Thursday, March 24, 2011

John Sweet - Three Poems

Tracy Street, Season of Rust

in a house with no
direct sunlight,
in shadowed corners and with the
sound of ticking clocks

in the season of failed escape

in an empty room

six inches off the floor,
rope around his neck
and the groan of the
furnace but never
enough heat

a promise of salvation,
but never enough days

sound of weeping birds
outside every cracked and
frost-stained window

Absolute Zero


body found next to the body of her father,
her grandfather,
and if you close your eyes all
directions are the same

if you finally accept the idea
of death, all days can be numbered
backwards down to zero

all questions can be answered with the
suffocating weight of silence


told him he was no
one’s son then left him hanging
there three feet above his
children’s useless

kept laughing about the expression
he’d had long after the idea
of someone else’s despair had
stopped being funny


afternoon of pale sunlight,
of ice melting by slow degrees, and
she said to me or i said to her
but despair is easy
and i remember that one of
us laughed

remember that the temperature
dropped while we slept

meaningless patters of frost
tattooed across our flesh
when we woke up the next morning


it was rain on
top of rain on top of
melting snow

it was the season of
anonymous suicides

cars endlessly up and down
shiny grey streets, bodies
found in fields of mud and
there was faith in god and
there was faith in money and
i had no use for either

there was warmth where our
bodies touched before
we pulled away from
one another

never quite felt like
the end of something
but it always was


forgot to stand
motionless and so they
saw me without effort,
couldn’t shoot me enough
and i could only die once
but they kept trying,
just for fun

Behind the Curtain of Ice

and it’s not that i didn’t
believe in the slower insanities
because i had known you
for fifteen years by then,
and it’s not that i didn’t care
but christ
there was nowhere else to go and
no reason to stay

five below zero at nine thirty in
the morning, and so
what if the sky was blue?

couldn’t get the car to start or
the clocks to run backwards

could only taste blood in
your kisses, but
kept coming back for more

John Sweet(b. 1968) has been writing for 26 years, publishing for 22 of them. He is staunchly opposed to answering both the phone and the door. His most recent collection is CONTINUUM from Kendra Steiner Editions.

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