Wednesday, January 25, 2017


and I can't say I'm sorry.
I spoke to her once
while she was in Canada
filming some bullshit
and I was holed up
in my Greenwich Village pad
bloody and bandaged and minus
four toes and still trying
to dream and she
was in a phone booth
with a second or two,
she told me,
between takes.
I'd tried for years
to get my memoir to her: Confessions
Of An Uncontrolled Diabetic.
I tried through my doctors,
her publicist, her husband's colleagues,
and finally through her assistants.
The years were 1982 through '85
and she was living in the San Remo.
I was convinced that between the insulin shocks,
insulin shots, piss testing, food deprivations,
depressions from sugar highs, anger from the lows,
a commonality of Brooklyn, doctors, fears and
foreboding, she'd get behind the work if
she read it, though I never particularly liked
her work: too pretty, too perky, too sweet,
too American, but, hey, she held some ins
to my outs.
She was worth a shot.
Getting published,
getting validated,
getting out of this thing
called "life" was worth
whatever lies
I had to tell.
An actor friend of mine
knew one of her assistants
and so I traipsed up to the San Remo
and dropped the book off for her
with the militarily clad doorman.
After a year
I forgot about it.
And then a phone call
on a rain slicked day.
She was probably sorry
she didn't get my answering machine.
After my hello
she told me who she was.
"Sorry," she said,
"I can't get involved with this."
I just held the receiver.
"Best of luck," she said,
and hung up.
I could hear her voice catch.
I heard, "I'd really like to, but..."
kinda tone.
I'd suspected the work cut too close
to Mary's bone and wasn't surprised
a decade later when she wrote about
her alcoholism and the less savory
parts of her so called charmed life.
"Fuck her," I said at the time
and went back to what I did best:
behind words
& substances.

I might have another eleven years
to go--give or take--and am not displeased
about the arc my life has taken
before and after Mary.
Redford must have sensed, too,
her drunken selfishness and filmed it.
it was her most honest role.
I should know:
I've played it
once or twice

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2017

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