The poetry of John Tustin


It was from that first real kiss
Between us,
Our bodies poised to strike
As if held tight many years by springs,
That I became found
And I became doomed.
The moments trapped now in a million tiny drops of amber
To be brought out and studied night after night.
Like tonight.

The memories wrapped in white linen,
The memories tinged in blue.
Pretty photographs, quick minute moves
Slowed down bit by bit,
All tinged in blue.
I remember each room and how you looked
Standing in the doorway, sitting at the table,
Brushing your teeth in the bathroom as you
Bent slightly over the sink.
Lying underneath me, your hair black ink
Running along the pillows.
Your eyes two perfect songs
Playing just for me.

It is as if every time I took off my shoes and entered your room
It is relived in my dreams.
It is as if every time you looked at me in the dark,
Those moments, they walk by my side
As I go about the tragedy of my days.
It’s as if you are here.
Not quite, though.
Certainly not enough.

It is nearly 5 A.M.
I close my eyes and I sit back in my chair.
It is as if every word you spoke, every movement you made,
Every time you touched me
Is all upon me at once.
My mind is overfull.
Every moment cascading over my body
And you look so very beautiful.
I wonder who is touching you now,
Putting flowery words in your ears,
Telling you that you are so very beautiful
And the memories burn away.
Until the next time
And the next.

You have always been beautiful
And you always will be
But you have never been and never will be
More beautiful
Than you will be
The next time I see you.

I will never see you again.
I would really like that you would
Be even more

I can’t even imagine it.





There are people in the distant past, long distant; people who exposed your nerves, broke your bones and would not reset them, walked away after breaking you in two, leaving you in flames.

They are distant, burnt down masts and sails from a sunset before you knew who you really were. Now years could go by without a thought of them. They were a shadow passenger on a road you would rather forget the directions to.

There is no hate or even anger anymore: it’s just an expanse of flat nothing. She is someone who only exists as a formless figure in the cobwebbed corners of your days before you were truly alive. But then…

The radio plays Into the Mystic and you get that jumpstart to your glowing core. And you say, Yes, I guess I did hold a certain version of love for her. Her voice that sounded like melted sadness, her body that wanted but could not give way, her eyes that once revered you and her hands that fit into yours.

She told you that Into the Mystic was a great song and the next day you gave her the album. Of course you did. You gave her everything, what little you had in your heart, and, for a few moments, she held them to her heart before she gave them back.

And now everything you have is yours to give to someone who will hold them to their heart

And keep them there. There are so many more nights. There are other songs.





Wendy has always thought the best of others.
Wendy has had her heart broken
But still, she thinks other people are at heart
Altruistic and caring.

Wendy looks up at the moon,
Her body lying on the grass,
All that splendid red hair around her
Like an aura
And a halo.

She looks up and the moon is not laughing
As it usually is
But crying.
Crying for her,
Her little bare feet splayed,
Her face bravely wanting as she looks up
At something that cannot help her.

The moon beams down and tells her
That as long as there is beauty
She should not stop thinking the best
Of people, no matter how vile they appear

And Wendy, she is beautiful
And one day she will know
That as long as she exists
There is some hope.

John Tustin is currently suffering in exile on Elba. His published poetry is available at

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