Always Almost You
It was always you,
It was almost you,
In all ways you,
Always almost you.
Your sex-scent on the breeze
That comes in through the window and mingles with the perspiration
Of my lonely sheets.
Your image just out of focus in my bedroom mirror.
Every slamming door is you leaving.
Every key jingling in a lock
Is you arriving.
Every car splashing along the wet road outside as I try to sleep
Is you moving past me unaware.
Lying in torpor, staring at the cracks,
Knowing you would heal them
With the wild branches of your hair
And the dark frigid oceans of your eyes,
Holding me in the shiver
Of beyond the second half of previously disused
Contented in mirrors at last.
It will always be you,
In all ways you,
Almost always you.
Before I Knew Love
I loved you before I knew you,
Before I knew love,
Before I breathed my first breath
In this life.
I loved you before my first concept of love
And yet, here you are,
Telling me love is something
Reserved for those who pretend
But I tell you this –
Nothing I am and nothing I own
And nothing I was matters to me
Compared to your love
Because before you
Was before I could imagine,
Reason or pretend.
There was just me floating there,
Yearning for your arms around me,
Not knowing who you were
But knowing I would know you
When our paths finally crossed.
Now we are at a physical and emotional distance,
Your body breathing without mine,
Your heart beating without mine.
Music plays here as I sit alone,
Music I can no longer share with you
The way we shared so much,
But clearly not everything.
I listen to this song and all I can think
Is how much you would probably like it.
Searching for you all those years, finding you,
I imagined I would breathe my last breath
Loving you as I did before my first
And I will indeed love you when I shed this mortal coil
But not the same.
Not the same but I will.
As I am about to live again after this body dies
I will likely love you again
Before I breathe my first breath
Just like I did before
And before that.
There is no choice.
There is just what is.
Gentle and Fierce
She took my words close to her heart
And laughingly told me
“You’re so gentle and fierce”
And then I pulled her close
And gave her a kiss so savage and so tender
She lost her breath
And she trembled all over, wet and melting like hot wax
Against the force of my eyes and my body
And my words and my lips and my loudly beating heart.
I Might As Well
I might as well shave my head.
I might as well wear a necktie.
I might as well turn off the music and get some sleep.
I might as well stop writing about her.
I might as well stop calling them on the phone.
It’s a new day! A new me!
A new day all about me!
I might as well get laid.
I might as well smoke cigars.
I might as well not love. Loving is hard.
Life is hard enough.
I might as well tell you all that it’s time to be about me.
I might as well shave my face clean,
Buy a new suit and lose some weight,
Waiting for the inevitable promotion or firing
That will only lead to more opportunities
In this wonderful America.
I might as well stop crying.
Tears have no worth.
I’ll turn off the music now
And turn in.
I might as well get a good night’s sleep.
I’ll shave my head tomorrow.
My Poems Arrive
My poems arrive
At your doorstep,
Sometimes one by one,
Sometimes in a bundle.
There can be weeks of silence
And then they arrive, these paper boats with paper sails,
One by one by one
Onto your shore
Under a dusky moonlight
And a light steady rain.
You hear the knock on your door at 6 a.m.
To find a poem questioning your love
Or comparing your eyes to the moon reflecting off of
The bottom of the sea.
It must be disconcerting
To potentially find undying love or petulant rage
At your door at any given time.
My poems arrive
Singly or by the dozen
When you are making dinner
Or taking a shower
Or sleeping in your bed without me.
Some come wrapped in ribbon,
Some in undescriptive cardboard boxes,
Some in plain brown wrappers
But they keep coming
As relentlessly as the tide
And, like the tide,
There is no point in swimming
John Tustin started to write again in 2008 after a ten year hiatus and his published poetry can be found here.