Saturday, January 30, 2016


than a good
bowel movement
at a certain age.
In fact,
it's one of the few things
to look forward to.

What else
do the young
need to know?

I suppose,
that as long
as they can
blow out
the candles
a hearty
"fuck you"
is in
that breath
as well.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016


a little longer.
But each day has
its own challenges
for space
& priorities;
like today,
for me,
it's getting across
the street
without being gobbled-up
by a snow bank or two;
or getting change
for a bus, Wonton Soup
for a dinner; and Panna Cotta
for a late-night snack.
I'm sure
there will be times
where you'll flit,
brief as it might be,
from temple to temple,
between steps or breath,
a sip of broth or taste
of pork; you'll be there
between dials
& a stranger's voice;
you'll rearrange yourself
after a sale and a well-deserved
cigarette. But without mirrors
love exhausts itself. Its breathing
becomes a shallow rattle
in a consumptive's chest.

I've important appointments
to keep: money for back rent
and future accommodations. I
must leave a little early to
get change for the bus. So
much minutia, so much drivel.
I'd much rather get lost
in love's faring froth, its
turbulence. I'd much rather
feel, not think. But then,
there is the next step
I must address &
with each step
you recede
just a little bit.

And who will keep you alive
if I'm not alive
to keep you alive
any longer?
was always
my least favorite,
and hardest, vein
to find.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2016

Friday, January 22, 2016


I had my ass parked
on a black, wrought-iron rail
which bordered my garbage cans,
smoking a cigarette & waiting
on a steady thing: a job, a woman,
immortality or my clothes
to dry and settled on
finishing the smoke & hanging
for my underwear
& bedsheets for the week next
& smelling the snow
which was promised
for later on that evening
when I heard tears ten feet
to my right.
I took a drag
& swiveled my head
& saw a pretty college co-ed,
her face scrunched-up
balling into her cell phone.
I tried my best
to eavesdrop
but my hearing is going
the way the rest of my body is:
south. I tried again,
failed again & waited.
I suppose you really get the impression
these days, that no one is around when
you're on these devices; self-consciousness
doesn't enter into it. I'm of the age
where I think people are spying on me
when alone in my pad, but that's me.
But when she passed
I could hear her say,
"What am I going to tell my dad?"
Ten or twenty years ago, I thought,
I could tell her; I could give her
the benefit of all my knowledge &
hard earned experience &
a healthy dose of bullshit
with the idea, or plan,
of fucking her
then & there or
the not too distant future.
Don't get angry--
it's an all too human ploy.
I watched her & her jelly-limbed legs
wobble & teeter down my block
& didn't notice a young man
who approached me from the other side:
"Excuse me, sir," he began.
My head swiveled back east.
He'd disturbed a poem
that was taking shape.
"What?" I asked.
"The director of this film we're shooting
would like you to be in it."
"What are you talking about?"
"We're on a shoot...all these trucks...
we're filming a scene and he'd like you
to be in it, smoking a cigarette the way
you just did. Just smoke another cigarette
and we'll film it."
I looked around and sure enough
there were film trucks up & down my block.
Nothing strange; someone films something often
in my part of Greenwich Village.
"How much?"
"Eh, how much what?" he inquired.
"How much bread would I get? Money? You know, coins?"
"Money? Nothing. No money, but you'd be in the movie...maybe."
"Who gives a fuck?"
He moved off
& so did I. A mistake
I know. Another part

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


at two a.m.--
never a good sign
--and says,
"fuck poetry,
I ain't no kid anymore;
gonna run guns
to Ethiopia.
Why don't ya join me?"
(Fucking "call waiting" I mutter).
I'm on the phone
with Poe,
I tell him.
"Fuck him, man,
he's still hung-up
on that Lenore chick."
Which was true,
but I ain't gonna tell
Poe that. Besides,
I've got a few ghosts myself.
I'll call ya back, I sez,
but knew I wouldn't cuz
he'd just romance me
and I never could stand that.
And just when I was gonna tell Edgar
to can it, forget about her,
Baudelaire barges in
with a bottle of green,
loaded, telling me our cocks
were really hands
on a clock's dials and time
was shit anyway.
I gulp a shot down
and forget about Edgar
and we tumble into
each other and hope Verlaine
doesn't show, but he does,
and wants to nibble our ears,
but Charlie wouldn't let him,
and I tell him to call Rimbaud back
but after he said that that crazy sonofabitch shot him
I gave him a drink and thought about taking the phone
off the hook but had another drink myself and Charlie
started reading Spleen to us and our eyes bugged
and in she walked...
parting the curtains
with that hip of hers,
knifing it, all beads
and black panties
and a stamp collector's
bag in the palm of her hand...uptown dope
she whispered
and slipped a nail
under its lip.

It takes a special woman
to have men forget who
is crazy and who
they are and listen
to music from other

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2016

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Church bells in winter.
The grass bleeds.
A thick sack of fluid
begs for prophecy.
Too much rhyme
in reason.
Too much love
in a hate drenched world.
Too bad, Grace,
you and Abbie
couldn't levitate
The White House.
Does language
create dreams?

We had ducked out
for a smoke
between periods.
If we really got froggy
we might never go back
that day. We'd take
our chances our parents
not give a damn. For what
is history if not
to be counted on?
As long as we could play ball
& hit on chicks
we were never questioned.
Acid began seeping
into our lives.
Colors were better than NBC.
Peacocks strutted inside
our brains. San Francisco
became a place
of possibility. Pot
needed to be strained
& sifted.
Molecules rearranged morals.

I thought I'd never love
myself better
than how you loved me.
And I loved me
not at all.
The music coaxed me out.
I slid on the tracks
of complexity
and did what only I could do:
understand myself--
an impossible task
given my stuttering.

Simple things
I've had to learn
last; I found
a burr-like comfort...
It was like going home
& finding it
empty and could smoke
a joint in peace.

"Surrealism eventually becomes realism,"
a friend who was smarter than me said
who got it from a friend who was smarter than him.
I never argue with that kind of lineage.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2016

Monday, January 18, 2016


It begins Sunday
afternoon; the vise
turns slowly.
A pall descends
as the steel clamps
tighten. Suddenly,
your balls thump
into your chest
as your heart
and mind follows.
No amount of distraction:
football, basketball,
Downton Abby, 60 Minutes,
your partners needs,
your children's tantrums,
can withstand Monday's
assault: they pay us
just enough,
so you have to
for work

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2016

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


I love you.

In my own way.

From a distance.

Just the way
you've always

I love how you hate
and anyone else
who would dare
love you; anyone
who would challenge
your ugly & unworthy
appraisal; I love
how hard you've worked
to remain
& singular
resisting love's entreaties
of spirit; I love
your sabotage
& surrender
only for a second;
I love
how you take
no prisoners
having room
for only
to misbelief
& false premises;
and I love
how powerless
you really are
to my own
in pouring
love's elixers
down your

Drink up...

And I'll bring
the handcuffs.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2016

Thursday, January 7, 2016


God punishes me,


they work out

or not.

I've always
been good
for a few

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2016


I've seen better photos
than the one I saw
yesterday of you
trying to smile
into a corporate camera
& failing
You must have summoned
all your energy
to spar with the lens,
upturn your mouth,
& not kill yourself
An altogether
for both
of us.

But fear not!
I won't tell.
The price
has been
too high

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2016

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


with a cupacoffee
and a cigarette
was a magnificent thing:
watching wisps
of smoke blue
in the afternoon light
drifting up into your eyes
not wanting to go home
or go to school
or go to a job;
wondering how to tell
a woman
you don't love her
or love her too much;
thinking and thinking
and thinking how
to get it right,
how to get it out,
practicing the words
turning them over
twisting them in your mouth
around your tongue
seeing their expression
expressed in the other,
backing up, rehearsing
the rehearsal,
ordering another cup,
shaking loose another
cigarette, lighting a match,
blowing on your hand,
finding a landing place
and drifting drifting drifting
on a reed, a thin reed,
trying to find a self
that felt right,
knowing eventually
a price will be paid,
for not
doing your homework,
not using protection,
not telling the truth,
you stumble through
the inconvenient lies
born of convenience,

and then she's there
and you'll retreat
into a booth
where you'll share
another cupacoffee
and another cigarette
and you'll tell each other
confidences and secrets
and offer your hand
to hold her hand
and nurse each other
on an exquisite
afternoon into
early evening.

All this
for a half a buck
and a tip.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2016

Monday, January 4, 2016


but couldn't be predicted.
It was inevitable
but could have been avoided.
It was in the cards
but the game was yet to be invented.

We fell in love.

And fell.
And fell.
And fell.

How lovely
and mad
is chance
and chances

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2016

Saturday, January 2, 2016


Some of us
have noticed death
early on; that's not
a bad thing.
We've lived
a life
as a high-wire act
and was lucky
there were nets
of all kinds
to catch
our hearts
in its hands.

I pushed
& pleaded
on the accelerator.
I dared God
to get me
when I wanted
to get out
but he left me
to suck on the tit
of other mortals
who've been there
before me.
people around me
yet their deaths
were abstract
while mine
gave me
a kind
of buoyancy.

Now, however,
I notice death
in my steps
& in my breath.
I take notice
of those who exit
& why. Some
are younger
& some are older
but mostly
they're my age.
Some I've listened to
or watched; some
have even given me
pleasures. I note
their passing
& record their ages:
O, she was sixty-seven--I got her
by a year; he was fifty-nine
& seemed to be healthy, was
an athlete and I have him
by a decade; huh? seventy-three--
I have four or five more years to go.
It's stupid, I know,
to try
& figure it out. Let it
just unfold, I tell myself.
It can't be explained.
Chalk it up
to crazy fucking genes
& leave it go at that,
but I can't
do it--
somebody had to write
this poem.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2016