poem for 100,000 afternoons spent drowning on dry land by John Sweet




and it’s not the end of the world if
no one loves you but
suicide is always an option

you see how that works?

light and dark

one of de chirico’s fever dreams

and she tells me that these are the good days,
that tomorrow holds only promise,
and i’ve learned the value of silence

i sit in the back yard
waiting for christ’s return or maybe morrison’s,
and i compare the beatles to the stones

camus to sartre

all those teenyboppers lining up to
fuck them in grubby hotel rooms, and what i
am is glad that i never had daughters

what i am is depressed

too many pills and too many bills and
always the smell of something burning in the distance
on these silent august afternoons

always these reminders that i am still
the same frightened child i was in ‘75

that the future is the enemy?

do you remember it?

a war, let’s say,
and probably a plague, but maybe far away
across one of the dying oceans

maybe your lover’s husbands out in the
street with a gun, with a godlike glow,
and the cops don’t show up until he’s
shot out three windows and killed someone’s dog

the kids don’t stop crying until
the second dose of benadryl

and this is where we are
in the age of miracles

this is what she says
when i ask her for the truth

woke up on the morning of her 28th birthday
nailed to the cross of
someone else’s dreams and mistook it for a life

fucked all of the handsome boys and
all of the pretty girls, then convinced herself
that their lies were just smokescreens
concealing deeper truths,
and i get it

we love what hates us most

we crawl naked over broken glass
because pain is a drug

because lust is a given

a blowjob from the babysitter before
she gets out of the car,
and then back home to get drunk

wake up thirsty in the dark
how many years later? and all you hear
is your own ragged breathing

all you smell is
your own sour sweat

and this is both something new and
someone ancient in this room
with no windows, no doors

this is the story where a
father sets his son on fire

where a teenage girl gives birth in a
high school bathroom
and then leaves the baby in the toilet

wait a few years, okay?

all tales of ordinary horror become
punchlines, given enough time

there will always be someone
willing to find humor in your pain

it’s probably happening
right now

©2020 John Sweet




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 HEATHEN TONGUE (2018 Kendra Steiner Editions) and A FLAG ON FIRE IS A SONG OF HOPE (2019 Scars Publications).


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