Tuesday, December 24, 2019


Ft. Knox
was easier to heist
than was my mother's passion.
Her cunt defied
global warming,
& her heart was tighter
than a frog's ass--
and that's waterproof!
She was so cold
that at the dinner table,
(if & when she made dinner),
we wore gloves.

You might be thinking
this is a strange poem
to be writing Christmas Eve--
on any "Eve" for that matter.
But to those,
who've never been in a madhouse,
or behind a wire
in a police cruiser or lock-up,
or who've stood on a line
hoping to be medicated,
or a cop-line
hoping to be medicated,
or in a hospital bed
hoping to be medicated,
to those & for those
I reply:
good luck to you
& may the bordom
be kept at bay
from the wolves
that at midnight howl
& prance
under a blood red moon.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2019

Sunday, December 22, 2019


'Tis another season
of bullshit
is upon us.
In that joyful spirit
lemme say up front:
This season
I want to get
more than I want to give;
I want to have
more than have not.
I feel like sitting on my ass
& shoot Santa in the balls
as he tumbles down my chimney
from the trip wire I set, and laugh
at his sooted face
from all the carbon.
Today, though, Santa
doesn't have to do shit--
Amazon will gladly bury you
in inertia & debt.
I'm of the age
where most of my lovers have died
of boredom,
or are imprisoned
in their very special & deserved hells--
thank you very much.

if I'm being honest,
I miss those heavens...
& those hells.
In fact,
I find myself
wanting to be Italian.
I want to be wrapped
in Grandma's lasagna,
swimming in escarole,
shrimp scampi, pasta this,
basta that. Uncle Tony
sending deft farts
into mouths paralyzed with laughter.
I want to be hugged-up, wanted,
not because I'm me,
but because I'm part of them.
it's true:
I'm a wandering Jew,
& I'll wander into any family
on this day that reeks
from joy
whether they throw matzah balls,
or hamhocks, or all 7 fishes
around the dinner table laughing
or cursing who & where they came from because
what is in their marrow is their essence...
& that essence is love.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2019

Saturday, December 21, 2019


Rivers run
through the cracks on my mirror.
Black spaces between dreams
have been taken hostage
by reality's sideshows.
Once we wore baby powder,
and now we smell from time's stamp.
Not that it hasn't been fun;
playing hide 'n seek with myself
required courage
and the blessing
of stupidity; seeking
what I couldn't see; listening
for that half note
that made sense...
like the foreignness
of my family's dinner table
when I was too young
to understand what war was
let alone how
to negotiate a truce.

Flowers call to the sun,
but I'm no longer a flower.
Instead, I'm the petals falling
"with a dying grace," mocks my awkardness,
and "so softly as to not make a sound,"
rebukes my moans
as I prepare
for what might not be:
a dress rehearsal.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2019

Friday, December 20, 2019


I try to run my food consumption
like a good German runs his railroad:
ON TIME! Not just diabetes
nailed me to the cross,
but Ma & Pa whose world
didn't revolve around the sun,
but around a Lazy Susan.
But tonight, o boy,
tonight I was gonna feast...
Dine... Eat!...Grit-up! GO
I was sick at sticking
to strict diets & marginal fare--
not because of medical dictates,
but because my pockets were bare.
Tonight, they'll be no Heinz
baked beans/salami & eggs,
or Campbells Tomato slop
& Keebler Krackers crunched
on top like fake grated cheese;
and no peanut butter
& bullshit. No, not tonight.

Now, I ain't no fuckin chef,
but I can burn a little;
I can fry shit up
& make it happen
in the cast-iron skillet--
finish it off in the oven;
get that top char happening
& the bloody ooze
from the inside running
into that baked potato
slathered in butter
complemented by fresh
iceberg lettuce hearts,
Jersey tomato wedges
lapping up imported hazelnut
olive oil & Tuscany vinegar
& a hint of Dijon mustard.
O, man, gimme a glass
of Pelligrino with a lemon wedge
& call the undertaker--
I'm ready to go!

My man, Ramon,
cut me a one and half inch aged Ribeye
& I carefully culled the rest.
Exiting, I began to taste the dinner.
I started to salivate; drool
threatened to leak out a side of my mouth;
I made sure to swallow.

I prepared the salad & dressing,
heated the oven to 350 & inserted
one Idaho marvel which,
after 20 minutes took, cut open,
& spooned in an ungodly amount of butter
into its soul
& proceded to heat the skillet.
After dressing the Ribeye,
I flung a few drops of water
on the skillet--they popped,
& hissed; and when I lowered the red slab
of cow into the pan,
it sizzled.
The aroma of exceptional steak hitting
all the right senses.

Three minutes laer
I was sitting at my table,
watching the NBC evening world news with Lester Holt,
about to take a mouthful
of heaven...
when they came
Hemorroids & rectal suppositories,
vaginal itches, penis carbuncles,
COPD & emphysema & breathing tubes,
toothless people talking out of their necks,
rasping gasping for a reason to live,
chair lifts, stair lifts, soul lifts,
menstration pads, piss pads, shit pads,
brain pads...Alzheimers leaking memories
and a thousand yard stare, Parkinsons
shakes, bi-polar, tri-polar, quasi-polar...
diabetes drugs--a new one an hour,
Pepto Bismal, diarrhea, and all manner
of discharges...
or just plain hanging on
by a fucking thread...all tied up
& made pretty by those beautiful & happy victims
by a beautiful red bow
around a Toyota for Christmas
with a Golden Retriever loving you up.
My balls went into a vacuum;
my butter curdled;
my steak stunk;
salad wilted;
Pelligrino flat & foul tasting.

I got off my ass & out.

The old Italian, Stromboli,
had the Yankee game on;
Judge coming to the plate.
Hey, Nick, gimme two slices...
and wait--put some anchovies on em;
make it to stay.
It was only the top
of the fourth
with the Yankees down a run.
All in all
not bad, not bad
at all.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2019

Friday, December 13, 2019


Maybe it starts with a flutter,
a body vibration
in the tips of your fingers
or a ripple behind your neck.
Perhaps it begins with voices
vying for space in a motel
where the No Vacancy neon
has lost a letter or two.
Maybe that's followed
by a craving for stillness;
or maybe there are ghosts
in your morning coffee;
or perhaps there is a silence
of love
and its perils:
your mother's nipple, once,
as big as your thumb,
now receding from view,
the slam of a door
and your lover's footsteps
retreating and getting fainter
as the evening's rush swallows
what you thought was;

or maybe it starts
with some success--
accidental or not
and suddenly you're naked
standing in a forest
of doubt, surrounded
by fear,
a feeling of fraud
corroding the wires
to your heart, disbelief
punching your worth silly;

or perhaps it comes
from nothing, a nowhere day
in November, idle thoughts,
dreamless, stagnant,
until you look, unknowingly,
at a vein
in the crook of your arm
scarred over
from how many times you've traveled down it,
hundreds, maybe thousands of times,
sliding the spike in
like getting into well-worn slippers,
and you remember the ease and the warmth
of the amniotic highway,
suckling, murmuring, nurturing
a life you blessedly know nothing of,
yet know where the key to all things
is hidden.

You now are able to locate the ache
and lean, ever so gently,
into remedies
that can take seconds or years
as your unconscious churns
to fulfil. But no matter--
you have nothing
but time.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2019

Friday, December 6, 2019


For my brother, Bobby: ...as a result of an afternoon conversation, 10/23, where we tripped down the road to Hell, but found a marriage made in heaven...A random fragment of that conversation.

It feels like shit, I said,
if you wanna know the truth:
legs, shot;
lungs, shot;
heart, stoppard by pinpricks of lunacy;
dick, marcescent, safe
as a steel condom
molded to the shaft,
weighing heavy
in the mocking mirror's grotesquery;
a bunghole corked, a runway
stacked-up with cancelled flights
of fancy...my brain, though,
and I'll be a sonofabitch,
still revs past the red line.

What else do you wanna know?

Those are paint chip stalacites;
when I'm working, getting this shit down,
they threaten to behead me,
forcing that ground control asshole
to get the flights out
before this soul crushing ennui
denies my reprieve: fucking
with words.
Because that, my brother,
has been the one thing that works,
that still works,
against the honest vows
spawned from bullshit & bravado.
They've allowed me to look
for angles, for impossible
bank-shots; to see behind
dead ends & rear ends & time bends
& warped trends; they've allowed me to wait
behind lies for easy preys
and rare sightings; they've made sense
of nonsense. They've given me shelter,
a vacation from life, if you will,
from solitary--
And all I had to do
Was wait...and bite
into a Lucky Strike
between pursed lips
for the next good word,
for the next good line.

ain't it?

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2019

Thursday, December 5, 2019


is my barber now,
though he'd cringe
at that blasphemous label;
a "barber" is an "Anthony,"
or "Tony," or "Mr. Tony,"
a "John," or "Pete," who
for a buck and a quarter,
took an electric shaver,
dull pair of scissors
and comb and worked his way
through the overgrown landscape
of your skull. You sat upright,
staring into the mirror watching
your locks fall to the floor
joining the graveyard of colors there already.
Afterwards, he slapped
some Witch Hazel on your neck, raw
from the shaver's red & rusted use,
threw some baby powder around, &,
if needed, pomade on what remained
of your scalp. There was always a sign
in their shop: If You Leave,
You Lose Your Place. Nobody
moved a muscle, ever.

Gerardo is my "stylist." And Gerardo
is beautiful: slender as a reed,
Peruvian, young, gay, musical.
Dancing with a pair of scissors,
wearing a chiffon skirt
above tight black jeans,
he's a delicate filigree weaving
his way, snipping here, measuring
there, balancing as he moves
his hands to the rhythms inside
his skin & my cranium, in his silk black shirt,
eyeliner, rouged cheeks, wearing
a rakish fedora tilted rogue
with mystery and menace
on top of his head.

From what is my slumped
& slouched posture, I love
to watch him work: a gunslinger
with silver scissors
bringing a spent soul
back to recognition.
You know, he says to me,
you look better
than last time.
You're full of shit, I reply.
No, no, you do, I mean it.
Gerardo takes my hand
& leads me back to a sink
where he shampoos my head
again. His fingers press
upon my skull & neck & shoulders
pressure...which releases pressure
and fifty years of the sublime
& the hideous.

I pay the buck twenty five
to the "hostess," but Gerardo
refuses my tip
each time I offer
to now when it's just a formality.
I would like my hair
to grow faster
while my years
ease up.
But that
is not
how it works,
and how it works
still escapes me.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2019

Tuesday, December 3, 2019


You need a day
like I had today:
and feelin fine;
free from my history
and those dark voices
that whisper & tongue
your inner ear.

Not a wink of sleep
and a few extra pills
for all the pain
real & imagined,
ingrained in a cycle
of anticipation,
did the job
of snatching from the jaws
of gods and demons
billows & breath
as a fog disappeared
into the earth.

There is that space
that waits for you.
Listen for it.
Trust it.
It is the only place
they can't take from you--
and they never could.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2019