"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


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).