Monday, June 6, 2016

SAVING LIVES


in the Bronx--
the drug addicted,
mind addled,
soup labeled,
helpless hapless hopeless
& restless,
the bottle babies
of inflammable juice,
the deluded,
the schized,
the solipsistic,
the sycophants
paranoid jeepsters
& romantics
trilled, tripping
& tripped-up,
the deranged
& derogatory
mise-en-scene misers
or porno prosthetics...
---and those are
the run-of-the-mill
crippled from birth
& channeled
by betrayals
great & small, but
are not beyond
my reach.

There are those,
though,
who are
beyond me:
a woman who gave
a placenta soaked
all the news that's fit to print
paper to a lady going to work
with her two premature twins lying
above the fold;
or a man who watched
his dad & mom,
hand in hand
go back into their home
that his dad had taken
a match to;
or a man thinking
his teeth are ice cubes.

There are no courses
to teach this; it is
a university difficult
to get into, but
once accepted
even fewer
who graduate.
It's not something
you aspire to
in all its
permutations.
But once enrolled
you must take
every and any elective
that life serves up. You can say
it's a calling
where you're always dialing
the wrong number;
it's a blizzard
in a hot house;
an ant
with diabetes
wearing
an insulin pump.
You've survived
without knowing
how or why.
You've made it
an art.
And now it pays
the rent
as it saves
your life
as well.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2016

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