Saturday, March 31, 2012


There were Ann', Anne', and Anna,
Amy', Barbara', and Core, a few Diane',
and more than a few Denise', Elizabeth
or Liz, Lizzie, or Betty,
Kat and Kitty;
there were too many Sue' and Suzie' to count,
and one memorable Suzanne; a barmaid Amber
in a strip joint on Sixth Ave and a rogue Arriana
who claimed to be a Russian Count's daughter
on the lam; a Ms. Nunez in Madrid and a Ms. Marquez
in a hospital room in the South Bronx;
a few Ruth', Maria',
Judi, Judy', Jo, and Jane'.
There was a Lorraine, a Lenore, a Danielle and Victoria,
Hettie and Maize.
Most of the others are lost
in a memory that is getting to be
a loosely strung sieve
although they come back
when least expected.
Most of them,
especially the lost ones,
were jousts
and nightly conquests;
nothing more
than a test
of my insecurities.
I was certainly
no bargain
the way I lied,
talked bullshit
or humored my way
to the finish line.
Who, but an idiot,
keeps score?

Yet each name,
with time,
became baby or doll
or a special shortcut
to intimacy;
each visage,
became a snapshot--
some with captions.
Some, even, became
a wonderful poem,
funny, brutal, filled with life
and sometimes love
for days and weeks, months,
and a few time, years.
The ones that were the best
was when the heat of fucking ended
and an easy observation began:
I liked to watch them bathe
and dress without
male intrusion; the ease they have
with their bodies, the application
of notions and lotions and perfume
and hosiery. The loveliness of vanity
when only you are around.

I know I offered each of them
something, but what that was
is hard to know.
I do believe that none of them
were bored although
I've wasted some of their time--
a terrible price to pay, I know.
I'll probably be going to Hell,
if that's any consolation.
Some, I know,
I'll see there and maybe
take up with them again
and see what happens
next time.
Hell, maybe
I've gotten

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I got it bad,
she said.
How bad?
I asked.
Real bad,
in my bones bad,
she replied.
What can I do?
I inquired.
You can treat me
just a shade short of mean...
come over,
like you used to,
fuck me when you want,
and leave;
tell me you'll call...
have me wait,
you know--
be yourself.
I don't know
if I can still do that,
I said.
she replied, just for a little while,
she continued, I really got it bad
from this last one,
bad, bad, bad;
he shoulda been named Columbus
for all that new found pain he discovered
inside me...and you?
you were bad,
but never that bad,
and I need a little tapering;
I need to ease off him
How long do you think
this will take?
I asked. (I felt like a whore,
but a good one.)
Don't know,
she replied,
but I gotta get the taste
of him out my mouth--a month
or two
should do it,
but ya never know
with that kinda love;
that kind of love is tricky:
it tickles
while it hurts
in those places
where unknown pleasures hide,
ya know
what I mean?

How does seven sound?

Sounds like a plan,
she said.

I knew I wouldn't make it
until eight-thirty or nine.
I hung-up
and grinned.
In all this time
I'd not forgotten

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Rare is the person
who utilizes it;
and even rarer
is the person
who profits by it.
we bludgeon it,
piss on it,
strangle it,
avoid it,
plunder it,
tear it, rip it,
shit on it,
spit on it,
sit on it,
eat it
when full or
for no good reason
at all.
We bruise it,
break it,
bloody it,
staining ourselves
and the cunt of the earth
that bore us.

At first, we thought
it was just a "filling in;"
a way of getting
from place to place
with something, anything,
to do. We humans need
filler to dam up
the madness
of emptiness
unlike the snails
and the slugs,
the whales and the bugs,
the flowers stretching
and trees widening
without knowing why.

Time was a different enemy then--
then it was something to be defeated--
until I ate, or got laid, or drunk, or high,
or something that changed who I was
or thought I was--
until something happened
that coated the misery
or the fear
or the monotony.
It was there
before the food was in front of me,
while the connection showed up,
before the picture show started,
or a job appeared.
I was bold then,
I thought I could fuck with it,
bend it,
meld it,
twist it,
tame it,
make it
do my bidding.
I was so smart,
such a rogue.
The drink helped,
the drugs helped,
the women,
young and old
helped. The writing helped
most of all. It gave me
hope and lessened
the terror. What they
gave me was the ability
to mug a minute or two;
to find the magic
in the flesh of a poem,
in a wet bottle
of beer or the depths
of a shot glass;
the surge of dope
inside your stomach
and heated shoulders and neck
licking the memories clean.
Those pockets of miracles
when a woman knows
your stupidities
and laughs at them, when her ankles lock
and brings you into the stretch
and you both ride
as if on fire allowing everything else
to burn.
I didn't realize then
how rare feeling alive
while not being part of this world was
and how patient time is;
how it held
all the cards; how that kind of obedience
can cost you days and weeks and months
and years. How one day
you look
and look
again, sucking in your tongue,
nodding your head, a bit bewildered, looking
for the lost years,
sometimes decades,
and if you're not careful
you think you can make
those decades up
killing more time.

But I can't kick:
I was a poor bet
to make it
much past forty,
growing up how I did,
with the diseases I have,
and being a heat seeking missile
of pleasure and self-destruction,
but I did.
I would boast about it--
as if I had something to do with it--
but not now;
now I know I was just an animal
either doing or being done.

The end for me will come sooner
rather than later
while I still look
for those minutes, those pockets.
Most of my time is still
mind numbing, frustrating,
even painful, yet I'm still lucky:
the music still plays
and the words still dance
now across a screen
instead of paper. They are tigers playing
with each other.
And me? I'm no heavyweight champ,
but I'm a good club fighter:
I'lI never lie down,
and more often than not,
no matter who the fuck I'm fighting,
go the distance and maybe,
just maybe, win;
and maybe win
more often than lose,
when the scorecards get tallied
after the last bell sounds.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012


you gotta let it
come out
all at once.
you clean it up
as best you can
to make sure
you don't stink
too much.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2012


I've lived in Greenwich Village
in the same pad--as big
as a postage stamp--
for thirty-eight years now.
I had "fools luck"
falling into this one:
rent stabilized.
A beautiful, tree-lined street,
scaled for humans,
off 5th Avenue where NYU's tentacles
keeps it clean and safe
for those little tykes
living on daddy's dime.
You hardly ever hear
of a kid thrown against a wall
or a stray bullet
going where it shouldn't.
The minorities that pass through
are most often going to class
or selling reefer in the parks.

In the early sixties
after I'd sucked all I could
out of the poolrooms
and bowling alleys
I cut high school and come here.
And even though it's best days
were over, there still was a faint whiff
in the air, in the bookshops
that held broadsides and mimeo rags,
and record stores that played
the classical long hairs, death operas,
be-boppers and avant-garde hipsters
and the old and young eccentrics who sold the stuff
and who seemed to know
much more than I did,
but kept it quiet
unless asked.
Most of them
have either died
or been run off
by capitalism's geometry,
perfect in its greed
and knowledge of space
and real estate.
This part of the city lives
now as all others do:
on myth and nostalgia's commerce.
The apartments change bodies
as quickly as semesters
as the monthly swag rises.
I know no one
in my brownstone--five floors
of coffin shaped studios--
and no one knows me--
except as a kind of calendar
telling them
what time it was.

A few years ago
a five floor brownstone was bought
by the owner of a hedge fund who,
rumor had it, paid five million
and change. Rumor also had it
he was sinking seventeen million more
into "refurbishing" the structure.
Can you believe, he's building an indoor pool,
a rock garden, spa, steam rooms...My God...
went the whispers from my neighbors
above the age of forty
loud enough to make a contented god
jealous. It was too rich
for this block to contemplate. Hell,
Dylan Thomas drank here
and died a few blocks away;
Delmore Schwartz dreamt here;
Melville and Twain wore down their boots here;
Pollock and deKooning had fist-fights around the corner
while Rothko contemplated colors and suicide
and Klein thought of the black and white firmament here.
Even Eleanor Roosevelt
put on her brassiere across the street
and thought about saving the world,
her husband's infidelity
and pussy.
My neighbors though were not here
to discuss old masterpieces;
and Eleanor's tits had long ago sagged; our new neighbor
was creating a new masterpiece for the ages:
an indoor pool.
Two years later
he and his family
were ready
to dive.

Spring has been weird
this year
on the east coast: mild,
even warm. I went out
to breathe in the freshness
and smelled dog shit instead.
What the hell, lemme go across the street,
sit on a stoop, have a smoke and then run my errands.
I saw groups of young folks
walking past with green nylon wigs, big stove-pipe hats,
green t-shirts, shorts, knee socks, shamrocks, sipping
beer from cardboard containers or bottles:
St. Patrick's Day makes idiots
out of idiots who love any excuse
to take their idiocy for walk
and make it public. Soon, I knew,
you'd have to sidestep their puke
to make it back home.
The hedge fund owner was sitting
on the next stoop, one kid dangling
from his ankle and another tot
a few steps above holding on
for dear life the hem
of his mother's running shorts.
The hedge fund owner looked
out of it, somewhat dejected, staring straight out
to where Eleanor used to get dressed.
I knew that look.
It was the look you get
between battles. It's the long stare.
It's shell shock. You don't believe
you can go on,
but you know you will,
you have to.
I need some down time, she said.
And me?, he replied, barely above a whisper, what about me?
Raising children is no picnic,
she said in perfect english.
He tried to swivel his head up
to meet her eyes,
but he knew in his heart
he was fucked. But that's why, he began, you have help,
goddamnit--a nanny, a cook, cleaning girl.
You're out all week. They're yours today.
The kids grip tightened with each syllable.
Jesus, Cath, I need a run, he began...
Not today--you need a run today? run the kids to the park;
I've got to get dressed. Take her.
She gripped her daughter's hand and brought her down
to where he sat, staring out
once again,

The whole scene
played out in two minutes,
but would be replayed constantly
for years to come
until it played itself out
one way or another.
The hedge fund owner
will be happy
to get to work Monday
and take it out
on nameless, faceless people
and make even more money.
The poor have it
no differently
in the love game,
but being poor
kill less souls.
Scramble two.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2012