like sunlight, like chrome


mouths always hungry, always

open and dirty hands shoveling

in shit, got to keep the

fuckers alive if you want to

keep selling them whatever it

is that’s made you rich, got

to bleed the fuckers just so much,

just so far, got to give them a

line of credit then take it away

then give it back again, those

fat little grabbing hands, those

brittle cancerous bones, got

to invent disease to invent the

cure, got to film the sexiest

girls on their hands & knees,

got to keep them in line, keep

them addicted, keep them

skinny or fat and always

hungry, mouths always open,

holes where the shit goes in

and where the shit comes out

and when you have finally

bought it all, when you have

finally bought everything

that will ever make you happy,

then there is nothing to do

but start counting backwards

                         to your death








In the telling,

nothing is made clear


Sunlight, yes, but the lawns

still damp from the rain, the trees

shimmering.  Halos around the

heads of the youngest children.


Voice of a man, slightly bored,

uncomfortable in the heat, says into

the face of the void The killer was

not found among the dead.


Dog barks somewhere out of sight

and you notice that all of

the windows have been broken.


You notice that the buzzing of

flies is unnaturally loud.


Smell of despair is






western world


and you will hate everyone who has

more than you, and you will look

down upon anyone with less


and you will be adamant

and you will be outraged


you will be frightened

                     of course


you will be crucified


nothing more or

less than what you deserve





the brilliance of moving targets


thin skin of heat at the end

of august


sky no longer solid


man moves through the empty spaces

of broken marriage, of

distant children, of subtle depression


pills don’t work

and so he takes more


feels the weight of sunlight

                           on chrome


tastes dust in his lover’s kisses


has this house that

refuses to become a home







find a woman whose skin tastes of

rust and call her your own


this is the way


these are the hands


press near the shoulderblades where

wings have failed to grow and

blame society, blame the modern age,

cable tv, internet porn


kiss her breasts lightly


run your tongue down her belly


let the priests dig

their own fucking graves





hollow star


caught there on a deserted street in

a dying town, beneath the awning of an

abandoned store, rain without end and

no cars in any direction and in the

moment of prayer there is only the memory

                                  of sunlight on chrome


there is only waiting


days spent touching the grey

flesh of christ


hours spent burning up

in the fever of addiction


all of the humor found in the pain of others,

and the child has hands until the

soldiers arrive

and then he has nothing


smile when you

tell him there are worse things


when you tell him about

your leaking gas tank about

your flooded basement or

your pregnant teenage daughter


offer him a drink


ask him why he’s crying on

such a perfect summer afternoon





John Sweet, born 1968, is married, father of two, and opposed to all that is evil. He has been living in the vast wasteland that is upstate New York for the majority of his life; is a firm believer in writing as catharsis, and in the idea that true democracy is a myth. A full length collection of his work, Human Cathedrals, is available from Ravenna Press.


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