Poetry: Selections from John Tustin

Another Summer in SC
This morning and
Every morning
The sun is out there –
A lemon cut open
And spitting acid
Right into your eyes.

Cluttered Box

The ceiling is coming down on me,
piece by piece.
Plaster in my hair,
dust in my eyes,
I’m wheezing.
As it falls in on me
the floor is giving way.
It’s dark black,
I’m down in a hole
among the cracked floorboards
and plaster pieces.
There is light somewhere,
but not here.
Water dripping in a terrible
rhythmic mumble.
My head buzzes.
If you came to try
to pull me out of the rubble
I would not go.
The ceiling is gone.
The floor is gone.
It’s just the walls
and the wind
and the pitch black and rubble
I lie in,
blamed and ruined,
waiting out the clock.
You didn’t put me here,
no one did.
Bad luck, circumstance.
No sustenance,
no movement,
no chance.
I cry without tears
or passion.
Alone in the cluttered box
of jagged debris.
The blood and dirt in my nose
the only smell.
The dripping
the only sound.
The demons emerging
from the hell of the diminished soul
the only sight.
No movement.
No hope.
Not here.

Day Drinking 
I do some day drinking
And sometimes it goes well,
Sometimes not
But there comes a time,
About the time the room gets dark,
That I contemplate tomorrow
And when I say contemplate tomorrow
It does not go beyond
What I will have for breakfast
Should my heart not explode
And I wake up in the morning.
Will it be two eggs over easy with wheat toast and bacon
Or will I choose the link sausage?
One out of thirty times I have pancakes instead
And fifteen out of twenty
I sleep in with regret,
After having a dream of perfect feet and thick thighs
Of which when I awaken
I have vague memory.
Hell, as long as I wake up
With my wanting
And vague memories of
Having had
It’s something better than

I Found These Tears
I found these tears
And I picked them up
And I asked her,
“Are these yours?”
She said they were
So I poured them
Into the cup where
My tears were held.
Not a word between us
As we took turns
Stirring and we took turns

Somebody Terrible 
I want somebody terribly.
I want somebody terrible.
I want somebody who does not want me.
I tell her she’s beautiful and she responds, “You’re so sweet”
While averting her gaze to her buzzing phone.
I want her body in spite of my body.
I want to smell the pillow where her nighttime hair has fallen.
I can’t help it. I can’t control it.
I want her attention even though
She flicks my attention with her index finger
Bouncing off of her thumb like a high diver,
Snapping through the air to stun me,
Obtrusive fly,
And sending me in a tailspin
Down down down to the carpet
Where she may step on me later,
My frozen wings and body crunching under her heel
But maybe not.
If she doesn’t step on me
It might be out of pity
The way a lone villager may have pitied The Monster
With his psycho-child brain and his rage and his rags.
If she does step on me
It will be an accident
She’ll have already certainly forgotten all about me already.

John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals in the last dozen years. For a complete list of his publication credits click here


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