July 13-19, 2020: Poetry from John Tustin and Shelly Blankman

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John Tustin

John Tustin began writing poetry a dozen years ago after a hiatus nearly as long and his poems have appeared in many literary journals online and in print. His poetry is forthcoming in Goat’s Milk Magazine, Good Works Review, Spank the Carp and dozens of others. He’d love if you visited his website and checked out his published poems.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by John Tustin​ and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Caruso sings at the end of this night
Where I shiver drunk
Remembering Jagger’s best performance
And not comparing him to Caruso
Because that is like comparing the playwright
To the actor
Or something.

Anyway, E Lucevan Le Stelle ends
And Let it Loose Begins
And I shiver drunk
As I think of you.

Jagger or Caruso
And now Bob Dylan
Because that is life.

I drink and drink
And it never ends
As I think of you
O how I do.

You know.

Shelly Blankman

Shelly Blankman and her husband live in Columbia, Maryland, where they fill their now-empty nest with three rescue cats and dog. They have two sons, one of whom lives in New York, the other in San Antonio. Shelly’s career has generally followed the path of public relations/journalism. However, her first love has always been poetry. She designs cards, makes memory books and, of course, referees animals. Recently, her sons surprised her with the publication of her poetry, entitled Pumpkinhead!

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Shelly Blankman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Breadcrumbs in the Butter
Memories relived in the aftermath
of the murder of George Floyd

A starless night lit by cars in flames
and torched buildings, where streets
paved with shards from broken panes,
the plaintive screams of Blacks with broken dreams,
their dreamer, Dr. Martin Luther King, murdered.

My house was in the path of despair; I was
at a friend’s, a place out of time, where
dinner plates were edged in gold and flatware
shimmered. Steam spiraled from a fat, juicy roast,
fresh warm bread in a woven basket, butter by its side.

Words blurred together in a cloud of conversation,
Carmen played softly in the background that couldn’t
blot out the cries of loss that echoed in my head. Had these
people not heard the news? Did they not hear the world
crumbling outside their castle as they ate in peace?

Spits of fire and pop pop pop of guns, mournful cries echoed in
my head, drowning out Carmen and idle talk. I lived in a world
of ungilded plates in the heart of hurt, where white skin was
my armor in an unforgiving world. Here, I was in the safety
of ignorance.

Her dad’s voice chilled my blood, His gray brows
furrowed, his blue eyes glazed with fury, aimed at me.
I wondered what Dr. King’s last words were.