Tuesday, September 2, 2014


I don't remember the class,
nor the subject,
nor the teacher,
but I do remember the boredom.
I remember reading something...
a short story,
a poem,
a novel,
but I do remember the line:
"we are what we're least afraid to be."
It stopped me.
It resonated.
I read it a few times
and obviously
committed it to memory.
I was not a good student.
Easily bored,
distracted, ashamed
of my awkwardness
and inability to fit
I had a brashness
a bravado
to try and balance
the scales,
but I knew
deep down
just what a jerk-off
I was.
I knew I could not make it
in the straight world,
normality was not "my thing"
and so cultivated any
and everything that took me
outside it: gambling,
unprotected sex, brown paper bag
drinking, reefer, and finally
dope. I was a "traditionalist."
Drinking without ice, without
chasers; women with no particular
discernment; dope that needed
to be shot.
I managed to survive:
good women, mostly.
And somehow
I grew-up
and realized
just how true
that high school line
was and is.
There are those
hiding under a guise
of isolation,
more afraid to be loved
and less afraid to be rancid;
those who wonder
what those outside lines
mean and what it is
to cross them;
I am more afraid to live
and less afraid to write
about living; and those
who live with quiet urgency
and keep their desires
loud inside them.

I still have needs
that need to be met;
I need to be told
that surgeons
do not need scalpels
to make you well
and whole
I am not abstract;
I am a straight line
that grew-up
crookedly; I've made
with a will,
not my own,
better, something
that loves me.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

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