Monday, October 11, 2010

Photography and Poems by John Sweet

John Sweet 2009
one for j

wake up heavy with the
idea of suicide on some bright
blue july morning and
                  then what?

you need to look in all
directions here

you need to consider hope
      the possibility of hope

your children as a
form of salvation

   salvation as a concept that
actually have some meaning


ash wilderness
clip_image008the edges of cities
where the bodies are buried

the sides of hills and
the scrubland on either side of
the highways

and it matters that i love you
but not enough

it makes its own grey logic
that the killers need
to be killed

ask any parent
how old their child
would've been and then
look at their hands when
they answer

look at your own

use them to dig out
whatever space you can find
between anger and despair


a forest

growing up quietly,
or this is what you thought

growing up without limitations
and then dying

write your name
in the book of crows

hang a cross in
front of every mirror

religion, yes, and then
and then genocide

all acts
are acts of greed

all apologies are
acts of violence

baby just lies there bleeding
and all you can do
is keep saying
i’m sorry


clip_image020 the village, on fire

my youngest son crying over
the idea of my death and i
have no idea how we’ve
arrived at this point

i have no more reasons
to hate my own father

feel nothing but fear when
i consider the future

five years and then ten and
then twenty tied down by
the need for money.
               for shelter,
               for food,
               for money again

day one in the
age of addiction

white sun in a silver sky

houseful of broken windows,
of leaking pipes and
unread books

my youngest son in tears,
which is suddenly
the source of all pain


              imagenotes on finding religion

We were silent while the
boat sank. I think I’ve
mentioned this. Land in the
distance off to the west, blinding
sunlight, and it wasn’t
enough just to be in love

and it never is

and we never were

and the boat was sinking

miro was dead

Couldn’t understand why none
of the things I had spent my
believing in never really
mattered in the end.


clip_image018on the occasion of giving up completely

wake up after the rain in
the same place you’ve always known
and wait to feel clean

time is not your friend here

you are only loved by those
who get something in return

think about your father here
and then think about
the emptiness he left behind

is it smaller than you expected?

can it be cupped gently
in bleeding hands?


fear is a given in
any equation

the next storm is already forming
just over the horizon

doesn’t take a genius to see
we’re all fucked,
but it feels so good sometimes
to just sit back and
close your eyes 

© John Sweet, 2010

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    For more of John's work check out his book: Human Cathedrals, can be purchased at or Ravenna Press Books.

  2. Another quick note: I first "met" John, oh at least ten years ago, via an online poetry forum. I was struck at the time by how unpoetic his poetry was...and still is. I don't mean that in a bad way.

    There is very little obscured here but that doesn't mean the poet lacks depth or skill, but simply chooses to write in a way in which the words aren't something he hides behind.

  3. Michael W. GibersonOctober 12, 2010 at 1:05 AM

    Getting better and better, John. And I love that photo of The Boy...

  4. We were silent while the
    boat sank. I think I’ve
    mentioned this

    the above is one of many examples of moments i stopped to dwell. good to read each of these poems.

  5. ps i meant to say - i'm honored my line made your quote of the week. my internal gyroscopes are purring.

  6. Sherri,

    I'm honored to share that quote. Whenever it's been a tough day for me, your writing always makes me feel better. Thank you for taking the time to visit and respond.


    Thanks for the encouragement and enthusiasm towards my writing. The writer is behind the writing, you know, but the writer is not the writing. So, I think your image of me is perhaps based on what you imagine me to be and maybe not the reality. Take care,

  7. Many people avoid online poetry workshop because there is a popular idea that true poetry is dull, vague in its meaning and intended for an elite audience. LTC tutor Anita Dugat-Greene's recent workshop titled "Message in a Bottle: How to Read, Enjoy and Write about Poetry" sought to rid students of these assumptions.