By John Sweet

poem in two directions

45 years and i’m still
not sure if it’s hope or despair,
these low flat roofs, this endless
expanse of luminous blue sky

anonymous buildings
surrounded by well-manicured
lawns and that i have these
memories of you which do
nothing but cause pain

fields of clover and goldenrod

the shade of oak trees
at the cemetery’s edge

take away the value of love
in any given situation
and you’re left with nothing

all pain, all grace

sunday morning suicide rain and
the phone doesn’t ring

the walls tremble, but stand

call my life a life but
                     what if?

takes me almost 50 years to 
realize i can’t save anyone

i grow tired of standing in as a
metaphor for a better person

i grow tired of myself

there are songs written for dead men
and there are songs written
by dead men, and there are all of
us who live in between

there is the feel of electricity
when i touch your skin

the hum of quiet joy that
forces blood through my veins

let me become who i 
always thought i was and
the past will be forgiven

mortality poem

silver skies and
late august sunlight blurred at
                                 the edges,
shot through w/ memory and
sorrow and this is not art
                      this is life

this is the news of starvation
                          of slaughter
                          of tyrants ruling over kingdoms 
                                                             of corpses

this is my son on the
other end of the phone, 
                 laughing but
always moving further away

saint christopher street

didn’t want to let
go yet, end of
summer and almost warm and
the truth of some pagan
god in yr smile

windows and doorways and
fields of spanish flowers

every act
an act of grace

throwing shadows

industrial childhood dreaming of
rain, looking out at
a blood-red river through a dirty window snd
                                                         like christ

a bridge half-
finished and the forgotten

try to remember the name of the town but
all that comes to mind is
the idea of escape

an abandoned church up on
german cross hill

and what if all our days added together
amount to less than the years they become and
what if all those years add up to nothing?

fear is the fuel you run on

survival is a religion

the unendurable weight of
where we are becomes
even if we’re nowhere at all

John Sweet sends greetings from the rural wastelands of upstate NY. He is a firm believer in writing as catharsis, and in the continuous search for an unattainable and constantly evolving absolute truth. His latest poetry collections include A FLAG ON FIRE IS A SONG OF HOPE (2019 Scars Publications) and A DEAD MAN, EITHER WAY (2020 Kung Fu Treachery Press).

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