Four Poems

John Sweet

Photo Credit: smilla4/Flickr (CC-by-nc)

bluest sky

snow on the first day of spring and
then the next and
how fat will you get eating
nothing but dirt and sorrow?

or maybe it’s the space between love
and broken bones I’m talking about here

colleen laughing as she’s
pushed down the stairs or maybe this is
just the way she wanted it to be

do you remember her telling you that
everything was fine?

do you remember the cuts on one arm
and the bruises up the other?

regret is a tiring thing

stand there with your hands on fire,
the children in tears,
and consider all the reasons a man
might have for drinking himself to death

consider the absolute failure of
pollock’s last paintings

believe in the age of famine

lesser gods crawling through
the filth of lesser minds

side streets and abandoned factories and
the futility of building palaces
on graveyards


christ has no use for your suffering

phone rings and it’s your father saying
so long motherfucker just the
way it happens in your dreams and
hatred is easy so why not embrace it?

look at all the politicians
all the holy men
who want you to understand that killing
the enemy is your only option

look at all the enemies they offer

it’s only inevitable to find yourself on
someone else’s list because
no matter who you are
you’re the wrong person

you grow fat on apathy and fear
because they taste so goddamn good

nineteen-year-old kid with a gun
kills a mother of four
and what we need now is a tv movie

what we need are arguments from
both sides that accomplish nothing

that sound good in campaign speeches
and spilling from the assholes of
media personalities and
then on the second day of spring i
wake up to bitter sunlight and
children’s toys stuck in the frozen mud

i wake up to dried blood and
empty apologies

every day of my life wasted thinking
the next one will be better



not a fear of death, not yet, or
at least not while awake but
desperate times call for stronger drugs, and
all the burned girls standing laughing
out in the rain

all the reasons the heart has
to betray the body

the o.d. and the car crash

a sleight of hand where everything you
love is no longer anything that matters so
grab a shovel

dig a tunnel
down to christ’s back yard

watch cobain turn blue at the
foot of the bed

spent your whole life believing in
magic but
there is no magic here


an eye

all poems starve in
the desert
of your mind

all wars begin with
the idea of god or the
concept of greed

this need to kill
the enemy
leads to the need to
create enemies

to become one

some stranger in a
windowless room
smiling in antici-
pation of the
day i die


on arthur ave

man says he’ll feed the
starving children dust

says he’ll burn
hollywood to the ground

will teach the priests about pain
and in the background a
television plays too loud
and a stereo
and the portrait of christ above the
sofa has been done in
luminous paint

still sings even after the
lights have all gone out

still bleeds


John Sweet 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 A Flag on Fire is a Song of Hope (2019 Scars Publications) and A Dead Man, Either Way (2020 Kung Fu Treachery Press). Email: bleedinghorse99[at]