Of Time, Memory, and the Soul

1. have I come across my body lying supine
on the sun-baked beach, a seagull trying
to pick something out of my wide open mouth
then looping off screeching when I raised
my hand to chase it away, or defend myself:

2. to survive its own reasoning, memory
is inclined to manipulate time, and time,
on the other hand, always keeps on
deconstructing the memory in order to
avoid being reconstructed unsequentially:

3. having had no choice, I followed time
to the end of measurable distances,
all the while believing I was going
back, hoping to find a salvation turn
that may have been missed along the way:

4. perhaps I could claim I was not able
to see a thing, asleep all the time,
out with the soul, and going back was,
in fact, moving on, for what was there,
once, was not there any more

5. or: I could perhaps say I did not wake
up at all and, thus, can not remember
whether I had or had not awakened,
whether, before or after that, I said
I would be back on time, or in time

6. or: I ought to pretend that whatever
portion of my life could be behind me
may be retrieved if it’s somewhere ahead
of me, stored by the soul to have something
to remember if one day it decides to return:

7. but I saw my body cast out on the sand,
my mouth wide open, a seagull, about to pull
something out, looped off screeching when I
raised my hand, a senseless gesture, the soul
long gone, indifferent to time and memory

Mario Susko

About the poet: Mario Susko, a witness and survivor of the war in Bosnia , came, in a sense, back to the US at the end of 1993. He has taught at the University of Sarajevo and Nassau Com. College , where his is currently an Associate Professor in the English Department. He is the recipient of several awards, including the1997 and 2006 Nassau Review Poetry Award, the 1998 Premio Internazionale di Poesia e Letteratura "Nuove Lettere" ( Naples , Italy ), and the 2000 Tin Ujevic Award for "Versus Exsul" for the best book of poems published in Croatia in 1999. His works have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and short-listed for the Forward Poetry Prize. He has authored 25 books of poems, his fourth book in English, Eternity on Hold , having been released by Turtle Point Press, NY, in 2005. The Croatian version was released last November by Meandarmedia, Zagreb.