Poetry Drawer: walk away/like a fool: in mercy blind: heretic: with broken wings, with bruised hearts: one from the valley of ashes: a wasted mouthful by John Sweet

walk away/like a fool

someone telling you it’s
almost too late your entire life,
and then it is, and is this
comedy or is it

do you outlive your children or
bury them all one at a time?

and maybe i’m part of
this particular picture

maybe the sunlight is
never as pure as we remember

you’re smiling at the edge of
a field of flowers, but
there are always shadows
spilling across your face

there are always angry
voices reach in from
other rooms

blame to be assigned and
refused and
some of us grow up while
others just grow old

some of us grow wings

none of us escape

what you feel about this
never really makes
any difference in the end

in mercy blind

here in this bluegrey room and
suffocating beneath the idea of failure
                                              of mine
                                              of yours
                                              of everyone’s
and here beneath this twilight sky
in the kingdom of oblivion

age of lies and age of truth

of pregnant women butchered by soldiers
of children sold into slavery
of endless fucking massacre and
                                    in the end
all we are is proof of the futility
of man-made gods

of untrue democracies

of all power coming from
weapons or wealth and maybe
we are even hope

maybe we can still learn to dance on
the graves of tyrants and
false idols with bloodthirsty joy

                            maybe we are
                             not quite lost


collision isn’t fatal but
the blood offers possibilities

tv on the wrong channel and
the president speaks of raping babies

shouts about the importance of wealth,
the need for vengeance,
the illusion of victory and
everything spoken through a
mouthful of sawdust and dogshit and
then the man with the gun laughs

says there’s no such thing
as something new

says this, and then he takes
his own life and, in a world without
safety, there can only be promises
kept or promises broken

can only be darker shades of
grey and red

the two of us alone in a
stranger’s room and
waiting for the first light of day

with broken wings, with bruised hearts

& the future is prisons, you see,
and the future is loss

let go of yr house, of yr
children, but hang onto the hatred
                             that defines you

give up christ

give up all those pretty songs
your mother used to sing

close in on holiness
like a soldier taking aim

one from the valley of ashes

motherfucking high in the bathroom,
nosebleed spraying all over
the wall, the mirror, dripping into the sink
and julie laughing about the
broken glass

laughing about the
beginning and the end

all of the shit in between

gods & priests & kings and the trails of
corpses they always leave behind

a wasted mouthful

nothing to lead and nowhere to
go and no one
cares if you die anyway

no one cares if you
live in sight of the land

we are all kingdoms, right?

we all go to sleep

we all burn

and don’t apologize, but don’t
expect any applause, either

the best gifts
remain unspoken

the best years are always
referred to in the past tense

do you see how that’s funny?

do you understand the
of corpse into god?

talk to cobain about
his cure for addiction

ask if he sees the irony in
the voice of a generation
being a suicide

once you’ve got that
sense of humour, there’s really
nothing else you need

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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