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

 

hope

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