JOHN TUSTIN - POEMS
I remember how it was snowing outside that night,
An actual blizzard, streets impassible,
My house almost warm
As I held you by the waist
And kissed you hard.
How well you kissed me back.
No children or jobs that night.
Nothing but us.
Tonight I drink the same beer as we did
And I love you with the same passion
Although you are not here with me
And never will be.
Me, alone in the snowless winter
With nothing but hours
And memories of us
Kissing and listening to music
As the snow fell and fell
Under the attentive streetlamps
Of Floral Park.
I’m listening to music now,
Different than the music we listened to
But I know you would like it.
Everyone likes Johnny Cash
And I know you are no exception to that.
I wish it was snowing
And I wish you were lying beside me
And I wish you were as drunk as me
And I wish the morning light
Would never break through
In a few hours
It was a year ago we first began to talk on the phone
And made our plans to meet.
She worked assisting surgeons in a hospital two hours away
And she was a lot younger than me.
So many women are now.
She liked Dave Matthews but I didn’t hold that against her.
We made our plans and our conversations got hotter leading up
To the day.
She was pretty, I liked her personality and she was going to drive two hours
To come to me!
All those hours on the phone, we knew each other a bit,
Plus the messaging on social media.
It was going to happen.
It was going to happen!
I was so nervous I could hardly sleep the night before.
I woke up to find a text telling me,
“Morning…I woke up feeling like shit.
Fever, sore throat, can (sic) breathe.”
The funny thing was a few hours later I had the same symptoms.
Half the State had the flu.
At first I thought she changed her mind about meeting me
But I convinced myself that this time was different.
We just talked so freely and easily. We matched.
This time was no different.
I texted her a few times that day and she never responded.
I went to Facebook the next day and she had me blocked.
That was that.
I called her once and left a message saying that
I was sorry she changed her mind,
Then I deleted her phone number.
I said, Goodbye, Lauren.
Your name is now on a list that keeps growing
I still think about her once in a while.
What else do I have to do?
I AM NOT A MESSENGER
I am not a messenger
And I am not a monster
There are demons within me
Squelched with but a look from you
The sickness the sadness of me
Shrivels and shudders smaller with each day you are with
I am not a question
And I am certainly not an answer
Walls rise between us
Rivers pulse through us
The walls cannot resist these rivers
And they fall
I am simply the father of my children
I am nothing else but your lover
I am quite content to be these two things
These two things and nothing else
As we contemplate side by side
Smiling in the darkness and the silence, reveling in the beauty of each other
ON HEARING SUZANNE VEGA’S GYPSY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN TWENTY YEARS
And there you are
after almost twenty years,
as beautiful and awkward
as that song that makes me think of you.
My thoughts of you
are only tender now.
The complexity of your mind.
The simplicity and depth of your compassion.
Your eyes that revealed
your kindness and
as you forgave me
my callous selfishness
with the downcast eyes
of a drizzling day.
You were a puzzle
I couldn’t complete,
scratching my head
like an ape.
And there you are
lying on your bed
listening to my attempts
at poetry, at philosophy,
knowing more than you say
but holding it in.
You remain unrevealed.
And there you are,
reaching out to me with half a heart –
as I remember why
I loved you in the first place
and why I left.
YOUR GARLANDS OF HAIR
Your garlands of hair
Deep dark damp upon my sight
Pouncing vision you
In this wake dream
This drunk doze
Day is gray meander
Night is purple wander
Bed made of tears
Sheets of sorrow
Connected to the sear of the rain
I drown in the comfort
Your garnets of eyes
Hot tempered flames
Blazing in my pockets
I bring them out
They glow on the sleepless ceiling
They are tempered steel
They are melted coins
They are my closing eyes
When black is blackest
When shades shade in deadest night
Kiss me in yellow of day
The world will spin still
Our scars as transcendent in sunlight
As supple in moonlight
Upon the moaning
Your garlands of hair
My disappearing fingers
Of my paramour
My bowed apologist
The sound of shovels
Attempting to dig us out of our fairytale
Let the songs play
My mouth on your mouth
Eyes in eyes