Friday, September 26, 2014


golden honey
as it drips
like love's blood
to where
the animals
carrying fluids
& fauna
to wild forests
& beasts.
How often
fires flame
on how much
inflammable juice
in your veins,
& the shimmy
of your soul.

I can hear
my father

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


than Jeter?
we'd ask
each other
from '95
through '02
and smile
at each other
because no athlete
had it better
through those
championship years
here in NYC.
We watched as he took two
& hit to right, run-out
every contact, steal, squeeze,
dance & pirouette at short,
turn two with the old man, Luis,
homer when he had to,
and take one
for the team
there was no other way.
Skills, looks, acclaim
& the money that only The Yankees
can lavish on a player and only
this crazy city can supply.
It gave us some fun
in an otherwise
life; the only reason
these gods
get paid
like gods.

We'd not spoken
for nearly ten years
until tonight,
his last night,
at "The Stadium,"
the summer cathedral
of myths,
and she called
& posed
the same
who has it better?

I've regretted
many things
in my life
but knowing her
was never one of them
and it was good to hear
she feels the same
about me.
It was worth the wait.

The rest of what we talked about
is really
none of your business.
Isn't it better
that way?

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


are for pleasure,
she said,
the key
is for pain.
What light there is
comes between
the bars.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014


has welcomed
the souls of the lost
and found
for a hundred years.
On MacDougal
in the West Village
it looks the same
as when I chanced upon
it in the early sixties:
Italian European, small,
serving coffee, black
or brown & little pastries,
to radicals, tourists,
reds, writers, philosophers,
ex-anything, poor, rich,
confused, without question,
intrusion or concern.
You can still sneak
a smoke
every once in awhile
and they will pretend
they haven't noticed.

On this Sunday,
full of laziness,
I walked through Washington Square
and over; thankfully
it was not too busy.
I ordered espresso
& a piece of Italian cheesecake,
and took out
my Celine--
and thought of Roi
reading his Heidegger
sixty years ago.
I've got plenty
of pretensions
to last a lifetime
but that
is not
one of them.

Pretty single ladies
sat at tables,
turning the pages
of paper books;
sugar cubes
on the tables.
There was a time
I'd get invited
into their one room flats
& later into their well appointed
bodies. This time,
however, the snack
worked better
with my life
than they would; I still have time
to find their soft spots
if it ever comes
to that.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014


was having a Grand Opening
directly opposite my pad.
They were trying to attract
suckers from the other banks
in the neighborhood by giving away
pens, keychains, assholes,
dixie cups of coffee, bite-size muffins,
charred pretzels and other processed nibbles.
Neighborhood putzes blinded
by their colors of stark green & white
milled about among as many managers
as were wanderers; you might think
they were discounting money, but,
of course, they weren't.
Their staff of eight dollar an hour
workers worked the street.

One other thing they were giving away:
in a city
that's one long siren
to begin with.
It began vibrating
my apartment at nine-thirty
in the morning; a blast
of reggae
coming from speakers
opposite my bedroom
and shouts
from the only people
awake enough to hear:
those working
for the bank.
At noon I went down
& walked across the street
to some men in dark-colored suits,
white shirts, striped ties,
gleaming black shoes.
I approached two of em:
you work for this entity? I asked.
Proudly, the Canadians answered, "Yes, we do."
(I knew they were Canadians because they looked polite
and fucked-up their "O's" and wore, aside from the uniform,
banking smiles).
You know who Bob Marley was? Yellowman? The Wailers?
They looked at each other. Confused. Losing their smiles.
They wanted to burn you cocksuckers down,
and they should have, I told them.

They looked toward some burly black men
they'd hired for security--not Canadian.
All their eyes
never left
my back
as I retraced
my steps
to look
for my Saturday
as well.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014


you sly old
He'd be 95
though always
going on 15.
I sound like him,
look like him and,
if the truth be known,
wanted to, and acted like,
I was him
no matter
how far
I wanted to get away
from him,
but never did.
He'll be happy
to know how strong
his genes were
while his presence
was even larger,
not to mention

People knew me
by my voice &
my looks: twins,
they said,
we could
have been.
I had the same love
of women, fast cars
& music
as he did;
loved to laugh
in those dark spaces;
manipulative, selfish,
naive and stupid. I got
his fears, too; his blind
spots and gravitated
to a love
of symbols, fools

I speak to those ninety
year olds now who fought
Hitler & Tojo
on Normandy and the Pacific.
I hear about the Philippines,
Okinawa, and Scofield barracks,
and hear once again
how he bluffed
the other gamblers
out of thousands
in 5 card poker games.
I was the only one
among my peers
who wanted to serve
but couldn't
and pretended
I was lucky.

I only remember
him fighting fat
all his life:
grapefruit diets,
booze diets,
Pritikin, Weight Watchers,
Over Eaters Anonymous,
where he told me
he did the 12 Steps
in a week and a half
and now had "sponsees;"
The Duke fat farm
who threw him out
for smuggling ice cream
through open windows
at night,
or tearing I.V.'s
from his arm because
his store needed to be opened
the next morning
for a family who,
he thought,
needed him
more than what
was good
for them.

I stand here now
wearing my ol' man's watch,
much too big
for my wrist, waiting
to die.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014


is down
in Clearwater.
I've not heard
from her
in a few weeks
and was worried.
she surfaced.
She was busy
as anyone would be
starting what they think,
and might be,
a new life:
getting her kid
in school,
and fixing up
a crib
so they can
have a home
for the first time
in years.
She knows
that soon
the rains will come,
even a hurricane
or two
or three
to fuck-up our best
plans, even dreams
we've had
from the time
we were old
enough to know
what dreams

But beginnings,
no matter how exciting
always levels
out; we can't outrun
our own foxes.
But so the fuck what?
As long as we keep
ourselves in the game
we have a chance
maybe not much
of a chance
but we can't ask
for more.

I take some comfort
in knowing
I've done my part
in getting her out
and up; I gave her
a cigarette
when she really
needed one.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014


in AC
was damp,
a slate-gray sky
and bluish black waves
with a cockscomb of white foam
leaving the sand with a froth.
We sat,
as we had
forty years ago
when everything
was in front
of us.
The failures & madness
and a suicide world
filled with regrets
sat behind us
& greedy still.
It felt good
to shiver
with all those lives
in the

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Saturday, September 6, 2014


The Betty Poems

the oldest
& most effective
anti-psychotic agent
for shiczophrenia,
bi-polar disease,
might help;
where they literally
take out the brain
& wash it,
might help;
I doubt it,
but it might.
But I hope
you never get it;
I hope you get
yours...and you will.
is just too insidious
a disease for that not
to happen--eyes, kidneys,
brain are subject
to complications. But that's
too easy: bone cancer, maybe,
hemorrhoids would be poetic;
that let's you know
it's there & you're there.
I've loved you too much
not to hate you a little now--
more than a little.
Even though you'd warned me:
that picture of you detoxing
should have been enough
to scare me off; your maniacal paranoia
in finding instances of all the women
I've fucked should have suggested a
fevered and unsettled mind at work; your drinking,
hiding under the covers, lack of friends,
your divorce from an ex who was always an ex
and getting a look at his emails,
should have done it--
but nothing did. I'm nuts, too. Too far gone
with what I thought was love and maybe
it was. When somebody tells you
that they don't deserve you
they're usually telling the truth.
But I sure tried to dispel & dissuade
your feelings of being a piece of shit,
got you up and out of bed and out your house
and working again... but
you are a piece of shit (I've never said that
so directly to anyone before). You're just
a bundle of misery, darkness, and so every time a kind of love
comes your way you have to regurgitate it--it's your hedge
against more hurt, more love, more disappointment--
just like the food you once deposited in bathroom stalls.

Canadian you are, bourgeois you are--
working in banks, writing speeches & dumb little articles
so that the rich get fatter and you can hire
dog walkers and think, while hating them
you're not them, but you are. Try to enjoy
it, my dear.
It's all
you have.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


I don't remember the class,
nor the subject,
nor the teacher,
but I do remember the boredom.
I remember reading something...
a short story,
a poem,
a novel,
but I do remember the line:
"we are what we're least afraid to be."
It stopped me.
It resonated.
I read it a few times
and obviously
committed it to memory.
I was not a good student.
Easily bored,
distracted, ashamed
of my awkwardness
and inability to fit
I had a brashness
a bravado
to try and balance
the scales,
but I knew
deep down
just what a jerk-off
I was.
I knew I could not make it
in the straight world,
normality was not "my thing"
and so cultivated any
and everything that took me
outside it: gambling,
unprotected sex, brown paper bag
drinking, reefer, and finally
dope. I was a "traditionalist."
Drinking without ice, without
chasers; women with no particular
discernment; dope that needed
to be shot.
I managed to survive:
good women, mostly.
And somehow
I grew-up
and realized
just how true
that high school line
was and is.
There are those
hiding under a guise
of isolation,
more afraid to be loved
and less afraid to be rancid;
those who wonder
what those outside lines
mean and what it is
to cross them;
I am more afraid to live
and less afraid to write
about living; and those
who live with quiet urgency
and keep their desires
loud inside them.

I still have needs
that need to be met;
I need to be told
that surgeons
do not need scalpels
to make you well
and whole
I am not abstract;
I am a straight line
that grew-up
crookedly; I've made
with a will,
not my own,
better, something
that loves me.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2014