Wednesday, July 23, 2014


I take myself out
for a bite to eat
to the same Greek dive
I've been goin to for 35 years
now. Hell,
been livin in my pad for over 40--
but who's counting?
Nick & Paul,
the owners,
have seen me
in many different states
through many decades:
sober, drunk, young, wild,
old, wild, high, low,
indifferent, maniacal, calm,
pensive and apoplectic.
I've sat isolated
and speechless
or boisterous and boorish.
I've littered their booths
with the scents of women
and love and the smell of
defeats; defeats from jobs,
publishers, women, friends,
and body. What I do,
and who I'm with,
no longer raise their eyebrows
or lowers their lids.
I've eaten their eggs & ham,
bacon & sausages & pancakes,
homemade moussaka, bread pudding,
& brisket, drank their coffee
& stirred their little creamers
& watched their children age
& them grow old.
I've seen favorite waiters & waitresses
farmed out to pasture because their legs
cannot get rid of the water & have ballooned
as big as their waist. The only person
who didn't age
is me.
Neurotics don't age
but hold fast
& hold on.

I had a hamburger, fries, salad.
It was the same bottle of oil,
the same vinegar, the same tomato
& the same slice of onion; the burger
was thinner, the bun bigger; the fries
still frozen & pretty much
as tasteless as ever,
but the price has tripled.
And why not?:
the farms are dry,
crops roasted,
cows suicidal,
the beef chemical.
The half-buck & buck tip
is now two or three.
Nick & Paul tell me
they'll soon retire;
they're tired of working
for the landlord.
But not me. I can't
retire--I'm a poet.
And poets are not supposed to "work,"
they only have to "live"--
which is the harder,
and more complicated,
of the two
I think I know,
but will never ever

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

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