JOHN SWEET

the sun, the clouds, the bottomless sky

this desperation
and this age of silence

these corpses found with
their hands
tied behind their backs

these nameless women and
these laughing holy men and
these children and if
some of them are yours
the world won't end

if the war is won
it doesn't mean it's over

can you even imagine
how many people don't give a shit
whether you live or die?

do you really believe that
any of these whores you've elected
would sacrifice their own lives
to save yours?

or this

he was getting high when
his girlfriend came over and
he was laughing at something she'd said
when the guy she was fucking
shot him in the chest

he was found behind the
wheel of a stolen car in a
bus station parking lot and i
remember smiling when i heard the news

and i have no use for god

have no faith in poetry

no patience for the sad
desperate scribblings of the weak and
the lame and i number myself
among them

i love my wife and my sons but
it means nothing
in the world of money and weapons

it means nothing in the rape camps
or in the shallow ditches where
the decapitated bodies of
pregnant teenage girls are dumped

and no one ever told lorca this
and look where it got him

no one promised you salvation
but you still believe it will arrive

you lock your doors while the
soldiers smash in your windows

you run naked and burning down
some pitted dirt road towards
a man who wants nothing but to
take your picture

the war is lost without any of us
ever knowing it had begun


say what you want

the sound of crows at six a.m.
and then the
filthy hands of priests

your children devoured by god

fucked by dogs

and what i believe in
is the loss of faith and
what i preach is
the inevitability of addiction

the bleeding horse dragging himself
down these sleeping streets

through these back yards
filled with weeds and broken toys

and what matters aren't the
cities and towns
but the spaces between them

the highways like scars
through the emptiness

over the bones of indians

past rusting trailers and
burned-out gas stations until
all that's left is the point
where the hills touch the sky

until all that's left is
the moment where
your voice fades into memory

dissolves from words
into sound

my lungs filled
with the poison of it


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