The Packards

By Lewis Warsh b. 1944 Lewis Warsh
The heretic’s papers were spread out on the armchair
At the window, fruit of
you can bite again
against the weather
weapons I let fall outside
pharmacies, drowsy and bright
Air comes to the confused bends in the rail where
in a mirror lush food puts you
out for 1 night. Then it is the weather
at noon that prepares to spring on you
in December, a month ago
blowing the lights out with a sob
On long walks
a poorly tuned radio
in my world     my  head
with a star attached
swims back
Useless—it was the wrong tree
but the flag in the school
breeze scans the men and women on my sleeve
A . . . turned her head towards the open window
of the shop. The voice was low.
It did not sound like a man’s voice.
Eighteen trees starting from the end
of the block
outside the pharmacy, with beards today
to the subway, station, steps
of a land-post
“screen my heart”
Under the dog’s neck
When the radio went on. Doctor
He moved his face away to
The pines, a deep thought.
The trees, for a few seconds they were
Real to him, his ears stopped
The river where no life could touch him.
He pressed his ear against the cold
Shrill whine. Dusty legs
Wondered why they had sent him
To this place, they feared the cobwebs
Were swaying on the unique bed.
Mown grass has the peppery smell
Of being crowded together on
This bed, and a feeling of dark apprehension
Came over him. I watch a horse
Gather speed, look at a movie
With you. Your words are the grime
On the sidestreet, down towards the river,
Yellow in the cold glare of floodlights
In the yard. In the middle of the line
I repeated your instructions,
I puzzled with a stranger does to you
In a dream. Chunks
Of meat are marked
Cars following me as a thought follows
Us from the motel. Father
Has read these latinized titles
Aloud, but failed
And gave place to some smooth yellowish substance,
Checked by no one as he rubbed the sponge-
Like doll. It had some hair
But its legs did not tempt me,
The sponginess gave place to the tubes themselves.
Colleagues efficiently solve an aggressive
Blank to be expected as we sat at the breakfast
Table near the door. A tree blocked
Her hair spread and fell over the wheel.
But the living room shows its trimming of thick straw—
The bad mechanic sets the bread on the white cloth

Lewis Warsh, "The Packards" from Dreaming as One, published by Corinth Books. Copyright © 1971 by Lewis Warsh. Reprinted by permission of Lewis Warsh.

Source: Dreaming As One (Corinth Books, 1971)

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Poet Lewis Warsh b. 1944

Subjects Living, Coming of Age, Life Choices, The Body, The Mind, Relationships, Home Life, Activities, Jobs & Working


One of the principal members of the second generation of the New York School poets, Lewis Warsh’s long career has spanned the experimental writing movement on both coasts and produced a wealth of poems, novels, commentaries, translations, and art works. Born in the Bronx, New York, Warsh attended the City College of New York, where he earned both his BA and MA in English. Warsh started writing poetry and fiction as a teenager . . .

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Poems by Lewis Warsh

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SUBJECT Living, Coming of Age, Life Choices, The Body, The Mind, Relationships, Home Life, Activities, Jobs & Working

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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