I almost never write
a slow and deliberate poem
and tonight will be no exception.

Snow covers the shivering city
like a disrespectful goodnight.

My boy is having some bad days.
Mommy and Daddyís mutual hatred and disgust
has worn him down
like a boxerís fists.

Coffee in the morning from Utopia Bagels is perfect
for New York winter days like this.
Worth the drive.

Iíve lost track of how many Christmases
my motherís been gone.

Sometimes the first slug of Sam Adams
tastes like the metal cap
and tonight
that was what happened.
By the third I wonít notice.

I lie in my bed
with my arms wrapped around my daughter
and we can feel the other one breathing
and she is as contented with this
as I am
but that will end.

The wind rattles the bathroom window
as I clip the errant spider-hairs
of my eyebrows,
squinting in my mirror like a fey Clint Eastwood,
waiting for the Muslim extremists I am increasingly certain
will come
through the window because Iím Christian
and their mother is Muslim
and they wonít tolerate that,
they want my kids.
There is no cigarette dangling from my lips
because I donít smoke.


I have been snipped from your photographs.
I have been excised from your thoughts.
Iím not in there at all.

But youíre floating at the bottom of the beer bottle
in this room
with the hate and the froth
and the dead mosquito
and the soaked crumbs.

Hereís a photo from 1987.
Thereís Joe, thereís Steve,
thereís Lisa.
But not me.
But I was there,
I know I was.

Young and lithe
and jangling legs
and quaking hormones.

And you were there,
I saw you.

We talked about Black Sabbath, David Bowie
and Jim Carroll.

Now you cry and you laugh
and you live and make a baby
and go to work
and eat lunch
and masturbate in the bathroom with the door locked
and sleep a dreamed sleep.

And I do a composite of those things,

But I do them with a small piece of you
banging around in my skull
like shrapnel.

Hate me.
Grow indifferent with age.
But donít forget me.
Iím still here.
And I was

John Tustin has two perfect children and a cat that acts like a dog. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry is a link to his poetry online.

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