Wednesday, June 14, 2023


—Poetry by John Tustin, Myrtle Beach, SC
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain


She parts the curtains
From her standard place
In the kitchen
Before the window
On the second story
That overlooks the bay

And she looks down
At the patch of grass
That stands between a fence
And the stalwart stones
That keep the ocean
At a safe distance.

No one is there.

No one is there
With hands in pockets,
Looking up through the wind
Toward her parted curtains.

She looks down
At the patch of grass
Where that man used to stand,
Waiting and waiting for her
To join him.

He isn’t there anymore.

A small smile
Crosses her lips
And it’s a smile
Without relief,
Without joy.

It’s a nothing smile. 


She imagines herself to be
A morbid little girl
Like Wednesday on the Addams Family—
Not so much like a Charles Addams cartoon,
Or possibly the heroine in a stop-motion movie
Where no one understands her except the weird
yet unconventionally pretty boy
Who is new to town, speaks in halts and whispers
And is similarly (in her mind) mocked and dis-
carded by all.

Her life is a play and we each must play our role
Until the expiration of our use to her—
Then it’s exit stage right via The Hook.
Don’t look in your program for our names
Because new programs are always distributed
And the old ones collected between performances.

She imagines herself to be
A creepy little girl
Even though she is midway through average life
And she won’t go into the bathroom if she sees a
spider in the tub.
She watches a horror movie instead of the news
Because the monsters in a horror movie go away
Simply by turning off the television.

She likes to listen to music played by women who
coo and moan softly
While overmodulating the microphone,
Poking their own wounds be they real or imagined.
She sews little black hearts on the lapel of her
work shirt
And dyes her hair purple, votes for whomever pro-
mises to tax and redistribute the most,
Wonders why life is so quarrelsome and violent.

She imagines herself to be
An occultist druid magical healer of the sick,
Lover of animals and lover of cheeseburgers,
Hater of pollution and lover of black nail polish,
individual wet wipes,
Indian cigarettes and her air-conditioned Toyota
She swears when she’s upset her crystals glow in
the dark.

She just has that uncanny intuition of the pagan
You know?
There’s a painting in her head
And in this painting she’s dancing around a bonfire
Under a full moon
With all the eyes of the forest upon her.
This dance of hers makes the lame walk,
Shines up the stars that blind the devil who is the
monotheistic God.
She will never paint the painting and she will most
Never live it.
In the painting she wears a mask and the mask is
more real than she.

She imagines herself to be
A morbid little girl
Too frightened to actually contemplate
While she waits for the profoundly unique man
Who will be exactly who she wants him to be—
Nothing more,
Nothing less.
His hair shall be a certain length without receding
And he’ll always know instinctively
When to leave the room
And when to enter. 


The meanness of the world
Comes through to us,
Conveyed in the music,
In the ink of the newspaper,
On the waves of an ocean of interactions
With our fellow man.
Memories of her body turned in my bedsheet as
she slept
With that look on her face as if concentrating.
Cannot turn off the torrent of misery trickling down
Every morning, every evening, every moment.
The best part of life is sleeping and, even then,
It’s only because we almost never remember the
bad dreams
Even though we feel their presence when we awake.

The meanness of the world, the murder in the eyes
Of the people who own this world:
Killing us at their whim for profit, making us afraid
to leave our homes
For fear of being robbed and killed and hassled and
raped and taken.
Taking our souls from us marginally with
the constant nothing at all they deliver,
Pretending it is a serenade.

The beer is always gone in the morning
And she will never return no matter how much
imagination roils and bucks.
The newspaper rolled up on our doorstep will
reveal upon unrolling
That someone is murdered, someone else is going
to get away with murder.
It looks like this heat wave will continue
On and on
And when we die she won’t even know, much less
come to your funeral.
The ghosts keep piling up like chopped firewood
And life goes on
In its meanness that goes beyond not caring
And becomes a malevolence
As hot and dark as the lower steps
Of hell. 


The stones have been thrown
By many hands
Over years
And I leave them lie
Where they have fallen—
Pretending most have fallen short
When in truth many have struck me

And they amassed before me
In a great pile that began to dwarf me.

The stones are thrown
By more hands
Expert at causing pain and grief and sadness
But my body is no more struck—
Their past pillories have become pillars,
Their past projectiles now protection.

Their stones cast are now a single great wall of
And I am a monolith
Standing behind it with my titled smile,
My quivered knees
And my expressions. 

I am not here to uplift you.
I am not here to provide your purpose.
I am here to gather what I need—
need for myself.
If there are leftovers,
you may have them.

I am here for amusement.
I am here to continue
for as long as I can drag myself
from the bedroom to the bathroom
to the kitchen to the front door.
I am here for only as long as I am allowed,
same as you.

I am not here for you.
I am here for me
but you can feel free to tag along
when I get a good head of steam
if you allow me to follow behind you
when the wind is in your favor.


Today’s LittleNip:

Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee
And I'll forgive Thy great big one on me.

―Robert Frost


—Medusa, with our thanks to John Tustin for dropping by the Kitchen today—all the way from sandy Myrtle Beach!

Raven Sleeps
(…the ghosts keep piling up…)
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of
Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

Artemis Books in Nevada City is featuring
the release of two short-story collections
today, 4pm. For details and for
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click on
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