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by John Sweet






and the killer is caught,

and his girlfriend weeps


the baby has no chance,

of course,

and the apartment is cold,

the windows loose in their casings,

the grey light of january filling

the rooms like sleeping gas


smell of gasoline,

approach of trains and

               then the fade


an abandoned factory in the

center of town


a wreath of dead flowers

hanging on

the fence that surrounds it


something small for the

world to revolve around




a line, (a short blue one)



[you didn’t have to let us go]


or maybe sunday morning in

a nation of random suicides


grey snow on grey silence and

the drugs that help you feel alive


the uncertain kiss of ghosts


the uneasy ghosts of ex-lovers


find a room with not enough air in a

house with too few walls and

know that you’re home


believe yourself

to be safe


pretend there are

worse mistakes you

will make in your life




a line, (a short blue one)



1973, season of starving artists


waits for the kids to fall asleep then

sets fire to the house and

beyond this

there’s no plan


beyond god

there’s no window


no door


just a mirror on a blood-smeared wall


just a mouth filled with

broken teeth and vomit




looks like maybe it wants to scream

but who in this age of

instant gratification has

any time to care?


and who you gonna believe

if not hieronymus?


it’s a world of monsters


a world of suffering


not pain as a metaphor

but just pain


just the inhuman sound of

screaming babies

ground beneath jackboots


the human laughter of carrion birds




and how the hell are you going to

get the joke if you won’t stop

crying long enough

to listen to the punchline?




a line, (a short blue one)



everybody loves a starving artist once they’re dead


kid just wants to breathe, right?


just wants to live, wants to gobble down

a handful of molly before his

father’s funeral,

but what if he’s 38?


what if he’s 52?


always someone telling you

you need to grow up,

but we all spend

most of our lives being wrong


we all have our orders


man at the front desk gives you

a hammer and a shovel


a bag of nails


tells you you gotta vote if

you want a better future


says this whore or that one

and maybe there isn’t a punchline


maybe the blood of your enemies

tastes just like the blood of of your lovers


maybe we still have enough

time to finally get our shit together


and it’s always been such a

small goddamn space

between suicide and joy




a line, (a short blue one)



a shovel, a grave, a slow dance on the night before the diagnosis


can’t spend the rest of yr life

being too old to fuck in the back seat


can’t breathe if

the house is on fire


can’t talk about love

because johnston is dead


because everyone’s gonna

leave you in the end


a line, (a blue one)


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