The Occupation

The Occupation


John Sweet




have to leave have to get back

home to the husband

          to the wife

          to the children

but it’s tough to stop drowning


it’s tough to put the needle down


pump that shit into your blood

let that body violate your own

just one last time and

then say it again


let the sky be the

color of luminous dust


let every house

be deserted and silent


these are the streets and

this is the town


this is the river your brother

jumped into twenty years ago


at what point did

your life lose all direction?


in how many words will it take

you to explain why you

hate yourself?




bonus points for keeping it short

because nobody likes a crybaby,

                              but then this—


everybody loves

someone else’s pain


sunlight and birdsong and a

man on fire in his own front yard


his children

watching him burn and then

watching him die


swimming pools at the

edges of bright green lawns


doors to lock tight or to

break down


we have spent a long goddamn

time driving

just to end up nowhere




John sweet, b 1968, still numbered among the living. A believer in writing as catharsis. Opposed to all organized religion and political parties. His latest collections include the limited edition chapbooks HEATHEN TONGUE (2018 Kendra Steiner Editions) and A BASTARD CHILD IN THE KINGDOM OF NIL (2018 Analog Submission Press). All pertinent facts about his life are buried somewhere in his writing.

Sign Up for the Weekly Review

Stalk us through the Mind-Farms of Social Media...

Or Check Out These Links!