the face of god, burned

what i am is an asshole

a father and a son
and a man standing at a window
watching september rain pool
in the driveway

a ghost with teeth and
what i hate is poetry



the way we all become whores
at some point

and maybe i'm
moving too fast here

maybe cobain was concerned with
more than his own pain and misery

i've heard this
kind of talk before

have listened to a junkie father
explain why he was a victim
and when he was asked if he knew where
his children were
he said that wasn't the point

said the past has nothing to do
with the present

and in the morning
i walk jonathon to the bus stop
and feel the last good heat of summer
wash over me

in the evening
i drive past the apartment where
a woman i never knew was
murdered by her lover

i consider how far faith
can take any of us

i consider the idea of fear
as a weapon

the idea of hope
as a bottomless pit

the way that nothing we say is
ever exactly the truth


the yards filled with
weeds and broken toys

cigarette butts

dirty needles

the hammer of god held by
the clenched fist of


an animal caught in
a trap dying slowly

crushed bone and mangled flesh


cold wind blowing through
an empty room

through the ribcages of
starving children

the same fucking poem written
again and again

the same 500 million people
it will never save

this baby screaming until
the father
crushes its skull

the truth is a length of rope, the past a tightening noose

fifteen years later and
the memory of this dog again

chained to a tree in front of
an empty house and
the noises it made in its throat
while i stood at the edge of
the road and watched

the name of the girl who said
she'd always love me

my eyes closed in a dark room

all of the hours i've wasted
waiting to feel this pure again

small moment of ascension in the desperate season

sunday afternoon in this
house of dead mouths
with my wife and son asleep

my faith questioned by a stranger
while my left hand crawls slowly
across the
prophecies laid down by the right

and there is a moment
where the sun finds a gap between
the clouds and the hills and
the ordinary decay of this dead-end street
is suddenly transformed into
something beautiful
and there are the swaying bodies
of all the witches hung in
the name of god

history is meant to be ugly

what we learn
from the crucifixions and
the massacres is an addiction
to power

a contempt for the poor

and i am not a believer in poetry or
in the ability of words to
function as weapons

i was there
when the bleeding horse was
brought to its knees

i understand why
the weakest are chosen as

what i don't want to know
are their names

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 (, the full length collection Human
Cathedrals ( and the electronic chapbook Silence in the House of
Truths (

2004 Underground Voices