John Tustin



I think about death all the time:

Yours, mine, hers, his,


When I am at work

Or at the supermarket

Or sitting and drinking

As I listen to country, folk and rock n roll


I fill in the spaces of my thoughts

Imagining my death

And yours

And theirs.

The room grows dark

And my heart grows dark

And I think about my impending death

And fill with curiosity.

When I die

Will you honor me, will you cry for me?

Will you still deny me like Peter denied Jesus,

Like a child unwilling to repent?

As the years pass after I am gone, will you be washing dishes

And looking out the window,

Seeing the clouds passing over the tempestuous bay

Before a summer storm,

Think of me suddenly and shudder with loss?

Will you even remember me?

When I die and then you die

Will we meet in the valley

Under a crescent moon

And finally hold hands as we make a vow

Or will my energy just wallow aimlessly

With the ashes of my spent useless body?


I think of everyone and I think of their deaths:

Anne Sexton breathing in poison, rowing away from God.

Adams and Jefferson holding hands and dying together

And hundreds of miles apart.

The death of Christ

In agony on the cross.

The death of my mother

And the death of your mother.

The death of Gram Parsons and Gene Clark,

Drunk no more, singing no more.

The death of Augustine of Hippo

Who said “Wipe your tears and do not cry,

If you love me.


Death is nothing.”


Life is everything.

One thought on “John Tustin

  1. Considering the morbid subject of this poem and its long length, I kept wondering where it was going. Then suddenly there was Anne Sexton (love her!) and John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. And finally a quote from St. Augustine at the end. Wow!! What a fantastic poem. Bravo!!!!


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