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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Casey Renee Kiser

There’s music to the edge of this sword. A fantastic poet, find her chapbooks on Etsy, and of course, her poetry on HSTQ.

Horror Sleaze Trash

I’ve Lost My Head and Gained Sight

he thought the head he gave
would have me razzle-dazzled
like the others
he thought the head he gave
would make my mind frazzled
when he ghosted
he thought the head he gave
would be all he needed to kill
my spirit one day
let’s hope someone comes
and changes that bulb of his,
that dull, dull light

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Comes full circle, thank goodness…

Writing in Blood

48GoodbyeBlueSky (2)Goodbye, Blue Sky, JAcW Photography©


it is the longest of nights
and there is comfort in
this blanket of black.

it reminds me that we were all once
beholden to it.

and so
i honor this darkness.

when i paint
i start with a black canvas.

when i write
i start with a black page.

i bring in one pinpoint of light at a time
and as your eyes adjust to one,
i bring in another.

soon there’s cohesion in
the daubs of illumination
on canvas, on page, and
if you step back—if you see the whole
of what I raise from my depths—
you’ll feel the warmth of the sun
as it brings your skin
to life with its

promise of dawn.
but first, always—

i honor the dark.

~j.a. carter-winward

work in progress: poems and dialogues
(Coming Soon)

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