Poetry Drawer: st elena: golgotha postcard: muted splendour: modigliani’s gun: first attempt at escape: westward by John Sweet

st elena speaks with the voice of a carrion bird

the almost and the
always and the never and then
everything in between

close yr eyes

do you see now?

let the map take you
from here to there

let the desert be your
starting point
and your destination

no walls and no water

no true purpose

you’ll live and you’ll die
just like the rest of us

you’ll be forgotten

maybe you
already are

golgotha postcard

pilate shot through the throat and
then the crows at his heart

the dogs drinking his tears

grow up fast or
not at all,

a lifetime of dying played out in
the space of an hour and i
forget if i ever told you i loved you that summer

i forget if you were the one who
taught me how to bleed

was too busy making promises that
turned without effort into
such heartfelt lies

muted splendour

and then dali grows old
and then dali dies and
i am left in this room
with your sister

says she’s cold, but
she won’t get dressed

won’t get up off the floor

just tells me she hates
me while i kneel down
to kiss her feet

modigliani’s gun

barefoot on broken glass at the
end of november and maybe it feels as
good as a bullet through god’s filthy heart

maybe only children
will be killed in the war

each tiny death made into a movie and
all of them playing in another room while
we’re trying to sleep, and so how can you
claim to be famous if no one wants
to see you naked?

why would you keep on bleeding
all over the carpet when it’s
all you’ve been doing for the past 30 years?

there’s a got to be a better way
for you to waste the rest of your life

first attempt at escape

late winter snow from dull pewter skies,
driving west but never fast enough,
laughs & tells me he’s the one who took the
pennies from christ’s blind eyes

says he’s looking for a
girl named jennifer to fall in love with then
says the heater’s broke

tells me i look like shit

asks how long I’ve been
bleeding to death

turns the radio up way too loud while
i’m trying to think of an answer


and then you and i and the
sleeping face of christ, all of us
radiant and each of us alone here in
the sudden warmth of november,
in the flickering shadows of falling leaves,
beneath the ominous web of powerlines,
blue sky reduced to meaningless
geometry, startled birds, endlessly
crashing planes and the children laughing,
screaming, running home across barren
fields or down haphazard sidewalks,
the memory of their motion, the way i
tell myself over and over again not to
forget this moment and then the
ease with which i forget it

the reasons i write these
meaningless poems

the idea that maybe even one
of them might find you

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).

You can find more of John’s work here on Ink Pantry.

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