New Travelogue

I stumbled out of the bushes
to see a deer drink from a pool.
I climbed into the hills above
Berkeley, one step at a time.
I went to Prince Edward Island
where Anne of Green Gables’ face
is on the license plate. A hawk
or a condor flew over our house.

I bought a carton of smokes
at the duty free shop in Anchorage.
Took a seconal in Frankfurt
and woke up in New York.
I bothered my friends with my troubles;
I was never (not) alone. I postponed
pleasure until it was almost gone.

I stared out over the North Sea,
waiting for rain. I wandered
through the red light district in Amsterdam
in the middle of night. I rode on
the back of a motorcycle over a mountain
on Christmas Eve.

I floated on my back in the ocean
at Maui. Stared out the window of
my hotel room over the rooftops of
Florence. Took LSD in Paris and sat
on a bench in the Luxembourg Gardens.
Rented a hotel room in Liverpool
but couldn’t sleep.

I missed my flight from Madrid to Lisbon.
Found an apartment on the Panhandle
and drank tea in Golden Gate Park.
I was caught stealing at Safeway—I could never
return. A Chinese acupuncturist came to
my house when I threw out my back

and couldn’t move. I woke up in an apartment
on 5th Street and listened to the roosters
crow on someone’s roof. I visited her
in her house overlooking the ocean and she
let me in. I put out my hand to touch you,
but the bed was empty.

I wheeled a stroller down an icy New
England street. Waited under a canopy
in the rain, but she never came. I stood
in front of a classroom with paint stains
on my shoes. Called the suicide hotline,
but no one answered.

I dropped everything I was doing
and ran into the street. Drove
a car with faulty transmission until
a fire started under the hood. I ate
Indian food on a balcony in Capetown.
I sang karaoke in a bar in Tibet.

Something I meant to say comes back
to haunt me in my sleep. I turn
the key in the lock and call your
name. Her face appears, out of nowhere,
making a shadow on the page. There’s
only one stone and it weighs a ton.


from Alien Abduction (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015). Copyright © 2015 Lewis Warsh. Used with the permission of the publisher.