John Sweet

John Sweet, b. 1968 and still numbered among the living, sends greetings from the rural wastelands of upstate NY. He is a firm believer in writing as catharsis, and in the continuous search for an unattainable and constantly evolving absolute truth. His latest poetry collections include HEATHEN TONGUE (2018 Kendra Steiner Editions) A BASTARD CHILD IN THE KINGDOM OF NIL (2018 Analog Submission Press) and A FLAG ON FIRE IS A SONG OF HOPE (2019 Scars Publications). All pertinent facts about his writing are buried in his life.

dogs, or wolves



or the ice where it melts or

your heart as it bleeds


the myth of innocence


man with broken fingers for eyes,

with teeth filed down to points,

says no one needs to get hurt

as he slips the knife in


says christ was

the king of crows


five hundred thousand bastard children

and they all want  

to fuck you up the ass hard


they all want to pass laws

in the name of freedom


need you to believe that life is not a

gift but a chore,

that hope is the provenance of the rich,

and what these parasites are

is the enemy


what they’ve forgotten

is humility


give every hand a chance to

hold the whip if what you

truly want is democracy



he wakes up to snow, to the news of his father’s death



ugly my whole life and

then old on top of it


faith in the absence of faith



but inverted


the age of slaves

which is eternal

and then the kingdom of nil


the corpses and the corpse flies and

all of our favorite songs

on the radio


summer 1983

which i thought would matter


fall 1989 and my first suicide


not much, but all i ever asked

is that you let me be

less than nothing


let me be in love with a future

that has no

connection to the past


we will burn with our own

blinding light there, you and i


we will nail christ’s

trembling hands to the wall

and teach him what it

means to pray


his sugared tears are all

the thanks we could ever need



landscape with you as a crow in the shadows of november pines, searching for food



and hopelessness is a kind of hope,

or at least a powerful drug


you breathe in sunlight and

then you breathe out fear and there

is nothing more difficult than

denying christ, but here we are


a barren field, a dead lawn,

roadside ditches filled with the

garbage of anonymous strangers


twenty years of saying

i love you,

of waiting to hear it in return,

seems like more than enough


all objects shading to blue


all condensation turning to frost


i’ve forgotten how we ever

ended up here in the first place