John Tustin

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

THE CLOCK

Man will someday die out
With woman right beside him
In the for-better-or-for-worse ritual
That is just natural

Then no one with the capacity
Of poetic expression
Will look out upon the mountains
Smell the sea on the wind

Hear the calls of birds to other birds 
In amorousness or in warning
While the waves crash upon a naked shore
That lies rife with the living and the dead of the sea

Or know the crisp dead leaves
Red and yellow and orange underfoot
The bugs beneath
The million searching animal eyes above

The ashes of cigarettes no longer sitting
Like disused turds in the bent caps or 
Of hollowed beer bottles on scuffed floors
While men and women waste their little time

The music will be in the fat drops of rain
Sustaining and devastating
The words will be in the wind
That chaps the snow and the ice

No one will speak of the beauty
Not making it any less beautiful by any means
And that knowledge makes me sad
But heals me at the same time

I think to myself as I write this
And glance at the clock

GNAWING

It’s such a different
Gnawing
When the hunger
Isn’t in your
Belly
But your
Heart.

The first hunger
Gets you
From the inside
Out.
The second
From the outside
In.

The violins 
Play
And the drums
Rumble on
But
That doesn’t feed the
Belly
Or fill the
Heart.

From the 
Kitchen
I smell the
Food cooking
From my 
Bedroom
Filled with
Music 
And with
Silence.

In just 
Moments 
I will be half
Satisfied.

SWALLOWED

you swallowed me like the pride
I never exhibited.
you swallowed me like the whale
swallowed Jonah
and my small candlelight irritates you
inside.
you swallowed me like a delicate poison
and were too slow to vomit.
you swallowed me
and I inhabit you.
I pound your walls
and howl in your hallways.
I share your breath,
your nourishment,
your illness.
symbiosis.
you swallowed a symbiotic parasite
and now I move with you,
you move for me,
you took me in
and you take me in
and here I am.
my heart races to the rhythm of your pulse,
the gnash of your teeth,
the glow of your skin in sensual perspiration.
taken by skin and hair and soul
and hallowed eyes of infinite fortitude,
dual solitude.
you have swallowed me, poison
and panacea
and you are nauseous and fevered,
but I have made you well.
I have filled your emptiness
with sadness, a desperate hopefulness,
a love
unwanted but needed,
unfathomed and real
and whole
and ours alone.

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