Three Poems by John Tustin



Driving home I notice

That the stars are green,

My hands are pale blue

And the streets are yellow

Like that old brick road.


The moon is really made of cheese.

I can smell it through the fog.


I get to my place, my key

Melts into the lock of

The front door like hot



I get inside, turn on the

Shower and snakes come

Tumbling out of the



My tongue is covered in sand.

My dandruff falls, the size of

Hailstones upon a floor that

Moves under me, shifting plates

In four directions.


I try to read poetry and the

Words scatter from the pages

And run down the side of the

Table legs like army ants,

All wrapped up in each other.

I stare at the empty pages.


So I go to bed

And when I do

With my aching legs and my


The mattress snaps inward on me

Like a bear trap

And I float in the sleeplessness

Of the over-tired for a while,


Just a broken bit of almost nothing

But at least the aching in my legs

Has begun to subside

And, folded up in this mattress,

I can’t smell the moon anymore.




I think of loneliness

As I sit here alone

Typing along to the music,

My fingers less than nimble


And I think of Bela Lugosi’s Dracula

Pacing his halls, ascending and descending

The staircases of his Transylvanian castle,


Reciting every utterance like poetry,

Knowing all his words, all his looks

Meant to hypnotize some delicious

Young ingénue

Into his arms,

Their necks just tantalizing inches from his fangs.


He devoured these lovelies and then

He was remorseful,

Not comforted with the fact

The spider has to be a spider

And his job is to trap

The unwary fly.


Vlad the Impaler,

He murdered many, impaling their heads

In the name of Jesus

In order to consolidate his power

But Lugosi’s Dracula

Did what he did in order to survive.



His best line was this –

“To die, to be really dead

Must be…glorious”,


Dreaming of the stake

While going for

The neck.


I think of loneliness.

I dream of the stake

As I go

For the neck.




I like when it rains in the daytime

And it’s dark but not so dark

As the night.

All of the drinking glasses have been shattered

So I drink with my cupped hands.

The windows all remain.

This room is sealed and climate controlled.


I’ve only heard two Miles Davis albums.

I’ve never been to Las Cruces, New Mexico.

I’ve never been wanted in equal measure to my want

But I like when it rains in the daytime

And it’s dark but not so dark

As the night

And that is happening right now


So I sit and feel the vibrations of the wind

And prepare to listen to Sketches of Spain.

If you live long enough,

You can tick off more boxes

Than you imagined.


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