"poem for the ghost of who i thought i was" & "all history is the history of failure" by John Sweet



poem for the ghost of who i thought i was


a man of words found

hanging in the desert


a song, but not the one

you’re thinking of


not the one your lover

used to sing,

but it still sounds familiar


a smaller house in

another town, maybe?


the promise of happiness,

and then the

way it never arrives


age of electricity,

age of gold,

of unlimited desires,

call it what you want


we still have war,

still have hatred,

still have famine and genocide and

so maybe call it the age

of enlightenment?


maybe subscribe to the delusion that

acknowledging evil is enough,

that taking votes is the same as

taking action


and you have your words, yes,

and you have your silence


your list of suicides


of forgotten ex-lovers, and my name

has been written down on

one of those pages,

simply and without fanfare


my father’s name, spelled out

both backwards and forwards and a

smear of coke across the mirror

when i hold it up


a child on fire found

curled up in the middle of the street


a reason


seriously?


the age of disbelief is

a thing of the past


the cashier is shot for $20,

a six-pack,

a carton of cigarettes


for the hell of it


shit happens, and was that

aristotle or was it camus?


the honorable j. christ maybe,

right before that first spike

showed him all the possibilities of

suffering, and who the hell would

actually build their temple on

this s&m wet dream?


who would choose an instrument

of torture to be

the symbol of their faith?


fuck the future and

fuck the past


let the here and now be

what carries us through


let this moment be the

only one that defines us


i tell you i love you

and all time stops




all history is the history of failure


or christ arriving at the

golgotha hotel without a reservation,

without any luggage or message for the faithful,

and the cops have their orders


the blood flows like wine


there is never any better

time for fear than now




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).