Sunday, July 26, 2015


I’m gonna survive, I said to myself, as I breezed through The Cedar’s door and made my way west down eleventh street. All the shit that had piled up like egg crates holding newly laid eggs, had Crazy Glued themselves to each other.

I felt so good that I decided, even in this hot house, to trip down my own particular minefield of memory, a Spiritus Mundi of pleasures and pain, hoping to find one orchid to inch closer to before her sickly sweet sense of mortality overwhelmed me.

I still marveled at the bodies who passed me on the steaming slabs of concrete, walking to and fro, that way and this, with apparent direction. Do they all really have a destination? Do they have a place to go to…somebody that expects them…somebody they’re expectant to see…do they have a couch or a widescreen TV…do they know what they’re gonna do once they get there…do they give a shit about any of this…all of this…do they feel their second hand sweep around the circle?

I felt so good…that I forgot my legs were fucked; a half block down the pain reminded me and prevented the taking of another step. The four stents in my legs would have been better off setting-up a lemonade stand for all the good they were doing me. Diabetes ain’t gonna do me in, I thought, it’s going to be a gradual eroding, a nibbling away and clogging up, of every other component of my body. I stopped and waited for my pump to pump some oil around and through my engine.

Still, the fish tank windows of The New School looked down at the little triangle of bodies buried in the Jewish Portuguese piece of real estate. I was enclosed in one of those tanks when The Weathermen blew-up a brownstone next to Hoffman’s pad and fractured an afternoon of learning. A block away was the consumptive cough of Dylan T, the dreams of Delmore, and pieces of my fractured ribs and the barbecued ribs of Charlie Mom’s. I’d waited in front of St. Vincent’s for hours with my ex who wanted to give blood to bodies already incinerated from Muslim vibrations, and waited inside while they fitted me for a cast after a street fight with a Bowery bum. My underwear felt like the claw of a wet monkey was pulling on it.

Cars seemed fagged; people’s eyes looked scorched and blistered; drag queens, their powder running into their mouths licked it up with tongues aching from too many cigarettes and a last line of speed, were walking as if it were the night after the ball and nobody wanted to take them home. New York had little tragedies by the block: New York’s prehistoric underground grid was a degree away of giving up and browning out…air-conditioners wheezed from windows, barricading the old and infirm in a kind of cool nightmare that held them hostage knowing there was no one to pony-up the ransom. For them there was no waking.

But I was whistling a happy tune as I turned toward the Hudson. For whatever reason, Rick’s, or god, or Stevie Wynn decided not to call in my markers. Maybe they knew that my tragedies, big or small, had the gift of drama, too.

Rosie whacked me off while I finger-fucked her crazy during Night Of the Living Dead at The Greenwich, a cozy theater well-worn in the sixties, complete with torn velvet covered seats and matrons who held flashlights and fingers to their lips, and now a glass module sporting those athletic souls who love to work-out in windows; a stoop around the corner was the only solid thing I felt after smoking the best Panamanian Red I’d ever had in sixty-seven, levitating my body and taking my mind with it; a brunch poetry reading for Max at The Vanguard attended by me and Bruno the poets and Max and little more; chick peas, steak, lobster at Max’s Kansas City hunkering down in a front room round table seating The Chelsea Flying Academy—all those who’d suicided out the windows of The Chelsea Hotel, while the runway in the back held The Velvets and future aviators while some young girl underneath and among the press of legs, moving counter-clockwise, giving blowjobs to anything with a dick.

Memories, as delicate as they are, jutted in front of the inner eye full of lies and deceit and protein, without conjuring, and adhered like a cougher’s phlegm, to an old highway's mile posts. They were all beautiful because everyone is beautiful and everything is beautiful a day ago. Ugly, too. Disgusting…maybe…disfigured…perhaps…reptilian…certainly…but a way home.

But I wasn’t home; those of a semitic tribe are never, can’t be, home. The blues clings to us like sunrise sadness in a whorehouse. Afro blue, Jew blue, blue blues. I’ve been lookin for a Venus Paradise Coloring Set all my life and the only thing I’ve found is “maybe’s” that “take time.”

The Corner Bistro’s hamburger was a block away and one of the last of the wooden exteriors of the Whitehorse’s home was almost as close. The afternoons of both were more habitable than the evening’s hordes, but it was too hot for beef and too expensive to just be. Freedom was never more costly. I made my way to the river…

Obeying my own music…what else is there for us to do?…little fleas doing a little dance to whatever the band strikes up at any point in our little act here on earth…our own breath stinks up the place, but not that we notice…perfume amid performance…getting tricked out by bank pimps…rent pimps…boss pimps…primed and pumped and positioned to dismiss the obvious and clutch the invisible.

Each recollection, dipped in serontonin, coated with dopamine, seasoned and aged, ripens in the body’s chambers. "Do I dare," and "wet black bough," are not merely poetic phrases in a region where language punishes silence, but seismic occurrences, with flavors of newly tasted cunt and smells of treasure and treason from scripts aged and defiantly brittle.

Cool down, Heller, I said to myself; you better get your ass to the water and have a smoke, you’re becoming too literary and you know how bad that is for you.

pgs 113-115 of 539 From: The Departure Lounge
© 2015 Norman Savage

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2015

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