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Mario Susko


they said they would come back
to this, but they never came back:

to see: a question without answer is
worse than an answer to no question:

the latter often a more believable
escape option for those betrayed by words:

tactical repositioning of timed visions,
strategic cuts close to the expiration date -


we are bound to live the past as future:
to pretend we forgot it until the time comes

to change the bandages, when the unreadable
smile is replaced by a mute grimace:

a paralyzed thought in the eyes that flicker
like two distant lanterns behind sheets of rain

we keep rubbing the scars: to see:
if that could smooth out the edges of memory -


a balloon with huge letters WELCOME HOME
swoops out of nowhere over the building's roof

into a dead tree, and there, as if embraced
by the ultimate purpose of its flight, it explodes -

the blistering plastic words glued to my face,
I get up, fold my chair, and go inside: to see:

in the enlarged snapshot my lost son
and I still say cheese into the camera -


would this be a way out for me,
if asked what could make me lose
my mind, to say,
                 If I forgot
where I left it,
                 and would that
be comparable with a child's response,
given without hesitation, to a question
what war games might be all about,
                 That's when the dead
can get up and go home -

is the child's flight of imagination
what we later set out to bring down,
hoping that would help us compute
every lift and drag that affects
the mass and its intended target -
                 (a missile consists
of a warhead and..., and warfeet)

as we try to cross the axiomatic divide
building semantic bridges between history
and future, as we strive to convince others,
and ourselves, there are portal memory
frames for cold and warm regions
                 (though we avoid
explaining to a child why the opposite
of cold war is not warm or hot)

we put two and two together bent
on deconstructing children's imagination
to have them construct a world rooted
in the fact-based power of persuasion,
so the answer to the question what brings
war clouds about,
                  A war-dance,
forces them to smile later in life
at their own simple-minded associations -


I see the enemy I have to kill:
     does he see me?
I hear a bomb explode:
     does it hear me scream?
I taste blood in my mouth:
     does it taste of my fear?
I smell scorched flesh:
     does it smell of almonds?
I touch my mother's tombstone:
     does she feel my hand?

- can one eye eye the other
- can a sound hear itself
- can a taste feel itself
- can a smell sniff itself
- can a touch recognize itself

What do I have left, just words?
If I remember a word, do I also know it?
     - if a word can know itself
     - if it can know one's pain

If I forget the word pain,
will I be free of pain, or
will the word be free from itself?

does pain have to be: seen/heard/
tasted/smelled/touched: for me to be
redeemed from the sense of penalty -

I want my eyes to run ahead
of me: then I won't have to turn around -
I want my ears to hear the sounds
of silence: and I'll blow into my trumpet -
I want my tongue to lick the flames:
and I'll detect which word won't be ashes -
I want my nose to smell out a foul wind:
then I'll be able to breathe again -
I want my hand to touch your death:
and I'll feel what my life was about -

Whether you are doomed, mother
once said, to supreme insanity, or you
are simply out of your senses becomes
irrelevant if you don't come down to earth
and see that words have always caused
pain and pain always made us speak, yet
neither ever helped us know one another.

Contributor's Note