John Tustin

John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many literary journals, online and in print, since 2009. contains links to his published poetry online.


I am much less than those
Who doff theirs chains, 
Break through the wall
And into the uncertainty of 
The darkness outside the place
Of our internment.

I am more like those
Who defy the guards,
Spit invective out of our windows’ bars
And struggle like worms on hooks
All the way to the room
Where the men with rifles are waiting
To blindfold us and open fire - 
Putting us out of their misery,
The chains rattling in their superfluousness
As they fall with us to the place
Of our interment. 


I implored to Siddhartha Buddha
And Jalad Rumi 
To give me their opinion
About the veracity of
Our love
But I don’t speak
Or read
And even if I did
I don’t think I would have received
Any response that wasn’t just conjecture. 
They didn’t answer anyway.
Just as well.
I wouldn’t understand either way.


You, thinking I am learned,
You ask about gods
And not about people
And I, not understanding the difference,
Will not be able to answer you
With the authority you desire.

Proverbs and Ecclesiastes were written
By men and maybe God’s hand,
If His hand can touch us
Without trembling.

My own arm aches not from working 
But from sleeping on it wrong.

I bet God’s arm, if it hurts,
The pain is more palatable,
More acceptable
Than mine. 

I accept this
Even if I can’t accept

You ask about gods
And, venerating people,
I tell you about God.

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