Other Poems by:

john sweet

notes made before beginning the 4th bleeding horse sonnet

cold yellow light on a sunday afternoon
and i apologize for nothing

i have no use for
burroughs or bukowski

edie is dead
and andrea
and all of your patron saints are
nowhere to be found

none of your cities
were ever meant to last forever

and i am tired of being hungry and i am
tired of being lost
but all of these houses look the same

all of these roads end without warning
at cemeteries or abandoned factories or
rivers with indian names in this land
where there are no indians and
the girl didn't jump
she fell

four stories and drunk and left her
three year old daughter with nothing but
a missing father

the pacific was only a dream

3000 light years away and
when i stand in the shadow of this bridge
i have nothing of my own

when i pick up my son
he cries

we are always on
the verge of being lost

ash wilderness

this little girl with wings
or this middle-aged man with
the bones of his wife
locked in the trunk of a
shiny new car

these myths that are actually truths

the way pollock died so desperately

the way lee fell to the floor

screamed

and what is history but a
list of names written
backwards in the book of wasted days?

what are words but a
more hopeless form of violence?

listen

i was never this frightened before
my children were born

was never filled with
so much useless anger

and i keep coming back to this
eleven year-old girl who
disappears from her home
thirty miles east of here

i keep coming back to her killer

how he never told
where her body was

how he laughed on
the day he was executed

not like anything was funny
but like he'd won

like it had cost him nothing

poem for whores, for leeches, for all of the fuckers in the world who would bring down the human cathedral

find the man who murdered
geronimo's wife and children

think of what it is
you'd say to him

consider how good the last
two hundred and fifty years of
slaughter have been to you

easter

you alone in
the house of truths

the news of twelve soldiers
ambushed and slaughtered

the news of bodies being
set on fire and
dragged through city streets

and not the sun but
almost

not warmth but
the memory of it

the snow melted and
the streets grey and the screams
of animals caught in traps

the blurred reflections of
strangers in the windshields of
empty cars

all of these words and all of
these images that refuse
to add up to anything more
than themselves but you still
have to stop and consider
each one

you still have to dig
until the bodies are found

it shouldn't take
much longer than the
rest of your life

upwards

and i'm sorry that i have never
bled pure sunlight over
the people i love and
i'm sorry that my hands are tied

and i am not blind but
standing here in my back yard
i'm beginning to think that
i may be lost

i'm beginning to see how i
will fail my children

how the promise of cancer will be
my gift to them
or the threat of aids or a
world filled with zealots who want
only to kill

who believe that the slaughter
of innocents will be rewarded

and what happens is that i
find myself wasting too much time
talking about things that
i'll never be able to change

i wake up in the first grey light
of morning in a stranger's bed and
feel nothing but afraid

i am only the empty 
grasping hand that my father
always told me i would be

lucifer 1

the cold blue ghost of christ
caught in the wires

such a simple thing to imagine

such a small gift for all of
these beaten children

not anger but vengeance

not prison but crucifixion

a poem that sounds like
a young boy with
his hand held to a lit burner

a beats that runs on blood

america
with nowhere left to go

this back yard littered
with dirty needles

these empty vials that crackle
like breaking shells
beneath our feet as we cross
the aquarium parking lot

september
and then october
and the sky like a shroud

grey and threatening rain
and the condensation that forms
on the upstairs windows

the sound of my heart beating
in a pale blue room

distance
which is a lie
and time
which is a spike

a baby found floating
in the pacific

in a bathtub while
the mother fucks her lover
twenty feet away

while the father says he has
bigger problems

this man beaten then tied to
a fence
who says nothing

is dying
and then is dead
and the fact that it
was supposed to be a joke

the fact that i love you or
that you love me

the bills that don't get paid

the hours that are wasted
in prayer or in anger

a woman raped then
stabbed eighty times with
a screwdriver

[i]a woman raped
then stabbed eighty times
with a screwdriver[/i]

everything that
remains unsaid

a full length collection, HUMAN CATHEDRALS, is available from www.ravennapress.com

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