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

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