Tuesday, June 30, 2009


pinstripes and polkadots
and swagger; a voice
sounding like his balls
are in his throat; full of gravel
and Joe Louis and, of course,
his horn
by a love,
his love,
our love
of darkness. we wait
as peanut shells crunch
beneath 3 a.m. highballs
in the 9th circle
informing us
of style: the answer
to everything:
how to dress
who to listen to
or talk about.
our heads surreptitiously twisted
each time the wind
rushed in a body
not his
we casually turned back
to the conversation...
or shot glass... or chick
we were trying to make
while evenings danced
and everyone was young,
and brilliant,
and affected
with drama; our loves
dangerously alive
or thick with death
like wet ash;
music framing each intent
with motive, quixotic
and sublime in it’s queer logic
informing gamble
not yet oil slicked with living
too hard or recklessly. our precipice,
our wit. those who could not solo
got out of the game early; those whose ideas
came from books
were delivered
to same; never getting laid
they hunkered back
to Brooklyn or Jersey or Queens
to await marriage...perhaps dentistry,
perhaps both.

Those nights we passed,
how full
and empty they seem now
stuck in the mind
like gnarled venetian blinds;
yet they emit light
of a certain kind,
one that is informed
by pleasure.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1999

Monday, June 29, 2009


are negotiating
with what remains
of my mouth: chew this
slowly, you fool; too sticky,
idiot; asshole,
that side no longer exists.....and so on.
Sugar has eaten parts of me whole.
The ride of word passion bloodied sanity.
I’ve fucked with the odds; they have rendered me
a chalk horse, scratch, even money
to be turned into glue
anytime soon.

This coat hanger of flesh is closer to seventy
than fifty: half a foot of intricate plumbing
and rewiring on my pump, a mouth
full of rot, fingers fattened, gnarled and bent,
eyes blurred with cataracts thick
with sugar, liquor, and dope hued saturation.

I’ve had a long continuous fist-fight
with death. People were merely pre-lims.
Usually outclassed and not very interesting.
I’ve stuck words
up deaths’ ass more than once.
He was with every woman I’ve ever slept with;
he was between the sheets of every institution
I fell asleep in; every tooth that was pulled
he yanked on; every drunk I’ve ever been on
he found money for; all the senseless mornings
of going to be fired from a job
I didn’t want anyway, he waited,
at a gin mill or dope spot
to put my rage into my fist,
or vein. A wise and patient man
death is. He’ll have to be.
I’ll fool with him some more.
Death hates Life.
Words are Life. They leap around
like ballerinas in the brain. They make fun
of teeth, and hearts, and pricks, and cunts and balls, and beerbellys,
crooked fingers and phantom limbs; they laugh
at the silly ravings and meanderings of ants;
they are the final hedge against inflation or devaluation
of the soul; they are the salt edged tit;
they provide power
as the game works

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2000

Saturday, June 27, 2009


the way the body works
through fear
turning towards the edge
of your Procrustean climax
and allowing your feet
to fall
over the side
head bowed;
milky cataract eyes
sifting through the bones,
(the geometry of dreams),
(the cross and the drummer;
the hiked skirt; a riff
of wonder; pools slick
with scag oils)
palms flat,
fingers smoothing creases,
elbows locked, (the back, however,
is humped, curved, a loose
contingent of ganglion,
nervous tissue, vertebrae
shocked, shorn, subverted
from it’s makers intention),
a push, a rise
with little fluidity; but purpose
catches hold: You fuck,
I will bend you today;
I will carve my name
into the sides of days
into the teeth of beggers
into the cocks of grayhounds,
and cunts of fire;
I will piss my dreams
into the toilet of life
and get on with it.

The only affirmation I need
is the one I got up with:
You’re up you bastard,
to serve
a power
you know
nothing of.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1998

Friday, June 26, 2009


There’s a scar running
from my right ankle to my right testicle
where my right vein used to be; it must have been a long one.
The surgeons lifted it during the quadruple; they also heisted
a mammary vein, which you can’t see, and reconnected my heart
to keep the pump pumping.
There have been other physical alterations: teeth yanked,
gums opened and scraped to the bone; fingers crooked and bent
from sugar blues and four black gangerous toes pulled and flushed
down a toilet and into the sea for fish to eat.
There was a delicious agony in all that
like a love affair
gone bad,
Yet this was better: freshly laundered sheets
for your asshole to sweat through; Gods vein of mercy,
morphine, to fondle the few remaining body parts left, and ease
the imaginative stew to percolate and simmer. You are leaving
the world in small quantities, and what’s left
is less functional,
less dangerous,
less important,
but no less real...
for you that is.

Kat, my wife, came near
to see what was up
with the writing.
Very depressing, I said.
At least you’re able to get it out, she said.
Not really, I said, but I’d rather be banging the typer
than taking this shit out on you.
Good idea, she said, I’m feeling blue, too, baby...and I might
be able to kill you, especially after you put my tit through this ringer, and,
in the shape you’re in, that shouldn’t be too hard...size
is no big deal, know what I mean?
Yeah, indeed I do, I said, and lifted her shirt.
Her auburn nipple was as close as pleasure dared to come
these days, and I simply put my mouth around her dark brown pinkish wonderful aureole and nursed.
She murmured slightly.
Baby, she said, Seinfeld is on at 9.
Huh, I said, I thought the murmuring was for me.
Just thinking, she said,
don’t take it personally.
No, I said,
of course not.

There is really only one way to end this day...or poem
for that matter...quietly,
very very quietly.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1996

Thursday, June 25, 2009


There is something to be said about dying early
with some teeth left in your head, heart,
maybe soul.
Before the style, the risks,
and the ventriloquist,
who shucked pain like so many vibrant husks,
sheds you, too. Memories are saccharine; letters,
humbled by twenty years, are yellowed signposts
of genital decay, signaling fear...and worse:
Without bluff, without balls, without danger
is defeat.
Boring, moronic, mind-numbing
day to day capitulation to instinct leashed
like a trained seal waiting
to get fed.


Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1997

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


This terrifies me: the sunflower
as geometry; wind twisting inside my skull, a mad orphan
of light; oceans salt thick and ugly; young children
praying; the dry lick
of evenings; walking
on the wrong side; pellets of fear,
like mouse droppings, ricocheting
off gut walls; the cat approaching
forgiveness; mouth cotton numb;
speech that punishes silence;
sticks with flesh and ashen hues;
rides into a moonlight shot
with blood yoke and song;
river moss and mud and marsh
and mules that cannot go another step,
slag heaped and sullen in a winter sun;
honesty among intimates; innocent scavengers
picking at the end of my days and ways;

and where will I go
when this living stops?

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1998

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


There are those
who always seem
to be happy; never knowing
accidents of any kind.
They have been winners
at genetic roulette, and
hardly ate a bone cooked
more than once. Usually
they smile, if not laugh
at the postman’s legs,
on the street, in supermarkets
only if in the company of others.
Perhaps they were prepared well
for life’s catastrophes, or have a faith
that transcends them. I’ve never seen them
in clinics, in gin
or Medicaid mills,
foraging for food
thrown out, for money disappeared
from a hole in the pocket
or head; stolen
without warning
or retribution.
Usually these aren’t the ones whose bodies are at war
against themselves: acne, tumors, diverticulitis,
dementia, boils, warts, madness; their lives aren’t waged
against landlords, and bosses, and politicians
who possess the trait that all men of power do: indifference.

I’ve not drank, nor written a poem, in ten years.
I’ve not been missed. The word has mattered
to those that own the presses. Tribal chiefs
and The Medicis have understood this well. Those writing
control only their demons; they only matter
if lucky, as commodity.

I’ve just come from the supermarket. I do not need
a basket. They watch me, as I watch them.
I saw a couple holding hands as they debated
salsa: too hot for him, too mild for her.
He whispered something in her ear, and they laughed.
She leaned in closer, and rested her head
on his shoulder. I moved

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1995

Monday, June 22, 2009


with poems
lately...as well as
deep angry pustules
that litter my back.
For the last three years
I had to squeeze one
just to get a poem out.
all I have to do
is breath.

What a lucky, lucky man
I am.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1981

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Nancy says
shes on top
of the drug problem.
That’s made 5 Columbians
with stiff dicks
very happy.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1982

Saturday, June 20, 2009


for Clara Gualtieri

My spleen; my liver; my heart; my lungs;
my cock; my cunt; my balls; my eggs;
my eyes; my ears; my tongue; my teeth;
my arms; my legs; my toes; my fingers;
my car; my truck; my brain; my ideas;
my blood; my viscera; my jism; my cum;
my tits; my milk; my house; my oven;
my pots; my pans; my money; my money;
my money; my stocks; my bonds; my property;
my feelings; my shirts; my pants; my panties;
my briefs; my socks; my leggings; my shoes;
my desires; my fears; my purpose; my mucus;
my thoughts; my body; my roots;
my success...

my failures,
are yours
and yours alone
for not loving enough
what is mine.

Bow wow, bow wow, bow wow.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1981

Friday, June 19, 2009


Beware the hands
that are calloused
by self-love and who offer
only their fingers to shake.
Beware the ring
that owns the circle; beware
the love that holds
the ring. Beware the skin
that is smooth inside
and out; flowers
without roots. Watch
for sane people who dizzily boast
of their craziness. Avoid being
too long with somebody who is not here
today. This is a time
where bored men are driven
to the short stroke; tired
from the prom
from the promise
from what is
It is a good time
to sleep. To forget
the tricks of history;
to settle
to hold on
to quietly die
while business slaps its thighs
in unison. Be careful
around police
on strike, they will kill
like you or me. Never trust religion
worn around the neck--
God never intended
to get paid.

Beware for what you think
is true
only now
and not then
and not later.

And when it’s time
the breezes will come,
as they always have,
without any help from you.
they be soft and warm
consider yourself
because someone,
had the sense
to make a liar
out of all
of us.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1977

Thursday, June 18, 2009


it was winter
and distances
that kept us together,
in the cold and opague night,
dreaming of each others bodies
and the slow restlessness
of spring;

with no youth
and dense mists
covering the space
where the afternoon was; two bodies
somewhere near,
afraid of the yellow fog.


can you
understand? that I need people
and poetry--all things
that intrude? can you?
understand? what I don't
tell you?

like a sleepwalker
to decay a little more.
meticulously folding my dreams
and romance into a locked drawer
fearful they spill into hands already
wet with nightmares.


a song sung in hot summer
confuses the chill that winter
predicts and dismisses what's between:
a waste
of words.
stopping as if to look
with disgust (even hatred!)
at myself and you!
for believing
all the wrong reasons.

walls, empty
hands without
hands, or even
rings, and the confusing
one-sided glass add
to time's disorder
which is also
and now frost
inhabits a mouth
which once
lured bees.
I've become afraid
of mysteries
too easily solved.
I watch it grow dark
around you and barely notice
the sun's replacement; only
the word, "love" twisting,
like a political promise, hardly
heard in the dusty white night.
you said,
"me," (and took a step
backward; away
from the light, away
from the love.) no step
can trace this insane dance;

there isn't even a dance.

(a familiar state
this aloneness, in which everything
is fuckable; (a curse
this emotion.)

alone, now,
knowing that somewhere,
out there,
struggles are going on:
the sun's shove;
the surf's assault;
even the air pushing
against my skin--and I think:
a sack of eggs

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1974

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


She was old,
and her vast
cunt smelled.
But I was a quick
shooter. Besides,
her ass & legs
fucked history
where it breathed.

How old are you?
she asked.
Which part?
I replied.

Two lovers,

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1978

Monday, June 15, 2009


John Wayne,
doctors said,
is in stable condition today
after having everything
from the neck down
He’ll be given,
as protective measure,
a football helmet
upon his release
next week.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1976

Sunday, June 14, 2009


that I’ve learned something---
after putting Porches
with Volkswagen souls, silk
suits and ties and Egyptian cotton shirts,
cashmere socks, friends, promises,
ghosts, Kleenex hours
as thick as bouillabaisse
in my arm---
I would have come away

But here I am
still loving
with my dick
still sucking
the needle
replaced with the green tit
of a Heineken bottle backed
by scotch, tequila and later
cognac; a head full of lush
looking up, yeah
it’s time, finally
time to go and not
a minute too soon;
stumbling into Saturday night’s morning;
a route home; how much
to tip; are my cells saturated
enough; is there anybody
to go home with; anybody
who might hear the whisper
of desperation too?
Last Call, oh

They come slower
and not as sure
they do. Struggling to sip
radiator fluid; nickel lives
rusted by 10 cent memories
of making it. Women
and money
like horse shit. Pockets thick
for spending. Cars loaded
with laughter speeding crazy
underthetable, whenhe’snothome,
aslongasit’sgood, you know

You might think
that after the streets
and rooftops; eager
to please 20 year olds,
and more eager 40 year olds,
with thighs like mars bars;
the nights of cancer,
and suicide days; three quick holes
in the chest; more scared
I’d have to do this again.
But then there are the nights
that sweat, snapping our fingers
knowing we’d found it,
for a second, privileged,
above the cut,
not even angry,
the gut filled, the eye
frozen, the brain connecting,
you might think
I’d had enough. Wrong,
and right, right
and wrong;
nana nana nananananana;
a kid, huh,

with orange-red cheeks
big as basketballs;
wanting the sugar;
wanting the rush; wanting
to eat it all...
and that would not be enough
and nothing
would not be enough.

You might think
the letter that God sent
would have something more
than a rent due notice;
I’m daring you,
I’m double daring you:
your mother’s Tralala;
you suck wind and dress funny.
Well, c’mon.
You know where the fuck I am.
It wouldn’t mean shit
if you didn’t.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1975

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Tell them Sammy,
tell those know nothing scrunched faced motherfuckers
who envy your rings
your women
your religion
your one eye
your chalkiness....tell them
about your situation----
like coming up
with your weekly
vig payment.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1975

Friday, June 12, 2009


I threw my nuts

C’est le guerre.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1975

Thursday, June 11, 2009


By Jove!
I’ve got a hard-on!
Perhaps I should stick it
into the heart
of the first cunt I see.

Perhaps not...

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1975

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


phones will be out
3-6 weeks: tough
to communicate
face to face.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1975

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

HER 33rd.

everything comes
in threes: three openings
to enter
and exit; three loves
to compare
and contrast with; three lusts
that conflict
and confuse
in your own dark wood now
at 33, you should know
that heaven
and hell
is bullshit

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1976

Monday, June 8, 2009


My mouth sloppy
from fried grease.
My hands are littered
by cheap white paper napkins
that were ripped and beaten
by French fries' film.
I mix potatos
and ice cream.
I chew beef
and bean sprouts.
I am worried
about premature

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1979

Sunday, June 7, 2009


"Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow"...

again The Moonglows
and Frankie Lymon playin
for small change
while the fat boys
work off another
quick one; the scorched hand
does not remember. a new
age. history has taught us
nothing--nothing that fools
can use.
do ya think
it's too short? huh?
whatja say?
too short, I said, is it?
wait a second, it's almost over.
hey, this is important, that's a fucking soap opera, this is everything. can't ya shut it off?
I can't; I'm in the middle of a, a, a,
feeling; way don't ya go into the bathroom and yank it--
it'll get longer.

your move.
once made made--
remember, no bullshit, better think
from the start breathing
life into a smelly corpse--
how we intellectualize masturbation?
hand position?
c'mon Hugh
they'll be other bodies
of turrets
and university towers.
a scattered stream
of vomit
concealing the pure juice of senses
somehow gets lost; afraid
to be uncovered like the shivering skeletons
of thought, a blood-jet
(upon) the white light of memory
or what was thought
as desire.

the suns' soft sell
of a darker shadow puts to sleep
loves' secrets giving us the eel
of night to catch. as whores flash
from their turnstile life
what dribbles down
their muscular leg
while we,
calm as cow,
cud the bilious stew
of imagination.

we gain
in the loss
any loss
that leaves us somewhere
where we weren't; not exactly there
but a point (rusted
in the mother's womb) neither
right or left
just over
a notch.

bat figures fly
from mouths that oil
their words; actions
defined as black or white slip
in a slate-colored world.
Bela, Bela,
how could you do that?
to poor Renfield?
Bela, his spiders, he loves
his spiders so, how could you?
What are ya talkin bout, you idiot? Haven't you ever taken
abnormal psych?

eyeballs bridging the seas
of asphalt I strain
to see what head
is being given; just a little
taste. while the man outside his chauffered mercedes 600,
on the lip of the road is harmlessy peeing
into the stares of chevys
holding back
a laugh.

& taylor

a contusion arching,
like some taunt bow, our backs
while the arrow is always
us. we aim, a convulsion
of flesh, toward institutionalized steel
of tradition hitting
with a syrupy cry
like he's going
into the world
for the first time.

"Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow"...

I hear approaching footsteps
and am afraid they are coming to my room;
(I do not want to be bothered)
(I long
for company.)

my mark, under
my boot, a lucky

skidmore girls
benson hedges mick
jaggar, letter stuffed with numerical
love leaves falling
like dandruff.

I see the end (of things)
too quickly and am nervous
that they will die
before I do
and I'll
have to fix them.

our poets contained
on plastic circles that sell;
a faith
in shadows
and sunglasses; a look
towards the sheeted mirror.
even a river has a tendency to turn
on itself; a damp
drizzly november bordering
an arizona dryness
and you, trying to fuck
with the souls' thermostat.

"Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow"...

an army of gerontions
in patchwork denims hugging
what history has left blank.
and memory fondling
subtle confusions; a staged
decadence cascading
crystal light on washed-out dungerees; premeditative
wear; an exercise
in delineation. our fears
left us anesthetized, our courage
bottled-up or shot-up;
are not you;
are the dying parts
of me; die
already, won't you die
for me? (I'm you kid, you're supposed to do anything for me)
(you did in my dreams)--a generation
slain in slumber.

ass, John, that's it,
isn't it? ass, ya know,
comfort, mama,
ya know, c'mon
ya know.

Hey Thomas,
imagination killeth,
not just letters.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1978

Saturday, June 6, 2009


1977, 250 lb. weightlifting nazi, kills 6 today,
including himself, (why not?) 4 heads
get blown off in indiana, wig
also gets blown off but not head,
(vanity stays intact.) a man
is made to eat a shotgun in cincy,
(the shotgun gets tricked.) a child
greets life in brooklyn by getting raped,
beaten, and thrown off a roof,
(what else is new?)
and I
didn't receive one goddamn card today,
not one,
either they are getting smart,
or my mailman is jealous.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1977

Friday, June 5, 2009


it is 12:37 p.m.
on a hot friday.
I will get up at 1.
I don't know,
except that exactness
always obsessed me.
usually you can find me
with one cigarette
and one match;
one friend
or none;
one love
or absence. only
the complexity of my miserable
but beautiful soul
beneath the sweated sheets
the time
I've given it.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1978

Thursday, June 4, 2009


for Chris Mooney

I am lucky
to sometimes see,
to sometimes taste
sweet syrupy honey
in the folds
of a spoon;
flesh or steel
matters less
and less.
I am young enough
not to be completely
hammered in. There’s that blow
between rounds. And
they can’t stop it.
My manager died,
I’ve made them
my trainers. My opponent
is kicking my ass
around the ring. I wink
at the part of him
that’s covered by stunning silk;
a right whooshes past
like underground train suction;
punches have a cauliflower sound.
I am not there.
I’m with a woman
who likes her men beaten
a little
around the edges, just a bit
spent. I’m ranked always,
but never dangerous
they figure. I never win
or lose officially; each fight
carried over. I fight
from a sense of defeat.
For some reason
they have always given me
the biggest and meanest
to try and teach me
there’s a poem I’ve been meanin’
to write, I say
in the clinches.
A poem, a poem,
you freak, a goddamn
poem you fuckhead shithead
freak cocksucker creep
I’m gonna rip your fuckin’ heart out;
I’m gonna make you pee blood,
that ain’t bad,
I’m gonna put that in;
like the rhythm; yeah,
that’s a good one.

The eye a slit
puffed with economics
and dumb stupid idiotic
mind-numbing jobs; jobs,
that are all, finally
dumb. Swollen, no matter
what you do, with wars
of marsh rats. Tigers
sold on forty-deuce glowing
with the urgency of Christ
killing off the right ones always
the right ones; a plan
so intricate we can’t see it,
they say. They had
too much time to themselves
to steal and secure; that part
is over. Slugs,
without lust, without song,
without fever; as loving as cancer
and not as good.

My eye is diseased, swollen
but never shut. And I
love it. I love it
when I slip it past em,
when I do it anyway.
He did hurt me,
especially in the 21st., 22nd.,
and 23rd. round.
I got some licks in
in the 24th. And am
still here in my own dark wood 30th.
He can’t understand why
the 31st. don’t mean shit
to me. He tries harder
for the big toe tag. From
the floor, swinging
for the bleachers; a tape measure
job. Hell,
I have always loved to fight someone
who telegraphs his shots.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1978

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


hairy armpits, small
breasts, catholic
nipples, a thick

we made it
somewhere around
6 a.m.,
moist, dark, drunk--
a reconciliation
of sorts.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1978

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


my balls ache.
after 6 months
the sac drops
into the mouth
of memories. Ah,
what the Hell...
a hot bath, some
scotch and music
to soothe
the hunchbacked day.
I look at it
and place my hand
around the smooth
wet flesh, not quite
believing it attached;
not quite understanding
who it is
owns it.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1977

Monday, June 1, 2009


for Ruth, Jackson's last whore

roaches in the cat box--
no cat--bathroom tiles
etched with pubic hairs
closer to my face
than where the owner slept
I was hoping
that the elimination
of my wastes
would take longer--
I had nothing much
to do that day
--but the espresso,
heat, and a strange bed
fired it out
like piss.

there I was, 14th Street,
noon, blazing sun,
not a tree for miles
looking for air-
conditioning and American

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 1978