poems by John Sweet

age of monsters

drink blood or
die of thirst

slaughter the indians

admit no mistakes

21st century, you know,
and really what’s the point
of discussing this shit

the world is filled with
men and women both
who want nothing more
than to be your god

the oceans are bloated
with the corpses of
fallen angels


only the rich will
tell you that money
doesn’t = power

only the powerful stand
to gain from a million
anonymous lives
lived in fear

consider your hatreds

the palace of ashes, late winter

was blind or deaf
or maybe mute

said something with
her hands, with her eyes

i remember fear, but
this is nothing new

at what age do you stop
being a failed artist
and fucking grow up?

with what yardstick do
you measure failure?

i was there at the birth
of my first child, and at
the birth of my second

i was there
at the abortion

wasn’t blind and i
wasn’t deaf,
but i had no words

muttered incoherently
to some vague idea of an
indifferent god, and i
remember that my fear
was for myself, but
this was nothing new

this was nowhere warm

all of those bodies on
fire, and i couldn’t
feel my fingers

an obvious poem

it was an absence
of you,
and it still is

it was the
failure of us

this is where my
list of things that i’m
sorry for begins

love poem for k

stumbled home on broken
legs in darkening light, streets
lined with yellow teeth, with
grey bones, and the houses
sewn together with
bitter fears

drowned in the kitchen, in
the basement,
on the bathroom floor

baby in the tub

mouthful of broken glass

all songs worth singing
taste like blood

an echo

horse on fire & then the
fire fed to sleeping children



or what about the landscape?

hills done in delicate
shades of grey,
sky the color of luminous dust

roads moving in every
direction, but without purpose

don’t confuse reality
with metaphor

don’t place words in the
mouths of dead poets

not every emptiness was
meant to be filled


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