Monday, November 24, 2008

Five by John Sweet


and it’s true that i’m a coward,
and it’s true that i love
my children

find the point where
these two truths meet

consider how easy it is to treat people
with respect when they pose
no threat to you

cold rain in the morning
and then all afternoon

i read books to my youngest son
while his brother draws pictures
of imaginary planets

we listen to the beatles and then
we listen to the stones and
there is no sign of war in this house
but people everywhere are
dying against their will

the streets of a thousand villages
whose names i’ll never know
run red with the blood of the raped
and the butchered and
outside these thin walls
the temperature drops


i listen to the furnace
kick on in the basement

i turn another page

faith by itself will
never be enough to save you


landscape w/ falling ghosts

like pale sunlight through
a break in the clouds

like falling snow

absence of warmth so easy
to confuse with the
absence of hope

abandoned buildings

empty parking lots

dead-end roads

solve it like a puzzle with
the taste of old metal
in the back of yr throat

mentions of god

of godlessness

smell of burning
everywhere and always



and what would you do
with your gun besides
kill, and who would
you shoot first?

who next?

laughter of children
filling your eyes


ash wilderness, late november

watched the snow coming down
the valley said i have to
get going
but the truth was
something more complex

the poems were all past tense

were small animals
caught in traps


said wake up but the
sky was the color of lead

said nothing because at
least it wasn’t a lie

almost believed
the future was mine


stacy’s laughter

awake after the storm early or
late afternoon saturday
maybe sunday
and all of the machines i own are
dying by slow degrees

you need to choose what matters

you need to write it out
then burn the pages

burn the house & then the
town & then start driving

the idea of arriving becomes
meaningless when escape is an

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