John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many literary journals, online and in print, in the last decade. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.
IT USED TO SLAY ME
It used to slay me Watching her clean her ears So carefully and fervently With cotton swabs After her eternity in the shower, Wearing nothing but a t-shirt and panties – Thinking to myself about the moment, her in the moment, Me witnessing the moment, Thinking about the perfection of it: A masterpiece of a moment To be painted over and over In different contexts, from other angles Until the day one of us died Was just what should be. If felt comfortable and warm, Exciting and just right. I thought this knowing inevitably That it would end. End before one us ceased to be. I knew that one day I would look on From the hallway And she would not be cleaning her ears Or removing her makeup Or drying her thick black marvelous hair That would shine like red yarn in the spotlight of the sun. She would just not be there. I would here a noise and it would be nothing. I would look and I would only see me looking back In the damned mirror. Tonight tumbles in obscurity As I remember every night as if they were one night, Every morning waking to her or the distant noise of her And smiling so softly but broadly inside That my body would emanate warmth. I am broken now. I am finally really broken. Irretrievably disappeared. Nothing is left of me But the remnants of us. They sit upon the carpet And turn to dust. They cannot even smolder. Not anymore. The nights are clocks on fast forward. All my dreams are nightmares. Often I am Moments from death as I sleep. The hands of the clock move and move, Twirling like dervishes. The past is moments to hold In a freeze frame. The present is a moving clock That moves towards more of nothing. The future is the stopping of that movement. I live in the past as I wait upon the future. I would give five years of this lifeless life To watch her ablutions before the bathroom mirror A single time More.
MEET ME AT THE MOTEL 6
Meet me at the motel 6. I’ll beg, but I won’t cry. No strings attached, no promises to make Or break. Waiting a lifetime for that moment of exhilaration That just won’t arrive. I’m only asking for one night. One night and then you can go And I can go. One night tangled up and torn up like weeds In a bed I’ve never known And will never know again. Meet me at the motel 6 And we’ll have just one night Before I let you go On the breeze of a life That has forsaken me nearly every moment. Your gift the memory of a time, Reflection on a time Where nothing else existed Except the rage of our flames And the acceptance in our eyes. Meet me at the motel 6 And it will feel like that good dream You didn’t want to wake up from But did And still think of that dream in an odd moment, Smiling that smile That says you’re not just living, But, for a moment, alive.