Friday, October 9, 2015


my fourth grade teacher
scared the shit outta me.
She was a tall, Irish
#2 pencil, dressed
in black, from her tight
neck button to her black
buffed leather shoes
showing heel wear. Her hair
was as severe as she was,
tied tight
in a bun streaked with gray.
Her lips thin, mirthless.
She'd stand in front of us
with a ruler,
not to measure anything,
but to whack
the scared wooden desks
as she drove home
Multiplication Table tomorrow
she'd spit into the first row.
We knew
she meant it.
Nothing short
of a nuclear war drill
would prevent her
from marching to each desk,
to stand in front of each asshole
wet with fear and demand: 3x7,
9x6, 1x0, and wait for our eyes
to stop like a deranged slot machine
as we arrived at the numbers.

The year was 1955,
and I was in PS 222.
The Brooklyn Dodgers won The World Series,
Sugar Ray Robinson still ruled,
factories and jobs and families were healthy,
Chinese food was consumed by Jewish clans
on Sunday, Johnny-On-the-Pony & Ringolevio
were games of choice, girls weren't discussed,
but Mrs. Ormond had us
by the balls.

It wasn't easy
back then,
it was never easy,
back then
or now
it sure was

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2015

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