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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. This issue features 32 poets from the United States (17 states and the Territory of Puerto Rico), and poets from the United Kingdom (Wales), Zambia and China. We also feature a poem by Hongri Yuan in both Chinese and an English translation. 18 poets are making their first appearance in our pages. We review two books in this issue: Don Carpenter reviews Donald Platt’s Tornadoesque while Jenny Kalahar reviews Lucy J. Madison’s collection, IV. Beginning with 2016, print versions of Tipton Poetry Journal are available for purchase through amazon.com. So far Issues #29, #30 and #32 are available. Issue #31 and #33 (this issue) will be available soon. Last month we were notified by Pushcart Press that one of our nominees has been selected for next year’s Pushcart Prize. You can read Chrstopher Todd Anderson’s selected poem, “About the Tongue” in Issue #29 (Winter 2016): https://issuu.com/tiptonpoetryjournal/docs/tpj29. Barry Harris, Editor Cover Photo, “Great Horned Owlets” By Don Dunlap Copyright 2017 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 Kyle Hunter.........................................................................1 Matt Mason.........................................................................2 Robert S. King.....................................................................4 Laura Grace Weldon...........................................................6 Sergio A. Ortiz ....................................................................8 Heather Truett....................................................................9

远红日 .................................................................................10 Hongri Yuan ......................................................................11 Martin H. Levinson ...........................................................12 Joseph J. Gianotti .............................................................14 Angelo Giambra ................................................................15 Simon Perchik ...................................................................16 Tom Raithel.......................................................................16 Patrick T. Reardon ............................................................18 George Fish .......................................................................19 Thomas Zimmerman ........................................................20 Tricia Grudens ..................................................................22 Michael Watson ................................................................23 Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas...........................................24 Marvin Shackelford ..........................................................26 Ben Weise..........................................................................27 Norbert Krapf ...................................................................28 Gene Twaronite ................................................................30 James Keane .....................................................................31 Byron Beynon ...................................................................32


Tipton Poetry Journal Andrew Hubbard ..............................................................33 Michael Estabrook ............................................................36 Michael Keshigian ............................................................37 Mary Sexson .....................................................................38 Gerry Sikazwe ..................................................................40 Jessica Nguyen .................................................................40 Patrick Theron Erickson ..................................................42 Alex DeBonis .....................................................................43 Rosemary Freedman ........................................................44 Talal Alyan .......................................................................45 Review: Tornadoesque by Donald Platt............................48 Review: I.V. by Lucy J. Madison .......................................52 Milt Montague ..................................................................55 Poet Biographies...............................................................56


Tipton Poetry Journal

Adam’s Phoenix Kyle Hunter

“...for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:19

Propagation is a dirty business. Components congregated, in the beginning. A heap of matter. A giant mud puddle. Whether or not God was splashing around makes little difference to this— Components congregated and we walked out. Components congregated, some decades ago. Your parents, all flame and smolder. A spark. A twinkle. A fleck of him, of her. We all come from someone’s primordial soup. Components congregated and you walked out. Components congregated, you awoke. You spread your wings, sewed your oats, and reaped. A moment to admire your plumage, then, quick burst or slow burn, you’ll wither to a bed of ash. Fodder for a better rebirth. Components will congregate and you’ll walk out.

Kyle Hunter is an attorney who lives in Indianapolis with his wife and four young children. His poems have appeared in Gravel, Foliate Oak, Branches Magazine, So It Goes: the Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, and Silver Birch Press.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Note to the Girl in the Back Row of the Poetry Reading Matt Mason I did write a poem about you. Like most of my poems, though, something went awkward. No, I didn’t mention cows. I talked about Hawaiian shirts. And taking showers. Okay, the reading was in a Border’s Books, over where they sold bad coffee priced like something real. In hindsight, I should have bought an Ansel Adams coffee table book, marked thirty percent off, and offered it to you. Instead, I read a few poems. Every time I walked up to the stage, you watched me like the flowing-haired model watches the Fabio on a Romance title’s cover. When you stood up and walked toward me, I swear I wasn’t about to mention pork rinds or the human duodenum. I wasn’t going to say how “rhinotillexus” is the scientific name for “nose picking.” I wasn’t going to mention that I secretly feared my pants smelled like fried chicken, that it struck me so wrong when I saw “Now Accepting Credit Cards” hand-scrawled in red paint on the side of an ice cream truck, so what if the other guy reading that night writes poems about guerilla warfare and hearts in ribcages, please don’t sit down there, the man is a rhinotillexomaniac, I can tell you all about it.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Ted Kooser Matt Mason Ted Kooser, former U.S. Poet Laureate, would wake up at four to write before going to his insurance job. It’s 4:49. I have been watching this piece of paper for a while now. Ted won a Pulitzer. I have thought about words like “possum,” “sarcophagus,” “Gorbachev,” none of which have done more than curl up and cough. The world, so dark and hushed, hangs above our heads waiting to break like cold eggs, the sky black as cast iron. Ted will go to work soon. I am waiting to start.

Matt Mason has won a Pushcart Prize and two Nebraska Book Awards; was a Finalist for the position of Nebraska State Poet; and organized and run poetry programming with the U.S. Department of State in Nepal, Romania, Botswana, and Belarus. He has over 200 publications in magazines and anthologies, including Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry and on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. His most recent book, The Baby That Ate Cincinnati, was released in 2013. Matt lives in Omaha with his wife, the poet Sarah McKinstry-Brown, and daughters Sophia and Lucia.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

The Yellow Brick Road to Greatness Robert S. King The tin man is hollow. The lion trembles. The brainless straw man plays with matches. They’re off together to vote for the new Wizard who has no heart, no courage, no brain, only a loudspeaker broadcasting alt-truth. Three wrongs make a right for those who love him, who can see only his orange and yellow stir into golden alchemy. But the steppingstones of Oz stain with sacrificial blood. He washes his hands with the vanishing ink of caring.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Imposter Robert S. King Sometimes the ones we love arrive in blinding light and charm with words coined from our desires, show off in our mirrors but not we in theirs. At night their verse is warm rhythm and lullabies for dreams, but by the last stanza they leave us stranded in deepest night. Our dying lanterns follow them to the end of our arms until even memory cannot pull their shadows back. Oh they do come back on the saddles of nightmares, come back with another whose words are our echoes, who always looks like us.

Robert S. King lives in Athens, Georgia, where he serves on the board of FutureCycle Press. His poems have appeared in hundreds of magazines, including Atlanta Review, California Quarterly, Chariton Review, Hollins Critic, Kenyon Review, Main Street Rag, Midwest Quarterly, Negative Capability, Southern Poetry Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review. He has published eight poetry collections, most recently Diary of the Last Person on Earth (Sybaritic Press 2014) and Developing a Photograph of God (Glass Lyre Press, 2014). His personal website is robertsking.titletrack.net.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Overheard Calls Laura Grace Weldon The ordinary is mysterious to me. How plants breathe out what we need to breathe in and how their leaves eat sunlight. How radio waves careen through buildings and bodies making invisible fields speak. How songs play over and over in our heads, a gift of memory from ancestors who heard music only as it was performed. How we argue over eternity because what’s living grows old and dies, while styrofoam cups and car tires persist beyond us. It’s mysterious that we can call one another trusting our voices are carried exactly to the ear we seek, as we’d like prayer to do. If, any time before the phone’s invention we’d sought out a stranger or two from history, a man laboring in the fields, a woman weaving cloth to tell them there would come an era when anyone, anywhere could speak to anyone, anywhere and they’d hear close up sorrow and delight in far off voices that farmer, that weaver would rejoice seeing the blessing of this device, knowing wisdom and compassion could spread. What a time to live in, they’d imagine. I hear us come into this fullness. On crowded streets I walk by as people speak to distant ears. Though our bodies pass, our voices connect across trembling waves. As I listen it sounds mysterious as quantum entanglement, ordinary as love. [This poem was previously published in Laura’s collection, Tending.]

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Tipton Poetry Journal

One of Us Laura Grace Weldon Whirling red, an ambulance hurtles down the street in pulse-shuddering howls. Cars pull over. Neighbors stand on lawns, on sidewalks, keep vigil in a ritual older than civilization. A current of high voltage curiosity runs person to person, heightens as a gurney rolls from the house, lifts with white flutters. Heavy doors click closed like metal eyelids. "Oh no," someone says as the ambulance leaves silently, no hurry. People cluster together, more mortal than moments ago. Snow is falling. Not one person mentions the cold.

Laura Grace Weldon is the author of a poetry collection titled Tending and a handbook of alternative education, Free Range Learning, with a book of essays due out soon. She's written poetry with nursing home residents, used poetry to teach conflict resolution, employed poetry in memoir writing classes, and painted poems on beehives although her work appears in more conventional places such as J Journal, Penman Review, Literary Mama, Christian Science Monitor, Mom Egg Review, Dressing Room Poetry Journal, Pudding House, Shot Glass Journal, and others. Laura lives in Ohio. Connect with her at lauragraceweldon.com

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Don’t ask Don’t tell Sergio A. Ortiz could have worked if you had a washer and dryer at home, and you didn't need to explain to the Lady in Chief at the laundromat on Domenech Avenue how your girlfriend was doing, the one you brought to the apartment with two kids, and another soldier. The one you call your wife. The Lady in Chief who already believes she’s enemy forces starts laughing. She's sure she can siege la plaza. Asks: Sure, but are those your kids? That's when you want to pull out of desert storms. Your stomach, hurricane Berta, stirs up the heat. At ease soldier, is what you want to yell, but self-love won't let you. That's when the combat halts, another army stops the crossfire. Both troops head for their quarters. Ceasefire, eyes on the televised broadcast. Comments postponed, the TV soap is about to begin. Sergio A. Ortiz is a two-time Pushcart nominee, a four-time Best of the Web nominee, and 2016 Best of the Net nominee. 2nd place in the 2016 Ramón Ataz Annual Poetry Competition sponsored by Alaire publishing house. He is currently working on his first full-length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard. He lives in Puerto Rico.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Sleeping in Salt Heather Truett Shark teeth swim In the ocean of me, Bite, tear, flee With my flesh between And I eat Stingrays to settle my stomach. I spend sand dollars, Cracked open, spilling Doves, peace, but I Can’t buy Justice with seashells. Sleeping in salt Water, unable to breathe, I wear jellyfish like rings, Sell seaweed and sand To the starving, And still my hands Are empty. Steal the starfish From the sky And fling them wide, So I can ride On constellations, And I will slay The sharks and see An answer. I will do These impossible things, Flying from The siren’s song That says I will always Be empty. There is an ocean In me. Esperanza hope Swims deep In my sea. Heather Truett is a hill born Kentucky girl living down south in Mississippi. Her credits include: The Mom Egg, Vine Leaves Literary, Drunk Monkeys, The Forge, Young Adult Review Network and previously in Tipton Poetry Journal.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

黎明之光的琴弦

远红日 当我弹拨这黎明之光的琴弦 一道金色闪电燃烧了一座巨城 远方起伏的群山闪烁红宝石的笑容 天穹的中央隐隐传来钟磬的和鸣 谁看见那天外的金殿巍巍 诸神庄严含笑 举杯庆贺 天女洒下了漫天的曼陀罗花 而一艘巨轮正在另一个星系驶来 他们来自一座白金巨城 他们的飞船比光速更快
 亿万年前曾访问地球
 他们带来了新的科技 让钢铁拥有奇妙的灵性 他们的眼睛可透视天地 心灵光灿如太阳 而身体透明如钻石

Hongri Yuan, born in China in 1962, is a poet and philosopher interested particularly in creation. His poetry has been published in the United Kingdom, USA, India ,New Zealand, Canada and Nigeria. He lives in Shandong Province, China.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Strings of The Light of Dawn Hongri Yuan Translated by Yuanbing Zhang When I plucked strings of the light of dawn A golden lightning burned a huge city The undulating hills in distance twinkled the ruby smile Vaguely there came acoustic resonance of the bell from the centervault of heaven Who have seen that the palace was towering outside the sky The gods smiled with stately grace and raised their glass And a large ship is approaching from another galaxy They came from a platinum huge city Their ships are faster than the speed of light Ever visited the earth billions of years ago They brought new technology To make the steel have a wonderful spiritualism Their eyes can perspect the heaven and the world Heart is as bright as the sun and body is as transparent as diamond

Hongri Yuan, born in China in 1962, is a poet and philosopher interested particularly in creation. His poetry has been published in the United Kingdom, USA, India ,New Zealand, Canada and Nigeria. He lives in Shandong Province, China.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

On Point Martin H. Levinson Nineteen fifty-nine, front stairs of a two-story semi-detached house facing Lefferts Avenue where my friend Jonny Ross lives with a mother not real happy to have pink Spalding rubber balls bang off the entrance steps to her Brooklyn home but not chasing us away. Her husband does the dirty work preaching about the sanctity of private property and the need to respect the wishes of your elders and all I can say is the rules of stoopball are simple; throw the ball against the stairs, catch it on a bounce you get five points, on a fly you get ten. A pointer is a ball that hits the edge of a step and shoots back fast like a Russian rocket that if caught is worth a hundred points but drop the ball at any time you’re out and your opponent takes over and you’re out if you throw the ball and miss the steps entirely, a bonehead play that will rankle Mrs. Ross, who doesn’t like Spaldeens slamming against her front door. The winning score is a thousand points but can be anything agreed on and we love stoopball more than punchball, boxball, hit the penny, two-hand touch, Johnny-on-the-pony, flipping cards, box games, erector sets, maybe not as much as stickball but a guy gets tired of playing stickball every day and you were a kid once too, weren’t you Mr. Ross.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Ruminations Martin H. Levinson They come unbidden, in the subway, during dinner, at night before I go to sleep, thoughts of playing stickball on Lefferts Avenue, cutting class to go to Coney Island, being mugged in Prospect Park by three thugs who let me keep my pocket watch, a gift from my grandfather who left Lithuania at age eighteen, same age as me when I crewed on a container ship sailing from New York to LA with a stop in San Juan; palm trees, coconuts, a cab from Luquillo Beach to a brothel in Mercado where I searched for madeleines and lost time like Proust but without a literary sensibility or sense of direction that is absent anew, retired, not working, becoming unglued, no more office routines, I’m betwixt and between, a call from the sea, join the merchant marine.

Martin H. Levinson is a member of the Authors Guild, National Book Critics Circle, PEN, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics. He has published nine books and numerous articles and poems in various publications. He holds a PhD from NYU and lives in Forest Hills, New York.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Dry Season Joseph J. Gianotti You sit in a dim corner of the Thai restaurant, your back to me. You’ve drank half your tea, eaten most of your yellow curry and rice. You thumb through the pages of a book, your placid countenance like smoke that rises straight into the sky, like the lake we skipped stones across. For a brief moment, you exist in my space again. I want to suspend your weight like the cable does the deck, attend to your ivory presence, feel your body as soft as taffeta snowflakes, but, I cannot touch you, and you cannot see me. You seem like a black and white photograph my mother might show me of her mother. I watch you for a few seconds as I leave before ordering. I snap my own photo, a full length portrait that I will dog ear in the late nights to come.

Joe Gianotti grew up in Whiting, Indiana, an industrial city five minutes from Chicago. He currently teaches English at Lowell High School. He is a proud contributor to Volume II of This is Poetry: The Midwest Poets. Among other poets, he represented Northwest Indiana in the 2014 Five Corners Poetry Readings. His work has been published in Blotterature, The Chaffey Review, Folly, Mouse Tales, Steam Ticket: A Third Coast Review, This, Yes Poetry, and other places. You can follow him on Twitter at @jgianotti10.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

My Mother Driving a Car Angelo Giambra The thing is, you see, she didn’t drive. Couldn’t drive. Never learned. And yet, there is this very persistent memory, me sitting in the back of the car, dad up front in the passenger seat and mom, her hands firmly on the wheel, driving us, who knows where, in her Sunday hat, the one with the pearl pin she always wore so prominently, and me watching her, who never, ever drove, taking corners, avoiding traffic, narrowly missing parked cars, somewhere on the old West Side where we used to live. To this day that memory persists and I always wonder where it came from and how our lives are like that, a thick mixture, a meltdown of memories some sure as ourselves, others a blurred flutter like the wings of birds, things seen in the dark, or not seen at all, only remembered, in jagged pieces, the tall tales of our lives we take to our graves, wishing only some of it were real.

Angelo Giambra’s poetry has appeared in Southern Poetry Review, South Dakota Review, The Atlanta Journal and several other journals. His poem "The Water Carriers" appears on Ted Kooser's site, American Life In Poetry. Angelo lives in Florida.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

* Simon Perchik Struggling against more turbulence this broken concrete can’t shut down and cool –your shadow’s too old leans down and though the wall falls closer and closer it tries to rest your face –a sleeping face still circling where your forehead mingles with rocks and weeds –even your grave goes to pot lets anyone point at it as if sunlight could urge you to spread out inside a sky that has no days left, is lifted face to face with the ground. Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The New Yorker, Tipton Poetry Journal and elsewhere. He resides in East Hampton, New York.

Dark Rain Tom Raithel It began with wind and convulsions of cloud. A few scattered drops, oily and putrid, quickly became a cascade. Whimpering dogs crawled into cellars. Cars broke down in the street.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Power went out. Windows turned dark. Birds fell dead in mid-flight. And though we heard thunder, we saw no lightning. Or rather, the lightning was heavy and black, as if from some place underground. Election posters, soiled and torn, fled through the yards. Flags ripped apart, blew off their poles. The water, instead of pooling and flooding, rose in an army of fogs and stinks that marched like ghosts through streets. Rain rose as fast as it fell. People smashed tables, chairs, whole houses, kindled bonfires the rain soon doused. And some, believing this was a judgment, fell to their knees, choked on prayers. Some loaded rifles and waited in shadows, hearing shrill threats in the wind. Others ran outside and cried like bobcats, hissed and foamed at the jaws. No one knew when we’d see sunlight again, smell the sweet air and hear the bright birds, as the rain kept falling, thicker, darker, and our days were the same as our nights.

Tom Raithel grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has worked as a journalist at several newspapers in the Midwest. Today, he lives in Evansville, Indiana with his wife, Theresa, and their dog, Sammy. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, The Comstock Review, Nimrod, Midwest Quarterly, Atlanta Review, and other journals. Finishing Line Press published his chapbook, Dark Leaves, Strange Light, in 2015.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Never say goodbye Patrick T. Reardon She could never say goodbye. There, then gone. Carrying her womb like an armored truck, brawny and on high alert past the frozen lake. Shouldering tacklers out of the way on her march down the field of her breathing. You've met her. She's charged ahead in the high-rise hallway. She's kept her eyes in the office on her screen, a photo of Seattle in a frame next to the keyboard. She's read the sidewalk like a scripture on her way through the north wind to the el. She's sat upright in the bus station, looking into the curves and lines of the Target ad, small tears sliding soundlessly, shamefacedly, down the slope of her cheeks. She's stood on the pedestrian bridge over Lake Shore Drive as rush cars clotted below and she's climbed the fence. It was work, let me tell you. She's dropped soundlessly the thirty feet to meet a yellow Jeep Explorer, at last her lover.

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Tipton Poetry Journal But she's day-dreaming at Jewel as she stands fourth in line behind an Arabian-looking guy in a tweed sport coat and thick wool vest with a cart knee deep in canned soups and People tells her that Bruce Willis is dying. Patrick T. Reardon is the author of eight books, including Requiem for David, a poetry collection from Silver Birch Press, and Faith Stripped to Its Essence, a literary-religious analysis of Shusaku Endo's novel Silence. Reardon worked for 32 years as a reporter with the Chicago Tribune. His essays and poetry have been published widely in the United States and Europe. . Patrick lives in Chicago. Photo Credit: Michael Zajakowski

When You Unexpectedly Bond with a New Friend

George Fish Be sure to show how much You appreciate this new friend By calling the friend while drunk At three o’clock in the morning! That way your new friend Will find you truly unforgettable. George Fish is a widely published writer and poet, whose poetry has been published in Flying Island, New Politics, Poems 4 Palestine, previously in Tipton Poetry Journal and elsewhere. George has written extensively on blues and other pop music, politics, economics, and other topics, chiefly for left and alternative publications. He also performs Lenny Bruce/George Carlin-inspired comedy, videos of which can be seen on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/aannyytt.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

The Story of the World, Parts 1 and 2 Thomas Zimmerman 1 False idols fall, spring up again like weeds: the story of the world. Two beers have made a prophet of you. Best to shut up now and listen to the music: Uncle Bob, Pete Townsend, Yo La Tengo, Sonic Youth.

Your sex life on “Do Not Resuscitate,” you write your low-tech poems, floating on a sharkless ocean, blue and temperate. Is this enough? In 1960, life on Earth was changed forever with your birth. Dream on, and tend your little corner of the world. The mortgage and the evergreens out back, your union paycheck safety-net: all overgrown. Own up. You chose this life. 2 Your temples and your spirit gray with age: the story of the world. But in the car with her, you’re bigger than a country. Road tunes from the stereo: it’s Leonard Cohen she likes best, ambivalent, shorn, sexy, warm— or silence’s familiar rhapsody. Slow curves, then flat-out speed through many states: afraid, content, exhilarated, bored; that’s Texas, North Dakota, Illinois, and Iowa. Don’t try to match them up. Keep moving. Don’t discuss your future in a parking lot. Let light and shadow blur and flicker. Through the windows, road and sky, field, river, fire: your will engulfs your world.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Making It Thomas Zimmerman A smoke-white sky and darkened pines beyond the window glass. A bright red journal on the desk—nine pages scribbled, nothing spawned that I will claim as mine. Crows peck the lawn. I notice all my clothes are black: the shirt, the socks, the pants. I fight a metaphor. We’ve lost. We’re lost. It’s not exactly hurt. Creation helps us bear much more. Change follows change: just breathe to meet the new. I’m reading William Stafford. What the river says is wisdom’s thin disguise. Appeal to something shadowy. Too neat? I don’t think so. The poem that helps, clicks shut and opens up. Why make it, otherwise?

Thomas Zimmerman teaches English and directs the Writing Center at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Among his poetry chapbooks are In Stereo (Camel Saloon, 2012) and From Green to Blue and Back (Zetataurus, 2016). Tom's website: https://thomaszimmerman.wordpress.com/

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Tipton Poetry Journal

hipbones Tricia Grudens when i wake up i have to make sure my hipbones are still my hipbones and not just the memory of my hipbones that i flounced when i was ten. i spend the whole morning convincing myself that my hipbones are nothing but nostalgic recollections of prepubescent youth too far buried under yesterday’s binge and childbearing curves to be real hipbones to be real hips to be real. the mirror is the hopeless victim in my story just trying to turn the bloated beast into a beauty but i know that she will never be transformed because the less she eats the more she gains and the more she gains the more her hipbones prove how much she’s really lost

Tricia Grudens graduated from Ithaca College in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing/Communications and a minor in Writing. She lives on Long Island, New York.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Orilla del río Michael Watson A bank, A shed, Let me get back to Yeats (Away from dates). Here, the morning moves slow Drags and lunges along— only at times. Here, the dust is thick But settles soon enough, content. Back there, dust is restless; It doesn’t know where to sit. So, when you stop and stay, Be a burden on me. Sit on my heart, Stretch your legs, Stir your soul, And be a burden on me.

Michael Watson resides in Nashville, Tennessee where he teaches high school English and coaches tennis. He completed his undergraduate studies at Murray State University, and received a Master's in English from Belmont University in 2013. When not working, he plays guitar, practices jiu jitsu, reads, gardens, and writes. His fiction has appeared in Body Parts Magazine.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

A Dancer’s Guide to Life and Love Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas In first position your legs are paralyzed unsure which direction will lead you anywhere better than where you are. In second position your frame unlocks to chance and all possibilities; your daily dose of the unexpected keeps you alive. In third position you think a song will get you there, though your satin slippers are holding fast heel to toe. In fourth position the air becomes your lover, you dream of pirouetting though endless space, a promise in midflight. In fifth position, you pull back from heartache, you’ve gone too far, lost your soul to the devil instead of grace. In sixth position your stance is parallel grounded and aligned to the hardwood floor you have heartache to bare, your dance an aide-mémoire In seventh position you’re ready again you fish-dive with care back into the arms of another; after all, you are a hopelessly doomed Odette

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Tipton Poetry Journal

September 5: My Father Never Spoke of Leaving

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas In the end, he left through a keyhole of light lost in a flicker of time. And when it was over, only darkness had draped itself around me. I said his name and held his shadow in stillness. I sketched the image of his face in my mind and tried to remember the way it felt to see him for the last time. I thought, someday I’ll lie, I’ll say he grinned at me, whispered my name said there was no pain in leaving when in truth, it is only ugliness that I recall. His struggle for breath, his chin quivering, his chest sunken and hollow, paralysis of body and voice. I wept to unburden my tears, to prove he was in a better place, to try to forget there was no healing comforter of grace, no beautification of sorrow through valor to save him from being without me, from being without himself, from being.

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is an eight-time Pushcart nominee and four-time Best of the Net nominee. Her latest chapbook: Things I Can't Remember to Forget, is newly available from Prolific Press. She is the 2012 winner of the Red Ochre Press Chapbook competition with her manuscript Before I Go to Sleep and according to family lore she is a direct descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson. She lives in California. www.clgrellaspoetry.com

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Tipton Poetry Journal

To Soothe Marvin Shackelford Had my heart words for this I imagine the loss would be literally Hitler. A panzer squadron rolling in formation over Leningrad. A train boarded and bound for countries far past comfortable metaphor, where generations scrub poems from their hands, poems like this. Literally worthless but cadenced by despots and demagogues to soothe the desperate. It’s not your fault but theirs.

Marvin Shackelford is author of the collections Tall Tales from the Ladies' Auxiliary (stories, forthcoming from Alternating Current) and Endless Building (poems, Urban Farmhouse) and editor of Succor Press. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Southern Humanities Review, Hobart, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. He currently splits his time between Middle Tennessee and the Texas Panhandle, earning a living in agriculture.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Sidewalk Camphor Ben Weise With so much on her mind to make of the day one erratic continuum of minutes packed and flung aside, she hurried to get home to her son his dinner a shower and that special dress before meeting him– the new interest in her life. . . except that suddenly she stopped as if recalling a forgotten errand and thus arrested closed her eyes and was transfixed to that Sunday of lost innocence beneath the camphor tree, where having picnicked she and her sisters lay happily entangled drowsing in the still late summer air to their father's plaintive mouth accordion that seemed to hold in sway nature's very breathing and their mother's bosom as it rose and fell in tune until it stopped. Was she all right asked someone at which the earth shook leaving her disjointed beneath the tree to think it never again the same before she fled with bags rustling at her side rustling the coming of Winter and a solitary evening in bed.

Ben Weise earned an MA in German Literature at Middlebury College. He has taught translation and business English in Germany and academic writing at Rutgers University. He earned a graduate degree in TESOL from The New School and now lives on Long Island, New York. When not reading or writing, he enjoys mountaineering and scuba diving with his wife, visiting his children in Florida and extended family and friends in Europe and South America.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Hometown Solo Walk Norbert Krapf I like to walk the streets before dawn opens an eye on the day. Even when damp licks at the street I love to put my feet where none have gone before me on the new day. There is something that pulls me in the dark all the way to the landmark Romanesque church and behind it into the cemetery where the ancestors who came over and my stillborn sister lie looking up at whatever stars burn well above the clouds. There is something about seeing in any degree of darkness that brings one more deeply into the center of things and what spins within.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Abe’s Worlds Norbert Krapf Backwoods but brilliant, he traipsed the trails from Kentucky to Indiana to Illinois, and then on to Washington. He knew equally well the Shakespeare soliloquy and the crude backwoods joke. The difference between the pig sty and the federal government was disappointingly small. Both were swamps but one was infested with men.

Former Indiana Poet Laureate Norbert Krapf is the author of eleven poetry books, the latest of which is Catholic Boy Blues (2015). Related to that collection is a prose memoir that followed, Shrinking the Monster (2016.) Forthcoming is his collection Cheerios in Tuscany, about his Colombian-German grandson Peyton. Norbert collaborates with bluesman Gordon Bonham and released a jazz and poetry CD with pianist-composer Monika Herzig.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

An Endless Afternoon of Now Gene Twaronite It wouldn’t be bad to be that way, suspended in time—not bad at all, an endless afternoon of now. ~John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

To enter you must first choose a now—sitting on a bench with your first love and the touch of her knee against yours or the way you watched him through the window as the train pulled slowly away from the station— think of Hopper’s Josephine standing naked to the dunes, a cigarette dangling from her fingers, and you get the idea. Make it something for the ages, something that looks good on the wall.

Gene Twaronite, who lives in Tucson, Arizona, is the author of six books, including two juvenile fantasy novels. His first book of poetry, Trash Picker on Mars, has recently been published by Aldrich Press. Visit his website at http://www.thetwaronitezone.com.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Apology James Keane Seeing now and then the photo of the pool-eyed little boy you were, secure in your mother’s willowy arms of iron upholding you, I remember again the graceful arc your older body flew in after unfeeling arms suddenly surrounded you, and down into the deep end I threw you in - never to forget, with regret, your tender disappointment and hurt when our eyes met.

James Keane resides in northern New Jersey with his wife and son and a shrinking menagerie of merry pets. Most recently, his poems have appeared in Indiana Voice Journal, The RavensPerch, Verse-Virtual, Blue Monday, and Firewords Quarterly. In 2013, his first chapbook, What Comes Next, was published by Finishing Line Press.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

At Keats House Byron Beynon That fresh and calm May he’d free from his imagination the nightingale’s speaking radiance with words settled and relaxed on summer’s high wing; surrounded by a fertile geography, thoughts on fine weather, health and books, all written down in a warm letter to his only sister that first Saturday of the month, he galvanised towards a positive vintage, the mood drawn out like a thorn.

Byron Beynon lives in Swansea, Wales. His work has appeared in several publications including Agenda, London Magazine, Poetry Wales, Muddy River Poetry Review, Plainsongs, The Yellow Nib and Poetry Ireland. Collections include Cuffs (Rack Press) and The Echoing Coastline (Agenda Editions).

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Tipton Poetry Journal

The Beacon Andrew Hubbard The small, stern, white clapboard building Was too far out in the country To ever pay its way as a church. The town council had some workers Take off the cross, put in walls and bookcases, And they called it a library. Grandma Barnes is the librarian And she has a sense of humor. She designed herself a business card That said, “Chief Librarian, Security Officer, Janitor, Grounds Keeper, Rat Catcher and Archivist.” She never had it printed. “Just who would I give it to?” she said. There are many days she doesn’t have a visitor So she does needlepoint. She hung her favorite in the foyer over the coatrack: “A Library Is A Beacon.” She was in the news for running The only library in Maine without a computer. “It’s not in the budget,” she half-joked. Every spring the local high school Runs a book drive for her. Last year they got 14 books. When she reported to the town council She said, “At least the drive would keep them Out of trouble, if we had any trouble For them to get into around here. A councilman said, “What about getting pregnant?” “Highly unimaginative,” she replied crisply. She opens and closes the building With an old-fashioned iron key That is somehow always warm. One winter day, for fun, she left the key On the front step: a rough block of granite

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Tipton Poetry Journal Sheathed in snow and ice. When she checked at lunch The key was in a puddle of warm water. She didn’t question it much But in the winter she kept The key in her coat pocket As a hand-warmer. She has never talked to anybody about the key, Or what she calls “the book thing.” The reading room has an old, round, Scuffed, oak table and six donated, Straight-backed chairs that don’t match. One day when she opened up There was a chair pushed back And an open book on the table in front of it. She thought nothing of it, Hip-butted the chair in and filed the book. Next morning the chair was back out And a new book was on the table. That day she was afraid to touch the book But shoved the chair in. Next day the chair was back out, The book was swept to the floor, And a new one on the table. That time she left cookies for the visitor. They were untouched, but in the morning Sure enough: chair out, new book on table. This went on for a week, Then a month, then a year, Then many years. And after a while It didn’t even seem peculiar And the event was her companionship.

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Tipton Poetry Journal One day last April, Marty Cross Came to borrow Little Women for her daughter And found Grandma Barnes had passed away At her desk, with her hands folded in her lap. She was smiling, and she’d placed The key in front of her. Marty picked it up. It was ice cold.

Andrew Hubbard was born and raised in a coastal Maine fishing village. He earned degrees in English and Creative Writing from Dartmouth College and Columbia University, respectively. For most of his career he has worked as Director of Training for major financial institutions. He has had four prose books published, and his fifth and sixth books, collections of poetry, were published in 2014 and 2016 by Interactive Press. He is a casual student of cooking and wine, a former martial arts instructor and competitive weight lifter, a collector of edged weapons, and a licensed handgun instructor. He lives in rural Indiana with his family, two Siberian Huskies, and a demon cat.

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Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe. - Plato 1 Coming through the mists of his consciousness he begins to sense that music is the universal language of the cosmos, the one irrefutable constant, forget about E = MC2, space-time, black holes, the big bang. If you become music you’ll know everything and live forever. 2 Midnight he tip-toes into the living room sits in the lotus position with his eyes closed listens to his mother’s favorite album of Ferrante & Teicher playing Tchaikovsky Piano Concertos and wonders what his future would be like without a father. 3 Risking our lives driving down to Lincoln Center in the worst blizzard to hit Boston in 10 years just to see Saint-Saëns’ Samson and Delilah just to see some poor schlub get his hair cut off and his eyes gouged out.

Michael Estabrook is retired and living in Massachusetts. No more useless meetings under florescent lights in stuffy windowless rooms, able instead to focus on making better poems when he’s not, of course, endeavoring to satisfy his wife’s legendary Honey-Do List. His latest collection of poems is Bouncy House, edited by Larry Fagin (Green Zone Editions, 2016).

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Music Appreciation Michael Keshigian He asked them to take the music outside, listen as they held it toward the sky, let the wind rattle its stems, or place the sheet against an ear to hear a tune through the hollow of its shell. He told them to jog the parameters of the staves, walk the winding road of its clef and imagine living there. Perhaps they could drop a feather upon the music’s resonance, follow its float among the timbres or ski the slopes of musical peaks, gliding unencumbered into its valleys, then thank the composer for varying the landscape when they left the lodge. But the class was determined to stalk each phrase, analyze chords for manipulation, cunning and seek the hidden form. They handcuffed the notes to the music stand, even flogged the melody with a drum mallet, until it whistled a meaning never intended.

Michael Keshigian from New Hampshire, had his twelfth poetry collection, Into The Light, released in April, 2017 by Flutter Press (https://www.createspace.com/7037872). He has been published in numerous national and international journals recently including The California Quarterly, Red River Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Illya’s Honey and has appeared as feature writer in over 20

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Tipton Poetry Journal publications with 6 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations. (michaelkeshigian.com)

This, found scrawled on an envelope in a box in the basement: Mary Sexson I found the bag of pictures you’d left laying on the couch, the bag with photos of me and you, our lives together documented, us together, us apart, us coupled with people now dead, who’ve moved on to memory. I see our cats from long ago – and yes, they are dead too. And that old friend of your family who you said was mentally ill – she is laughing in this picture. You are five, and twelve then seventeen at your brother’s wedding, so spiffy in a tux, even then I didn’t know you yet, not your beautiful hands, or your lazy eye, nor the fact that you touch your nose and then smell your fingers sometimes when you need to get a sense of yourself.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Married Mary Sexson We’ve learned how to sit next to each other in a movie, who gets which seat, which arm rest, whether or not we’re in the back row, or down front where the action is. I’m forever worried the talkers will keep talking even when the movie starts, you are calm and collected, and know it will be fine once the lights are dim. I only whisper to you when I need to know what else that actor was in, who did the music for this film, and whether we will share any popcorn tonight.

Mary Sexson is the author of 103 in the Light, Selected Poems 1996-2000 (Restoration Press), nominated for a Best Books of Indiana award in 2005, and co-author of Company of Women, New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press). Her poems have appeared in the Flying Island, Borders Insight Magazine, Tipton Poetry Journal, Grasslands Review, New Verse News, and others, and in several anthologies, including The Globetrotter’s Companion (UK, 2011),Trip of a Lifetime (2012), Reckless Writing (2013), A Few Good Words(2013), The Best of Flying Island (2015), and most recently Words and Other Wild Things (2016). She has upcoming work in HoosierLit Literary Magazine (May 2017).

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Her Smile Gerry Sikazwe There is a song that warms me There is a rhythm that tickles me. There is a poem that romances me, There is a portrait that is enslaving to me. There is a star that winks at me, only at me it seems, There is a wind that serenades seductively to me, only to me it seems. Gerry Sikazwe is a Zambian poet currently pursuing a degree in Adult Education with Mathematics at the University of Zambia. Gerry manages a Poetry page on Facebook under the name Words and voices from a Root and a poetry blog on Blogger named Scribbles of a root.

Reykjavik Houses Jessica Nguyen Mint flavored creme, Blueberry sorbets, Peach or maybe strawberry creamsicles, (probably apricot!) Summer fruits that the Icelandic don’t taste all too often All dropped (plop) (plop) (plop) Right into the Scandinavian snow With their wooden legs staked into the ground Their undeniable charm and irresistible invitation to take a bite out of each room and a nibble out of each door

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Tongue Tied Jessica Nguyen My mouth overflowed with cotton scratching my throat/tickling my tongue/scouring my teeth With every second, the wild cotton fibers curdled into balls, then the balls grew legs, and along with the legs they grew faces and ears, developed souls and turned into little sheep The sheep bleated softly, whispering words of encouragement Their words wrapped me like a soft gust of summer air from the New England coast I know so well the sheep’s hooves marched across my tongue, not allowing my nonsensical jargon to slither out As my tongue squirmed and slashed about the sheep barricaded themselves against my teeth Each little fuzz ball happened to be adrenaline junkies They tethered the very end of their threads to each of my 32 teeth And bungee jumped without even a thought or a “Geronimo!” The unraveled and unraveled and unraveled causing their faces, ears, and legs to fall off and leaving an itchy white trail from my gums to the floor

Jessica Nguyen is the co-editor of the Hemetera Literary Journal and her work has been published in Hemetera Literary Journal as well as Sisyphus Quarterly. Jessica currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Editors Patrick Theron Erickson We forgive contributors their occasional lapses in judgment confusing a memoir for a bio and a broadside for a battleship Sometimes we slip up ourselves mistaking a torpedo for a depth charge and a depth charge for a glitch an occasional lapse in judgment sometimes torpedoing an issue and contributing to the mess We’re editors after all not contributors We forgive and forget.

Patrick Theron Erickson, a resident of Garland, Texas, a Tree City, just south of Duck Creek, is a retired parish pastor put out to pasture himself. His work has appeared in Grey Sparrow Journal, Cobalt Review, and Burningword Literary Journal, among other publications, and more recently in Tipton Poetry Journal, Right Hand Pointing, Wilderness House Literary Review and Danse Macabre.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

A Blue Peacock’s Feather Alex DeBonis Snatched out to adorn some maharaja’s parlor, it’s not all blue but has radiant green fog ringing tarnished copper. I can still envision the bird’s whole train, a lustrous hand of cards fanned out, one hundred fifty eyespots gazing at a lone object of desire. In a single feather his full display’s brilliance condenses into turquoise iris and electrified pupil. Can lightning arc from longing? How spooky it is to want if such force accrues— if passion condensed in my eyes likewise holds a charge.

Alex DeBonis is a writer and a graduate of both Seymour High School in Seymour, Indiana and Indiana University. Currently, he lives with his family in Paris, Tennessee.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Under the Bonsai Rosemary Freedman Where does the light travel to With such magnanimous speed When we simply flick the switch At close of day? One theory is that It is tired, and like a servant, happy to be dismissed. Another theory is that it hovers above all school children Forced to rest their heads down on their desk For five minutes,— or perhaps the particles condense And rest on my nightstand inside the jars – one a collection of my injuries. A second my jar of insufficient or the third my collection of hopes. Or perhaps the light hides under my bed, lingering until I sleep and then surrounds the tiny juniper bonsai tree, on my night-stand until I shrink and am beckoned there by the endless whisper to sit on the minute rocks, to ponder how small I am in such a giant world—and to have the light encompass me while tiny fortune cookies rain from the sky above the bonsai and I open them one by one, in search of good news.

Rosemary Freedman was born the youngest of 7 children on the West side of Indianapolis and now lives in nearby Carmel. She has 7 children and works as a Nurse Practitioner providing psychotherapy and pain management primarily for cancer patients at a major hospital. She and her husband Jack have been married for 7 years. Rosemary gardens and has a lot of perennials. She collects peonies and feels in about three years many of the new ones she planted will mature. She also collects iris and allium. When younger, Rosemary studied poetry but stepped away from it for many years. Half-way through a doctoral program she decided she would rather spend her time writing poetry than writing 150 page papers that few if anyone would ever read.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Zodiac Talal Alyan I. rubs vapor rub into the skin above her neckline. the odor of peppermint rises into her nostrils like a plume. it opens her sinuses for the first time in four days. outside this city has the magic of a summer. she picks up her laundry hamper and dumps it onto the floor, scavenges for a garment clean enough to wear. discovers a cocktail dress with a blemish on the collar, stands over the sink and scours it with steel wool. squeezes her feet into a pair of black stilettos. the mirror offers a yellowed version of herself. she tosses her hair. displeased with how little of her appearance changes, decides to just leave the house II. swallows a caplet of klonopin to calm his nerves. the tap water that he uses to wash it down is warm. he sits on the sofa, lists the state capitals in his mind as he waits for the medicine to work. it hits him like a faith.

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Tipton Poetry Journal inside the rear seats of a taxi, the cab television casts the monologue of a late-night host across his face. he fumbles with the screen, trying to mute its noise. dries his eyes against the back of his sleeve. he squints to shelter them from the wind. it doesn’t help. they continue to well. III. downtown lights in a city big enough to be a universe. the restaurant in which they meet was chosen by a mutual friend. the glassware is smeared with the fingerprints of the busboy. they sit at the table, recite their names and professions. he tells her he doesn’t really do this sort of thing. she nervously laughs, tries to conceal that she has taken offense. the waiter brings garlic breadsticks and soda water. in her handbag, she gropes her fingers looking for mints, afraid the garlic will stick to her breath. they both order the same dish. it is linguini in a bed of white clam sauce. it drips from her fork as she nods to a story about where he went to college. towards his last few bites, he begins to panic, worries that he has been too shy. he decides to attempt sincerity.

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Tipton Poetry Journal he tells a story from childhood, how he used to be scared that the house his family moved into when he was in middle school was haunted. tells her that for those first two weeks in that new house, the only way he was able to fall asleep was to picture the world as an aquatic kingdom: a fiction of glow fish and tentacles and coral reef. after he finishes talking, he notices no reaction in her expression and quietly changes the subject. they say goodnight. both return to their buildings, then their apartments then their rooms and drift into sleep. he dreams of neon jellyfish; she does as well.

Talal Alyan is a Palestinian American writer and co-editor of Riwayya, an online literary journal. His political writing has been featured in various publications including Vice News, Al Jazeera English, Huffington Post and Daily Beast. He currently resides in Brooklyn.

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Review: Tornadoesque by Donald Platt Reviewed by Dan Carpenter

Title: Tornadoesque Author: Donald Platt Year: 2016 Publisher: CavanKerry Press

Donald Platt’s fifth collection, Tornadoesque, is a beguiling paradox – a veritable feast of imagery, narrative, musings, aphorisms and polemics that’s laced with questions about the adequacy of language itself – and of all art – to represent the desire, horror and consolations of modern life, the author’s or the stricken world’s. The title poem and title word derive from a neologism coined by Platt’s young daughter, who “laughs, pleased at having found the right word for the weather / that possesses us.” If her word is right, though, then by implication it negates any term in her father’s bulging vocabulary for the truly menacing storm which the titillating symptoms of nasty weather only symbolize – his older daughter’s frenetic struggle with bipolar disorder. Platt’s depictions of those nightmarish (and often darkly comic) adventures, featured most prominently in the marathon “Litany on 1st Avenue for My Daughter,” are as masterful as they are harrowing. Yet mastery, whether of his predicaments or of his utterances about them, appears to be the last impression Platt wishes to convey. He knows we know he writes with world-class authority; but his core message is the humility demanded of the poet who takes on heavy lifting. In “Nonetheless,” he gets the point across by resorting to someone else’s (non-literary) words, via a found poem that raises the bar for that subgenre. Specifically, it is a Dadaist poem, fashioned from scissored fragments of a New York Times article about a Corporal Jason Poole and his devastating injuries from an explosion in Iraq.

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Tipton Poetry Journal “He has been a patient at the center since September 2004, mostly in the brain injury rehabilitation unit. He arrived unable to speak or walk, drooling, with the left side of his face caved in, his left eye blind and sunken, a feeding tube in his stomach and an opening in his neck to help him breathe.” (Quote marks Platt’s)

On and on, for more than 100 lines, goes this saga of a broken manchild’s grim “recovery,” made all the more poignant by Platt’s interjections of random words from the borrowed text, like strips of verbal shrapnel. “His girlfriend before he went to war is now just a friend. Before he left, they had agreed they might talk about getting married when he got back. ‘But I didn’t come back,’ he said.” he I back said but didn’t come “I didn’t come back.”

It is hardly lost on the reader that Corporal Poole’s myriad losses from a bomb that shattered his skull include speech, language. Lest he be called upon to race to the rescue or race on with the torch, the author subjects himself to a withering dose of sarcasm in one of several italicized asides. The poem will be like you. And here you are a writer, infinitely original and endowed with a sensibility that is charming though beyond the understanding of the vulgar.

Again, the paradox. While they’re sincerely meant to be selfdeprecating, all those tinny blandishments reflect the real writer behind these 28 poems. They seethe with his powers of observation, description, juxtaposition and long-form storytelling. But no less charming, if you will, is the poet’s self-effacement, his vulnerability. He manifests this on both extremes of scale – as an abject witness to international war; and as a husband, father and bisexual facing health crises in his women and forbidden yearnings for the bodies of men. On the page and at public readings, Platt holds nothing back. The corpse thrown on a garbage dump in Baghdad, the emaciated daughter in her hospital gown amid New York City’s hard-up mental patients – both are laid as bare as the wistfully remembered butt of a high school classmate in the shower.

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Tipton Poetry Journal From “The Butterflies of Key West”: This is the island without winter for all young and old men who love men. Vacationing with my wife and two daughters, who pick clusters of tint red blossoms, whose name I don’t know, stick them behind their ears, and make me take their photos, I’m out in the cold. I’ve never made love to a man and don’t even go to the nightly drag shows. Instead, three days ago, I visited the butterfly conservatory. In the moist hot air of that tall greenhouse, among the broad green leaves of tropical plants with pink spike blossoms, or foot-long, trailing, caterpillar-like flowers, pink dreadlocks, or those with erect excrescences – fruit, bud, or bloom – elongated pinecones like thick red candles on which a black butterfly with yellow stripes and electric blue dots lighted, I stood stunned.

As with the bulk of the entries in Tornadoesque, this one bears the Platt trademark – lengthy poems composed of long lines interspersed with snippets, creating a cruise-and-jolt effect on the reader’s consciousness akin to the ride on “Blue Line,” wherein a subway trip home with his school-age daughter stirs thoughts of her puberty and his own illicit lusts. There is a compass in the blood. It points us home, though we don’t know it. Ours is the next stop. I take my swaying bearings, stand, hold my daughter’s hand as the train slows, lurches, halts.

“The only big thing is desire” when human existence is weighed out, Willa Cather said. So what exquisite beauty must reside in the most painful frustrations. Tornadoesque opens with “Young Man at the Blockbuster Video Store, Saturday Night,” in which the poet, again with child in tow, spots a muscular Adonis and is cast into revelry. He feels the pangs of a deep-seated loneliness, he reminds himself his wife has vowed to leave him if he ever sleeps with a man, and at last his mind is rudely

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Tipton Poetry Journal brought home to the brutal, often lethal, reality of Heartland homophobia. . . . Someone has written in pink spray paint FAGS LIVE HERE on the sidewalk in front of my gay friends’ house. They scrubbed it off with turpentine. Ghosts of those pink letters still remain. My tongue cannot unknot the knot on the young man’s forearm.

“So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp,” Rainer Maria Rilke wrote of this desire, this compass. “. . . (It) changes us, even if we do not reach it, into something else, which, hardly sensing it, we already are.” If Donald Platt’s extended meditations on this sweet and torturous lot amount to a serial tale of reach exceeding grasp, then the artist has succeeded, despite his protestations, on his terms. In a book named for a right word that had to be conjured out of chaos and fear, we search in vain for the wrong ones. Donald Platt teaches in the Purdue University MFA program and resides in West Lafayette, Ind. His previous poetry collections are Dirt Angels (New Issues Press, 2009), My Father Says Grace (Arkansas University Press, 2007), Cloud Atlas (Purdue University Press, 2002) and Fresh Peaches, Fireworks, & Guns (Purdue University Press, 1994). Among his honors are the Discovery/The Nation Poetry Prize, three Pushcart Prizes and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. His poems have appeared in numerous journals as well as three editions of The Best American Poetry.

Dan Carpenter is an Indianapolis-based freelance journalist and poet, and a board member of Brick Street Poetry Inc. He has published two poetry collections, More Than I Could See (Restoration Press, 2009) and The Art He’d Sell for Love (Cherry Grove Collections, 2015).

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Review: I.V. by Lucy J. Madison Reviewed by Jenny Kalahar Title: I.V. Author: Lucy J. Madison Year: 2016 Publisher: Sapphire Books Publishing

In Lucy J. Madison’s collection, I.V., we are infused with red, dripping words from an inverted, familiar place of baptism, morphing, longing, passion, remoteness, the fullness of the natural world, and manmade emptiness. The reader is left drowning in water that we keep returning to, as pond, lake, sea, or rain. All is storm and tide, sucking and pulling, ending life, giving life, frightening, comforting. Ice is bourn or ice covers over us. Tears leave their wet remains on cheeks. And here are winds that whip us, lull us, and displace us from some comfort. Winds that lift hopeful wings, and winds that return memories they have borrowed for a time. Leaves fall or upturn, but their veins are rarely satisfactorily fed by their branches. If poetry should be tied to song in either rhythm or movement, these qualify as segments from a symphony with nostalgic notes we’ve heard before—or think we have—but that also sweep into refrains we could not have expected. There are conflicts of dueling externalizations. While in a few poems Madison humanizes inanimate objects, in others she herself wants to change into something other than human in that she becomes a part of seasons, oceans, a hummingbird. In “The Farmhouse,” a forgotten home is almost eerily personified. Now empty and forgotten, the ivy eats it board by board greedily engulfing the entire lower floor, stretching its sticky fingers upstairs, past the shattered windows, the black eyes swollen shut, the red trim peeling and dark, dried blood caked into its sides.

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Tipton Poetry Journal There is a sense that this conglomeration of wood and nails is not only alive—yet dying—itself, but knows the pride of motherhood. Once upon a time, life kicked within it, and it held itself like an expectant mother who smiles each time she touches her stomach.

“Annie’s Pond” reveals that the author can visualize an animal in one’s self as clearly as she can see humanity in an animal. She anthropomorphizes a hawk soaring overhead in these lines: His white woven shirt ripped open to the navel, feet swaying just off the ground, bare and dirty, calloused and bleeding. His shirt sleeves rolled up to his elbows as if after this, he had fields to hoe and livestock to feed.

The need to be wanted, and the wait to be wanted is wrapped up in these fine lines from “I.V.” I am here, waiting for you to cherish all those places inside me no one ever thought to look, like the corner of a closet where a favorite sweater smelling vaguely like winter rests waiting to be worn again.

Renewal and rebirth are presented from the poet’s natural surroundings, which are wooded, oceanic, trailed and trail-less. Seasonal changes pound, tides roll and wash, leaves brighten and die in their own cycles of rebirth. “I, Phoenix” is one complete remembrance of what it is to live and die, and “Here” reveals a simple theory of death and reincarnation: It’s the ones who say it all when they are alive who get to leave, who are reborn again or able to find their heavens

“Will you miss me when I’m gone?” the author asks. Her subjects long to fit together or against each another companionably. These poems make a definite whole, yet they are never fully settled or comforted for long. They seek peace, but never find lasting harmony here among the winds and rains, storms and empty rooms once joyfully occupied. We are nourished on passion for a moment, but left feeling remote once our sustaining line has been removed. Floorboards creak. A forest makes us feel insignificant. Children fish and play at the peripheries of this collection, like a struggling catch on a line that is never reeled to shore. And all of it creates a beautiful dissatisfaction during the time that we are here. From “Dawning”—

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until single words swimming in their own brilliance cease because mostly it is not about words at all but is instead a reminder of the time we sat under the Oak tree drifting to sleep against one another before any words were needed

Lucy J. Madison is the author of Personal Foul, a contemporary romance novel, as well as her debut collection entitled I.V. Poems. Her second novel In the Direction of the Sun is due out in early 2016. She’s a member of the Golden Crown Literary Society, Author’s Guild, Romance Writers of America, Rainbow Romance Writers, and Lesbian Authors Guild. She received a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Wesleyan University and resides with her wife of nearly 20 years in Connecticut and in Provincetown, Massachusetts along with their beloved pets. www.lucyjmadison.com

Jenny Kalahar is the author of three novels and a collection of poetry, One Mile North of Normal and Other Poems. Jenny serves on the Brick Street Poetry board of diretors and is treasurer for the Indiana State Federation of Poetry Clubs. Her humor column, “A Twist in the Tale,” is published twice monthly in Tails Magazine. Jenny is a used & rare bookseller with her husband, Patrick, from their old schoolhouse home in Elwood, Indiana.

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next stop Milt Montague Noah’s passengers all survived The Great Flood Ford sped past all the land creatures the Wright Brothers beat the birds and the bees we have leapfrogged all the above we are certain our satellite is lifeless we know Mars has water we are poised for inter-planetary space travel it is the next viable target for extra terrestrial life we have no evidence of life anywhere else in the universe so, being humans we must go to Mars to see for ourselves

Milt Montague was born and raised and lives now in New York City. He survived The Great Depression, the school system, and World War ll. Back to finish college, marry and help raise 3 lovely daughters. After many years as an independent business person, retirement and back to college, spent 20 years of reveling in knowledge, then discovered writing at 85. Now at 90 plus he has 98 poems and 15 brief memoirs published in 35 different magazines, so far‌..

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Tipton Poetry Journal Editor Barry Harris is editor of the Tipton Poetry Journal and two anthologies by Brick Street Poetry: Mapping the Muse: A Bicentennial Look at Indiana Poetry and Words and Other Wild Things. 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.

Cover Photo Don Dunlap grew up on a farm outside of Indianapolis in Whiteland. He works at IT Crew, a small business IT consulting firm, and lives in Greenwood with his wife and son. Don’s family and neighbors wait for Great Horned owlets to emerge from a nest in the backyard Sycamore tree. They know when it’s time when the mother sits on the branch outside the nest and waits. The cover photo was taken the third day after the owlets emerged and one day before they flew into the nearby woods. Each year, life stands still when friends and neighbors come together and look with wonder at these marvelous creatures.

Poet Biographies Talal Alyan is a Palestinian American writer and co-editor of Riwayya, an online literary journal. His political writing has been featured in various publications including Vice News, Al Jazeera English, Huffington Post and Daily Beast. He currently resides in Brooklyn. Byron Beynon lives in Swansea, Wales. His work has appeared in several publications including Agenda, London Magazine, Poetry Wales, Muddy River Poetry Review, Plainsongs, The Yellow Nib and Poetry Ireland. Collections include Cuffs (Rack Press) and The Echoing Coastline (Agenda Editions). Dan Carpenter is an Indianapolis-based freelance journalist and poet, and a board member of Brick Street Poetry Inc. He has published two poetry collections, More Than I Could See (Restoration Press, 2009) and The Art He’d Sell for Love (Cherry Grove Collections, 2015). Alex DeBonis is a writer and a graduate of both Seymour High School in Seymour, Indiana and Indiana University. Currently, he lives with his family in Paris, Tennessee.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Patrick Theron Erickson, a resident of Garland, Texas, a Tree City, just south of Duck Creek, is a retired parish pastor put out to pasture himself. His work has appeared in Grey Sparrow Journal, Cobalt Review, and Burningword Literary Journal, among other publications, and more recently in Tipton Poetry Journal, Right Hand Pointing, Wilderness House Literary Review and Danse Macabre. Michael Estabrook is retired and living in Massachusetts. No more useless meetings under florescent lights in stuffy windowless rooms, able instead to focus on making better poems when he’s not, of course, endeavoring to satisfy his wife’s legendary Honey-Do List. His latest collection of poems is Bouncy House, edited by Larry Fagin (Green Zone Editions, 2016). George Fish is a widely published writer and poet, whose poetry has been published in Flying Island, New Politics, Poems 4 Palestine, previously in Tipton Poetry Journal and elsewhere. George has written extensively on blues and other pop music, politics, economics, and other topics, chiefly for left and alternative publications. He also performs Lenny Bruce/George Carlin-inspired comedy, videos of which can be seen on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/aannyytt. Rosemary Freedman was born the youngest of 7 children on the West side of Indianapolis and now lives in nearby Carmel. She has 7 children and works as a Nurse Practitioner providing psychotherapy and pain management primarily for cancer patients at a major hospital. She and her husband Jack have been married for 7 years. Rosemary gardens and has a lot of perennials. She collects peonies and feels in about three years many of the new ones she planted will mature. She also collects iris and allium. When younger, Rosemary studied poetry but stepped away from it for many years. Half-way through a doctoral program she decided she would rather spend her time writing poetry than writing 150 page papers that few if anyone would ever read. Angelo Giambra’s poetry has appeared in Southern Poetry Review, South Dakota Review, The Atlanta Journal and several other journals. His poem "The Water Carriers" appears on Ted Kooser's site, American Life In Poetry. Angelo lives in Florida. . Joe Gianotti grew up in Whiting, Indiana, an industrial city five minutes from Chicago. He currently teaches English at Lowell High School. He is a proud contributor to Volume II of This is Poetry: The Midwest Poets. Among other poets, he represented Northwest Indiana in the 2014 Five Corners Poetry Readings. His work has been published in Blotterature, The Chaffey Review, Folly, Mouse Tales, Steam Ticket: A Third Coast Review, This, Yes Poetry, and other places. You can follow him on Twitter at @jgianotti10. Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is an eight-time Pushcart nominee and four-time Best of the Net nominee. Her latest chapbook: Things I Can't Remember to Forget, is newly available from Prolific Press. She is the 2012 winner of the Red Ochre Press Chapbook competition with her manuscript Before I Go to Sleep and according to family lore she is a direct descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson. She lives in California. www.clgrellaspoetry.com Tricia Grudens graduated from Ithaca College in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing/Communications and a minor in Writing. She lives on Long Island, New York.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Andrew Hubbard was born and raised in a coastal Maine fishing village. He earned degrees in English and Creative Writing from Dartmouth College and Columbia University, respectively. For most of his career he has worked as Director of Training for major financial institutions. He has had four prose books published, and his fifth and sixth books, collections of poetry, were published in 2014 and 2016 by Interactive Press. He is a casual student of cooking and wine, a former martial arts instructor and competitive weight lifter, a collector of edged weapons, and a licensed handgun instructor. He lives in rural Indiana with his family, two Siberian Huskies, and a demon cat. Kyle Hunter is an attorney who lives in Indianapolis with his wife and four young children. His poems have appeared in Gravel, Foliate Oak, Branches Magazine, So It Goes: the Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, and Silver Birch Press. Jenny Kalahar is the author of three novels and a collection of poetry, One Mile North of Normal and Other Poems. Jenny serves on the Brick Street Poetry board of diretors and is treasurer for the Indiana State Federation of Poetry Clubs. Her humor column, “A Twist in the Tale,” is published twice monthly in Tails Magazine. Jenny is a used & rare bookseller with her husband, Patrick, from their old schoolhouse home in Elwood, Indiana. James Keane resides in northern New Jersey with his wife and son and a shrinking menagerie of merry pets. Most recently, his poems have appeared in Indiana Voice Journal, The RavensPerch, Verse-Virtual, Blue Monday, and Firewords Quarterly. In 2013, his first chapbook, What Comes Next, was published by Finishing Line Press. Michael Keshigian from New Hampshire, had his twelfth poetry collection, Into The Light, released in April, 2017 by Flutter Press (https://www.createspace.com/7037872). He has been published in numerous national and international journals recently including The California Quarterly, Red River Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Illya’s Honey and has appeared as feature writer in over 20 publications with 6 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations. (michaelkeshigian.com) Robert S. King lives in Athens, Georgia, where he serves on the board of FutureCycle Press. His poems have appeared in hundreds of magazines, including Atlanta Review, California Quarterly, Chariton Review, Hollins Critic, Kenyon Review, Main Street Rag, Midwest Quarterly, Negative Capability, Southern Poetry Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review. He has published eight poetry collections, most recently Diary of the Last Person on Earth (Sybaritic Press 2014) and Developing a Photograph of God (Glass Lyre Press, 2014). His personal website is robertsking.titletrack.net. Former Indiana Poet Laureate Norbert Krapf is the author of eleven poetry books, the latest of which is Catholic Boy Blues (2015). Related to that collection is a prose memoir that followed, Shrinking the Monster (2016.) Forthcoming is his collection Cheerios in Tuscany, about his Colombian-German grandson Peyton. Norbert collaborates with bluesman Gordon Bonham and released a jazz and poetry CD with pianist-composer Monika Herzig. Martin H. Levinson is a member of the Authors Guild, National Book Critics Circle, PEN, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics. He has published nine books and numerous articles and poems in various publications. He holds a PhD from NYU and lives in Forest Hills, New York.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Matt Mason has won a Pushcart Prize and two Nebraska Book Awards; was a Finalist for the position of Nebraska State Poet; and organized and run poetry programming with the U.S. Department of State in Nepal, Romania, Botswana, and Belarus. He has over 200 publications in magazines and anthologies, including Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry and on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. His most recent book, The Baby That Ate Cincinnati, was released in 2013. Matt lives in Omaha with his wife, the poet Sarah McKinstry-Brown, and daughters Sophia and Lucia. Milt Montague was born and raised and lives now in New York City. He survived The Great Depression, the school system, and World War ll. Back to finish college, marry and help raise 3 lovely daughters. After many years as an independent business person, retirement and back to college, spent 20 years of reveling in knowledge, then discovered writing at 85. Now at 90 plus he has 98 poems and 15 brief memoirs published in 35 different magazines, so far….. Jessica Nguyen is the co-editor of the Hemetera Literary Journal and her work has been published in Hemetera Literary Journal as well as Sisyphus Quarterly. Jessica currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. Sergio A. Ortiz is a two-time Pushcart nominee, a four-time Best of the Web nominee, and 2016 Best of the Net nominee. 2nd place in the 2016 Ramón Ataz Annual Poetry Competition sponsored by Alaire publishing house. He is currently working on his first full-length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard. He lives in Puerto Rico. Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The New Yorker, Tipton Poetry Journal and elsewhere. He resides in East Hampton, New York. Tom Raithel grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has worked as a journalist at several newspapers in the Midwest. Today, he lives in Evansville, Indiana with his wife, Theresa, and their dog, Sammy. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, The Comstock Review, Nimrod, Midwest Quarterly, Atlanta Review, and other journals. Finishing Line Press published his chapbook, Dark Leaves, Strange Light, in 2015. Patrick T. Reardon is the author of eight books, including Requiem for David, a poetry collection from Silver Birch Press, and Faith Stripped to Its Essence, a literary-religious analysis of Shusaku Endo's novel Silence. Reardon worked for 32 years as a reporter with the Chicago Tribune. His essays and poetry have been published widely in the United States and Europe. Patrick lives in Chicago. Mary Sexson is the author of 103 in the Light, Selected Poems 1996-2000 (Restoration Press), nominated for a Best Books of Indiana award in 2005, and co-author of Company of Women, New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press). Her poems have appeared in the Flying Island, Borders Insight Magazine, Tipton Poetry Journal, Grasslands Review, New Verse News, and others, and in several anthologies, including The Globetrotter’s Companion (UK, 2011),Trip of a Lifetime (2012), Reckless Writing (2013), A Few Good Words(2013), The Best of Flying Island (2015), and most recently Words and Other Wild Things (2016). She has upcoming work in HoosierLit Literary Magazine (May 2017). Marvin Shackelford is author of the collections Tall Tales from the Ladies' Auxiliary (stories, forthcoming from Alternating Current) and Endless Building (poems, Urban Farmhouse) and editor of Succor Press. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Southern Humanities Review, Hobart, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. He currently splits his time between Middle Tennessee and the Texas Panhandle, earning a living in agriculture.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Gerry Sikazwe is a Zambian poet currently pursuing a degree in Adult Education with Mathematics at the University of Zambia. Gerry manages a Poetry page on Facebook under the name Words and voices from a Root and a poetry blog on Blogger named Scribbles of a root. Heather Truett is a hill born Kentucky girl living down south in Mississippi. Her credits include: The Mom Egg, Vine Leaves Literary, Drunk Monkeys, The Forge, Young Adult Review Network and previously in Tipton Poetry Journal. Gene Twaronite, who lives in Tucson, Arizona, is the author of six books, including two juvenile fantasy novels. His first book of poetry, Trash Picker on Mars, has recently been published by Aldrich Press. Visit his website at http://www.thetwaronitezone.com. Michael Watson resides in Nashville, Tennessee where he teaches high school English and coaches tennis. He completed his undergraduate studies at Murray State University, and received a Master's in English from Belmont University in 2013. When not working, he plays guitar, practices jiu jitsu, reads, gardens, and writes. His fiction has appeared in Body Parts Magazine. Ben Weise earned an MA in German Literature at Middlebury College. He has taught translation and business English in Germany and academic writing at Rutgers University. He earned a graduate degree in TESOL from The New School and now lives on Long Island, New York. When not reading or writing, he enjoys mountaineering and scuba diving with his wife, visiting his children in Florida and extended family and friends in Europe and South America. Laura Grace Weldon is the author of a poetry collection titled Tending and a handbook of alternative education, Free Range Learning, with a book of essays due out soon. She's written poetry with nursing home residents, used poetry to teach conflict resolution, employed poetry in memoir writing classes, and painted poems on beehives although her work appears in more conventional places such as J Journal, Penman Review, Literary Mama, Christian Science Monitor, Mom Egg Review, Dressing Room Poetry Journal, Pudding House, Shot Glass Journal, and others. Laura lives in Ohio. Connect with her at lauragraceweldon.com Hongri Yuan, born in China in 1962, is a poet and philosopher interested particularly in creation. His poetry has been published in the United Kingdom, USA, India ,New Zealand, Canada and Nigeria. He lives in Shandong Province, China. Thomas Zimmerman teaches English and directs the Writing Center at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Among his poetry chapbooks are In Stereo (Camel Saloon, 2012) and From Green to Blue and Back (Zetataurus, 2016). Tom's website: https://thomaszimmerman.wordpress.com/

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Tipton Poetry Journal #33  

Spring 2017

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