audie and martin

the night before martin luther king
was gunned down in memphis
he came screaming
out of a dream.

the instant outside roanoke
that his plane smacked a mountain
was the first time since holtzwihr
that audie murphy wasn’t afraid.

audie and martin met in heaven and
walked Paradise apart
from listening angels,
the ears of God.

what they whispered
to each other
was not put down
into the book of ages…

they swapped medals,
and their laughter echoed
through heaven and earth,
to hell and back.

First Portrait of Maria, in the Style of Dali

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

A gun pulled from inside the
killer’s heart, and he says Mr. Lennon,
then smiles, then pulls the trigger.


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

The only heat is the
mindless glare of the sun.

I don’t know you yet,
haven’t fallen in love with you,
haven’t let my tongue flicker lightly
across your nipples in a
curtained room.

The story is over,
or is possibly just beginning.

I have the picture, but can never
make out the expression on your face.


by John Sweet

a small dog, bleeding

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 profit


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 political
to describe what we don’t want to
talk about and then, of course,
the children die

the war becomes nothing more than
one more mundane fact of life,
and the men who make money off of
the corpses of every dead soldier,
and that there are others out there
filming your daughters fucking
faceless strangers

that the poem is just a message
handed down from the
throne of god

you will ignore it like all of
the lies you’ve been forced to swallow
in the past, and then it will come
to define you


by John Sweet

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