John Tustin

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


The ghost of Luke Kelly 
Is haunting this room
As I lift the lager
And hear his banjo trilling 
On the wind; 
His voice gutting 
The meanderings of birds outside
And the silence of this room
That is slowly closing in
As I wait for the real and final rain
To fall.

The ghost of Luke Kelly
Like a mosquito in my ear
As I crash to the bed
And struggle with the sheet
In the dark;
His loud clean voice
Buzzing through the miasma of struggle
That splits like soft wood
In a room closing in
As I wait for the real and final rain
To fall.


Near midnight.
Keeping the music going.
Maybe there is a moment still to come
That will be worth it.

At midnight.
Staring out into darkness with the music playing,
Afraid that sleep is the end of something
But it’s something that means nothing.

After midnight.
Eyes are shutting, brain still springing.
Turning on my side and imagining the coffee
In the morning will taste good

Although it rarely does.


She never understood why I needed to write.
She never understood my odd kind of love.
She never understood anything I did or why I’d say what I’d say.
She liked to decorate and buy new furniture.
She didn’t know how to save money and she always insisted I make more and more.
Money and possessions she understood quite well.
Now I’m gone and she’s still there with most of my money and possessions.
And the kids.
Now she tells our son he must be a doctor.
Now she tells our daughter that her poems and stories are fine as long as writing them is just a hobby.
She’s hoping our daughter grows out of it.
Doctors, lawyers and captains of industry have hobbies, too, so there’s hope.
I would sit at the computer and write after everyone except the cat was asleep.
She didn’t like that most of all.
She would come into the room after rousing herself from sleep and not finding me in bed.
There would be a twisting in the pit of my stomach as she stared half-dazed first at the computer screen,
Then to my face as I girded for her words.
Sometimes she insisted on knowing what I was writing about.
Sometimes she hectored me to come to bed. 
She hated me and I hated her more. 
She always had something to say when she came to catch me at writing as if 
What I was doing was something nefarious that would destroy the nation and knock God off his throne
At the same time.
Her favorite thing to say to me was
“What you’re doing is a waste of time.”
She said that at least once a week.
I never got used to it.

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