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

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