JOHN SWEET

and the oceans are all black poison, and the deserts spread slowly

and there is this
but it's never enough

sunlit roofs and silver wires
against an indigo sky

the river on fire

the child's body found
in the tall weeds
behind the gas station

grace
but no joy

joy
but no beauty

and i remember
running through the woods
with the sound of
footsteps coming up fast
behind me

i remember one of them
holding my arms
while the other hit me

my mother angry but
motionless
at the kitchen table

the taste of my own blood

my father's absence

and the first time i
say your name
it's a question
and the next time prayer
the days are empty and
go nowhere
and the child's body is found
beneath the bathroom sink

the child's body is
never found

and at some point i'm
fifteen and a virgin and at
some point there is
nothing left but to swim or
drown in the sea of
knowledge

the woman at the door says
her husband doesn't love her

the cop reaches for his gun
but too late

dies in the dirt and the weeds
in front of a trailer
less than thirty miles from
where i sit
and i remember how hard the
rock was thrown

how it caught me just below
my right eye
and i remember holding a
knife to someone's throat

remember smiling into
his fear
laughing at the idea of
becoming everything i had
ever hated


in a phone booth, the sky pissing rain

we were calling home
but the house was on fire

we were drunk and cold and
waiting for an answer

were thinking of names
for the baby

only a week before the
day you left me for good


5.20.05

this baby born so horribly deformed
that its death six weeks later
is almost a relief

this house empty
but with no room inside for
anything else

with no walls
that will hold the weight of a cross

no sounds that you would
ever consider human


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).






2004 Underground Voices