high, but it'll do.
I couldn't wait
for my pharmacy to get it to me
and as soon as the kid was out the door
I took the top off and gave the medicated goo
a mighty swig. It went down sweet, thick,
and warm. Hit my stomach with a thud.
But I felt it mix in there. Do its thing.
The body never forgets
that shit.
I hadn't used narcotics in a decade (maybe more
as of this writing) except for when I had eye surgery
or other flu's during the years. I've been stingy
with myself and those pleasures.
But Christ,
the past six weeks was a motherfucker;
I just wanted to float over them, around them, through them
for awhile.
And as the warmth spread
I put the bottle up to my lips
and took another swig
for good measure
then looked at it:
fucking awful shit,
but half full;
to get me
from Friday's mercy
into Saturday's
Sabbath. And there's always
to be said
for that day
of peace

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014


I feel you
walking up
behind me
as I sit
at my desk
on a poem
(maybe this poem?)
while Brahms grieves
for his dead mother,
and insert yourself
between me,
the screen,
& the typer's keypad.
At first
I pretend
I'm a writer
and try to look around you
at what I just wrote,
then try to work around you
so as not to forget
the last word or two
I tried to pull into the boat.

But I know it's useless.

It was useless and I was useless
from the start.
You're simply
too much
for me.

You're wearing
a loose fitting bathrobe
and underneath that soft cotton,
You widen your stance
as you place your rump
on the edge of my desk and reach
for my hand, my right hand, take it
& slowly move it inside the fold
to your creamy white thigh
my finger feels a prickly Brazilian wax hair
as my body attunes itself to your nearness now
feeling your heat. Make me yours,
you say.
I disturb you all the time; I'm jealous
of even your words, words that don't come
out of me; I want to come out of you.
I know I'm bad; I've always been bad;
I want everything when I want it and
I want everything now; I'm a little cunt
who can't get enough of you & from you.
Never enough...I know
I need to be

My fingers, my body, my soul
knew her openings as if we had radar
from the first.
I went in
hard, the way
she likes it,
& a fountain,
warm, but crazy
gushed out & onto
my fingers
down my wrist
and puddled in my palm
and finally down
my arm.
I needed to taste her,
I needed to absorb her,
& did.

I love you,
she said; let's go
into bed.

The day
was still

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


You know
what remains.
I think
you know
what it is:
insides splayed,
laughing bones,
sinewy white tendrils,
the hollow songs
of administrators,
the cackle
of love...
do these things
get inside you?
or do they remain
to be studied,

Be careful,
my love.
Your steps
are counted.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Now that the world
has made it more difficult
to kill yourself,
I stand outside
offices, bars, restaurants,
puffing away
every chance I get
with my best friend--
a cigarette.
Doesn't matter
the weather--
I've taken
the mailman's oath:
icicles hanging
off my balls,
or sweat dripping
from my nose
will not deter me
from my appointed rounds
and my rendezvous
with death.
I send up plumes
from a rapidly decaying body
as I watch tourists
idle by
clutching maps, smart phones,
city guides, written notes,
compasses, and confusion
as they try to get,
without missing
a pile of dog shit
left by the dogs of the famous,
or a blood spot spatter
of the famous themselves,
to their next

I've lived here
for most of my sixty-six years,
worked the bars
from The Bowery to Park Avenue,
drove cabs and hustled
all over this concrete womb,
but rarely do I get asked
how to get around this town.
I don't think
I look mean,
but I might;
I don't think
I'm dangerous,
except to myself,
but they jabber in German,
or French, Greek or Japanese,
Portugese, Chinese or English;
they point up,
they point down,
they surmise, they measure;
they argue distance
and which way is north,
or south, east
or west,
as I look at them
and take another drag.
I'm waiting
to be used, to be
they are afraid
of being directed
to a worse Hell
than they're already in--someplace
off the map.

If only they'd realize
that the Hell I'm living in
is really only big enough
for one--
and I want to keep it
that way.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014


It's laughable
to think you're in control.
No matter how old,
no matter how infirm,
no matter how dumb,
numb, beaten and bruised,
blotto or blotted-out,
blown, blimped, pimped,
poised or polished;
no matter how banged-up, banged-on,
or bandaged; no matter how wigged-out,
comatose, contused, confused, infused,
contested or converted; no matter
how holy, pure, pureed, or pruned;
no matter how sad, glad,
melancholy or maniacal;
no matter how rich, how hungry,
how at odds you are
with yourself
your sap--
your stupid sap--
to your genitals.
You are a tree,
my friend, a flower,
a bee or behemoth,
a reptile or a flea's
tiny hardon.
You could be the circumcised cock
of a Jewish elephant or the embarrassed spigot
of an octogenarian; the slit
of a knowing actress
or the gash of an equally hip whore
your body will dance
to the mischief
of spring.

We pawns and beggars
and peddlers,
and liars
and custodians
of codes
we will get to fuck
once again
and be fucked

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


as we breathe: in
out, in
out & in
again: relief
in concentration...
a moment, maybe, maybe
your moment.
our rhythms like ancient
bellows torn
from use; an old accordion
tethered to a mustachioed Italian
and his monkey who stumbles
and grins a poor excuse
asking for change.
Up the streets
and down
it travels with us
like a birthmark.
The secret so obvious
it defies reason: Pain
simply is.
It makes flowers explode
& sagging bridges weep;
pain litters
long after the parade
is cleansed & remains
in the beds of those
long expired. Pain
has nowhere to go
because it goes anywhere
it wants;
it's patient,
it moves,
it waits
for your feet
to land on mats
that say, "Welcome Home."

It's not surprising
how many are mad,
but how few; how many
punch clocks day after day
eating from the same bowl
of shit and thinking it's sirloin;
how few suicides how few drunks
how few junkies how few nuthouses
how little exits
we have.
they've given us songs,
but the songs are mostly sap;
yes, they've given us scripts,
but they're concocted, too.
And they've given us love,
but the love is finally selfish
and brokered by forces we cannot hope to see.

Like now:
how little I've enjoyed
writing this

or you
in your place now
on it.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Friday, March 7, 2014


in the sometimes sun
shrink from the owl
vigilance inside them;

all perception
is matched
by blindness
& a feeble groping
for meaning.

Blue smoke
from cigarettes
& urns; both
are lovely
in the stained glass
light staining
a vision, admittedly
delusional of eternity
and its weight;
or, perhaps,
you're in cramped rooms,
tethered to cubicles,
where you are now
reading this rising
or falling
to a made-up god's

tires make that slick
sound ticktickticking
in the rain
while the metronome slap
of the wipers
fails to clear
the condensation
inside the windshield;
lazily, absentmindedly,
we brush against
a slowly moving landscape,
the colors runny
and muted,
the sounds muffled,
the screams gripping
the throat
caught and

The body moves
despite your wishes
where it wants,
or has to go.
As the workers
released from their evening
hell take a breath
& release themselves
into another promise
unfulfilled. Some
determinedly walk
to their cars,
bus or train stops
going home
to another kind
of emptiness--sometimes wanted,
sometimes not and sometimes
to be brokered by cash
or circumstances; others
light a smoke & decide
on direction, some think
about a doctor's appointment
or baseball standings,
others a bath
and clean sheets and some
nothing at all.
Some are better
at living than others, & some
better at dying.
I've had a lot of practice
at both.
And you?
Tell me.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


For S.K.--the Sadness King


It wasn't me
you hurt
up there
in Toronto.
You didn't hurt
my frame grown
fat and old
and slow; no,
you didn't.
You hurt
those pictures
you sent back
those treasures
of me young,
when I still smiled
for a camera shot
and thought magic thoughts
of my cowboy and Indian adventurers
and believed in all those stupid lies
we were told about love and goodness
and honesty and the world and the people are good and you feel safe
and there are rewards and feelings will be acknowledged and all that dumb shit
that every half-ass kid thinks is true and
that eventually were turned on its head but so what? some of us still carry them
because we still carry hearts and brains and memory and mercy and mom and dad
before we knew they were all so fucked up and crazy and so we still smiled and thought--
tomorrow is gonna be better.
We were like little puppies
and only wanted to be loved
like a puppy does.
It's that Savage
you killed

Your eyes took me in,
but was stopped
by your heart
before I was even allowed
to enter.
Coming to you
I thought
I was on the journey
I always wanted to make
but was afraid to:
trusting someone enough
to love
their ugly beauty;
a journey perhaps undeserved
for what I've done
but for whatever reason
was now here despite all the stop signs
I ran through.
And when I saw you
looking at me there
on your porch
I felt a shiver
go through me
before I knew
I was cold.
We were not in New York.
We were in your home.
You could not leave; it was you now
who was trapped.
It was you
who could not scream
in joy and desire and sexuality
and have orgasms
so close to your son's room
and your ex-husband's lair;
and it was you, so close
to the bones of your birth
who still rubbed the bleached boned death
into your sides at every turning.
Oh, you tried.
Yes you did.
You flailed and fought
and tried to usher out
the meanness and revenge,
but failed. So weak
to the sticky bonds of history.
It's always difficult to come
face to face
with yourself. And, so, after a year
of asking me to come to where you live,
I was there and there
was no place to be.
A big flashing neon sign you shown:


you were just afraid.
Not autistic; not that stupid description:
bi-polar. Just plain scared shitless.
You became the terrified girl
who saw a reality of love
waiting to enter
a house that catered
to pain
and missed chances
and it became all too much
to take in.
Simple, really:
There's no room in here
for that kind of love.
A shame, really:

You remain a poor,
lost little girl,
caught in your own net
not of your making,
while I still search
to be found.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


when the words fail--
as they must
--when actions
are misinterpreted--
as they will be;
when the self's estrangement
and isolation
from the self
becomes your most familiar
we will leap
upon the other
with abandonment.
Each soul
grows hungry
with exaggeration
of their wholeness.
And each holy utterance
in the darkness
shearing the spirit
in two
is really silence
in the ears
of a deaf

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Saturday, March 1, 2014


I came back
from Toronto
And angry.
And hurt
I also came back
broke. But being broke
was a constant affliction;
this was new.
It was the end
of a year,
almost to the day,
of being on a roller-coaster
with a mad woman:
sit closer,
move over;
fuck me,
fuck yerself;
I love you,
I'd rather not.
She was a bi-polar
bombardier constantly
switching allegiances;
and I was a quadriplegic puppet
trying to jump borders.

I'd made two terrible mistakes:
thinking that my world
of language could actually create
a human being;
and not believing her
symbols of warning
she so graciously laid out before me.
When a person says,
they don't deserve you,
they probably don't
no matter how crazy
you might be.

I spent my days
and my nights
when not working
for whores
of any and every offering;
from any hand
with a pulse.
I was willing to spend
rent money
to have someone
move in
to the space
she vacated.
I wanted to be touched
by a hand, any hand,
of a female sort.
I sent letter
after letter,
email after email,
using words to seduce
and myself,
away from the misery
I felt.
I tried to trick myself:
any man, I said,
could get laid in a whorehouse
with a thousand dollars,
but to get laid without any money
is really saying something.
It was canned bullshit,
but it was my own.

And I wanted a cheap whore:
her ass as big as the Montana sky,
her legs wobbly
on heels
a mile high,
her perfume drugstore bought,
strong and acrid,
her make-up thick
and caked;
I would want her to lie
about my prowess
and her enjoyment;
and I would want her
never to come back
for the earring
she forgets to take
that sits
on my dresser.

Six days
of fishing
I caught something
French. Tonight
at eight. I will not bathe
or try too hard. But that
was probably a lie. I am
what I am. No different
than you
whether you want to believe that,
or not.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014