Wednesday, February 27, 2019

labyrinth, in winter

says cold is one thing says
pain is another
and then to combine the two

to follow the footsteps in the
snow until they reach the river

mother of someone’s baby

son of another dead soldier

it doesn’t mean
she didn’t love him just because
her hands were tied to the headboard
but then why all of the blood?

why all of the bitter february
sunlight hard against these
dirty windows?

seems like somebody’s lying

seems like there were at least
three of them and
taking turns with a video camera

seems like the ice was too thin

just not sure if he was pushed
or if he jumped


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

grey lies the kingdom

a slow collapse
in an upstate landscape

an apology

not sincere and devoid of all meaning
but why would you ever think
you deserved more?

why would the dogs ever bother to do
anything but fuck you in your sleep?


it’s not the boredom that
kills you in the end
but the pain

death with the head of a crow
riding a silver horse and
it’s the past you’re afraid of
                and it’s the future

it’s all those bright blue
sunfilled days in between

the sound of your name spilling
out of an ex-lover’s mouth

went back to his wife after he
got bored hitting you,
but still wanted to be friends

still wanted to taste your tears

laughed when he told you
it was better than nothing


one more asshole wandering
blind & lost in the desert

one more starving poet
one more gracious liar and a
neverending supply of teenage girls
waiting to be tied up and
fucked in front of
the camera

feels like we need a war here
or some new group of people to
persecute and crucify

feels like rain

silver sky streaked with grey and
these old men hiding behind
locked doors

these children shooting at cats
& dogs with pellet guns

shooting each other and laughing and
then the body of someone’s runaway
daughter pulled from the river

been raped of course and
you can give her a name and
you can give her a face and still
                                  no one cares

invent new religions to justify
your atrocities and
then invent new atrocities

build strip malls
between the cemeteries

parking lots filled w/ shining chrome,
mouths filled w/ rust, and this
still the desert
of course
and we are all still lost

words are either
spelled out in neon or
they’re meaningless

no one here will ever
admit to promising you a
future worth inheriting


feels so fucking right caught in the
undertow at the edge of town,
eyes closed against the copper sky and dreaming,
sweating god’s blood into weed-filled back yards,
into the weed-filled parking lots of abandoned shopping plazas,
and from here there is only the interstate
to take you to more of what you’ve left behind

from here it is only 10,000 miles to the
sacred shrine of st maria

to the ghost of beth made flesh

and i remember her smile and
the feeling of holiness and
i remember waves of pure sunlight

i remember being someone better

i forget why i
thought it would ever matter


the sun through
a haze of snow

through a haze of
frozen despair

end of february,
hum of powerlines
and of history,
the bodies of
children slaughtered
in their sleep

defined by fear

the silence after
the last prisoner has
been executed

it is no small
victory not to be
a whore

 John Sweet

Friday, February 22, 2019

Seas fossilize into parched buttes
trapped shellfish
anthropoids in dark matter.

Time did not freeze
as massive ice ball
and volcanoes
merge into passive resistance
push and pull
on earth axis.

The bacteria count is one.

A joke of cosmic proportions,
life is a stunning pool of
bombarded asteroid
melting eons
upon eons
until the surf is up
the sun is down
and sulfur tide pools
froze hominoids in their tracks.

Enough is enough
when will the party begin?


I pleaded with Algren
to cut the bull shit
forget about those whores,
petty thieves
and drunks.
They're a distraction-
you say an inspiration.

But you need to write,
be a good husband-
you told Preminger
to go screw himself
along with Hollywood-
I don't disagree
I would too.

You said you felt unappreciated
in Chicago,
banned books,
corrupt political hypocrisy,
under Bellows arrogant shadow.

maybe you need
a rest
at a Sag Harbor cottage
by the sea,
it may not be too late
to write
one last novel
about the beautiful woman
with a broken nose.

PHOTOSYNTHESIS  (without equations)
Photosynthesis reveals
a meditation
dreamscape of fossils,
a cosmic crawl
toward life force
past and present.

Photosynthesis reflects
a solar glow of
watery inhalation
breathing dark matter
a disjointed pigment
of a blue green ghost.

Photosynthesis offers
a folly
of  burst molecules
electric in a swampy skin
an ephemeral ocean
of death and decay.

Photosynthesis proclaims
a dazzled synthesis
of sugary
an emerald  glow
measured time,
the end and beginning
in an eternal web. 

The perch in Lake Michigan
are using anti-depressants.
Don't forget the lonely Spotted Owl
addicted to xanex
as they find shelter
in Pacific Coast pulpwood.
Then there is the howler monkey
who prefers natural St. John's Wort
to soothe jangled nerves.

Yes the list is long.

The only way out is
pushed from fragmented habitats,
an exodus
to a zoo
as human botany
iphone in hand
a selfie
of natural history
a cry
in a mounted museum.

A comedy?


Dark fraudulent night
sleepless shadows
resonate gray masks
colorless voyage into circles of fury
no sunrise nor treacherous sunset
alone by the toxic river
only to return the next day.


Bland hungry terrace
splashed face of proudly departed
a wrathful detour from humble madness
invisible to impassive crowds
a short breath
beleaguered from flight
only to return the next day.


Vacant stars in night sky
a full moon
winds of hope
the mystery
where knowledge wisely departs
planets evolve and expand
into the sweet abyss of days
only to return
to mystery the next day.

John Raffetto

Helpless I do not know if good intentions prevail among the elected, among the appointed, leaving me apprehensive that the fate ...