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john sweet

John Sweet is a poet from the extreme eastern portion of deep cleveland, also known as upstate new york, depending on your map. His work has been published at Burning Word, Locust Magazine, and Thunder Sandwich. Several chapbooks are available at Kitty Litter Press and Via Dolorosa Press. bleedinghorse99@aol.com

untitled meditation

think of sunlight

the lack of it

a windowless room
with a locked door

the fact that only
young girls
are chosen to die

the fact that only
young girls
are chosen to die

the fact that only
young girls
are chosen to die


the woman who loves pain gets married

but stops by first and
says she wants
to fuck me one last time

says she remembers the
seven secret names of god
then asks me to kiss
her scars

asks me how her
first child will die and when

believes that knowledge
is the same as salvation


remembering the age of disease

old sunlight and
cold shadows and all of
the places i go where the word love
is never mentioned

all of the colorless rooms
i wake up in hungover
or lost or forgotten

a dirty window with
a view of a parking lot

a radio muttering static

and what i'm thinking of here
are the faceless whores
of reagan's dreams

the pigs who grew fat on
the corpses of the butchered in
central america

a woman puking in the bathroom

an orphan maybe or the
daughter of a priest and the air
heavy with cigarette smoke
and meaningless conversation

someone's sister run away
or shot to death by a lover

an old story
played out again and again
and when i hear the shower turn on
i get dressed

leave the keys on the dresser
and a handful of words
scrawled on the walls

nothing soft

nothing warm

nothing less than
twenty five years of
useless anger looking for a
way to cause pain


on being human

or what about the reasons
cages are built?

what about the reasons
children are butchered
and women raped?

could you give
the orders yourself?

don't say no just yet


poem for poets everywhere

imagine your death
and all of the poems that
will come after

all of the ways you'll
be forgotten

the beauty of a world
that will never care


all of the dead philosophers, all of their empty thoughts

six a.m. monday morning
and the motor grinds
but refuses to turn over

the taste of scorched metal
is everywhere
even when nothing burns

the taste of despair

the grey light of indifference

and it happens sometimes
that the choices are narrowed down to
either writing or breathing

it happens that men kill out of
boredom or ignorance

it stands to reason that christ
was a builder of crosses

and occasionally
the poetry of our actions is both
brutal and mesmerizing

secrets fall from our hands
like the panicked dreams of killers
and the child is no longer safe

the window is open and
the room empty
and the car anonymous

ten miles away
and then a hundred

a thousand

this sudden atrocity too huge
to be measured by
something as irrelevant as


philosophy for the drowning

this terrible thing
done well

this baby shaken to death
while morning crawls relentlessly
towards the suffocating weight
of afternoon

the stars invisible but

every house a black hole and
in each one
any number of objects gathering dust

any number of windows
looking out over empty fields
or dead-end streets or
dahmer's bones

any number of possibilities

a wife vanished
or a father in a motel room with
someone's sixteen year-old daughter
or maybe his own small children
dragging their crosses from
martyr to martyr

actions defining outcomes

a country devoured
from within

think of cancer
or of men beaten and tied to

think of faith
not as a cure but an

no matter
how much you have
you will always want more

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