Archive for the John Sweet Category

your country, the whore by John Sweet

Posted in John Sweet with tags on April 7, 2021 by Scot


jezebel’s remains found the next morning,
but the dogs all disappeared

believe in hope
without assigning it a value

can it be done?

try harder

there are days that matter,
of course,
but this has always been true

burn each page once it’s been written
and then swallow the ashes

and what is prayer but a
darker form of hunger?

what is the future but the place where
your story is finally
brought to its conclusion?

violence is a given, of course,
usually in some obscure form

walls and windows and
the fine art of escape

we fall in love at the wrong age,
in the wrong town,
with the wrong people

we dream of sunlight and of warmth
and then wake up to late
winter rain

we have children,
but our children are gone


the bills are overdue,
the curtains on fire

nothing from nothing is a start

the news of a war or a
failed revolution,
of a plane crashing in the ocean

179 people dead, but no one you know,
no one you will ever miss,
and so how can it be a tragedy?

how many graves do we have to dig if
no bodies are ever recovered?

let the truth be a mirror held high
in a darkened room

let the false king be dragged
out into the street and hung

a revolution to hold us over
until the next one

the promise of unity
which was always a lie

we will never learn to
define ourselves
without the presence of an enemy

Three Poems by John Sweet

Posted in John Sweet, Uncategorized with tags , on January 21, 2019 by Scot


prologue to the book of crows
days sunlit and frozen like
christ riding shotgun, bleeding all over
everything, seats ruined, drink spilled and
what exactly do you think was accomplished
by locking pound in a cage?

which one of you will rape the
child and which of you will find
humor in it?

it’s a crucial distinction

it’s the day before the flood

i wake up thinking a corner has been
turned, thinking things are going to start
getting better, and when the phone rings it’s a
stranger handing me the news of my
father’s death

when i answer the door it’s a woman
holding my son’s broken body

sunlight, though, spilling through his
pain and casting bitter shadows and the
distance between the price and the cost is
only what we let it become

the dog left locked inside a burning house
is a metaphor for whatever life
we choose to live

drive north for one hour
then turn left

notice the absence of god

name every shade of grey you can see and
then the ones you can feel inside you and
then after the rape the murder
the rope and the gasoline and all of the
vast empty spaces between the
beginning and the end

between the broken window and
the dying stars and you
want to breathe but it’s no longer an option
and i am standing there with
cracked and bleeding hands watching
corpses fall from the sky

am standing there with frost filming
my skin and filling my mouth
and it’s a taste i recognize

it’s the memory of swallowing
handfuls of blood on
the morning of your wedding

it’s like standing by my father’s side
while the machines are turned off

there’s still so much that needs to
be said but no one left to
pretend it matters
In the corner where the ceiling leaks,
on a Saturday morning, with the
sound of machinery running on human blood.

The bride raped on Main Street
beneath a luminous grey sky.

Faces nailed to the pavement,
eyes to heaven & gouged out by the
stained beaks of crows. Sound of piano music
from between the empty buildings.

Abandoned parking lots in
every direction.




middle-aged man rewrites the future, but can’t decide on an ending
first heat of the season w/out warning,
w/out mercy, 2nd floor of this
house filled w/ the weight of dust & decay

consider motion carefully

shadows of hawks

of clouds forming above the hills

tell her this, then, say don’t be
the mother who lets her children drown

say this and then breathe in
the haze of gasoline and rotting wood

consider fire

consider escape

the pain it would cause others
vs. the possibility of your own survival

Three Poems by John Sweet

Posted in John Sweet with tags on February 12, 2018 by Scot

down canyons of static

cold as snow as
cold as christ and we’ll
make it warm with

we’ll set that fucker on fire
in the back of his truck

will leave the baby at the
desert’s edge with a guitar and
a handful of broken glass
and we’ll teach it the myth of
robert johnson

we’ll place it’s fragile skull
between the boot heel
and the rock

we’ll sing to it softly
until morning comes


one from the age of subtle atrocities

living close to water
and without fear

living alone with the
wife and the secrets

small failures mean nothing
in windowless rooms,
small victories even less


it isn’t a story,
but an idea

man locks his daughter in
the basement when she’s
18 and then keeps her there
for 24 years

rapes her

fathers her children

signs deals for the movie,
the sequel,
the video game

considers god like you
would a second helping
of dessert

considers dessert

all of these choices to
be made while the crows
gather outside your




blurred outlines january late
afternoon grey houses in early evening
light, this woman who will set her child on fire,
these young men who will rape a teenage girl then
leave her in a vacant lot, this moment that will
arrive already ruined beyond repair and then
the one after that and then the
one after that

and the war, of course,
and without an end in sight

the mindless need for victory

the makers of bombs and of poison gases
balanced out by the
need for money to survive

the future still only a theory but
the possibilities narrowing

woman at the edge of the road opens a
can of lighter fluid and
all we have left is despair

amphetamine christ by John Sweet

Posted in John Sweet with tags , on November 24, 2016 by Scot

and you w/ yr faded blue wings and
that i am tired of distance

that i am a believer in
both depression and resurrection

an addict and a savior but
this is nothing
special in the age of relentless fear

will you vote?

will you pull the trigger?

such limited choices for a
country that promised us everything

a lot of starving dogs but no
shortage of overdosed whores

no shortage of hypocrites
spewing meaningless platitudes

man spends his whole life being
some greedy motherfucker, spends it
being some righteous saint, and
no one notices any difference

we are living through the
numbered days of minor kings who
crawl through alleyways of filth

who would rape their own children if
it gave them more power

and you w/ yr pale grey thoughts and
me stumbling like tiresias
through cold october sunlight

that i am afraid for my sons

that each poem is a
confession of failure

yours and mine both

Two poems by John Sweet

Posted in John Sweet with tags on December 2, 2015 by Scot


the poet w/out hands, w/out a tongue

sat there wanting to
write something
sat there thinking about
all of the things i’d said to you
and all of the things i’d
kept to myself
knew the priests would
end up devouring the children

knew the idea of democracy
was just one more weapon
for the rich to beat the
poor with
had a song going through
my mind but i
couldn’t remember the words
was watching it snow
outside an upstairs window
listened to the sounds the
animals made as they starved
to death by slow degrees



says he’s tired of being poor
says he’s tired of letting the
dogs fuck his wife blind

is sick of christ screaming on
the bathroom floor, and
he tells me it’s time to move on
tells me columbine is
ancient history
says no one gives a shit about
andrea yates anymore
the fields are black with the
blood of the
unloved and the unwanted
the malls are all built on
the corpses of indians
we’ve come too far to let
our failures
stand in the way of progress

for carolyn wearing the crown of pain by John Sweet

Posted in John Sweet with tags on October 26, 2014 by Scot

on the other side of the continent
in the wrong part of the year,
bleeding ice-cold sunlight and
thinking about st maria and last blurry
fucked up days of dennis wilson

waiting for the children to run away

waiting for judas and his
latest girlfriend and when he finally arrives
he brings a copy of exile on main st
and a bottle of wine

smiles and says the
brightest days are behind us

knows in his heart that there is no
end in this world to the list of
things not worth dying for