John Tustin

John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many literary journals, online and in print, in the last decade. contains links to his published poetry online.


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


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.

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