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Tipton Poetry Journal


Tipton Poetry Journal Editor’s Note Tipton Poetry Journal, located in the heartland of the Midwest, publishes quality poetry from Indiana and around the world. Welcome to our 29th issue, in which we once again publish a book review – this time a poetry chapbook (Dark Leaves, Strange Light) by Tom Raithel, a poet from Evansville, Indiana. Going forward we will consider book reviews if the author has previously been published in TPJ and if the book is recent.

Barry Harris, Editor Tipton Poetry Journal Cover photo, “Monet’s Bridge” by Jessica D. Thompson, New Harmony, Indiana. Copyright 2016 by the Tipton Poetry Journal. All rights remain the exclusive property of the individual contributors and may not be used without their permission. Tipton Poetry Journal is published by Brick Street Poetry Inc., a tax-exempt non-profit organization under IRS Code 501(c)(3). Brick Street Poetry Inc. publishes the Tipton Poetry Journal, hosts the monthly poetry series Poetry on Brick Street and sponsors other poetry-related events.


Tipton Poetry Journal

Contents Christopher Todd Anderson ................................................1 Vibha Malhotra ..................................................................2 Heath Brougher ..................................................................3 Emily Strauss .....................................................................4 Simon Perchik.....................................................................6 Melisha Garrett...................................................................7 Melissa Parietti ..................................................................8 Allison Gliesman.................................................................9 Steve Hood ........................................................................10 Cathryn Shea ....................................................................10 Indunil Madhusankha.......................................................12 Carol Hamilton .................................................................13 Erin McIntosh ...................................................................14 Timothy Robbins...............................................................14 Nancy Pulley .....................................................................17 Martin Willitts Jr. .............................................................18 Brian Robert Flynn...........................................................20 Sonnet by Saloni Kaul.......................................................22 Patrick Erickson ...............................................................23 John P. Kristofco ..............................................................24 Gayle Compton .................................................................24 Kenneth Salzmann............................................................26 Heather Truett ..................................................................27 Luke Samra ......................................................................28 Mimi Ford .........................................................................30


Tipton Poetry Journal Luke Powers .....................................................................30 Review: Dark Leaves, Strange Light by Tom Raithel........36 Clinton Inman ..................................................................40 Jim Wardell ......................................................................40 Woodrow Hightower ........................................................42 Clinton Inman...................................................................43 Keith Moul ........................................................................44 Katherine Givens ..............................................................45 Susan Niz ..........................................................................46 Lucas Smith ......................................................................47 Erren Kelly .......................................................................48 Martin Willitts Jr..............................................................49 Keith Dunlap ....................................................................50 Keith Dunlap .....................................................................51 Ryan Frisinger..................................................................52 Ryan Frisinger..................................................................52 Clinton Inman...................................................................54 Timothy Robbins ..............................................................54 Thomas O’Dore .................................................................56 Richard Boada ...................................................................57 Susan Niz ..........................................................................58 Kudzai Mahwite................................................................59 Christopher Todd Anderson .............................................60 Biographies .......................................................................61


Tipton Poetry Journal

About the Tongue Christopher Todd Anderson My tongue is a prodigy. If it had arms and legs, it would be on talk shows. It is a genius, it is buff and agile. Eyeless, it tells sweet from sour, bitter from salt. It could be the world’s best carnie or con man. It can wrestle its lover all night in the dirtiest hotel in Joplin, then spend the next morning singing Verdi and feasting on satsuma oranges. Sometimes words line up at its tip like third graders on a diving board, then plunge into the clean blue air. Though it can pronounce diphtheria and Quetzalcoatl, it can spit and slather, dangle and curse like any workworn lubber. Lock it in its toothy cage and, like Houdini, it twists itself free. You will never net it nor pull it ashore. Watch as, slick as an eel, it swims upstream through a river of gin.

An Indiana native who grew up in Fort Wayne, Christopher Todd Anderson is now an Associate Professor of English at Pittsburg State University in Kansas. His poems have most recently appeared in journals such as River Styx, Tar River Poetry, Ellipsis, Chicago Quarterly Review, and The Midwest Quarterly, where he also served as guest poetry editor for their 2013-14 print run.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Possessed Vibha Malhotra I lie flat on my back spread-eagled life seeps through my pores mingles with the earth around me, saplings raise their heads and wither I count seconds with my heartbeats time slows down blood coagulates breath freezes it hangs in the air above my face posing existential questions The mind empties one memory at a time one thought at a time until nothing remains but your words in what had once been my brain

Vibha Malhotra is a writer, a poet, an editor, and a translator, and the founder of Literature Studio. She is the editor-in-chief of Literature Studio Review. Vibha holds a Master in Creative Writing from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom. At present, apart from running Literature Studio and teaching creative writing to all age groups, she works as a Consulting Editor with Dorling Kindersley (Penguin Random House). Her work has been published in literary e-journals such as Muse India and The Luxembourg Review, and in dailies such as The Times of India and Ceylon Today. Vibha lives in Delhi, India.

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Perishable Heath Brougher Sitting under cement trees wrapped in the blissful numb I chose the songs left in the space between trough and entrails, walking the sky with my fingers, toddlers of the air, I rose to feel the grass-stains under my back. They were purple as a tilting cup of grape juice. This trunk must be hollow, I said, watching a squirrel emerge with cheeks bloated to acorn-width. I looked into the black hole and saw children keeping names and jumping through ropes. The smell of melted plums came and I ate their essence off the concrete slowly turned brown through years of wood. [This poem was first published in Fauna Quarterly] Heath Brougher lives in York, Pennsylvania and attended Temple University. He recently finished his second chapbook and has two others on the way as well as a full-length book of poetry. Heath has been previously published or has work forthcoming in Yellow Chair Review, Of/with, Mobius, Third Wednesday, Foliate Oak, Main Street Rag, *Star 82 Review, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Calliope, Van Gogh's Ear, MiPOesias, Gloom Cupboard, Rust + Moth, Eunoia Review, BlazeVOX, Indigo Rising, Icebox Journal, Inscape Literary Journal, and elsewhere.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Maize God Emily Strauss we no longer talk to corn or the azure sky or storms, sunsets are for self-exposure by tiny light-capturing lenses deep pinks only a backdrop not to light a smoky kitchen in a sod hut built in haste before a prairie winter the moon dissipated, small bloody animal hanging now the sky has no more stars glaring arc lamps fill every corner, the corn far away in industrially plowed fields, ears wrapped, shipped displayed— we need not speak to it, give thanks bend to the kernels in gratitude, hands raised to the rain, faces shining wet hair streaming. No— let us water-proof our lives, skirt puddles, cash our checks, pray to distant robed men, pass the corn as if a wall of fodder beside the road, the air simply menacing dusty, forbidding in its heat, rays touch the stalks, leaves take sun light, make sugar

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Tipton Poetry Journal

and we are unimpressed with the results, ears of corn animals ingest, we have no gestures left, no words of praise, the sky blank, wind broken just a commodity: corn, don't offer your hands in prayer today's price- 77 cents a bushel too low to harvest, leave it rot where it grew, for crows.

Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry, which she has written since college. Nearly 300 of her poems appear in over a hundred online venues and in anthologies, in the US, UK, Canada, and further abroad. The natural world is often her framework; she also considers the stories of people and places around her and personal histories. She is a semi-retired teacher living in California.

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* Simon Perchik You button this shirt the way doves break free and the magician bows –begin by reaching in though the applause even now is darkening on a calendar that has no mornings no secret place was saved for the sleeve half fleece half dripping oil –your sweat louder and louder covered with rain from the 40s.

Simon Perchik’s poetry has also appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker and elsewhere. Simon lives in East Hampton, New York.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Morning Bus Melisha Garrett “Life is like a falling leaf.” That’s how he began the conversation. You never know who you’ll end up sitting next to on the morning bus. Damn it. He proceeded to outline his story. The importance of it. The significance. I sighed a miraculously inward sigh. Leaving the bus, ears full head throbbing words circling coffee cold I watched as five golden leaves swirled above me next to me then hit the ground gently but with permanence. A very sad very musty very immutable infinity. I

guess that bastard was right.

Melisha Garrett graduated from Montana State University with her MA in English. She has since relocated to Tennessee. She writes that she finds herself missing the Rockies, and oddly, the bus conversations of the past.

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This is when I think of you Melissa Parietti This is when I think of you: I think of you in philosophy club While boys and girls throw Kant, Nietzsche, Locke at each other's sweater-covered arms, extend to eager raised hands. I think of you when I shouldn't When I'm laughing with friends And singing in the dark When girls pass me in the hallways And casual Hellos abound I think of you in anthropology, Don't ask me why. I think of you, and your bedroom floor Stains on the bed sheets My breathing, Yours. I think of you always at the wrong time I think of you when it hurts the most I think of you in movie theaters where bad movies play, and empty seats surround I think of you when I close my eyes and try. I think of you when I read the newspaper And brood over my daily bounty Of homework and social encounter And the days I spend here, the weeks to come I think of you when I think of time

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Tipton Poetry Journal This is when I think of you When I walk back home when its cold and everything shivers And never when I see Couples kiss Or love songs blare or two people sit contented, silent Next to one another

Melissa Parietti is a native of Long Island originally from Melville, New York. Melissa attended business classes and writing workshops at SUNY Geneseo. At 24 years old, her poetry has received several acceptances to print and online journals

voodoo Allison Gliesman You put a stake in my heart and claimed it for your own. But once the arteries ran dry And all of my blood had stained the floor, You ripped out that hollow vessel And threw it in a drawer next to All the other hearts with holes like mine. You didn’t mean to hurt them too, But now your room is a bloodied mess, And you can’t remember if the blood is hers or mine or yours. Allison Gliesman lives and writes in Kansas.

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Loyal Companion Steve Hood Adolf loved dear his dog, Blondi, but Eva hated her, kicked her, sometimes. Unique bond between species, dogs of snowy death camps bark, well-clothed in lush fur. Before killed by a cyanide pill, she looked into his eyes, lapped water from a bowl, and her five puppies, taken from Goebbels’ children, were shot in a nearby garden. [This poem was first published by The Waterhouse Review]

Steve Hood is an attorney and political activist. His work won an award from the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association and has been published in many places including Crack the Spine, Maudlin House, and the anthology Noisy Water. His chapbook From Here To Astronomy was published by Pudding House. Steve lives in Bellingham, Washington.

Glimmer Cathryn Shea After James Schuyler

The apple tree that last year was weighed down this year bears little fruit. Was it the dry spell we had?

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Tipton Poetry Journal All the apple tree branches go hooray, all at once. The October sun blasts through the haze. The Stock Market crashed. Well, nobody’s calling it a crash. But it tanked pretty good. My portfolio! I’m not to think of it. On my sill, bananas from Ecuador still green with some yellow and brown specks. The brown is normal I think. The shadow on my cup shaped like a frog reminds me of a frog I saw once with bulging eyes staring back at me. I liked that frog, a little bellows huffing and puffing with life in the cool pond. Today you could peel the sunlight off the cupboard and fling it into the compost, gold streaks and all. Bury the glow right in the mulch.

Cathryn Shea’s poetry is forthcoming or has appeared in Allegro, Gravel, Gargoyle, Eunoia, Main Street Rag, Permafrost, Poet Lore, Quiddity, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Snap Bean, is by CC.Marimbo (2014). Cathryn is included in the 2012 anthology Open to Interpretation: Intimate Landscape and she served as editor for Marin Poetry Center Anthology. Cathryn lives in California. Visit her website http://www.cathrynshea.com or follow her on Twitter: @cathy_shea.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Oasis Indunil Madhusankha All the living are a caravan caught in the sterile desert of suffering Embattled in the timeless sansÄ ric journey Sans a purpose, quite unaware of a way of crossing the desert The Buddha, the most fabulous of all teachers Now is in the oasis, having circumvented the barrenness Renunciation, as the Blessed One preaches, clears the path to the salvation, to the Oasis, located beyond the arid desert of suffering [This poem was first published by Lost Tower Publications in the international anthology of poetry, Journeys Along the Silk Road by Selected International Poets]

Indunil Madhusankha is currently an undergraduate in the Faculty of Science of the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. While his major involvement is with the areas of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, he pursues a successful writing career as a poet and content writer. He has received several awards from some National Level English Essay Competitions. Indunil has written a volume of poetry entitled, Oasis, which explores diverse dimensions of society and he has been published in several international anthologies, journals and magazines. Moreover, he has undertaken research projects pertaining to the areas of ELT and Sri Lankan Literature in English.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

St. Jerome’s Lions Carol Hamilton Perhaps St. Jerome met a lion in the desert. History says the attribution of thorn-removing beneficence was probably a case of mistaken identity. There was a less irascible saint nearby of similar name. But Jerome's many artists do not seem to have ever been closer to a lion than a fuzzy description given third-hand. The golden beasts, tucked near the saint in so many works look more dogly, more like monkey-faced stones curled into a yellow carving or just stiff-legged cutouts. This tale of saint, thorn, lion, donkey paints a vivid scene, and art is not framed with a rigid reality. Were these fantasy beasts caged in my zoo, I might well pay to become a member and make regular morning visits to such harmless sacred creatures.

Carol Hamilton is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and has been nominated six times for a Pushcart Prize. She has published 17 books: children’s novels, legends and poetry, most recently Such Deaths. Her recent and upcoming publications are in Poet Lore, Limestone, Louisiana Literature, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Albatross, Two Cities Review, Main Street Rag, Abbey and others.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

lost it Erin McIntosh I read somewhere that people are losing the meaning of things, forgetting they want a road, or a sign, or an angel. People are afraid and feel they know everything about it. I read that too. Last night I was curled on a sofa in a bedroom touching arms with someone I love. Tonight he said to me, When will I see you? Standing again in front of me. Try as we might, (and we did) we could not figure it out. Erin McIntosh is a writer and actress currently living in Los Angeles. Her poetry has appeared and is forthcoming in various journals including Bone Bouquet, Lavender Review, Hawai’i Review, apt, Plenitude Magazine, and Pine Hills Review, among others.

Southern Decatur County Timothy Robbins Squirrel naked and greasy flanked by corn’s yellow teeth. Squirrel on the sill ignoring a glass bird that bows without dropping its hat.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Squirrel falling straight as a walnut. then swinging in my hand, perfectly relaxed. I never know where Bill will appear. By a campfire under Hoosier stars or under the single red star of his Texaco Fire Chief Gas Pump. Posing for a photo beside the wreck of the bi-plane he flew above the Ohio. At his kitchen table, wine glasses on an oil cloth, his machinist’s fingers coaxing ghosts from rims. Maggie may appear beside wobbling Tower of Babel cakes. Or among beans and cabbages, beating a goat. Or in a dream where her breasts plop from her sun dress, clogging the garden rows. I never know where I will show. In the civil war cemetery picking blackberries. Underwear-swimming in Sand Creek’s muddy water catching a baby snake. In the auditorium where my cousin and two hundred others march in minister’s robes while I squirm in a suit without briefs.

Timothy Robbins teaches ESL and does freelance translation in Wisconsin. He has a BA in French and an MA in Applied Linguistics from Indiana University. He has been a regular contributor to Hanging Loose since 1978. His poems have also appeared appeared in Three New Poets, Long Shot, The James White Review, Evergreen, Off The Coast, Slant, Main Street Rag and various small zines.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

A Parent’s Regret Nancy Pulley

Like every parent since, God began to imagine what was going to happen— and leave him all alone shuffling about heaven remembering clay and the first twitch of a quickening arm. He must have tasted the juice running down their chins tart and sweet— and them just created, new to the sense of taste and touch, passing the apple back and forth like a carafe of good red wine. After that day, there were angry words, apologies—his children hiding themselves from him, running from the garden. He has tried to forget the look on their faces, though some people say he put it there. He wanted shame, but that other thing— the fear—was a surprise even to him. You give someone life and you just don’t know

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Tipton Poetry Journal

where it will end. He sits in the garden at evening, remembers how it was before he made the point he was their Father.

Burning Bush Nancy Pulley It appears like God to Moses, a fiery whoosh of the unknown, a peek at blaze. until all thought of winter is sucked into its bonfire and bones are fired, eyes reflect the red of desire and of ripe fruit, the crimson of blood running fast towards winter. Tiny tongues of leaves burn one deciduous spark at a time. Such brazen flair with loss in the air. How soon you will forfeit everything to the north wind. Take heat when it comes, a flame of spirit at the edge of frost, passion in a land of spare and boney branches.

Nancy Pulley has poems published in Flying Island, Passages North, Plainsong, The Sycamore Review, Arts Indiana Literary Supplement, and the Humpback Barn Festival collection. In 1992 she won the Indiana Writer’s Center Poetry Chapbook contest, resulting in the publication of her Tremolo of Light. Nancy lives in Columbus, Indiana.

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Chronicle Martin Willitts Jr. We wait for the narrative thunder with expectation of a golden retriever the illumination with such passion — however the shoulder of the sky sags oily and uncomfortably — yet we have anticipated this as we huddled under green-gray shade like passengers waiting for a connection even the ones in houses low to the ground notice the Homecoming — tens of thousands of longings— someone tries to pinpoint the moment when the texture changed

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Tipton Poetry Journal

for it began miniature like belief does or when a branch snaps against a window and someone declares it is a divine message then suddenly an orchid of reporters appear conjured from a rend in the magnetic field of reality

Martin Willitts Jr. is the winner of the 2014 Broadsided award; winner of the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Contest; Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, June 2015, Editor’s Choice. He has 8 full-length collections and over 20 chapbooks of poetry. His forthcoming books include How to Be Silent (FutureCycle Press), God Is Not Amused With What You Are Doing In Her Name (Aldrich Press), and Dylan Thomas and the Writer’s Shed (FutureCycle Press). Martin lives in Syracuse, New York.

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Cézanne Poaching Eggs Brian Robert Flynn The water comes to a simmer. A glimmer of white vinegar scents the scene. The egg slips nearer to its uncertain end, diverted from its biological cock a doodle doings. Cézanne eyes the swirling vortex. He will strain to make things perfect. It’s gone on like this for years, the hunger to be exact. The vinegar’s swirl keeps its pact, a balled up little yellow yolk. Back in his studio, cup of tea in hand, he sprinkles pepper on

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Tipton Poetry Journal his egg. Slathers soft butter on his baguette. Sets his eyes on his newspaper, sans his père’s attentive smirk (hatted Monet’s puff of smoke, notwithstanding). He forks into what’s poached, the yellow glow brightening his blue willow plate. For a precise moment, all the world becomes still. The cat smiles, eyes a-spiral. She fancies hers over-easy.

Originally from Denver, Brian Robert Flynn is currently breathing the fiction and poetry of Washington, DC. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in LETTERS Journal, The Learned Pig, Glasgow Review of Books, Banango Street, and The Moth.

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Lake Maxinkuckee, Indiana Sonnet by Saloni Kaul Flocks elegant of woodducks smoothly skim Lake Maxinkuckee like hard buoyantly afloat Toys wooden; glides so gracious, in unmoving rhythm, That heartless inanimate Nature must gloat At the seeming power, effortless, controlled, It exerts over its country creatures all around , That with their striking breathing beauty bold Can look cold as art and senses confound. But poet author breathes quacking life in To fantastical sketches, skeletons of thought Crafted of immaterial fabrics, whimsy thin , Till whole world peopled is wide loved and sought. Tell me one day if you like reality on edge of knife, For even art’s woodducks stiff as toys take on life.

Saloni Kaul, author and poet, first published at the age of ten, has been in print since. As critic and columnist, Saloni has enjoyed 37 years of being published in leading dailies and magazines. From time to time Saloni has held many an editorial position. Saloni has also won considerable critical acclaim as broadcaster and producer-presenter of radio documentaries and features. Saloni Kaul's first volume, Saloni Kaul’s Book of Children’s Poetry, was published in 2009. Subsequent volumes include Universal One and Essentials All Her work has been published or will appear in Poetry Quarterly, The Horrorzine, Eye On Life Magazine, Poetry and Paint Anthology, Misty Mountain Review, Inwood Indiana and Sentinel Quarterly. Saloni lives in Rome and Toronto.

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Bird’s Eye Maple Patrick Erickson they call it not for nothing The bird’s eye detects the tiniest nit when there are nitpickers The tiniest flaw and the bird’s eye maple is hidden beneath the finest velvets and the finest satins and the finest silks when the thinnest veneer separates the bird’s eye maple from the finest mahogany and the bird’s eye maple is hidden while the nitpickers are in full view.

Patrick Erickson is a retired parish pastor put out to pasture himself, a former shepherd of sheep, a small flock with no sheep dog and no hang-dog expression. Or he is the sheep dog, a small dog, with the hang-dog expression. Secretariat is his mentor, though he has never been an achiever and has never gained on the competition. He resonates to a friend's definition of change; though a bit dated with the advent of wi fi, it has the ring of truth to it: change coming at us a lot faster because you can punch a whole lot more, a whole lot faster down digital broadband "glass" fiber than an old copper co-axial landline cable. Of late, Patrick’s work has appeared in Poetry Pacific, Red Fez, SubtleTea, The Oddville Press and Literary Juice. He lives in Garland, Texas.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Bird Cage John P. Kristofco they tilt their robot heads, mimic my clack back at them, these rivet-eyed imposters, snapping at the same seeds every day, their sun and moon, staring like the whole world stares at me and I, left to cipher what I can, have only empty nouns and verbs, useless in the language of these souls, puzzled as they look at me, befuddled by the boundaries of my cage John P. Kristofco, from Highland Heights, Ohio, is professor of English and the former dean of Wayne College in Orrville, Ohio. His poetry, short stories, and essay have appeared in over a hundred different publications, including: Folio, Cimarron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Rattle, Poem, and Sierra Nevada Review. He has published three collections of poetry: A Box of Stones, Apparitions, and The Fire in Our Eyes and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times.

Wonders Gayle Compton I have never seen the Taj Mahal nor viewed with quickened pulse the four faces of the Matterhorn But I have seen grown men in one sad and frozen city unable to sleep, worrying over the health of the 992G front end loader.

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Tipton Poetry Journal I have seen them in gray-tiled board rooms, Men—and women, God forbid! pale and cadaverous with laptops and flow charts Converts of Six-Sigma importuning the deities over the untrue angle of articulation, the feeble lower float-down on empty, Jehovah God, the erratic hydraulic cycle time, great Allah, St. Michael, and Mary, Mother of Jesus, the drifting bore stroke on low idle! And when at last the great 992G front end loader, brawny friend of elk and duck, robust ally of the EPA, is about his business, 880 horsepower, devouring and regurgitating Lost Mountain, Wildcat and Big Shoal, I have seen them dance far into the night of wine and romance at full throttle. I have seen wonders.

_______________________________________________ Gayle Compton, a hillbilly from Eastern Kentucky, lives up the river from where Randall McCoy is buried and attended college on the hill where “Cotton Top” Mounts was hanged. With deep affection, he tells the story of Appalachia’s common people, allowing them to speak, without apology, in their own colorful language. His prize-winning stories, poems and essays have appeared most recently in Sow’s Ear, Now and Then, New Southerner, Blue Collar Review, Kentucky Review and Main Street Rag anthologies. Coal Dust and Crabgrass, a collection of poetry, is due March 2017 from FutureCycle Press.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

For the Names of Things Kenneth Salzmann Thank you for the many kindnesses you've shown me, if only from a distance. Thank you for the blessings I don't recall and the ones I never noticed. Thank you for your gentle way and steeled will; for forgotten dreams, for imperfection. Thank you for the blackbird and the wheelbarrow and for teaching me the names of things anew. Thank you for your failure to reply.

Kenneth Salzmann is a writer and poet whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, and literary journals, as well as such anthologies as Child of My Child: Poems and Stories for Grandparents (Gelles-Cole Literary Enterprises), a Finalist (Anthology) in the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude (Holy Cow! Press), Riverine: An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers (Codhill Press), The Heart of All That Is: Reflections on Home (Holy Cow! Press). He lives in Woodstock, New York, and Ajijic, Mexico, with his wife, editor Sandi Gelles-Cole.

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Pilgrimage Heather Truett Mexico - the drug cartel is on the TV screen in the waiting room. Once a month, sitting in one of these wooden chairs, well-worn fabric and mottled carpet in gray green blue cream, and my son asking the time again and again. It’s always the news, no matter how many small children occupy the space, legs kicking at those wooden chairs. All of us, waiting, are stressed and struggle with our own demons or the myriad of issues that affect our kids. That stress, the many-lettered disorders, are why we’re here. ADHD, AS, TS, NOS, OCD, MDD, PDD... What’s your label? Your drug? Your reason to see the good doctor? Heather Truett has been published in The Mom Egg, The Paintsville Herald, Jackson Free Press, The Invitation Tupelo, Busy Parents Online, Everyday Musings, Divine Revolution, Teen Love: On Friendship, Tweetspeak Poetry, Crazy Good Parent, and Vine Leaves Literary. A coalminer’s granddaughter who grew up lip-syncing to Loretta Lynn, she is a mom to boys, the wife of a minister in Mississippi and a novelist represented by Peter Knapp of New Leaf Literary.

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Hyacinth Luke Samra Planted deep within this Heart of Georgia orange clay The layers of soil down to my soul Though it's been below the snow It finds a way to grow The sun shines in fractals Off of the snowflakes Turning them to rain

Luke Samra is a graduate of Marian University in Indianapolis. He enjoys playing and teaching tennis. Luke is a musician.

The Ghost Moon Michael Keshigian Through the congested clouds it creeps, its vague, cratered tonnage, amid the dust, glides hauntingly through the mystery about, its path worn thin, reflecting the ambitions above which it hovers that are slowly invading those dark recesses once hidden, barely illuminated by starlight. Its ghostly image

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Tipton Poetry Journal meanders in and out of sight, passing through night like a dream of continuous divergence though its warning and pleas can never be discerned for under the black sky it has been decreed to navigate in exile, growing more blanch with every revolution as we stare, sometimes in melancholy sometimes in wonder, knowing no person will cast themselves asunder as savior.

Michael Keshigian’s tenth poetry collection, Beyond was released in May, 2015 by Black Poppy. Other published books and chapbooks: Dark Edges, Eagle’s Perch, Wildflowers, Jazz Face, Warm Summer Memories, Silent Poems, Seeking Solace, Dwindling Knight, Translucent View. Published in numerous national and international journals, he is a 6-time Pushcart Prize and 2-time Best Of The Net nominee. His poetry cycle, Lunar Images, set for Clarinet, Piano, Narrator, was premiered at Del Mar College in Texas. Subsequent performances occurred in Boston (Berklee College) and Moleto, Italy. Winter Moon, a poem set for Soprano and Piano, premiered in the Fall of 2013 in Boston. Michael lives in New Hampshire. http://michaelkeshigian.com.

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Bereft Mimi Ford Yesterday, he called me He called about the meatloaf he made The meatloaf he made in his kitchen In his kitchen 1000 miles away It tasted just like mine, he said He said how easy it was How easy it was to make my meatloaf My meatloaf in his kitchen His kitchen 1000 miles away

Mimi Ford lives and writes in Kokomo, Indiana.

Jack’s Girl Luke Powers Hand me one of My pills, she bade me With a turkeyclaw Hook of a hand With curling FuManchu nails Emblazoned Red white and blue I was young I was there to interview I had a Nagra Reeltoreel tape recorder Owned by the State Of North Carolina

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Tipton Poetry Journal I shook the pills Horse tranquilizer size Out of the bottle And dropped them One by one Into the abyss Of her palm That had once Been so close To history I knew Jack, yes, She began, Anticipating My callow questioning, I was called Jack's girl, But I wasn't really, He was "that way"-You know? I knew but A good interviewer Would have pushed For clarity Instead I was drawn To the nest of Shadows that Congregated Beneath her fierce Cleopatra eyebrows Drawn on so many times They become permanent Like a tattoo She meandered Through the Carousel Club, The Dallas PD, the suits And what they drank

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Tipton Poetry Journal And the art of burlesque, An art, the art of delaying Building anticipation And then cutting it off— She turned her turkeyclaw Violently, the way A farm girl during the Depression In Oklahoma Would do A starving chicken No longer able To give eggs As the topsoil Of America Blew away Jack had been Boss to the Other girls, But just Jack To her She got teased For it Called Mrs Ruby She was getting Bored by the past, She wanted to smoke But was on oxygen Don't outlive your body, That's my advice To young people I ventured To broach the term Conspiracy

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No she said Toward the ceiling As if to a hidden Microphone, She had never Seen Oswald Until She saw him On TV And Jack was Killing him In black-and-white Like The Days of Our Lives Conspiracy, Her nose twisted At the word, Jack could barely Run a nightclub He couldn't kill The president A silence and An afterthought: Maybe he had A thing for Jackie But he didn't Think much of Her husband, Not enough To kill him ‘

The reeltape spun Recording her Disgust, Now aimed at me

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Tipton Poetry Journal Young man, You know what The real conspiracy Is? I shook my head Obediently, Awaiting the revelation. Life. I was a beautiful Girl once, I could have Been in movies . . . I'm not just Talking. But look what Life's done To me. So you, Young man, Get over it— You move on, And that's all I've got to say On the whole goddamned subject.

Luke Powers teaches English at Tennessee State University in Nashville. He currently serves as Chair of the Department of Languages, Literature and Philosophy. He received his PhD in English from Vanderbilt University where he thought he would be the Last of the Fugitives. He is a songwriter and performer who has recorded with Richard Lloyd (Television), Garth Hudson (The Band) and Sneaky Pete Kleinow (The Flying Burrito Brothers). Luke once sang with Johnny Cashm, but says that’s too long a story for a short bio.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Still Life w/Yellow Brian Robert Flynn I wish I were a painter, so I could paint that Bartlett pear. Upright, on that blue willow plate right there. A shining spectrum exactly splattered, my focus on the yellow. Our Jell-O perceives us, too, as gelatinous cubes aquiver Trembling with each pull of our bowl, peaceful and harmless until we aren’t. We wiggle and jiggle. Oh, how we wiggle and we jiggle. If she likes it lemon fresh, Jell-O’s focus aims for yellow. Tart raindrops glisten on still petals in ripe fields. When the sun’s rays finally pop, its quintessential turning Yields a coalescing air. And for those of us who are color-blind, swirling traffic lights bedevil. I wish I were a painter, I’d just focus on the yellow.

Originally from Denver, Brian Robert Flynn is currently breathing the fiction and poetry of Washington, DC. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in LETTERS Journal, The Learned Pig, Glasgow Review of Books, Banango Street, and The Moth.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Review: Dark Leaves, Strange Light by Tom Raithel

Reviewed by Barry Harris Title: Dark Leaves, Strange Light Author: Tom Raithel Year: 2015 Publisher: Finishing Line Press

The poems in Tom Raithel’s chapbook, Dark Leaves, Strange Light, contain graceful, evocative images of the dark and light of the seasons, of our lives, even our deaths. I first met Tom Raithel’s poetry when I published his poem, “The Fields,” in the Fall 2010 issue of TPJ. The imagery of that poem, which is included in Tom’s recent chapbook, is what first grabbed my attention. The poem quickly paints a vivid picture: …the tractor in weeds. The wind-scoured barn. The farmhouse dark in its grove.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

But these images only set the scene for the lives of real people: Our grandparents came from such fields. The aunt who eloped with the preacher. The uncle who raised six kids alone. One cousin hung himself in a barn; his widow would sit whole nights at the window… Other readers may find their own hooks, but these were what first hooked me on the stark beauty I found in Raithel’s lyrical poems. For example, he paints us a vivid picture of winter with images like “snow-heaped cars are mastadons fallen in glacial graves.” If you ever lived on a country farm, or felt like you had in some movie, this book is decorated tastefully with the sounds of crickets, toads and frogs, fireflies and, of course, the cicadas of summer. For the contrast of color, try on the poem “Cardinal in a Blizzard”: a poetic flame in the philistine wind, a dash of red heart in a colorless world Personally, I have always been a fool for a poem full of crows. From Tom’s poem “Crows:” When, out of mist, those specters descend to a bare-branched oak in your yard, one of them casting a cold eye over you…. … and when at the hour of their choosing they rise, they’ll ride off on unhurried wings.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

There are, for me, two particular poems that I find haunting, for different reasons. First, there is a poem I wished I had written, “Solstice:” This is as deep into night as you’ll get This is as out on the edge as you’ll be Now the small fires of stars burn coldest, and the owl intones its hollowest notes. … out of the midnight into the glow, tonight you find no comfort in knowing that this is as near to the void as you’ll get, this is as far from the light as you’ll be. Finally, there is the title poem, “Dark Leaves, Strange Lights.” While it contains elements of nature, it is not just a nature poem and is not really about falling leaves, although leaves do fall. Someone once accused me of thinking that poems were usually about God and, if not about God, then about death and life. This, of course, is one of those poems.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Here the poet asks us to consider what the passing from this life might be like. Or perhaps he is just talking about falling leaves: Maybe it will be something like this — like lying flat on your back in bed, the night air thick with the whisper of crickets… Or maybe it will be like riding the train, face at the window, head nodding… the glow of the town you once knew growing distant. Or will it be more like the passing warmth that stirs the wind chime and rustles dark leaves — … Then again, maybe it’s more like a quickening of creek water, mud, a parting of reeds… the old skin falling, a new voice breaking, a crawling, a lifting of eyes to strange light.

Tom Raithel grew up in Milwaukee, and obtained a bachelor’s degree in English and a Master’s in Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In addition to working as an assembly line worker, truck-loader, janitor, landscaper, public relations account executive and busboy, he has been a journalist at several newspapers including the Evansville Courier & Press. Tom lives in Evansville, Indiana with his wife, Theresa Brett, and their dogs, Mattie and Sammy.

Barry Harris is editor of the Tipton Poetry Journal and has published one poetry collection, Something At The Center. Barry lives in Brownsburg, Indiana and is retired from Eli Lilly and Company.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Lightless Clinton Inman Each year the light is less We can barely see it now The faint necklace of The Milky Way. The old ones were wrong You know with their waxed fingers Pointing up like abandoned adobe. Yet you know better in your cubical gardens And half moth-eaten moons You have arrived in Handcuffs.

Clinton Inman, born in England in 1945, graduated from San Diego State University in 1977, is a retired high school English teacher in Tampa Bay where he lives with his wife, Elba.

Solstice Jim Wardell Not quite overhead , the sun pauses a moment. Our day was short, too lightly forgotten in mists of the longest night. Who could remember?

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Tipton Poetry Journal Just before the dawn I would wake to the chorus of your gentle breath, blackbird, robin, thrush now silenced by this season of icy darkness. I can see the signs it may not always be so. When you talk of spring. a sense of hope fills the music of your laughterHave I told you this? I begin winter standing beneath a clear sky thinking of you while not quite overhead, the midday sun pauses, sighs, contemplates a rest, then turns north as she has four billion times before. This is what stars do. [This poem was first published in Jimson Weed Literary Magazine]

Jim Wardell is a musician and educator at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, where he provides continuing education to K-12 teachers. As a teaching consultant to the Appalachian Writing Project, he presents on the relationship between visual imagery, music, and the written word. Previous publications include Goliath Magazine and Jimson Weed Literary Magazine.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

2:22 a.m. Woodrow Hightower Sitting on this rowing machine Watching a poker-faced monkey Ride a dog on late-night TV Is better than trapped in a lawn chair Listening to the neighbor Talk deadheading his roses Or having my brother Tell me his sources are telling him The illuminati is splintering And a black rain will soon fall on Paris Or watching a klepto Steal cheese and crackers From a convenience store Other than that Nothing else immediately comes to mind It wounds to be banished from the marriage bed For allegedly tossing and turning Wishing I knew why I can’t sleep more than four hours at a time And how I seem to be aging by dog years And I think I should be redeeming this restlessness By spilling the unwritten prose Rolling around in my head Stories about sharpshooters And sapphire necklaces Dinner parties and self determination Knowing the second I fire up the computer Drowsiness will begin setting in And by the time I’m ready To commit sentences to a blank screen My eyes will be starting to close

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Somewhere A technocrat is calculating charts and numbers An artist with a gap between his teeth Caresses his sketch book And a girl holding a blue balloon Counts the taillights in Denver But for me more stunted slumber Sleep’s second shift About to commence Woodrow Hightower is a native of West Point, California. He is a poet currently producing a first book of verse to be titled So Low. A self-described “word muralist,” his work has recently been accepted by a multitude of print and online literary zines. Hightower resides in Sacramento’s Midtown District with photographer/co-conspirator Twyla Wyoming and their two Tibetan spaniels.

Plato Clinton Inman Notice we no longer use chains and Of course the rooms are filled with shadows While laser lights and virtual programs prove More cost effective than fire yet the cardboard Cut-outs and the curtains have remained the same As well as those old lies that trees are real That the way out really goes somewhere That math leads more than just in circles And that the Wizard himself behind the curtains Keeps the whole domino world from collapsing And each year more and more come to believe it As only a few poets and down-and-outers dare climb The arduous way out as most prefer To sit and talk about food and sports. Clinton Inman, born in England in 1945, graduated from San Diego State University in 1977, is a retired high school English teacher in Tampa Bay where he lives with his wife, Elba.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Sylvia at Work in the Soil Keith Moul One arm lacks gardener might (her rotator cuff has worn away). Pushing it toward a plant, she winces at the torn edge of memory. Pulling it fares no better: I move, out of earshot, not to witness how she kneels painfully, seized by her humiliation. She grunts to beckon me, another new evidence that determination will suffice; or, flowing from her hurt, she bubbles a field hand’s song, personal lyrics adapted by her for another season; or, she shifts her burden to a cobalt-chromium knee, hugs the ground, leverages a gristled tug. She regards enduring soil her joy at work, the object of respect due. If nutrients, from bags, and sweat, from her brow, have loosened the bonds of clay; have cut a channel for the latest rains to slake a thirst deeper than her reach, then laws that she abides, that nature has designed, will be obeyed. Her virtue guarantees tomorrow. She cherishes a place for growth. She composes anthems with utter grace. A planted tree merges neatly into our forest on the western verge. Incoming wind sways its branches, waves too her silvering hair. Sylvia looks up to betoken an acre of a sturdy gardener’s pride; she licks her lips for salt to document evidence of her seasoning. Joy everywhere builds: on her trowel’s point; on the shovel’s handle; as her arms and joints repose; as daylight softens and shadows mature to darkness. Abundantly stars send light to anchor her in rotating space. [This poem also appears in Keith Moul’s latest chapbook: The Future as a Picnic Lunch]

Photo Credit: Ianthe Moul

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Keith Moul received his MA from Western Washington and his PhD from the University of South Carolina. He retired in 2000 from 35 years in marketing, customer service and insurance underwriting and lives in Port Angeles, Washington. Five previous books include The Grammar of Mind, Beautiful Agitation, Reconsidered Light, To Take and Have Not, and The Future as a Picnic Lunch.


Tipton Poetry Journal

A Victor’s Ballad Katherine Givens ENEMY— She wilts into drama, Dwells in a fool’s den. Her voice harmonizes In a choir of the insane. She feasts on pills To force a joy From the numbness Called her emotion. She raves, she wales, She stamps, Someone please see This beast’s tail. OH, and the horns jutting From her dark mane. VICTOR— In grace I glide Through her barren cries Into the cove Where I seek solitude Hidden from view. Quiet, save the rhythm of water. Dim, save the peeking sun. Within my earthy cocoon, I thrive on the separation, But if the she-devil decides on war, I’ll emerge from my cove And dash to her fool’s den For a duel in which I Am her nightmare. Katherine Givens writes whenever she has a chance. After breakfast, between breaks, before she sleeps. Her crazed writing habits have led to publication in numerous print and online magazines, including WestWard Quarterly, Tipton Poetry Journal, The Copperfield Review, Nazar Look, and From the Depths. She also published Passages of Love: A Collection of Poems with Nazar Look in November 2015. Katherine lives in New Jersey.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Two-Tone Greetings Susan Niz There are stretches in life when you will have to walk windy concrete blocks with dusty air drying your throat, or traipse the expanse of desolate parks with brown grass your only silent companion. Walking stiffly, you imagine yourself as the old person you will once be and all that will loom behind your dark shades, swim in your medicated pupils. The clarity of your regrets, the salve you coat it with, will change your gait and define your stride. In those times, you forget the magic of orange light through curtains, which illuminate a brightly dyed blanket or the warmth of wool socks that melt the iciness from your toes. Sometime, songbirds will speak to you boldly in two-tone calls. It’s nearly Spring, they will say. You’ll breathe a damp air and smell all that is growing underfoot and yet unseen. Your steps will be light and your lungs full and a lady will be walking down the other side of the street, still wearing a knee-length coat and walking her dog and you’ll call to her a two-tone hello and she might wave or crack a smile or even let the wind carry her constrained voice across the street, across decades, across warm, lost moments, to you.

Susan Niz has work which appeared in Blue Bonnet Review, Two Words For, Belleville Park Pages, Ginosko, Cezanne's Carrot, Flashquake, Opium Magazine, and Summerset Review. Her first novel Kara, Lost (North Star Press, 2011) was a finalist for a Midwest Book Award (MIPA) for Literary Fiction. Susan lives in Minnesota.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Takeoff Lucas Smith Across the aisle a bulbous Salvadorean (I snooped her passport at check-in) crosses herself for takeoff. Just then her shoes fall off and she smiles at me acknowledging her infirmity hers a different strategy for dealing with the chance of flight. Mine is to scan the terminal and find someone who seems like they don't deserve to die today Why, I could not say. Maybe they look aloof or mild sometimes they are shushing a child but always that partial divinity that will save me and the surplus cargo The Salvadorean's shoes lie fallow The way housefires and bushfires look sublime from planes, ants driving along the freeway planes are no more real than clouds but this is not a good theme for mere man who survives by granting divinity.

Lucas Smith, a writer from Orange County, California and the Gippsland region of Australia, currently resides in Melbourne. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Angle, Cadaverine, Cordite Poetry Review, Curator, Dappled Things, El Portal, otoliths and The American Aesthetic.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

all my peeps Erren Kelly all my peeps go to church on sunday praise the lord and do the shout like the brothers who get their drink on all my peeps eat and are loud grandmother's kitchen is filled with the sounds of busy women little mouths and men's bodies/bellies at rest all my peeps look at me and laugh cos after all these years I'm still the quiet one "why you talkin so proper? you around us now" and i laugh with them as the house fills up with love like a black balloon

Erren Kelly’s work has appeared in numerous publications in print and online in various literary journals and magazines throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Mr. Kelly is the author of the book Disturbing The Peace, on Night Ballet Press. Erren received his BA in English – Creative Writing from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Kelly lives in Los Angeles.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Knowing the Answers Martin Willitts Jr. Cows lowing in narrow stalls moving shoulders remembering repetition and anticipation the bead of last night’s rain suddering on the eve holding the reflection of moon or memory; it’s hard to tell which. The world is no longer creeping around giving and taking sleep. We untie problems like shoelaces, one knot at a time. The cows know we are coming before we arrive providing resolutions. It is we, who do not know we always had the solutions all along. Martin Willitts Jr. is the winner of the 2014 Broadsided award; winner of the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Contest; Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, June 2015, Editor’s Choice. He has 8 full-length collections and over 20 chapbooks of poetry. His forthcoming books include How to Be Silent (FutureCycle Press), God Is Not Amused With What You Are Doing In Her Name (Aldrich Press), and Dylan Thomas and the Writer’s Shed (FutureCycle Press). Martin lives in Syracuse, New York.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

The Turk Keith Dunlap Each of us learns a difficult thing That once learned becomes our bane Our only consolation that those who do it best Are also hollowed by their craft and know There are no magic strings.

A chess playing automaton from the late eighteenth century tilts his turbaned brow slightly forward, extends his stiff arms from his fur-trimmed cloak, and his immobile eyes painted jet stare from a face as dark as bronze, which sports a thick sable “Asiatic” moustache. He is not unexplainable: a clockwork mechanism fills the cabinet beneath the table where the chess board sits, over which his wooden hands hover, as if petrified mid-incantation. He seems to ponder his opponent’s move, but does not betray any intent, until suddenly, awkwardly, and without remorse, his robotic arm pushes a pawn forward. It takes less mastery than one might think to crouch inside the cabinet and play a secret game of chess, to cause the Turk’s right hand to act as if inspired by intelligence— as if a soul could be replaced by a whirring clock and springs, and beat a local man from Gridley’s pub who for a few shillings would put his skill to the test.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Speed of Light Keith Dunlap the speed of light is much too slow it is starting to snow a deliberate snow nothing happens quite as fast snow follows snow falling fast how time curves back to show the speed of light is much too slow but I wouldn’t want it any faster on this the best of days my last

Keith Dunlap is a former co-editor of The Columbia Review and former coeditor of Cutbank, having received his MFA from the University of Montana. Keith’s poems have been accepted for publication in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, The Brooklyn Review, The Carolina Quarterly, The Georgetown Review, Poet Lore, and Sou’wester, among other places. His manuscript, The Foot in the Elevator was a finalist at Brickhouse Books New Poet Series and The New Issues Poetry Prize, and a semi-finalist for Brooklyn Arts Press. Keith has a BA in English from Columbia College in New York and an MA in Classics from Columbia University. He lives in Portland, Maine with his wife, the novelist Jenny Siler, and his daughter, Vivica.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

When Last I Saw You Ryan Frisinger The time before this in a backseat mess of body parts and prepositions: around, over, against, down. English our teachers never taught, spoken as if the soap had run dry. Still, I scalded and scrubbed so well after, it held me over a handful of years… to this moment when I see another man’s sins in the backseat mess, wide-eyed and singing their ABCs: a countenance I’ve long forgotten, a language I seem to have just.

How It’s to Die Ryan Frisinger Like finding the first girl you loved in the garden where you left her, blossoming, picking and basketing ripe for summer supper on the kind of night when the rush of well-being that fancies young lovers’ chest cavities

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Tipton Poetry Journal makes its grand entrance at the split-second when heat turns to balm, thick in the air thins and lightens, bubbles and soars into the sorts of words that you’ll tell your grandchildren about… except the line that was forgotten, thanks to the moon shining rightness, bugs chirping blindness, sweet-tasting salt and the vellum touch of drip-lines down her upper lip, where you mistook taste for smell as boiling pots gushed from a firefly window— but this time, you’re them and they’re you, those words swallowed, traded for action and reaction, to the tip of the tongue and back down, cut short, forgotten, ingested— nearly, but never making it to the twisting folds, diamond-lobed ears of the last girl you loved, and she, blissfully unaware you existed at all.

Ryan Frisinger is a professor of English, holding an MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University. He is also an accomplished songwriter, whose work has been featured in numerous television shows, such as America's Next Top Model and The Real World. His non-musical writing has appeared in publications like Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, The MacGuffin, and Punchnel's. He resides in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with his more-talented wife and couldn’t-care-less cat.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Frankenstein Clinton Inman Color coded complete with picture I.D. We will teach you to be like us. Give you a turtle neck or bow tie You will be our kind of Mensch We’ll give you a new brain, doesn’t Matter whose for they are all the same, Complete with certificate of authenticity Credit rating and charge account, Security, savings, and even disability. We’ll teach you how to walk and talk In circles as if you had some sense. We will give you some brand named shoes We will give you a new name like Frankie, But why are you still reaching for flowers? Clinton Inman, born in England in 1945, graduated from San Diego State University in 1977, is a retired high school English teacher in Tampa Bay where he lives with his wife, Elba.

Better Timothy Robbins I lived there well, but I could have lived better. I was with you but I could have been within you. The heatwave when we slept on the floor could have been hotter. We could have sweated out sins we weren’t even aware of. Had the floor been harder, we might have felt more support. The fans, standing blandly by like eunuchs could have breathed on us fresher sweetness.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Yes, the sweat we cursed we could have blessed and used to anoint our waists. The Chinese food we had delivered when I was too sick and you too tired to cook, could have delivered us from evil. We ate facing but we could have fed each other as bride and groom give marital blood and body, heedless of crumbs or stains that might befall tux and gown. We could have nourished each other like the blessed dead in the parable of Heaven and Hell’s similarity. Remember the tornado warning? The sirens sang their sadness, taking all the town for witness. That could have been our lament, the dissemination of our fertile fears. We gathered our valuables, descended to the laundry room and sat on the exercise equipment for two hours without television. We could have done this routinely without threat of tornado, each time reevaluating what should be saved. Remember Mr. Liang, how viewless his basement office was? We could have welcomed him to our third-floor balcony with its panorama of Amtrak windows blazing at night like speeding TV screens, the trains and the Huron running side by side in a perpetual dead heat, while fowl of all sorts stirred the air with their bets. We left well but we could have left better, could have tossed a handful of dirt into the dumpster where we buried what we could not keep.

Timothy Robbins teaches ESL and does freelance translation in Wisconsin. He has a BA in French and an MA in Applied Linguistics from Indiana University. He has been a regular contributor to Hanging Loose since 1978. His poems have also appeared appeared in Three New Poets, Long Shot, The James White Review, Evergreen, Off The Coast, Slant, Main Street Rag and various small zines.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Not Far Away Thomas O’Dore approaching on foot thru corn forest or soybean carpet sometimes a thin riparian berm of sycamores or cotton woods …you smell it first… a big inland river emerging where viscous water laps the heavy redolent muck \ decades of chemical silt fertilizers / herbicides / pesticides sieved thru deforested floodplains \ sliding on a centuries old bed of untreated human sewage and god-knows-what trash from municipal dumping sites and toxic industrial wastes this one is no different from so many others except for the irony of its Miami name …Waapaashsiiki corrupted by French traders …Quabache slurred by English settlers …Wabash – it shines white by discharge the twelfth largest river in the forty-eight contiguous states \ four hundred and seventy-five miles long four hundred and eleven free-flowing \ longest unimpeded stretch east of the Mississippi \ alternately by season a brown or green turbid sluice of excrement puking…into the Ohio Guys like Tom O’Dore do not have biographies.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Mississippi Winter Richard Boada She wants to be a character in a Jack Kerouac novel, a Japhy Ryder with hands deep in plush vest pockets, Lucky Strikes squarely tucked away, black sunglasses, hair uncombed. She mimics Kerouac’s longing for a destination when she exhales a long gray rope of smoke. In the still quite morning by the small pond near her parents’ home, beyond the metallic forest, alluvial earth and sputtering Mississippi sleet, trees riot in the breeze and slim steel clouds suture the sky. She orbits the pond like a rickety satellite that’s too close to the atmosphere, iced grass crunching as she walks, and loses a layer of clothes each circumference. She burns as she closes in on what’s left of her own debris.

[Previously published in The Error of Nostalgia (Texas Review Press, 2013)]

Richard Boada earned his doctorate from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. His book of poems, The Error of Nostalgia was published by Texas Review Press in 2013. His chapbook, Archipelago Sinking, was nominated for the 2012 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Poetry Book Award. His poems have appeared in RHINO, Crab Orchard Review,. Yalobusha Review, Jabberwock Review, and The Louisville Review among others. He teaches Creative Writing at the University of Memphis.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Homecoming Girl Susan Niz I only wanted to be homecoming girl — Not queen The liquid gold core of royalty Doesn’t sparkle in me Cross the blackened park Yellow jacket percussion call Cold-water-in-the-face spotlights Bats lash the sky Love-lost players drive the thick night Fleece-lined cheers rattle and numb Behind the bleachers, a lead apron lays her down My genie Marlboro breaths Denim slides and Boots press toward the lit scene The iron I’m made of slows me The marsh to my right Blind as tomorrow’s mistakes Hide-and-seek cattails and a Flat-note cricket sideshow Dreams drown in algae glitter I cross the park, toward the football game, For all my life

Susan Niz has work which appeared in Blue Bonnet Review, Two Words For, Belleville Park Pages, Ginosko, Cezanne's Carrot, Flashquake, Opium Magazine, and Summerset Review. Her first novel Kara, Lost (North Star Press, 2011) was a finalist for a Midwest Book Award (MIPA) for Literary Fiction. Susan lives in Minnesota.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Fame and Vanity Kudzai Mahwite That foul taste engulfs my tongue That steady churning meshes my brain Smug frown where once a smile hung How much longer can I remain sane? Lament, lament which wrong foot I set Be this harsh chastening nature sent? Truly; to appear before this fool with knee bent To join in undeserving adoration To herald his arrival with trumpets’ flourish To step into cold shadow ever hidden from glory’s light. Alas! I see! I be the fool. This glory that eludeth me be just a mirage Throughout I spy many a feigned visage. Presence of absence of substance harboured within Still, straight faces: the shrewdest of liars Their expectant eyes bear green fires. Hush pervades sensing an impending fall Cheery shouts quickly dwindle Quickly stripped of purple robes. This be a mighty tedious throne.

Kudzai Mahwite is a young Zimbabwean poet inspired greatly by the works and life of William Shakespeare. He is an Economics student and as part of his studies runs a small-time blog on the African Economy. Kudzai is also a Sportswriter with football.co.uk. You can follow him on Twitter @sir_tos. kmahwite@gmail.com

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Last Call Christopher Todd Anderson We’re slumming in the North Star Bar, me with Jack Daniels and Coke, my friend Liz with a Stella Artois she drinks, crazily, through a straw. We were always wild and shy: she the one, I the other. In college, she wore tweed, smoked a pipe, studied Kant and shrooms. She was the one who wore a mini skirt and turquoise fishnets to her sister’s wedding, then hooked up with the ring bearer’s not-quite-divorced-yet father. I only kissed her once, years ago, just drunk and funning. Now we’re at a teacher’s convention, escaping the afternoon monotones. Her husband’s a good guy, back at the hotel with their kids. Liz and I are on our third drink when she blurts out that she has cancer and starts chemo in twelve days, adding that it must be karma for never going punk enough to shave her head when she was twenty. I sip and stare while she describes how she wants her coffin rigged up like those birthday cards that play pop songs, so the priest can lift the lid and the grieving beloved—as she puts it—will hear The Waitresses sing “I Know What Boys Like,” and as people shift in their black suits and dresses, those mofos—as she puts it—won’t know if the song—nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah sucker!—is for them or God. An Indiana native who grew up in Fort Wayne, Christopher Todd Anderson is now an Associate Professor of English at Pittsburg State University in Kansas. His poems have most recently appeared in journals such as River Styx, Tar River Poetry, Ellipsis, Chicago Quarterly Review, and The Midwest Quarterly, where he also served as guest poetry editor for their 2013-14 print run.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Editor Barry Harris is editor of the Tipton Poetry Journal and Brick Street Poetry’s Mapping the Muse: A Bicentennial Look at Indiana Poetry. He has published one poetry collection, Something At The Center. Barry lives in Brownsburg, Indiana and is retired from Eli Lilly and Company. His poetry has appeared in Kentucky Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Grey Sparrow, Silk Road Review, Saint Ann‘s Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Night Train, Silver Birch Press, Flying Island, Awaken Consciousness and Writers‘ Bloc. One of his poems is on display at the National Museum of Sport and another is painted on a barn in Boone County, Indiana as part of Brick Street Poetry‘s Word Hunger public art project. His poems are also included in these anthologies: From the Edge of the Prairie; Motif 3: All the Livelong Day; and Twin Muses: Art and Poetry.

Biographies An Indiana native who grew up in Fort Wayne, Christopher Todd Anderson is now an Associate Professor of English at Pittsburg State University in Kansas. His poems have most recently appeared in journals such as River Styx, Tar River Poetry, Ellipsis, Chicago Quarterly Review, and The Midwest Quarterly, where he also served as guest poetry editor for their 2013-14 print run. Heath Brougher lives in York, Pennsylvania and attended Temple University. He recently finished his second chapbook and has two others on the way as well as a full-length book of poetry. Heath has been previously published or has work forthcoming in Yellow Chair Review, Of/with, Mobius, Third Wednesday, Foliate Oak, Main Street Rag, *Star 82 Review, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Calliope, Van Gogh's Ear, MiPOesias, Gloom Cupboard, Rust + Moth, Eunoia Review, BlazeVOX, Indigo Rising, Icebox Journal, Inscape Literary Journal, and elsewhere.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Gayle Compton, a hillbilly from Eastern Kentucky, lives up the river from where Randall McCoy is buried and attended college on the hill where “Cotton Top” Mounts was hanged. With deep affection, he tells the story of Appalachia’s common people, allowing them to speak, without apology, in their own colorful language. His prize-winning stories, poems and essays have appeared most recently in Sow’s Ear, Now and Then, New Southerner, Blue Collar Review, Kentucky Review and Main Street Rag anthologies. Coal Dust and Crabgrass, a collection of poetry, is due March 2017 from FutureCycle Press. Keith Dunlap is a former co-editor of friend's definition Review and former co-editor of Cutbank, having received his MFA from the University of Montana. Keith’s poems have been accepted for publication in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, The Brooklyn Review, The Carolina Quarterly, The Georgetown Review, Poet Lore, and Sou’wester, among other places. His manuscript, The Foot in the Elevator was a finalist at Brickhouse Books New Poet Series and The New Issues Poetry Prize, and a semi-finalist for Brooklyn Arts Press. Keith has a BA in English from Columbia College in New York and an MA in Classics from Columbia University. He lives in Portland, Maine with his wife, the novelist Jenny Siler, and his daughter, Vivica. Patrick Erickson is a retired parish pastor put out to pasture himself, a former shepherd of sheep, a small flock with no sheep dog and no hang-dog expression. Or he is the sheep dog, a small dog, with the hang-dog expression. Secretariat is his mentor, though he has never been an achiever and has never gained on the competition. He resonates to a friend's definition of change; though a bit dated with the advent of wi fi, it has the ring of truth to it: change coming at us a lot faster because you can punch a whole lot more, a whole lot faster down digital broadband "glass" fiber than an old copper co-axial landline cable. Of late, Patrick’s work has appeared in Poetry Pacific, Red Fez, SubtleTea, The Oddville Press and Literary Juice. He lives in Garland, Texas. Originally from Denver, Brian Robert Flynn is currently breathing the fiction and poetry of Washington, DC. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in LETTERS Journal, The Learned Pig, Glasgow Review of Books, Banango Street, and The Moth. Mimi Ford lives and writes in Kokomo, Indiana.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Ryan Frisinger is a professor of English, holding an MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University. He is also an accomplished songwriter, whose work has been featured in numerous television shows, such as America's Next Top Model and The Real World. His non-musical writing has appeared in publications like Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, The MacGuffin, and Punchnel's. He resides in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with his more-talented wife and couldn’t-careless cat. Melisha Garrett graduated from Montana State University with her MA in English. She has since relocated to Tennessee. She writes that she finds herself missing the Rockies, and oddly, the bus conversations of the past. Katherine Givens writes whenever she has a chance. After breakfast, between breaks, before she sleeps. Her crazed writing habits have led to publication in numerous print and online magazines, including WestWard Quarterly, Tipton Poetry Journal, The Copperfield Review, Nazar Look, and From the Depths. She also published Passages of Love: A Collection of Poems with Nazar Look in November 2015. Allison Gliesman lives and writes in Kansas. Carol Hamilton is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and has been nominated six times for a Pushcart Prize. She has published 17 books: children’s novels, legends and poetry, most recently Such Deaths. Her recent and upcoming publications are in Poet Lore, Limestone, Louisiana Literature, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Albatross, Two Cities Review, Main Street Rag, Abbey and others. Woodrow Hightower is a native of West Point, California. He is a poet currently producing a first book of verse to be titled So Low. A self-described “word muralist,” his work has recently been accepted by a multitude of print and online literary zines. Hightower resides in Sacramento’s Midtown District with photographer/co-conspirator Twyla Wyoming and their two Tibetan spaniels.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Steve Hood is an attorney and political activist. His work won an award from the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association and has been published in many places including Crack the Spine, Maudlin House, and the anthology Noisy Water. His chapbook From Here To Astronomy was published by Pudding House. Steve lives in Bellingham, Washington. Carol Hamilton is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and has been nominated six times for a Pushcart Prize. She has published 17 books: children’s novels, legends and poetry, most recently Such Deaths. Her recent and upcoming publications are in Poet Lore, Limestone, Louisiana Literature, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Albatross, Two Cities Review, Main Street Rag, Abbey and others. Clinton Inman, born in England in 1945, graduated from San Diego State University in 1977, is a retired high school English teacher in Tampa Bay where he lives with his wife, Elba. Saloni Kaul, author and poet, first published at the age of ten, has been in print since. As critic and columnist, Saloni has enjoyed 37 years of being published in leading dailies and magazines. From time to time Saloni has held many an editorial position. Saloni has also won considerable critical acclaim as broadcaster and producerpresenter of radio documentaries and features. Saloni Kaul's first volume, Saloni Kaul’s Book of Children’s Poetry, was published in 2009. Subsequent volumes include Universal One and Essentials All Her work has been published or will appear in Poetry Quarterly, The Horrorzine, Eye On Life Magazine, Poetry and Paint Anthology, Misty Mountain Review, Inwood Indiana and Sentinel Quarterly. Erren Kelly’s work has appeared in numerous publications in print and online in various literary journals and magazines throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Mr. Kelly is the author of the book Disturbing The Peace, on Night Ballet Press. Erren received his BA in English – Creative Writing from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Kelly lives in Los Angeles

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Tipton Poetry Journal Michael Keshigian’s tenth poetry collection, Beyond was released in May, 2015 by Black Poppy. Other published books and chapbooks: Dark Edges, Eagle’s Perch, Wildflowers, Jazz Face, Warm Summer Memories, Silent Poems, Seeking Solace, Dwindling Knight, Translucent View. Published in numerous national and international journals, he is a 6-time Pushcart Prize and 2-time Best Of The Net nominee. His poetry cycle, Lunar Images, set for Clarinet, Piano, Narrator, was premiered at Del Mar College in Texas. Subsequent performances occurred in Boston (Berklee College) and Moleto, Italy. Winter Moon, a poem set for Soprano and Piano, premiered in the Fall of 2013 in Boston. http://michaelkeshigian.com John P. Kristofco, from Highland Heights, Ohio, is professor of English and the former dean of Wayne College in Orrville, Ohio. His poetry, short stories, and essay have appeared in over a hundred different publications, including: Folio, Cimarron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Rattle, Poem, and Sierra Nevada Review. He has published three collections of poetry: A Box of Stones, Apparitions, and The Fire in Our Eyes and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times. Indunil Madhusankha is currently an undergraduate in the Faculty of Science of the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. While his major involvement is with the areas of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, he pursues a successful writing career as a poet and content writer. He has received several awards from some National Level English Essay Competitions. Indunil has written a volume of poetry entitled, Oasis, which explores diverse dimensions of society and he has been published in several international anthologies, journals and magazines. Moreover, he has undertaken research projects pertaining to the areas of ELT and Sri Lankan Literature in English. Kudzai Mahwite is a young Zimbabwean poet inspired greatly by the works and life of William Shakespeare. He is an Economics student and as part of his studies runs a small-time blog on the African Economy. Kudzai is also a Sportswriter with football.co.uk. You can follow him on Twitter @sir_tos. kmahwite@gmail.com

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Tipton Poetry Journal Vibha Malhotra is a writer, a poet, an editor, and a translator, and the founder of Literature Studio. She is the editor-in-chief of Literature Studio Review. Vibha holds a Master in Creative Writing from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom. At present, apart from running Literature Studio and teaching creative writing to all age groups, she works as a Consulting Editor with Dorling Kindersley (Penguin Random House). Her work has been published in literary ejournals such as Muse India and The Luxembourg Review, and in dailies such as The Times of India and Ceylon Today. Erin McIntosh is a writer and actress currently living in Los Angeles. Her poetry has appeared and is forthcoming in various journals including Bone Bouquet, Lavender Review, Hawai’i Review, apt, Plenitude Magazine, and Pine Hills Review, among others. Keith Moul received his MA from Western Washington and his PhD from the University of South Carolina. He retired in 2000 from 35 years in marketing, customer service and insurance underwriting and lives in Port Angeles, Washington. Five previous books include The Grammar of Mind, Beautiful Agitation, Reconsidered Light, To Take and Have Not, and The Future as a Picnic Lunch. Susan Niz has work which appeared in Blue Bonnet Review, Two Words For, Belleville Park Pages, Ginosko, Cezanne's Carrot, Flashquake, Opium Magazine, and Summerset Review. Her first novel Kara, Lost (North Star Press, 2011) was a finalist for a Midwest Book Award (MIPA) for Literary Fiction. Susan lives in Minnesota. Guys like Tom O’Dore do not have biographies. Melissa Parietti is a native of Long Island originally from Melville, New York. Melissa attended business classes and writing workshops at SUNY Geneseo. At 24 years old, her poetry has received several acceptances to print and online journals Simon Perchik’s poetry has also appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker and elsewhere.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Luke Powers teaches English at Tennessee State University in Nashville. He currently serves as Chair of the Department of Languages, Literature and Philosophy. He received his PhD in English from Vanderbilt University where he thought he would be the Last of the Fugitives. He is a songwriter and performer who has recorded with Richard Lloyd (Television), Garth Hudson (The Band) and Sneaky Pete Kleinow (The Flying Burrito Brothers). Luke once sang with Johnny Cashm, but says that’s too long a story for a short bio. Nancy Pulley has poems published in Flying Island, Passages North, Plainsong, The Sycamore Review, Arts Indiana Literary Supplement, and the Humpback Barn Festival collection. In 1992 she won the Indiana Writer’s Center Poetry Chapbook contest, resulting in the publication of her Tremolo of Light. Nancy lives in Columbus, Indiana. Timothy Robbins teaches ESL and does freelance translation in Wisconsin. He has a BA in French and an MA in Applied Linguistics from Indiana University. He has been a regular contributor to Hanging Loose since 1978. His poems have also appeared appeared in Three New Poets, Long Shot, The James White Review, Evergreen, Off The Coast, Slant, Main Street Rag and various small zines. Kenneth Salzmann is a writer and poet whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, and literary journals, as well as such anthologies as Child of My Child: Poems and Stories for Grandparents (Gelles-Cole Literary Enterprises), a Finalist (Anthology) in the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude (Holy Cow! Press), Riverine: An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers (Codhill Press), The Heart of All That Is: Reflections on Home (Holy Cow! Press). He lives in Woodstock, New York, and Ajijic, Mexico, with his wife, editor Sandi Gelles-Cole. Luke Samra is a graduate of Marian University in Indianapolis. He enjoys playing and teaching tennis. Luke is a musician.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Cathryn Shea’s poetry is forthcoming or has appeared in Allegro, Gravel, Gargoyle, Eunoia, Main Street Rag, Permafrost, Poet Lore, Quiddity, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Snap Bean, is by CC.Marimbo (2014). Cathryn is included in the 2012 anthology Open to Interpretation: Intimate Landscape and she served as editor for Marin Poetry Center Anthology. Cathryn lives in California. Visit her website http://www.cathrynshea.com or follow her on Twitter: @cathy_shea. Lucas Smith, a writer from Orange County, California and the Gippsland region of Australia, currently resides in Melbourne. His poetry has appear or is forthcoming in Angle, Cadaverine, Cordite Poetry Review, Curator, Dappled Things, El Portal, otoliths and The American Aesthetic. Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry, which she has written since college. Nearly 300 of her poems appear in over a hundred online venues and in anthologies, in the US, UK, Canada, and further abroad. The natural world is often her framework; she also considers the stories of people and places around her and personal histories. She is a semi-retired teacher living in California. Jessica D. Thompson is a poet (and sometimes photographer) who lives on the banks of the Wabash River. Her work recently appeared in Circe’s Lament: Anthology of Wild Women Poetry (Accents Publishing). Heather Truett has been published in The Mom Egg, The Paintsville Herald, Jackson Free Press, The Invitation Tupelo, Busy Parents Online, Everyday Musings, Divine Revolution, Teen Love: On Friendship, Tweetspeak Poetry, Crazy Good Parent, and Vine Leaves Literary. Heather is a coalminer’s granddaughter and grew up lip-syncing to Loretta Lynn. Currently a mom to boys and the wife of a minister in Mississippi, Heather is also a novelist represented by Peter Knapp of New Leaf Literary.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Jim Wardell is a musician and educator at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, where he provides continuing education to K-12 teachers. As a teaching consultant to the Appalachian Writing Project, he presents on the relationship between visual imagery, music, and the written word. Previous publications include Goliath Magazine and Jimson Weed Literary Magazine. Martin Willitts Jr. is the winner of the 2014 Broadsided award; winner of the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Contest; Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, June 2015,Editor’s Choice. He has 8 fulllength collections and over 20 chapbooks of poetry. His forthcoming books include How to Be Silent (FutureCycle Press), God Is Not Amused With What You Are Doing In Her Name (Aldrich Press), and Dylan Thomas and the Writer’s Shed (FutureCycle Press).

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Tipton Poetry Journal #29  

Winter 2016

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