LEWIS WARSH


Lewis Warsh is the author of over thirty volumes of poetry, fiction and autobiography,
including Alien Abduction (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015), where "Stigmata" was first
presented. He was co-founder, with Bernadette Mayer, of United Artists Magazine and
Books. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York
State Council of the Arts, The Poet's Foundation and The Fund for Poetry. He has taught
at Naropa University, The Poetry Project, SUNY Albany and Long Island University
(Brooklyn) where he was director of the MFA program in creative writing (2007-2013)
and where he currently teaches.






Stigmata

The man downstairs warns us about the bedbugs in his apartment
and the next day I have big bumps on my arms

There are bugs in the soup among other places

It's no coincidence that Gregor Samsa turned into a bug

Joy and sadness are like sweet and bitter food

The places you visited don't exist when you're not there

The world is a forest filled with wild beasts and poisonous insects

The anesthesia is just wearing off and a nurse is sitting at my
bedside

Maybe when I'm old and blind you can read to me before I fall
asleep

You were sleeping here a moment ago and now you're gone

This is what used to be known as the meatpacking district

It's not a problem (for me) if you want to burn everything you've
written

I put some cortisone on my bites to relieve the itching

The hair stylist on the ground floor claims that the birds on the
windowsill attract rats

I had the sense that someone was following me so I turned the corner

There's the theory that only the beginning and the end are important

I skipped a few pages to find out what happens at the end

You may read a short summary of the book before you begin

I tried to throw the ball through the hoop, but it went astray

"The self-acknowledged suffering of the disintoxicated is the
subject of the book"

Every word is a verb: to do, to be, to seem

The words are in italics because I'm saying them

My so-called doppelgänger is not my friend

It's a long way down from the roof to the street

Waiting on line at the bank we are simply nobodies

I run out into the snow / but there's nowhere to go

My head is no longer part of my body

When I first started wearing glasses, people called me "Owl"

When I walked down the street people shouted "Hoot! Hoot!"

One word from you and my thoughts begin spiraling

It's hard to know what to do next until you're doing it

My private parts are glowing in the dark

There was a buzz in the audience at the sound of her name, but
after her performance people looked downcast and filled with
despair, as if the propensity to feel anything had vanished
forever in her presence

It feels like there's a nail sticking into the bottom of my foot

Darkness commensurate with discomfort—this style of writing

Self-discipline is necessary if you want to forget something

There's a struggle, never ending, between clinging to something
and letting go

A stream of water flowed out of my head

You can walk down Gun Hill Road in the Bronx and be anywhere

You can stand at the intersection of Gun Hill Road and
Eastchester Road and remember the past

I can see the light of a taxi in the distance, coming through the
snow to take me home

You can walk down Lydig Avenue in the Bronx and remember
your childhood

I cursed at the doctor who wanted to give me a shot

In those days, when you were sick, the doctor visited you in your
apartment

There's the intersection where I waited for a bus—it's after midnight

Once I took speech lessons to correct my lisp

It's time to leave the party but I can't find my coat

I omitted the sentence you asked me to erase without fear of rain

Long shot of an empty downtown street—coffin-like, unreadable

"We're walking on sunshine—ooh, ooh"

Side effects might include drowsiness or diarrhea

It's important to clean the sink before going to sleep

Sometimes the bugs come out when you're sleeping

The sky is overwhelming but so is the vastness of the sea

We buy a magnifying glass so we can identify the bodies of the
dead bugs

The dead bugs leave a trail of blood along the sheets

It's hard to touch someone who isn't here

Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received

The dermatologist touches the welts on my skin

The ferry is late and we won't be home



Back to Front.