Artists Supporting Artists, HSTQ, Poetry Crit, Writers, Writing Community, Writing Male Characters

John Tustin

This piece taps into some pretty heavy themes on manhood, male-ness, and the human condition. Yes, I know, how *dare* I–but I highly doubt I’m gonna get “canceled” by a bunch of cis-white men. Ahem & *wink*
This poem is spectacular, really. The nuances are stunning.
“…Loses his arrogance.
Confidence? He never
Owned any.”
What a fantastic use of language and what an engaging character he is. I found myself aching a little inside for him while “recalling” the glory days of his youth, his arrogance and bluster serving as a mask for his lack of confidence, but surely he got there at some point in his life. Don’t we all fake it ’til we make it a little when we’re young, consuming life rather than recycling it, careening instead of pacing?

It’s a compelling life-sketch of one man, every man. Looking forward to more from this poet.

Horror Sleaze Trash


Pity the young man who,
As he grows older,
Loses his arrogance.
Confidence? He never
Owned any.
His insolence,
Once interesting,
Is now merely crankiness:
His resolve stubbornness.
His desires fantasies.
All he owned,
Once so indelibly carved
Into his heart and his words
Was shown to be illusion.
He considered the palpable
He knows better now.

Pity the man whose words were once braver,
His eyes alive with the clarity
Of the zealot.
He rarely saw choices –
He just acted.
He doubted himself
But not his beliefs that were
Imbued by the books he read
And the feelings he felt
When he would lie in bed at night,
Alone but
Just knowing things should be a certain way
And that if he were true to himself,
They would be.

Pity the young man who,
As the skin of his trust and belief
Was peeled away,

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