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09. Featuring: Mario Susko

+ 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


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 -


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:


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.


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................