John Tustin

X Friends

They sat around in various bedrooms and kitchen
In their Bauhaus, Misfits,
Metallica t-shirts,
Rarely talking about anything of consequence.
Never once tempting me to listen
To any of that
As they talked on and on.
Playing the part of ones who do not fit in
As they fit into one another perfectly.
I had no need to play a part
I will always be naturally

It’s been twenty years since
That Black Sabbath Vol 4 t-shirt has fit me
Yet here I am
Thinking about it.

I don’t wonder about where they are now
So much as I wonder what really was happening
Was I there because I did not know myself
Or was I set adrift because they really did know me?
Maybe it was because so many of their girlfriends tried to fuck me
And my rebuffing the advances was a rebuke to them as males
Or caused them to distrust me.
Maybe it was my smart mouth,
Maybe it was my mind without a governor
Or my vision that, in retrospect,
Was every bit as myopic
As theirs.
Maybe it was just something
That happens.
Things happen.

If X Friendship is a contest
They win hands down
Because I can promise you
That none of them now,
More than a quarter of a century later,
Are writing anything
Or thinking
About me
At all.


Yesterday’s Scampi

Thinking about you now
And trying to bring back the feeling I had
Before I knew what I know now,
Before you went somewhere else to be
Without me –
It’s like burping and tasting
The garlic and butter and shrimp
Of last night’s supper:
It tastes vaguely the same
But is in no way

Old loves and past meals are best remembered,
Not tasted again.

© John Tustin

John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals since 2009. contains links to his published poetry online.

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