Wednesday, June 4, 2014


I've been watching people
all my life. Perhaps
I'm trying to detect
what I don't have; some secret
that I've never been privy to?
Now I know
there's no secret. Only
getting through it
as best you can
with what you got.
I watch couples now
with greater interest.
Especially the ones
holding hands:
Young couples, old couples,
in-between couples, men
and women, women and women,
men and men and can tell
whether they walk fast
or slow, skip to different
beats&rhythms, shuffle or
have to push the other, if
there is a peace between them...
and even though I know
that their peace is temporary
there is sometimes hours,
even days of it.

I couldn't be kind
to myself
and couldn't be kind
to others; I've had more
than my fair share
of women, but I was a man
who could punch holes
in heaven. And did.
It couldn't last
because I couldn't last
without tearing apart
their love
which I didn't deserve
and couldn't allow
or accept.
I know.

There are centuries
of suffering in each
second-hand movement
of a clock; the neon
in Times Square or Vegas
contains all the isolation
we need to know. We are all
so tired
from love
or no love. Our own caregivers
and governments have strafed us
to the bone. And so,
two people
holding hands
is a beacon
in the blindness,
a hedge
to look at
and envy
and inquire: how
did you do it?
They won't know
or won't tell.
That kind of peace
must be found
on your own.

I'll always have
my share
of drama
in my life--
that's how I'm built, but
I don't need to chase it,
and won't.
Let those
who thrill to it
or need it
as nourishment
have it.
I'll take
those tender mercies
that we can do
for one another
but usually don't.

There are no rules
and no prohibitions.
There are no saints
and very few teachers.
But for those teachers
who like to teach, teach
The Mask of Demetrius.
It starred Peter Lorie
and Sidney Greenstreet.
It had this refrain
that carried through the film:
"There's not enough kindness in the world."
That is something
worth writing a hundred times
on the blackboard, especially
by the students who you believe
are the good ones.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

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