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09. Featuring: Mario Susko

A RESPITE

 

all those bodies, sprawled there –

motionless - no hand to swing

suddenly, chasing away a fly’s buzz –

 

mouths open, as if a song is

bursting out, though everyone around

has gone deaf, and the tune

 

is only one’s imagination - as is

that sleep, a dead sleep of the living,

a respite shared with the dead –

 

as the sun, the illusionist of motion,

leaves the eyeless night to flood

the bloodied memory on the sky’s brow

 

and make the steel feel cool

to the touch again, when the shades

on the horizon start to dance with sand

 

clouds, carrying the undulating odor

of burned flesh to penetrate

the nostrils like a reveille -

DEAD END

 

you should have known all along

things are not as they appear,

though once they do they are what they are –

 

sheer luck got you across the open space,

creating the illusion the mind’s eye

was to be parallel to the line of sight:

 

but a straight path, whether there or not,

is just a manifestation, to be negotiated

when one has negotiated with its circumference:

 

you do not see that far, and no compass

could help you circumscribe four cardinal points

of forgiveness from the forgotten intersection –

 

besides, there’s one thing always remains

unanswered, how much one is willing

to remember to survive what one has lost –

 

you’ll move on: that’s what those gone

leave you with, yet you have to perceive

memory’s nothing but an endless dead end road:

 

PROPERTIES

 

I stand on my side

of the street and look

at the building they used

to shoot at me. It’s empty

now, except for the ground

floor converted into a makeshift

warehouse with things that once,

I’m sure, belonged to me.

 

They stand on their side

of the street and look

at my building, where no one

lives except me and, I believe,

their dog that one evening

dragged herself across.

 

She never follows me around

to the front of the building,

yet sleeps on the mattress

at my feet, her legs sometimes

loping spasmodically in a dream.

I wake up with a start,

my aluminum lower leg, shiny

in the moonlight, leaning

against the safest wall of the room.

 

They never look at me, and I

never look at them, though I know

their names, and they, mine.

I have tried, more than once,

to chase that animal back,

convinced they’ll cross over

one night to claim her and me.

Besides, I’ve begun to design

a tunnel under the street to get

there and retrieve my property.

 

But, for the time being, we all exist

in life’s surplus, and come dusk

I go behind the building to sharpen

my spear, a wooden pole women

used to prop their clothesline with;

they go behind their building

to polish their swords. Later,

sitting in a dry grime-streaked tub,

I read my thesaurus, the only book,

tattered, with pages missing, I found

in one of the mold covered boxes

in the half flooded basement,

then drag the mattress, each night,

to a different room, and finally

drop off into a vacuum, hopeful

that she will not betray me,

that the next day I’ll remember

all the synonyms for living.

 

 

VANISHING POINT

 

could you’ve known the supreme infliction

had to be voiceless, a wide-eyed gaze,

almost an expectation, a screen with fun

house faces turned into a flickering shroud

moored in the air, its seams oozing blood

like skin’s after years of wear and tear:

 

could you’ve remembered your dying, how

you waited for someone to come around

with a thread and a needle to sew up

the breath that would take the memory

beyond the reach of resurrected hatred:

 

and could i have been you, your father, or

your son, when they came with a new script,

an invisible calculation, and cut the cords,

seemingly to make us learn to breathe anew –

 

If i had been able to rise and see this

life again lingering still on the tip

of your tongue, i would’ve heard the soul’s

whisper, walked beside you, following myself,

and you following me, free from those who had

 

calibrated our vanishing................

 

                                              point

+ Hannah Inglis + Caitlin Louise + Sharmagne Leland-St. John + Christopher T. George + Colleen Totz    Diamond + alex willie singerman + Linda Benninghoff + Lorette C. Luzajic + Harry R. Wilkens + Jan Oscar Hansen + Brian Blackwell + Jonathan Kelley + James Murphy + David Callin + Paul Tanner +        Adam Fish + M G Egan + Lee Firth + Daniel Adey  + Peter Bowen + david mclean + Jennifer Hunt + A. D. Winans + John Thomson + Geraldine Green + George Thurman + Douglas Mowbray