John Sweet, Featured Author

Editor John Sweet, poetry

church on fire   says i’m sick of this shit   says tell me a story with a happy ending for a change, and so i paint her one of tanguy’s skies instead   i paint her one of kahlo’s visions   i drive over to the north side to find her father, but no one’s seen him in twenty …

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John Sweet: Featured Author

Editor b, John Sweet, poetry

what becomes   you are breathing on the frozen ground with broken ribs you are smiling and we are higher up between venus and the crescent moon in the last seconds before first light we are falling we are praying are laughing at the idea of someone else’s pain   are laughing in the tall grass and she is turning …

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First Portrait of Maria, in the Style of Dali

Editor b, John Sweet, poetry

You in this sepia-toned photograph,
with your arms wide open in greeting,
with your hands held up in surrender.

Edge of highway, corner of house,
hint of something better. A body of water,
maybe, or the back of someone else's
head.

A gun pulled from inside the
killer's heart, and he says [i]Mr. Lennon[/i],
then smiles, then pulls the trigger.

No.

I've gotten ahead of myself here.

I'm ten years old and in a boat with
my father and two of his friends, and the
engine has died. The tide is going out,
and the only sound is the pull of the
ocean.

The only heat is the

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a small dog, bleeding

Editor b, John Sweet, poetry

it happens this way sometimes,
where the children die from the poison that
seeps up from underground

you vote for one person or the other,
and the children die, and it's not war but
business, and both words are actually just
different ways of saying [i]profit[/i]

listen

new computers will be given to
the schools as gifts

the sharpened teeth of priests will snap
the bones of young boys in two

what you need to believe in are
rabid dogs
speaking w/ the voices of humans

what we do is use the word [i]political[/i]
to describe what we don't want to
talk about and then, of course,

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the theory of sunlight on chrome

Editor b, John Sweet, poetry

your name called out at
the exact moment
a woman's body washes ashore
three thousand miles away
or a man pulling poems
from the bones of old lovers

obvious things

my wife and her fears

my lack of faith

my lack of money

the possibilities of
highways and of walls

the idea of starvation

of sunlight
through rainsoaked trees

and what if
the unborn child becomes
a weapon?

what if the ocean is bottomless?

don't believe for a second
that any of this poetry

don't think that
killing the killers is
the same thing as justice

and maybe
it doesn't have to be

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the rooms in this house

Editor b, John Sweet, poetry

rain
somewhere

animals caught in
baited traps

or the air thick
and yellow

the sun shapeless

and the pieces of
a sixteen-month old girl
are found in a city
five hundred miles away

the smell
of battery acid
like a blanket over
everything

and the rooms in
this house are familiar

the bodies found hung
from the trees outside
have names i've
heard before

and i don't
live here anymore but
maybe at some point
in the past

maybe before
the first tiny hand
was dropped into a
food processor

and now i live
nowhere
while faceless men
decide my future

fucked

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st. garbage, resurrected

Editor b, John Sweet, poetry

in the blue and the purple light
on the shadowed sides
of these houses

in a room with a cracked window
and the ghost of edie
crawling naked across the floor

i am my father at 34
and his own father before him

i am the face my children fear
and the voice
and the raised hand

i am the emptiness and
the absence of warmth
and america is
its own form of violence

the boy is dead
next to his sister in the
back of the van

the father drives
with the radio on softly

with dylan's voice dragging itself
through my headphones
as i sit at the foot of the bed
watching april sleep

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speaking freely, but in the wrong person

Editor b, John Sweet, poetry

you think about words and
about the places they come from

you think about meaning

about these small beautiful images
that the poets polish like valuable stones

that are worth
the tiniest fraction of nothing
and against them you place your
grey slabs of self-hatred

you talk about the burning girl
long after her ashes have grown cold

and you remember reagan
as a monster

as a vampire
but you have reached
a point in time where no one else
wants to speak the truth
about the dying

you have become
a man defined as angry because
this is what fear looks like
when seen from outside one's own skin

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mapping out the here and now

Editor b, John Sweet, poetry

blood on the sheets
and you laugh

blood on the walls

the daughter
in the mother's arms and
both of them dead

the boyfriend picked up
800 miles away

says he loves her but
can't explain the gun

can't explain the rope
around gorky's neck or the
poet's need to pick at
these open wounds

the ay the buildings burn
without reason

the cities where they
begin to dissolve
into suburbs and strip malls

your smile in
the weak sunlight of an
august afternoon

the way you taste

all of these things
held together by the
sheer force of anger

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alchemy

Editor b, John Sweet, poetry

each day like filth
scraped from the eye of god

each moment pure

and i offer no explanations
when i tell you that
both are true

i eat dinner while paul hill
is put to death

i have seconds

and how is it that
in all the years i wasted in school
i never learned about
the babi yar ravine?

in whose blood are the names
of all the slaughtered
written?

picture the world reduced
to those who would invent the machine gun
and those who would use it

picture mercy as
being allowed to die before
your daughters are raped

remember that malevich had his reasons
for painting white on white

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vallejo, with apologies

Editor b, John Sweet, poetry

at some point
america is supported by
nothing but the bones of
goebbels' children

at some point
the starving have nothing to eat
but each other

and august of course
dissolves into september
and a seven year-old boy is hit
by a car while playing in the street
in front of my house

and what if no one
knows where he lives?

what if dali wakes up in a
room on fire?

at some point
there has to be a distinction between
reality and art

a woman's eyeball sliced open
or a baby found dead in
a plastic bag on a street corner

my son drawing airplanes
at the dining room table

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open letter to the god of starving dogs

Editor b, John Sweet, poetry

and it's not that
i want to see you bleed
it's that i want to be the one
who makes the wound

do you see how power
differs from action?

do you believe in addictions
other than your own?

we are all
so fucking desperate

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