John Sweet

Art by Dean Monogenis

dear kathryn

feels like being alive,
         like breathing,
nothing but sunlight and blue sky
at the end of winter,
the gentle collapse of dreaming cities,
                              of sleeping prophets,
and i am here in this room where
one wants to leave

i am weeping over kirchner’s bones

am letting the crows
pick them clean

no one will ever go hungry
in a world filled with
so many frightened gods

poem for the idea of never letting yrself be seen

each day like a failed suicide beneath the
late september sun, right?

no point fucking around
with the niceties

the ship is lost at sea,
is filled with fire,
is the desert your father always dreamt of

men with the heads of vultures

palaces built of barbed wire and broken bones.
                                                   but it’s ok, kid

just because everything’s your fault

just because our days are numbered

the sky,

cerulean blue and infinite and
how can today be
the day you hang yourself?

how can anyone blinded by the future
see clearly
what stands right in front of them?


we were lied to from day one, ok?

put no trust in words

place no faith in humanity

no gods is one basic truth,
no life after death another

we are here, yes,
but we are already leaving

we are already in the distance

each day is never anything more than
another chance to smile and
say good bye


and what we have in the here and
now is only the here and now

is only the knowledge that
it will never be enough

that we will only ever be ourselves

call it failure if you want,
then set the church on fire

tell me you need me and
then wait for an answer

have our lives really been
leading up to this one irrelevant point?


i will be the asshole you swear you love and
then i will be the one you hate forever

i will hate myself

will laugh at the
deaths of anonymous children and
what i actually want is distance

a wall

an ocean of fire with you on one side and
me nowhere to be found and

what i want is to grow old and
be filled with regret

to realize you were the one

to understand that all possibilities
have bled themselves dry

a dinosaur, finally, caught up in
the tar of a life never truly lived


treat the past like a plague and
the future like a curse

teach me to be well

one, by definition,
will rule out the other

i fill the last sunlit days of winter
with idle thoughts of suicide

i send poems to the west coast,
but no promises

my youngest son appears in
the doorway and tells me
he loves me

laughs, then
runs down the hall

John Sweet sends greetings from the rural wastelands of upstate New York. He is a firm believer in writing as catharsis. His latest poetry collections include A Flag on Fire is a Sign of Hope (2019 Scars Publications) and A Dead Man, Either Way (2020 Kung Fu Treachery Press).

John Sweet’s Blog

Interview with John Sweet

Essay and more art by Dean Monogenis

John Sweet’s Books at Amazon:

A Flag on Fire is a Sign of Hope 

A Dead Man, Either Way



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