poems by John Sweet

a review by John Dorsey
©2004 • $5.00 • Pink Anarchkitty Press • Debbie Kirk • 2413 Collingwood Blvd. B224 •Toledo, OH 43620

THE DESIGN FOR HUMANITY, IF THERE IS ONE, is simple, and its wires, are nothing less than crossed. Still, the poetry of John Sweet never leaves it. In fact, Sweet has built a career on it. I’ve been reading Sweet’s poetry in little magazines for years, and it has always left me sick to my stomach. It’s supposed to I think. His images are both melancholy and sweet. His latest book, “enemy” is no exception. This mammoth of a chapbook, at 33 pgs, is all about starting over. It contains images of murdered children, red seas that have yet to be parted, and a wayward god, who’s spirit seems like a lost voice, an echo, in a lost world. Sweet is an artist, who is working in the warmth of flesh, in place of marble. His words work, almost effortlessly, to remove more than a few layers society’s dead skin, and burn the tip of your tongue in the process. With “enemy” Sweet is trying to protect our children, our own lost innocence, through words, with the rhythm of a staggering prize fighter. His lines have the calmness of a rabid dog, a spirit animal, set loose to search for clues, in a world that rarely has any answers. We are all starving, all shadows. We may never know who invented the wheel. What can I say about “enemy”? Nothing. Just read it. Sell your blood for it — you’ve certainly sold it for less. John Sweet is waiting for the second coming in upstate NY, you should wait with him, just pack a suitcase with a copy of “enemy” tucked inside, divinity might be a while, and you’ll need a way to check for a pulse, in a world that keeps getting colder, and that no longer catches snowflakes on the tip of its tongue.