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.


“The world is just flowers
In dirt,”
Says me, the great philosopher

After six beers becomes seven 
And forty hours worked in three 
Days falls down on me.

“The flowers are just waiting 
For the sun to set them on fire,”
Says me, the expounding poet

After eight beers are gone
And the music plays
Against the backdrop of little sleep.

Now here I sit in my glorious anonymity
As I watch in bemused horror
A million flowers in flames,

Burnt down to ashes that blow away
In the wind of the night
Under the cool distant moon.

“The world is just flowers
And the flowers are just ashes,”
Says me after ten beers.

The flowers being hours, 
The hours being meaningless,
And I am tipsy but not drunk

And anyway, you know me,
I may ponder life and flowers but 
I’ll never be too sad or tired or

Too drunk to lay the truth on you
As the flowers burn to ash
And the moon watches without a movement

Or a word and the wind drags the ashes
Over the fields of memories that become

As I sway.


There’s a gentle simplicity
To this irrevocable and unending sadness.
It is a combination of my bad chemistry
And my bad circumstance.
There is some comfort in knowing why
Nights like this occur.
I am loved, I have love, I create love,
Yet I lie in the dark and just wish
That I wasn’t anymore.
I know the reason for it.
I think of the evil I have done
And the evil that has been done to me
And then the good that I have not done.
I wallow halfheartedly in this sadness,
Sobbing into my hands,
Stumbling from the bed
To the bathroom mirror
To have harsh words
With my red-rimmed image.
Then music plays
And I am soothed like the beast
I surely am.
My children come into the focus
Of my mind’s eye
And then that beautiful woman
Who loves me more
Than I can possibly love myself
Stands before me
As if rising on a half-shell
And I know one day
These new circumstances
Will short circuit
This bad chemistry.


I am a bum
Too proud to cleanly shave,
To stop my unsociable behavior:
Too destitute to stop
My supplication. 
Too drunk to care
What the difference
Might be.
I leave it
To the mathematicians
With the caveat
That the bum
In boxing
Always took 
His punch
A bitch
Or a single

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