Lewis Warsh




Before you were born
poets subscribed to light

& later I saw the same
light come up over the street

where lovers cross
over to where the light
stops & starts

the light of conviction
in a stranger's eyes

an unfamiliar voice
on the other end of the line

It sounds like someone died, Bernadette says


Not a person, but a depression:
is there a difference? My friends
are my raiments & claim insistence
for my health, which (according
to Plato, not her or him) some toxic
substance endears me to write

So I'll sing not of what love means
but getting older only seems like
love if two people meet on the
other side

As if someone died, & in my desire
disappeared, swallowed up (alive)
for the sake of conviction--it's
always more convenient to die & return
to life, to accept the limits of
resistance (undefined)--& delete

erase her name, as if 'from my life'--
a spark of life went out
before its time


I thought I was burned out but I kept
on dreaming. Something revived inside me
that had already died. In my chest still
breathing passed out of my life, like the day
we heard Ted died & fucked all
night. It was the only way we could feel
alive, & keep on breathing, a wedge
between living & dying & eventually we died--
passing to the other side so we could
be with him.


I had a plan, more like an overview,
& see what happened. I'd love everybody
at the same time & if they didn't
like it--I'd see who was strong enough,
who was still left standing--

Ping, pounding her chest, says: you have to think
of yourself, also--

As if to remind me what I knew was
true--the baby on the bed, the song

about 'hope' that turned into

I had a plan to plagiarize (as if
there was no tomorrow) what others had
said about love's insistence, but I
knew I had the field to myself--the
disparity between what others felt
& their resistance to thinking

what was left in the mind could make
it true



according to
one approach,
by way
of the underpass

the exit ramp
the excavated
site diminishes.

a newsreel
in a film, what's
real for a minute,

did you say
of everyone I
recognize you
from a distance.

which are alien.


We were cutting the cloth
into equal pieces when her earring fell
into the street below.


A god (Eros) falls in
love with a maiden
who personifies the soul

I like the sky (blue) over
the ocean
                         I'm not happy

Vast quantities of
strength--hidden--to draw on
when necessary

walls of cells covered
with paintings of
people suffering

I date everything from that
moment as if I had died
& returned to life

This is the place where
snakes come to die
when they grow old

all forms of necessity
dominate the will's

I learned how to kiss in the grass
behind the house

a long walk home--along the shoreline
in the dark

sinking, sinking deeper,
sinking in


Some of the more conservative types
feel that the current gun law should be
repealed while others favor selling guns
on the street. It's cheaper that way, for
starters, & no one knows your name.


We could spend our holidays
cutting pictures of models
from magazines

pretending we looked good
in shorts
when our legs were flabby

Some mornings
we'd wake up late
& count who was a man
or a woman by what they said
or did,

not as if they looked like
an imprint, but barely human


Radiant, as leaves move
enraptured by arrogance.

As if one of us had manipulated
what the other had said

without sick pay or compensation.
As if one, & then the other,

had repeated the same words--backwards.


How pensive is the simplicty
of her eyes. All her movements
were "full of expression" &
"of charming simplicity." There
were "modest graces" as well,
like an angel by Rhapael.
Not to mention voluptuousness--
"languourous gestures" etc.


Reconstruct the soul's breath & watch
the words fly out of the top of your
head. If you reconstruct the word you'll
find out who you are. Take the syllable
as heartbeat (systole/diastole) & press
your ear to the pavement. There's a siren
in the distance & it's coming your way.