John Sweet

blind map for the king of crows

stands holy in the last pure
crippled light of day says
this is not the end

stands in the doorway says
come in
or no words at all

open smile open heart and
this is the year of wonder and
this is the age of fealty

you give and you receive

you wait for the news that christ is
reborn or st least morrison
or at least pollock and then you
consider escape

make up a list of everyone who
would kill you for it

power over the fates of others
is its own religion

this is true lesson of history
and what she wants is 
to be held

what we are is lost

kid in the back seat slowly
bleeding to death says we
have to turn around but
it’s too late for that

just need to keep driving
until we get to
the point where everything ends


lost summer without
realizing it

lost noelle and then lost debbie and i
never really had allison to begin with

sat at the beggar’s table with the
addicts and the dropouts and we all
burned with such a dull self-
righteous anger

we had all the answers

changed the world for the better
then finished the last
round of drinks

crawled back to our
one-room apartments

died such empty little deaths

poem from the palace of refracted light

no mirrors just windows in
pale grey rooms and if i can’t be
judas then i will grow the wings of a crow

october and then november and
frost spreading through the blood

a neverending list of laws that
need to be broken

of people hoping to own you

hoping to give you the gift of pain
which you can then pass on and
                                       in this way
                        a history is created

the sun burns itself out and
yr teenage heroes all choose suicide

yr father falls to the kitchen floor
on an ordinary morning in the
first tentative days of spring

no gathering of angels

no last words

doesn’t even realize he’s dead
until three days later

belated premonition from the age of advancement

and the object is a shoe
with the child's foot
still in it
and the body is nowhere

and what are
the politics here?

who among us thinks
a point has been made or
a goal accomplished?

it's not that i don't believe
but i don't believe
in what others have created
from ignorance and fear

do you think lorca's murder
actually had any meaning
or lennon's
or rothko's frightened 
little suicide?

and i find myself
following these thoughts
down washington ave on a
wednesday afternoon holding
my son's tiny hand
and listening to his laughter

i understand that sunlight
on the faded grey walls of
empty buildings only makes
a lighter shade of grey

i have faith in the beauty
of de chirico's sky

what brings us
all together in the end
is our need for crucifixion

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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