UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY
JOHN SWEET

in a room, blindly

Not lies, really,
but truths that can't be proven.

The ghosts of Aztecs,
of lncas.

Parking lots.

Palaces.

Man rolls the dice to see which of
the children will starve,
and then the bomb goes off.

Seventeen dead, blood everywhere,
the pews of the church on fire.

The runoff from the mill
dumped into the river.

Close your eyes and picture it.

The first time we met and then,
two years later,
the first time we made love.

Oceans on every side of us,
wars to the south,
to the east,
and I told you you were beautiful.

Had no words beyond that,
only abstractions.

Only need.

Thirty seven years old and
suddenly no longer blind and,
in the mountains,
the killers were making new plans.

In town,
the streetlights were coming on.

It seemed almost possible
we would find our way home.


Indigenous poem

this place that we call
the age of beliefs

these days that push and pull

that bleed into one another
until all i can remember is the
silent glare of sunlight on chrome

the shadows of trees as they
stutter across the windshield

not lost
but never quite anywhere
and then the simple fact of
this poet found dead behind the
wheel of a borrowed car

these streets that begin to
resemble de chirico's

doors locked against our arrival
and children locked in cages

their tentative smiles
or their useless screams

the smell of burning flesh

your faith in humanity


in the dream of ordinary shame

you should believe in
messiahs conceived by man

you should believe

there will be an end to poets

an end to words and to politicians
and we will be here in this empty house with
nothing between us but the corpses
of the disappeared

we will consider the moment where christ
clenches his hands into bleeding fists

the moment where the sun reaches
its highest point and the power fails and
the prisons are all filled with
nothing but priests and widows

and i have seen myself reflected in
the windows of abandoned buildings and
i have turned away

i have called my lovers by
the wrong name and then laughed
and listen

whatever you write is meaningless

you save no one but yourself
and even this is questionable

remember

god isn't a lie
but a punishment

think about whatever it is
you've done wrong


john sweet, 35 and counting, angry, bitter, etc etc,
hiding in a pissant town in upstate new york, a believer
in very little. a follower of the writings of j. pollock
and of the words of h. frayne. too much education, and
still a shit job.

recent publications include the chapbook Enemy
(www.pinkanarchkittypress.com),
the full length collection Human Cathedrals
(www.ravennapress.com)
and the electronic chapbook Silence in the House of Truths
(www.tmpoetry.com).







2007 Underground Voices