VOICES FROM THE FIRE: John Tustin

MOPPING IN LITTLE CIRCLES

I get bored easily and I don’t mind menial labor

But to do the same task every day or to do one thing for an hour?

In and out or up and down, the same few muscles working

And the rest lax – I just can’t do it.

Don’t ask me to sweep up because I won’t get into every cranny

And don’t ask me to mop

Because I’ll just go over the floor with broad strokes

And grand flourishes of swishing the mophead in the bucket of sudsy water.

Mopping in little circles, over and over until the floor is spotless

Is not something I am capable of doing,

Destined to live a life of dusty crannies and sticky floors,

The sounds of the mophead splashing in the suds merely for affect.

The door warped and unplanned forever, the bedroom walls never to be painted again.

MY BIGGEST FAN

My biggest fan was very drunk

And she kept telling me

I was her favorite living poet,

Letting the few around us know

That they just didn’t understand

My true greatness

And, as a bonus,

I was just so so handsome

With my well-seasoned beard

And eyebrows more expressive than most.

The young lady finished her sermon with a flourish,

Explaining that she definitely has daddy issues.

The best part, though,

Was when, blushing at the compliments,

I looked down at the floor and

She apologized that she hadn’t had a pedicure in a while.

Her feet looked cute anyway

And, without looking up,

I told her just that

And felt that hot feeling I get sometimes in my cheeks

When I get excited

As she spread her pudgy toes open

And lifted them off of the carpet,

Pointing them toward me

And also heaven.

TWO-NIGHT STAND

You tried to get her to come over again

But you made a joke of it,

Saving yourself the embarrassment

Of an honest No

So she didn’t say Yes or No,

She merely laughed

And that was somehow worse.

You weren’t ready anyway –

Already in your jammies

And your sheets needed washing

And the last and only time she came over

Was over four years ago

And she hasn’t been seen since.

You think about that

And you think about your hard-on,

About to do it yourself when you realize

Even you don’t feel like touching it right now.

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