John Sweet

angel of death

and distracted by soft music, by
sunlight and clouds and rumors of god,
these small noises of wars fought
in distant lands, of falling houses and
sleeping children, hands cold on the
steering wheel or on the trigger of
the gun, ideas of escape, motion, gentle
hills rolling down to deep blue oceans,
and i am here to tell you these things
that may or may not be, and i am here
to explain that nothing can be explained,
and i am sorry for your father’s cancer
and i am sorry for your grandfather’s
suicide, but quietly, the sound of my
voice too much in this wide open
field, the pain of memory everywhere,
and when your lover tells you she’s
drowning what she means is that
you’re the sea and when your
children run away what they want
you to believe in is the smothering
……………………………..weight of failure

what they want to punish you for
is never quite spoken out loud


dogs, weeping

sunlight after the rain
but without hope

without pills
and so her hands begin to shake

this is what we are alone
and then together
we become god

together we become teeth and
tongues and lengths of rope

a building on fire

whatever kind of pain it is
that would make you
close your eyes and
beg for more


flowers for judas

keep the curtains closed,
two a.m. and five below and
the sound of car doors slamming
down in the street

sound of pain and regret and the
delicate etching of frost as it
threads across the windows and walls

hands raised invisibly into
the air above your head

oldest son across the hall
talking in his sleep

wants to tell you all of the
things you’ve failed at in your
life, but it’s nothing you
don’t already know

© John Sweet

john sweet, b 1968, still numbered among the living.  A believer in writing as catharsis.  An optimistic pessimist.  Opposed to all organized religion and political parties.  Avoids zealots and social media whenever possible.  His latest collections include Approximate Wilderness (2016 Flutter Press) and the limited edition Heathen Tongue(Kendra Steiner Editions).  All pertinent facts about his life are buried somewhere in his writing.

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