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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. This issue features 33 poets from the United States (15 different states) and 4 poets who live in Canada, China, India, and Turkey. Our cover photo, “Dragonfly” is by Joyce Brinkman, the Brick Street Poetry Program Chair. Print versions of Tipton Poetry Journal are available for purchase through amazon.com.

Barry Harris, Editor Kylie Seitz, Assistant Editor

Cover Photo “Dragonfly” by Joyce Brinkman, taken in her backyard in Zionsville, Indiana. Copyright 2018 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 Casey Carsel .................................................................................... 1 Jill Evans ........................................................................................... 4 Richard Schiffman ......................................................................... 6 Janet Reed ........................................................................................ 7 Erin Wilson ...................................................................................... 9 Laura Sweeney .............................................................................10 Thomas O’Dore .............................................................................12 Anastasia Jill .................................................................................15 Gary Lark .......................................................................................16 Paul R. Davis .................................................................................18 Elisabeth Meyer ............................................................................19 Thomas Hansen............................................................................20 David Spicer ..................................................................................21 Carl Boon ........................................................................................25 Mark Vogel.....................................................................................30 Allen Kenneth Schaidle ..............................................................31 Gilbert Allen ..................................................................................32 Hugh Cook ......................................................................................33 Maik Strosahl ................................................................................34 Michael Estabrook .......................................................................36 Robbi Nester ..................................................................................37 Jared Pearce ..................................................................................38 Joyce Schmid..................................................................................38 William Greenway .......................................................................40


Tipton Poetry Journal Timothy Pilgrim ...........................................................................42 Donna Pucciani ............................................................................44 Hongri Yuan ..................................................................................46 Norbert Krapf ...............................................................................48 Maryfrances Wagner .................................................................49 Judy Kronenfeld ...........................................................................50 Steve Klepetar...............................................................................52 Carl Lindquist ...............................................................................54 Tanya Pilumeli .............................................................................56 John Sweet......................................................................................56 Frances Ruhlen McConnel .........................................................60 Jenny Kalahar ...............................................................................62 Joan Colby ......................................................................................64 Review: Floodwater by Connie Post ..........................66 Review: The Annotated Murder of One by Jared Pearce ...........................................................................................71 Review: Carrying Bodies by Timothy Robbins ...76 Contributor Biographies...................................................80


Tipton Poetry Journal

Lavender Sweat Casey Carsel A honeybee sat in my hand under pumice sky. I only meant to pause, find my way, I said. I know, I know, she said. Your eyes were mine and now we both are blind. Her breath soaked the air. You can still tell me the way forward, I said. Her frame shivered, pollen rained around her. You are wrong, she choked, petals landing on my wrists. Immortality is already too full of language to fit us, as if a billion euphoric legacies come near enough. Unfortunate. And our eyes, are they full too? Only of dream-thoughts carved in bark but too much of such a sight self-combusts and melts the cortex. What of the trees, I suppose we will forget their sacrifice. Only in time. But even then they will hone your name in lightning. I would tell you more, but on days like this, it is hard to fill the haze. When I die, I said, my name should be poured back into my mouth. She nodded. Death has enough language, she said.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

People-walking Casey Carsel Sometimes I’ll walk next to people I’ll never meet, coming out from the subway, turning a corner. Sometimes, rather than drawing back or ahead, we’ll go together. Do you ever see a person and just know under different circumstances you could get matching avocado tattoos where yours has the pit and theirs doesn’t? Benjamin Franklin invented a trick: to make someone think they like you you ask to borrow something of theirs. It’s not unreasonable—a pencil, or a book. So they say yes and think I must like this person, since I lent them my pencil, or my book. Sometimes I’ll join a group of people walking and maybe I’ll look like part of the family. It’s not stalking not Even following. I’m still going my way. Just sometimes it’s nice walking with a friend, whatever. Sometimes I walk behind people instead I walk like them. I don’t know when I started this.

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Tipton Poetry Journal I can’t walk very close but Jordan is great at that. She’s so shy people often forget her or that they’ve met her but she can walk with her legs swinging less than an inch behind your legs and I swear you’ll never notice, so you’ll never meet her. It’s a shame. She’s a very nice person. An ambulance has sirens on, is rushing down a one-way street, all the cars make way at the same time and it’s the law but so beautiful I could sob.

[This poem was first published by School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s F Newsmagazine]

Casey Carsel was born and raised in New Zealand. She is currently completing her Master of Fine Arts in Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been featured in Hamster, Meanwhile Gallery, and Window Online.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

At Her Bedside Jill Evans Maxilla - 12.25.2007

We gather around her like celestial guests, our extended family, orbiting in turns, waiting for her afterlife to fill her body with its calming breath. The vigil is ours, but the vista is hers: an ancient house of death she unlocks slowly and, so slowly, makes ready to inhabit. Breathing hard as grit, she edges into its barren quiet alone. We coax her to relax across the darkness, deep and glossy as a lifetime. We try, in our rush of love for her, to sweep its threshold clean as a confession. We remind her again and again to follow her shadow of peace wherever it takes her. We bequeath her memories of our laughter for safe-keeping. We live her courage for a while— while we watch her will be done. Perhaps it is our stark knowledge of this: our last chance with her that intrudes upon her dying. It hovers by her bed, trembling in the air beside her weightless body that lies fetal-shaped and swaddled in bed sheets – its only motion is her pulse, a frantic cord that tugs against her neck. As her life lingers, I watch her children’s features clinging to her face. She is surfacing into a newborn. Inside her hospice room, the tired hours roll over us like mist, while every moment she remains with us is transparent as the oxygen that fills the tube connected to her breath. Each time our time seems to pause in place, like a captive bubble there, the instant scatters with her sighs, briefly stalling, interrupting her, then evaporating like light.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Gordian Knots Jill Evans “Life wants to climb and in climbing overcome itself.” – F. Nietzsche Just after she leaves me, I keep wanting to tell my grown daughter more things. But then they keep slipping away. My best intentions don’t have the same staying power as picking up my grandchildren’s toys. Fitting the Parcheesi board back in its box. First folded in half, then half way again, like memory. Or salvaging the cardboard puzzle’s four corners like stray chards so the fairy princess will be restored to her long-ago kingdom the next time. After she drove from our home today, herding her kids into her van, I waved my daughter away chucking hands full of kisses like cartoon confetti. Then I wanted to phone her about something almost essential as she rushed to my ex-husband’s house. To his turn. For chaos. For sticky children. For mid-summer boredom and what spins out in its heat. For the happy and hungry and trample of everyone’s climb. I am usually relieved when they’ve gone. My house lies in-wait for a hoard of reminiscences to absorb me in the silent, discarded stuff on the floors, the tug and tussle of it all left behind in tangled shag of the rugs. Then I catch sight of a new brain-teaser toy I had meant to give them: a bright red and blue puzzle of a Gordian knot still safely encased in its plastic—its ageless mystery still intact on my desk. A forgotten whim of a gift. That tidy anticipation of joy. Some stranded reminder—in a sturdy, miraculous tangle— how we are bound tight together after all. Jill Evans, also known as Jill Evans Petzall, makes documentary films, media art installations, writes poetry, and teaches about social justice from a female perspective. She is the winner of four Emmy Awards for her scripts and documentary films. Jill also designs and crafts one-of-a-kind jewelry in her company, Touchstones Designs. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and started her career in her 40s while raising three young children as a single mother. All her work is fueled by a graduate degree in Philosophy. Now in her 70s, she has just begun to publish the poetry that she has been writing all her life.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

The Transmigration of Tools Richard Schiffman He directed his next of kin to give away the tools-the sanders and mallets and scrapers, bit braces, chisels and fluters assembled lovingly over decades, many impossible to come by, nowadays, or custom-made by himself for his work as a shaper of primordial elements-wood and stone and metal and bone. They threw a party when he died-- the great tool divide-for that tight fraternity who spend their days-molding and forging, soldering and finishing. His assistant brought a flatbed truck to haul away the welding station, others crammed burlap sacks and shopping carts with planes and brackets, spools of heavy twine, drills and drill bits, blocks of poplar, pots of glue. Soon the plywood boards stood bare. Only the stencils remained of handsaws and pliers, and reamers, penciled ghosts of a life given to excavating the stubborn densities of matter. His works now scattered. The universe he made unmade. Yet it eased his dying mind to know his tools were one of a kind, and would survive in other hands.

Richard Schiffman’s work has been published in the Southern Poetry Review, the Alaska Quarterly, the New Ohio Review, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times, Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and many other publications. His poetry collection What the Dust Doesn't Know was published by Salmon Poetry in February. He currently resides in New York.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Violin Lessons Janet Reed If I had to choose, I’d play Bach or Chopin, a sonata or nocturne. I didn’t know then, ten and eager, invited to be in the band. I wanted a sax, flute, silver or gold bodies shining on ivory buttons, not strings stretched taut like cat paws over bridges dependent on bows for sound that screeched like hawks or honked like geese in flight. I craved the smooth touch of a tuba through white gloves, ached for buttoned spats crisping the long line of my marching band pants. Instead, mom handed me a black case dulled by lost intentions, said that to take music, I would take her violin, play as she once had, I, the rib of her instrument hit all the right notes in our undoing, the fiddle feud the first of many. Maybe Sonata No. 9, the piece I loved, the one she hated, traveled train-like on bad tracks of years past, or maybe clamped vise-like to her Virginia Reel. I didn’t ask, just put the case away certain my future had no place in her past.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Rosemary’s Beauty Shop (1965) Janet Reed The bright pink smock locked tight with translucent buttons announced her trade. She wore a Beehive and practiced the backcomb on wig-ladened heads scattered at stations around her shop. Her name was Rosemary; she heard my mother’s confession at ten on Saturdays while I sat in the pew of the penitents: a long row of dryer chairs with their glass-heavy heads blowing the hot air of salvation on those prepared to receive it. I watched baptismal rituals at shampoo bowls with salves and soaps for sins and scalps left untouched Sabbath to Sabbath. Church on Sunday was the reason for Rosemary’s on Saturday, a clean head like a clean heart right for hymns and amens. This was the creation story I didn’t know until blow dryers replaced backcombs: six days of bobby pins and sponge rollers, orange juice cans and hair nets, one, the seventh, to rinse and reset.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Redemption for my mother was a $3.00 ritual of renewal, repentance and confession completed when Rosemary returned her picks and combs to the glass jar of Barbicide, emerged from haze of Aqua Net, like Jesus descending the mountain and wrote my mother down for ten the next Saturday. Janet Reed earned a Master's degree in English Literature from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. She currently teaches writing and literature at Crowder College in Missouri. She has work published in multiple journals with more forthcoming.

This Much Is True Erin Wilson You are a field of tall summer grasses with its industrious grasshopper chatter, a dry autumn wood and its dry autumn leaves rattling through more dry tangle, and even the bluest hush of the softest snowfall falling, at the height of winter, with fulfillment. You are kisses along a naked back. You are a black sea swelling. You are a terse seed globing, coming. Thank whatever powers there be, you are. Erin Wilson has contributed poems to San Pedro River Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, New Madrid, The Hunger, and Mobius, The Journal of Social Change, with work forthcoming from West Texas Literary Review, Split Rock Review, and Open: Journal of Arts and Letters. She lives and writes in a small town in northern Ontario.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

A Tarot Reading at the Grin City Collective

Laura Sweeney You long for a sign, a premonition or dream, dip your toe in knowing you should veer away spooked by unholy ground. Choose an elephant. What kind would you like to be? Fire, water, wind, or earth? You choose the Queen of Wands, a blue-eyed blonde. Fire. Now, think of a question. You shuffle the cards, swallow hard, pass the deck back. It’s August-hot in this writer’s cocoon turned fortune teller’s lair. You’re spinning in splattered walls, art supplies, yard sale furniture. Wisdom from below. His hands turn over cups, pentacles, priestesses. A Celtic cross. So there you go. A man threatens you, but if you listen, you might be okay. You believe in good and evil, positive and negative energies. You know enough not to play with these forces.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

At the Iowa Poetry Association Workshop

Laura Sweeney a woman next to me says, Permit me to introduce Mary Teresa. She did her MFA at Iowa. Before that she was a nun. The nun says, I gave up the Order when the Church was enlarging its vision - a sabbatical to engage in poetry, not dope. Have you read Levertov? She says poetry is like prayer, but I believe poetry is prayer. I say, My pastor sells books in his coffee shop, but not poetry. He says poetry is escapism. What did you do with your degree? The nun says, I got married and worked at Von Maur. I like your shoes. They’re sturdy but elegant.

Laura Sweeney facilitates Writers for Life in central Iowa. She represented the Iowa Arts Council at the First International Teaching Artist's Conference in Oslo, Norway. Her recent and forthcoming poems appear in Red Savina Review, Main Street Rag, Canadian Woman Studies, One Sentence Poems, Midwest Review, Aji, Hawaii Pacific Review, The Good Men Project, Mobius, Split Rock Review, Appalachia, and the anthologies Nuclear Impact and Beer, Wine, & Spirits. She is an associate editor for Eastern Iowa Review.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Waiting at the Station Thomas O’Dore I stand on the brick concourse that surrounds the depot of the Indiana Transportation Museum where my friend Emil (a conductor there) has gotten me a cab ride in an EMD 12-567B a GP7 diesel electric road number 426 glancing downward I notice in the red and orange pattern right between my shoes lies a Poston Paver‌ and the links fall into place like spikes into the ties that anchor rails to a Class 5 track hurtling a six year old boy from where that brick was made into the sixty year old man now standing over it seventy-seven miles at least assuming no other locations before it wound up here that solid brick had traveled from its birthplace and mine perhaps fired by my grandfather in the year that I was born coincidence / similarities / oddities finally \ like a Rube Goldberg device dropped onto that brick a host of memories of bricks and brickyards tracks and trains railroaders and rail-riders Emil my friend \ Emile my father

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Tipton Poetry Journal one grandfather made bricks the other repaired railroad tracks that paver came from a brickyard my father / grand- / and great-grandfather all had labored at \ was only half a mile down the Wabash Railroad tracks from the houses where they lived and I was born and raised… the bed in which I slept a mere hundred and some feet from once sleep rattling rails that soon became soporific a quarter mile the other direction then stood the depot from which I took my first train ride… now at the museum I stand waiting to take my second fifty-four years later I never rode the rails but I saw many who did… in the hobo camp near the brickyard sitting or standing in open boxcar doors begging food handouts on our front porch all during the fifties and into the early sixties when they disappeared almost overnight like train whistles fading into the past…gone gone… like the passenger train stops at the local depot like the depot itself and its mailbag pole like the trackside stockyard with its wooden loading ramps

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Tipton Poetry Journal that extended to the livestock cars parked upon the sidings like the parked red cabooses I sneaked into to see the Vargas girl pin-ups and cheese-cake calendars lining what wall space there was like the colorful circus trains that passed by yearly always heading west gone‌ like the names I now recall proudly proclaiming their lines on their engines and rolling stock gone are the Wabash Monon Burlington Northern Norfolk & Western Baltimore & Ohio Great Northern Atchison-Topeka & Santa Fe Seaboard Southern Reading Illinois Central Milwaukee Road Pennsylvania Rock Island Vermont Central Central Pacific Canadian Northern Erie Lackawanna Louisville & Nashville Penn Central Central Pacific Grand Trunk Detroit-Toledo & Ironton Lehigh Valley Chesapeake & Ohio New York Central Pacific Fruit Express Nickel Plate and those are just the ones I saw from our front porch swing wondering where they were going they went to the railroad graveyard but their ghosts live on in me standing over a Poston Paver at the Transportation Museum

Guys like Tom O’Dore do not have biographies.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

viper Anastasia Jill You made your home inside my shoulder blade, kept slithering down, down, down. Laws and ethics escape you, but you hide in my bones; an alchemy of denial leaves my puppet string lips; these shoulders are the best at keeping your secrets.

the fall of Rome Anastasia Jill Even Rome cried when she fell to her broken knees. Marble scabs cracked open empires. But still, the queen does not fear the warrior.

Anastasia Jill (Anna Keeler) is a queer poet and fiction writer living in the southern United States. She is a current editor for the Smaeralit Anthology. Her work has been published or is upcoming with Poets.org, Lunch Ticket, FIVE:2:ONE, Ambit Magazine, apt, Into the Void Magazine, 2River, and more.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Old Gray Cat Gary Lark We had laid my father in the ground. It was cold, the sun a distant friend. The meal we'd set out nearly pecked clean. Then it was just mother and me sitting in the quiet house. I got her started on stories: her childhood pony taking her to school through cold Idaho winters, her father raising silver foxes during the Depression for extra income, his enlarged heart, his early death, the way her older brother gambled away the ranch and how her mother took a cook's job at a greasy spoon in town, their living in a single-walled shack while she was in high school until rheumatic fever almost killed her and the doctor who took her to stay in a back bedroom of his house, how she loved playing basketball the year she was able, how they pulled all her teeth when she was eighteen, her slow gain of health, the miracle of meeting the millworker who loved to dance and fish the high country. Sitting on the curb sharing a frozen candy bar he asked if she wanted to share a life and she said she couldn't imagine it any other way.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

I was reading in the spare bedroom, thinking of turning out the light when she came around the door. She didn't say anything, just took my hand. I followed her down the hall, puzzled. In their bedroom she tucked me in on my father's side then crawled in on hers. Shadows closed around us. She curled like an old gray cat on the crook of my arm purring a soft snore.

Gary Lark’s work includes: River of Solace, Editor's Choice Chapbook Award from Turtle Island Quarterly, Flowstone Press, 2016, In the House of Memory, BatCat Press, 2016. Without a Map, Wellstone Press, 2013, Getting By, winner of the Holland Prize from Logan House Press, 2009. Ordinary Gravity, is forthcoming from Airlie Press, 2019. His poems have also appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, The Sun, Poet Lore, and ZYZZYVA. Gary lives in Oregon.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Want Paul R. Davis Envy is evil wanting, stealing darkness from night. Your words should come from my tongue. Your eyes shine more brightly than mine. The man drinking beer sits at a plastic table outside the bar wants a particular woman, the jewel of the moment. She wants a lover to touch her shoulder; her shoulder wants a covering of satin. If there were no desire, no longing, we should die, and no one really wants to die. The apple wants ripeness of blood, the sky wants wind, the night wants stillness. I want the apple, the sky, and the night, to know what music wants, what water wants, what the crouching animal wants, to hear, to learn the unutterable, to covet every desire, to be, to live.

Paul R. Davis lives in Central New York with his wife, parrots, and cats. He worked as a faceless bureaucrat in an obscure Federal agency until he came to his senses and devoted his time to better pursuits. His work has been published in The Comstock Review, The Externalist, Centrifugal Eye, The Good Men Project, PoetryRepairs, Halcyon, Oddball Magazine, Moon Magazine, Carcinogenic Poetry, Red Fez, Third Wednesday, With Painted Words, and others. A simple inhalation and exhalation is life, and life itself is art. His poetic philosophy is: the joy of expression; the necessity of communication.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

To Someone Who Will Later Ask: “What Happened?” Elisabeth Meyer I. What does Prudence dictate? Do I not listen, or not hear? II. What is advice? It is to say: plant a tree upon a hillside. What is it not to listen? It is to be the rain, the gathering and mounting flood, unheeding. III. But gathering and mounting: these are verbs of action. The flood I am—that I allow— seems hardly to be there. IV. Prudence surely says: You can neither be, nor not be, rain. So be the tree and plant yourself upon a hillside. Do you not love the villagers below? V. I have drowned villages.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

To Poet-Critics Who Warned Of Epiphanies Over Morning Coffee Elisabeth Meyer I’m here now with the baby in the bathwater; we’re bobbing together in the ocean. Tell me what’s next. Say what’s to become of us.

Elisabeth Hershey Meyer attended the University of Evansville, where she edited The Evansville Review. She obtained an MFA at SIU-Carbondale, where she worked with Allison Joseph and Rodney Jones. Her poems have appeared in Iambs & Trochees, Raven Chronicles, and Gulf Coast. Her 2017 chapbook, the word b-i-r-d, is available on Amazon, through New Chair press. She lives in Kentucky.

Passion Thomas Hansen red, scarlet, crimson, burgundy hugging, kissing, unmaking the bed comfort, fright, and wonder wolves and witches white surrender

Thomas Hansen, Ph.D., is an Independent Consultant with a variety of roles in Education and Advocacy. One of his current areas of work is Grant Writing and another is Grant Reviewing. He also teaches courses in Education and Teacher Certification as an Adjunct Professor. He has had over 100 book and movie reviews published and over 40 articles, poems, and essays printed. He loves to write and is an avid reader. He currently resides in Illinois.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Prodigal Brother David Spicer I saw my sister lying in a casket no longer than a toy wagon and bawled like the baby I was, two years old in overalls. They lowered Mary Ann into a hole, and I forgot about her for fifteen years, when my mother recounted the day of the viewing: You couldn’t see your baby sister, so I held you in my arms. My family left Paris, Tennessee, didn’t return until my mother drove to the decrepit cemetery forty years later with my sister Darla to visit Mary Ann’s grave littered with bluebells and a rotting cross that leaned to the left, a rosary wrapped around its intersection, black beads stained during those decades. In my wallet I carry the only picture of Mary Ann, six months old in a flowery dress, a drop of spittle on her lips. I have a matching portrait of myself gazing at the camera, not understanding why I sat posing in a new outfit for a stranger. I avoid wakes and funerals now, dislike the color black and veils over women’s faces, refusing to attend death’s formal farewells.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Recently, I drove to Paris, Tennessee, and searched for Mary Ann’s grave, conducting a service for her, prayed alone among the markers, something I don’t do these days. Before I left, I thumbtacked the photos under the rosary with its blemishes and said, I wish I could have loved you more, sister.

Leo David Spicer Leo: the blessed of the eight children. He must have told himself not to breathe before entering this world, escaping my fortune and fate: the first in the family to graduate from college, the first to receive a father’s anger unleashed in a strip of leather, and the first who heard a mother’s poison: Why don’t you die? My mother named him after her father, a burden Leo might have decided not to carry, for he died at birth. Why? In our mother’s womb did he decline another role, that of the oldest son in a Catholic family? When he vanished to Limbo, and I lived while six-month-old Mary Ann died of pneumonia, our parents gave my brother and four sisters names beginning with the letter D, for I survived and had that initial. What if he had been Douglas instead of Leo?

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Tipton Poetry Journal I often wonder whether we’d be close. Would I have asked him for advice about girls or helped him fight a pair of bullies cornering us in the gym after wrestling practice? Would we have hiked to the North Auditorium to watch the three Ali-Frazier fights or Neil Young sing at the Orpheum? Could he and I have shared jokes over a bottle of Black Jack? I often wished Leo had taken my beatings or had been the ten-year-old kid reminded of his failures in sports, the one told he’d spend a stint in prison. For some reason, I was the son who walked alone to school daydreaming, who lived, as if Leo had asked me to be the first son, the one who could depend on nobody— not even an older brother—but himself.

Memphis to Morristown, 1962 David Spicer Chain-smoking Winstons, my mother gripped the cracked steering wheel at 10 o’clock and hoarse-screamed at the six of us to shut up. You shut up! I bellowed. Unemployed, my father had hopped a Greyhound to take a job, and a month later, with no money for rent or a U-Haul, we left my new blue bicycle I’d bought with paperboy money. The girls wanted their dolls, my five-year old brother cried for his dumptruck. Just wait, she said, I’m telling your dad to give you the ass whipping of your life. Go ahead, I don’t care, I said. You will, my mother shot back,

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Tipton Poetry Journal her eyes glaring at me in the rear view mirror. Tractor trailers bullied past the big blue Buick. I forget how many times we yelled Stuuuuckkkkeeeeys! heading toward my father’s dreaded belt. My mother pulled into an Esso, and there he was, leaning against a doorway. My teeth chattered with fear, but I decided to take that beating like the man I wasn’t, and my mother kept her promise after she hugged him. Sticking his head into the back of the Buick, he said, Son, she thinks you’re a little asshole. You don’t deserve it, but this time I’ll give you the mercy you didn’t give her. Remembering my mother today, I wonder how she summoned the courage to pile six kids into that half-dead car, a hundred dollars in her purse, using some of the money to buy pecan rolls so we’d behave those last few grinding miles, listening to my smart-aleck comments. I wish I had sung her favorite song in my still high voice or had been older to help her drive. I wonder if she might have grinned at me and I could smile back the way a son would. David Spicer has had poems in Gargoyle, Rat’s Ass Review, Reed Magazine, Third Wednesday, Raw, Your One Phone Call, Chiron Review, Survision, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, In Between Hangovers, among others, and in A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Pushcart, three Best of the Nets, and is the author of one book of poems and five chapbooks, the latest being From the Wings of a Pear Tree, from Flutter Press. He is the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books and lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Leviticus Carl Boon A man gathers sticks to make a fire to burn flesh not his own delightfully. Many watch in the sandy places and applaud—they call him Master, they call him Maker and True to them who watched his father do the same. If a thorn should pierce his hand, if the rain should dull the fire... but here there are no thorns, no rain. They believe from sand that God preserves them, that thorns and rain trouble them that don’t believe. Doubt strays—the child is admonished for weeping at a hen left dead in the road. Through the fragile city wonders grope at wonders, Moses’s heel-prints, the stone-scrawls burdens. The sword my father keeps beneath the bed is beautiful.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

The End of the Not-Too-Bad-Days Carl Boon I have never seen a woman so unhappy buttering a slice of bread, like Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother in the window on an ordinary Monday looking at the pine trees, wondering how the ants got in. So carefully she put the knife down, as if not to hurt either knife or plate, and waited for the gunfire to begin, flash-burns on the horizon, specks of blood on the neck of her bathrobe. She must have scratched herself, a tick of anguish, a hopelessness that tomorrow and the next day and the next would be the same, the stories in the papers, the faces on the TV news telling her right and wrong and the proper way to pray. So many voices, mustaches, mysterious death-alliances everywhere, and street-dogs with angry muzzles. One by one the plums grow beautiful and fall.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Cities and Countries Carl Boon Between Natchez and New Orleans Highway 61 twists a hundred times, the hundred curlers in Aunt Martha’s hair, the hundred times I prayed for the River to take me to Chicago. Between the bathroom and my bed I’d count to a hundred and I was quick, how Aunt Martha drank her whiskey in the gloaming before Daddy came and took it for himself. I desired to know how the bluesmen stamped their feet on the big stage, how snow would feel falling on my face. I had it all mapped out— the green line, Illinois as long as Lincoln’s neck. But Daddy’s rifle was long, too, and they forced me south in my pyjamas, glimmers of cotton and long, black arms, even at night, even when I begged them, please.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

The Stocks Carl Boon A carpenter whose face you’ve never seen— not at the pub on Friday not at the bakery not in line at the grocery store— prepares the stocks in a private room drenched in green light a green and superstitious light a light of old faiths. He moves the way a puppet moves— what hands that clutch? what beast in the corner? what terrible wish?— and you dare not knock the door, the air astir with his commands the nail the circumstance of duty unto God and man. In his world God and man are the same— each calls each to sacrifice and wail and trim all beauty to the bone until there is— there is no beauty here, no thought of it: just hammering just a fragile waiting to be hammered and despised and dead.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

He sets his stocks at night. No one sees that we are going there that each of us will be a memory a stone and a parenthesis.

Carl Boon lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at 9 EylĂźl University. His poems have appeared in many magazines, including Posit, The Maine Review, and Diagram. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Boon recently edited a volume on the sublime in American cultural studies.

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Old age is a powerful disguise Mark Vogel that masks a persistent boyish grin, colors fresh skin beneath the crust, dilutes an ancient carnal love of the hunt, insists scars are a covering, not a transformation. After Charlie’s stroke, death seemed to own half of him from head to toe, tried to pull him all the way to Hades, which for the first time seemed concrete, not a segregated fictional quiet created in English class. We felt each day how Charlie’s days were numbered, though we could talk and touch him on the shoulder, and see sometimes a glint of humor that helped clear the air. We reminded him of making wine, digging the horseradish. As this morning grows mature and his wife Joy prepares pie, the sun seeks his face and his breath settles and is regular, and the struggle doesn’t appear too hard. Again he is with us, of us, the mischievous country guide swims in his eyes, ready to act, as if we walk once more the pond edge he created

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Tipton Poetry Journal and landscaped, looking for spring flowers. Somehow this water has become ancient and wild. An old turtle watches, ready to dive in the depths. As Charlie prepares to nap, death again regains strength, as if the dark was present all along. Mark Vogel has published short stories in Cities and Roads, Knight Literary Journal, Whimperbang, SN Review, and Our Stories. Poetry has appeared in Poetry Midwest, English Journal, Cape Rock, Dark Sky, Cold Mountain Review, Broken Bridge Review, and other journals. He is currently Professor of English at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, and directs the Appalachian Writing Project.

Even Really Start Allen Kenneth Schaidle I lost my socks So, I’m putting on my boots without them Sitting on our bed while you shower trying to finish this poem I scribble quickly so you’re not to see You summon me to join before I could finish Or even really start Allen Kenneth Schaidle is currently a faculty member at Zayed University in the United Arab Emerites. He holds graduate degrees from the University of Oxford and Columbia University, as well as a BA from the University of Kansas. Allen's writings have appeared in The Nation, Inside Higher Education, and The New York Times. In his free time, Allen publishes stories retelling his outdoor explorations and is a published poet. A native of Metamora, Illinois, Allen considers the creeks and forests of central Illinois his eternal home. To learn more about Allen, please visit: www.akschaidle.com.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Godd Goes to the MLA Convention Gilbert Allen He figured what the hell this year it was in St. Paul. Waiting for the elevator for what seemed like eternity he listened to everybody proclaiming his death with the footnotes to prove it. Going up? What was the point? He didn’t have a single interview. And nobody was taking résumés not even from All But Deities who’d created nearly the whole cosmos during Fall Break. Even Professor Adams refused his extended right hand.

Gilbert Allen's most recent collection of poems is Catma, from Measure Press. His book of linked stories, The Final Days of Great American Shopping, was published by University of South Carolina Press in 2016. A frequent contributor to TPJ, he is a member of the South Carolina Academy of Authors and the Bennette E. Geer Professor of Literature Emeritus at Furman University.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Uncombed Days Hugh Cook On such a rainy day, On no one else’s bed, So many pillows. When I would choose you over And over, rather than even understand. We walked, finding beach-combed fetishes, Carried in a pocket where the zipper always stuck. Or you, pocketless, picked a shell, Carried by me. Always, found for me. Now I snatch these shells, Empty handed on the other, And watch rings flatten and disappear As they skip away. Among the creased, creamy rouge petals, And Ivy trees, a trail runs through you. I’m afraid it’s a circle.

Hugh Cook attends University of Santa Barbara, California, studying Writing and Literature. His poetry has been published in The Catalyst literary arts magazine.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Crumbs Maik Strosahl She waits, A silken silhouette in the window Of a bright sunshine, Staring at her empty plate, Contemplating another slice Toasted gold with light butter While the minutes tick away. His sits untouched, Darker brown with Margarine and marmalade Next to coffee no longer steaming— It will need warming When he gets here, Or maybe a fresh cup If he is willing to wait. He is always in a hurry when late, A bite of toast, A sip or two, Then quickly leading To the bedroom, Callous hands sliding roughly Under her robe, Across the softness of her hip, Pulling her in for Pressing kisses and… Not the tender love-making That swept her in, The promises of love and Life together As soon as he could Leave HER— Never even using her name anymore As his vows keep repeating, Becoming tired.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

As the sun continues Beyond her pane, She presses her finger Into the plate, Picking up each crumb And drawing them into her mouth. He is not coming. She rises, Pulls the kimono he gave her Into a lonely embrace, Shuffling off to Put on some clothes And ready for work. Later, He will call, Offer apology and excuse— Perhaps the child Had a fever this time— Her heart Will flutter again As she says She misses him. Across the line, The cumbersome silence. He clears his throat And says he has to go.

Michael E. Strosahl was born and raised in Moline, Illinois, just blocks from the Mississippi River. He has written poetry since youth, but became very active when he joined the Indiana poetry community. He has participated in poetry groups and readings from all parts of that state and at one time served as president of the Poetry Society of Indiana. Maik currently resides in Anderson, Indiana.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

The War Against Cliché Michael Estabrook Sitting out under the new big red umbrella in Dave’s back yard reading Martin Amis’s “The War Against Cliché” when suddenly floating in on the wind coming down off Mount Diablo it occurs to me that my life has slipped by and I hardly even noticed. So I wonder can I do anything different like start all over at 62 or am I stuck here where I am now for the duration? I don’t know and the wind says “What do you want to do that’s different at this rather late stage of your life?” I’m silent for a long time like the wind should be. I’m thinking, “Well, nothing new really. I’d like to write a better poem.” “So do it,” the wind sneers. “I don’t know how,” I sneer back. Finally silence from the stupid wind. Then I recall how Dr. Moyer at Harvard once told us that he began learning the violin at age 80: “You’re never too old to learn,” he said. “So, I guess there’s time yet for you after all,” the wind speaks up again, even after I’ve asked it politely to mind its own damn business. 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

Poem on Demand Robbi Nester Because you didn’t have the words, you asked for mine. I was glad to listen to your story, glad you wished to honor your anniversary with something no one else could buy. You remember her wedding dress, the blue of storm clouds spilling rain. A doctor in an ICU, she spends her days tending to others, mending broken bodies with the smallest of stitches. She has told you how the heartbeat echoes in the vaulted nave of the ribcage, how the lungs swell like twin sails, says that spending so much time inside the body has made her feel that everyone is kin. She prefers gardening to books, trusting the wisdom of her hands. Though you wield no scalpel, you know her calypso heart, the dark red of a gladiola. Relishing the access to the mind I get from writing, I too feel I know her, that no one can ever truly be a stranger.

Robbi Nester is the author of three books of poetry, a chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012), and two collections—A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014) and Other-Wise (Kelsay, 2017). A new collection, Narrow Bridge, will be published late this year by Main Street Rag. She has also edited two anthologies: The Liberal Media Made Me Do It! (Nine Toes, 2014) and an online Ekphrastic ebook, Over the Moon: Birds, Beasts, and Trees—celebrating the photography of Beth Moon, which was published as a special edition of Poemeleon poetry journal. Her reviews, poems, essays, and articles have appeared widely, in many journals and anthologies and on a number of webblogs and websites. She currently lives in California.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Caring is Sharing Jared Pearce When she’s ill she naps On my side of the bed, Laying down a hazy layer Of disease into which I Drop myself and where Their bodies leach Onto me, their cilia Stroke my throat, my head Aches under their whanging Flagella, their noodles Canoodle me to dawn When she rises and asks how I slept because she’s feeling So much better now. Jared Pearce used this poem to consider what it's like to love and share illness, which is dreadfully weird, he thinks. He currently resides in Iowa, and his debut poetry collection, The Annotated Murder of One, is due from Aubade Press this year (http://www.aubadepublishing.com/annotated-murder-ofone).

Grandma’s Braids Joyce Schmid “I once had thick, long braids like you,” she said, “that color, too. I’ve saved them in the attic and when you get older, you can wear them twisted in with yours.” My hair is now the short, gray hair she wore that day, before her brain glazed over leaving just an empty smile. I never had the chance to borrow them. But I can picture those long braids I never got to see, plump and shiny, swinging as she danced.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

American Singers Joyce Schmid My father had a caged canary, yellow as a buttercup. I’d watch him hop from perch to perch and back again. It didn’t seem unnatural, then, to keep a living thing with wings in such a little space. He never sang for me, but only for my father when he played the violin. I used to listen to the two of them and cry.

Joyce Schmid’s recent work has appeared in Tipton Poetry Review, Missouri Review, Poetry Daily, New Ohio Review, Sugar House Review, and other journals and anthologies. She lives in Palo Alto, California, with her husband of over half a century.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Rosalita William Greenway I almost cried when I saw her front bashed in. Salsa Red said the sticker when she was new, with sewn leather seats, and six cylinders I punched to pass the punks. Why did I never name her? Something Spanish would have fit: crimson lipped, sex and leather scented, six discs revolving Springsteen songs, at 130K still humming like a great contralto. She never gave me reason to cuss her, and I thought she’d outlive me. Instead, she’s now an organ donor in some junkyard, though I hope she’ll be waiting for me in automotive heaven, her paint job fading to pink in the sun, the stereo still blasting the habanera from Carmen, greatest hits by Asleep at the Wheel, and “Born to Run.”

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Tipton Poetry Journal

All Through the Night William Greenway No atheists in foxholes nor near the flames of infant fevers. Guardian angels around my bed sang Mario Lanza (written by Harpo Marx!) on old black, shellac 78s. Only a fool would still believe in those old wives’ tales, but, growing up in a holy-ghost-haunted house, how to outgrow them? No more kneeling by the bedside, no Brahms lullaby, no Welsh grandfather singing sleep my child and peace attend thee, all through the night. But how I miss those lilies of the field, hairs numbered, sparrows falling. Now, my daughter sleeping in the next room, I’d give the rest of my life, even sell my soul to some devil or other, for--round her bed, wielding swords, all of them flaming--legions of the angels I don’t believe in.

William Greenway’s newest book, Everything We Bring, All We Leave Behind, is forthcoming from Main Street Rag, and he has poems forthcoming from The Southern Review. His Selected Poems is from FutureCycle Press, and his twelfth collection, The Accidental Garden, is from Word Press. His publications include American Poetry Review, Poetry, Missouri Review, Southern Review, Georgia Review, Southern Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, and Shenandoah. He has won the Helen and Laura Krout Memorial Poetry Award, the Larry Levis Editors’ Prize from Missouri Review, the Open Voice Poetry Award from The Writer's Voice, the State Street Press Chapbook Competition, an Ohio Arts Council Grant, an Academy of American Poets Prize, and been named Georgia Author of the Year. He is a Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus at Youngstown State University in Ohio.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Vacuuming Your Cat Timothy Pilgrim Begin with a long hose, canister in closet, door nearly closed. Overcoming hatred takes time. Use the nozzle meant for blinds, bristles black like Hitler's hair. Or don't. Your hose alone will scare her. Sidle up as if searching for a spot to wash yourself in morning sun. The hose will appear more normal. Pet her side with a free hand. The vacuum should be running. Sneak in a single stroke with the Hitler wand. But only one. If the cat remains, watch her tail. Swishing may mean trouble. Repeat daily even it it rains. Pretend to be looking for a place to stash your hose for good. Consider yourself lucky if she is fooled. Keep at it, without variation. Remember, Darwin had no clue as to why cats hate vacuums. After a week, you may break through. If so, stroke both her sides, maybe tail. But, do not vacuum ears. And, don't misread your cat's purr. We all have growls for things we fear. [This poem was first published by Jeopardy, 2008—a student publication at Western Washington University.]

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Fitting End Timothy Pilgrim This being America, everyone’s been offed, mostly shot. We grabbed Colts, Berettas, Glocks — fitting end for love, friendship, forgiveness, trust. We blew away rapists, burglars, thugs. Those of different skin or faith, friends we hate, our boss. Knocked off liars, waiters who whine, text a lot, shoppers ramming carts, stopping mid-aisle to tweet, flipping us off. Cheating lovers, drivers who stink-eye, speed, pass. We blasted telemarketers last. Every trial, over in a flash. Defendants, lawyers, all were snuffed. Even judges wasted jurors waving guns. [This poem was first published by Mad Swirl.]

Timothy Pilgrim, a Pacific Northwest poet with over 410 acceptances by journals such as Seattle Review, Cirque, San Pedro River Review, Toasted Cheese, Windsor Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, and Third Wednesday and is author of "Mapping water" (Flying Trout Press, 2016) and co-author of Bellingham poems (2014). His work is at www.timothypilgrim.org.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

The Unremembered Donna Pucciani In the beginning were the poor, and the poor were with God, and the poor were God. We are all here, sent from God, with names unknown on heaven and earth. At the homeless shelter, there was a man, one sent from God, who had no name. Tuesday dawn, among the soiled sheets, he came to me, his turbaned head hooded, his large frame bundled for subzero. My feet hurt. His shoes were too small. I ransacked a closet of pillows and blankets. No shoes. I am sad. He bows, thanks me, carries his dolor out into the snow. We are all here, sent from God, who has forgotten our names in heaven and on earth.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Mama Said Donna Pucciani “Put those shoes on, girl! You gonna get tetanus!” She was sure I’d step on a rusty nail, fall victim to lockjaw, die of sepsis. At nine, I knew better. I shuffled the dusty New Orleans streets, listening to my shoeless leathery soles slap the hot pavement on my way for a grape popsicle at the corner store. In the backwash of every hurricane, I’d wade through knee-high grayish water, feeling the rush of worms under my toes. Now and then, I’d run damply through the spray of a mosquito truck; a pair of Buster Browns could never save me from carcinogenic poisons. When Mama took her afternoon nap, dreaming her Scarlett O’Hara dreams among the moss-flown plantations, my soft white feet burned in the tropical sun while I chased frogs in the St. Augustine grass, prickly with the promise of freedom. Later, while the grownups cracked crawfish on newspaper and drank beer into the dusk, I sat on a curb to pick thorns and bits of pebble from the balls of my intractable feet.

Donna Pucciani, a Chicago-based writer, has published poetry worldwide in such diverse publications as Shi Chao Poetry, Istanbul Literary Review, Poetry Salzburg, The Pedestal, and Journal of Italian Translation. Her most recent book of poems is EDGES.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

黄金的宫殿之海

远红日 快乐是天堂的记忆 而灵魂是甜美的太阳 在死亡的画布之上 你涂抹诸神的笑容 哦 那是光 光之蜜 如果你听见了天国的乐曲 那是黄金的宫殿之海 在蓝宝石的太空之上

The Sea of The Golden Palace Hongri Yuan Translated by Yuanbing Zhang Happiness is the memory of heaven And the soul is as sweet as the sun. On the canvas of the death you daub a smile from the gods. Oh, that is the light! The light of honey. If you can hear the heavenly hymns that is the sea from that golden palace lapping sapphire over eternal universe.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

星际的王国

远红日 有时我看到天空向我微笑 那淸澈的空明 花朵的云儿 仿佛我那古老的灵魂 注视着我在人间的身影 这脚下的大地是一艘巨轮 正在驶向星际的王国 那些巨人们居住的城市 在没有尘埃的银河上绽放

The Interstellar Kingdom Hongri Yuan Translated by Yuanbing Zhang Sometimes I see the sky smiling at me The limpidity spirit and flower clouds such as the old soul of mine watch my shadow on the earth The ground beneath my feet like a colossal ship toward the Interstellar Kingdom Those cities where giants dwell blossom on the dustless Milky Way.

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.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Barstool Chatter at the Chatterbox Jazz Tavern Norbert Krapf So my son Daniel, sipping a Miller Lite, says from his barstool to Helmut, dialect poet and playwright from Germany: "Dad gets excited about social media, posts, and then archives it." Then Helmut, sipping a Guinness, says to me with an ironic smile from his barstool: "That's very German!" And I, German-American writer sipping a draft of an Upside Down Blonde, say from my barstool with a grin to Helmut: "You're gonna have to work on your archiving!" No smart phone ever found its way into my Franconian poet and playwright pal's jeans pocket! Meanwhile, Rob Dixon, the Musical Mayor of Indianapolis on the nearby tiny stage, moistens the reed on his saxophone, inhales, and blows us all away, as we nod our heads to his pulsating beat. We three float into the foamy Indian summer night up and down a blinking red and blue Massachusetts Avenue.

Former Indiana Poet Laureate Norbert Krapf is the author of eleven poetry collections and the forthcoming "Cheerios in Tuscany: A Laureate’s Poems for Ecstatic Grandparents." He is the winner of a Glick Indiana Author Award, a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. He collaborates with bluesman Gordon Bonham.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

My Brother’s Room Maryfrances Wagner The Vargas playing cards lounged on his dresser where anyone could find them. By the time I was seven, I had combed his room daily for licorice, Juicy Fruit gum, and the unfamiliar. I read his pirate paperbacks, examined whatever he left out: emerald cuff links, ticket stubs, glass bowl of trinkets, a girl’s earring. I wondered where he went every night in a clean shirt my mother pressed. Stay out of my room, he said. Nothing in here for you to see. Ten years older, he was choosing colleges with swimming scholarships and getting calls from girls he met at dances. I still dressed paper dolls and drew on a magic window. The deck of Vargas cards was not like the ones my parents used when they played pinochle. On every card, a see-through body stocking, negligee, or skimpy swimsuit barely covered a shapely woman, some wearing little more than a big hat and high heels. Some held props – a teacup, an umbrella, a pumpkin, a bow and arrow. I sorted them side-by-side on his bed, getting an idea aof how men expected women to look. When my mother found me, she shooed me out. You know your brother doesn’t want you in here. The next day when I foraged, the Vargas girls were gone, but I found a folded packet and opened it. When my mother appeared, I held it up, Look! Look at this little white balloon. Maryfrances Wagner ‘s books include Salvatore’s Daughter, Light Subtracts Itself, Red Silk (Thorpe Menn Book Award), Dioramas (Mammoth) and Pouf (FLP). Poems have appeared in New Letters, Midwest Quarterly, Laurel Review, Bearing Witness, The Dream Book, An Anthology of Writings by Italian American Women (American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation). She lives in Independence, Missouri and co-edits I-70 Review.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Ageism Judy Kronenfeld Crippled by arthritis, but hanging on, she’s all akimbo, ears pinned back, eyes riveted on me, legs at stiff obtuse angles, like a possessed dog in a horror movie. Or her feet splay like novice ice-skaters’, and her rear end drips to the floor and she puddles into it, settled for a moment as if she chose resting, until she tries to rise, nails scrabbling on the tile like seismograph needles—a sound I can barely stand. She no longer bounds up, hearing us rattle the leash and keys, and walks behind us on her walk, slow as a felon on the way to the chair. No more communing— knee licks, soulful looks, racing into the room I’m in—or cozying up to guests, so they want to take her home. Instead, she hangs out in our bedroom, all alone, and drools on the hand-made rug which blooms with moist discolored circles, like impetigo that dries and re-forms.

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Tipton Poetry Journal I’ve wrapped her pain meds in hot dogs, butter, cream-cheese, cheddar, pricey pill pockets, hickory-smoke flavor, but she gulps the package, and hides the spat-out pill for our later find. Her housebreaking’s broken: her chosen spot for number two is now—Good Morning!— in the breakfast room. Was this relationship signed on for better or worse? There are times, touching her, I feel repulsed—like those who never liked dogs. Namer and master, I contemplate arranging over and out. Or, I could begin to train myself to love her in her brokenness— as you and I, Pet, must do with one another, and so soon.

Judy Kronenfeld is the author of six collections of poetry including Bird Flying through the Banquet (FutureCycle, 2017), Shimmer (WordTech, 2012), and Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths, 2nd edition (Antrim House, 2012)—winner of the 2007 Litchfield Review Poetry Book Prize. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Calyx, Cider Press Review, Cimarron Review, DMQ Review, Hiram Poetry Review, Natural Bridge, The Pedestal, Poetry International, Valparaiso Poetry, The Women’s Review of Books, Ghost Town, Rattle and in more than twenty anthologies. She is Lecturer Emerita, Creative Writing Department, University of California, Riverside, and an Associate Editor of the online poetry journal, Poemeleon.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

The Man Who Knew One Joke Steve Klepetar I only know one joke, unlike those guys who tell a million different ones, about God and Moses and Jesus playing golf, or about Saint Peter and the Pearly Gates, or about the guy who goes to the psychiatrist or the farmer’s daughter. One joke, that’s it. I tell it all the time. A duck walks into a bar, asks the bartender if he’s got any grapes. “Grapes?” says the surly barkeep. “This is a bar, pal, not a fucking fruit stand. I got whisky, I got beer. You want grapes, I got wine.” Duck turns away, walks out. Next night at exactly the same time the duck is back. “Got any grapes?” “Listen, shit-for-brains,” the bartender says, “I told you last night. This is a bar, not a fruit store. And you’re really getting on my nerves. You come in here again asking for grapes, I’ll nail your fucking webs to the bar.” Duck waddles out, but next night, same time, he’s back. “Got any nails?” he asks. Barkeep says no. Duck says “Got any grapes?” It’s not really a funny joke, a little crude with its atmosphere of violence, and that unhappy bartender in what sounds like a failing, working class bar, in some neighborhood that’s gentrifying, so people are drinking at the wine bars or martini bars along the avenue, and his marriage is on the rocks, what with money problems and trying to make the mortgage every month. One of his sons is over in Afghanistan and the other one sells drugs when he bothers to get out of bed or quits playing video games. So you can see why this duck is pissing him off, with his taunting about grapes and nails, and how much better it would be if I could tell the one about God and Moses and Jesus playing golf, where Jesus finally says “Cut the crap, Dad. We’re playing for money.”

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Tipton Poetry Journal

By the Way Steve Klepetar “Today there has been so much talk of things exploding.” —Wendy Xu

So much talk, and news spins and burns, fizzles and reignites into strange new things. Tongues are everywhere, some speaking of love, some arguing that love does not exist. Others trace the history of stars. Still, people wander through the park holding hands. Squirrels scrabble up the oaks. A blue balloon comes to rest on a high branch. Some see meaning in the smallest signs, and you’ve got to admit the world is weirder than you ever thought beyond the dim magnification of your eyes (which are beautiful, by the way, glinting as they do in starlight with flecks of gold).

Steve Klepetar has recently relocated to the Berkshires in Massachusetts after 36 years in Minnesota. His work has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, including three in 2017. Recent collections include A Landscape in Hell (Flutter Press), How Fascism Comes to America (Locofo Chaps), and Why Glass Shatters (One Sentence Chaps).

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Tipton Poetry Journal

A Russell’s Viper Carl Lindquist My elderly neighbor ran to my door screaming. “He is on the front stoop! Come and see!” She carried me by the arm to the front of her house. On the red oxide floor I saw the brown chain of diamonds covering the spine, a geometric coat zippered over the long gray body, the spongy cheeks and robust head. It was a Russell’s Viper, the world’s deadliest snake in number of fatalities. Clumsy in appearance, but fast and aggressive. “It’s okay, Auntie,” I said. “We’ll get rid of him.” I raced to the market to ask where I could find a snake man. A crowd gathered around my query. Opinions varied on whom I should call. Shridar, owner of the wine shop, made the final decision, and picked up his phone. “Snake man will be there in ten minutes only,” he announced.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

I returned to Auntie’s stoop. Frantic, she watched the reptile. Our viper chose to slither along the corner of the house and disappear into the back garden. The snake man arrived, carrying sticks and a canvas bag. We directed him toward the garden. Within minutes he returned, bag over shoulder, smiling, perfect teeth shining like polished ivory. “Five hundred rupees only.” Auntie talked him down to three hundred. Later that night I awoke from a dream: a seashore, a Greek chorus, Auntie’s screaming. And it occurred to me I should have checked the snake man’s bag.

Carl Lindquist is a US citizen who has lived for many years in India, where he teaches creative writing, humanities, studio art, and heritage studies at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore. His work draws upon Indian culture as well as his childhood and young adult years living in the American South.

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Ingestion Tanya Pilumeli We covered our grief with paper bag book covers so we didn’t offend the neighbors. My disquiet was quiet, like a refusal to wear legwarmers in the Christmas parade or broken shin guards hidden under the tennis balls. Sometimes I would pretend I’d survived the Holocaust because I was too beautiful, but I thought beauty was a dream filled with gingerbread houses you couldn’t touch. All our siding was real and intact. It wasn’t until my Grandma showed me how to plug a hole in burnt siding with Tootsie Rolls that I even knew what a lie was, and by then I was watching her die as I painted white over the sticky putty. I didn’t realize I would poison all my honey when the bees came. I came so close to eating with the wrong fork, but we only had one type of fork on the table, and I didn’t know then how to eat with my hands. I was so afraid I would starve.

Tanya Pilumeli has an M.A. in English from John Carroll University. She is a poet, writer, and English instructor at Lakeland Community College and owner with her husband of Alessandro’s, a Italian restaurant on Lake Erie in Ashtabula, Ohio. She has three children, Giuseppe, Violetta, and Dionisio. Her poetry has appeared in Tipton Review, Wild Violet, The Blue Collar Review, Blaze Vox, and other places. She was a winner of a Lakeland Poetry prize, Blue Collar Review winner, and a first place winner in Time of Singing.

the application John Sweet here, now, at this moment, in this place, i am a headful of poetry and a mouthful of blood

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Tipton Poetry Journal

i am the silence after the fire am approaching despair from a great distance, at a great speed can no longer remember myself being any other way

He is dreaming of solitude but is still some distance from the sea John Sweet closed my eyes for just a second, and summer was gone forgot my children’s faces forgot their names and the sky without color the same war as yesterday ten more dead or a hundred or a thousand and in the end no one really cares heads filled with glue and smiles like broken glass try to explain this to your lover tell her why you hate yourself deserted streets in a

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Tipton Poetry Journal town with no future but at least we’ve got the internet laws to obey drugs to help pass the time and i closed my eyes for just a second i locked the door behind me but the house was in flames the children were asleep nothing to do but wish them luck and run

in this field of broken glass where the horses are being starved John Sweet these houses in this white haze of september with their shadows spilling out towards the edge of town with their ghosts exiled to fields of ruin their windows broken their sounds the sounds of misplaced childhoods the boy left to die in the side yard the mother drowning the dreaming and all of us guilty you saw the bruises you heard the screams walked to the store while the factories burned and the river ran red with blood or you sat in the darkness behind the gas station with

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Tipton Poetry Journal the smell of garbage pressed tight against every window and your mouth thick with the taste of someone else's wife you were the town and the town was fading i was my father without explanation his hands and his fear and his endless self-hatred his infinite self-pity and i argued politics with the deaf and i explained picasso to the blind and we ended up alone in windowless rooms we were sold as slaves or we bought the flesh of others called it love and the clocks ran backwards and i sat at my desk considering suicide i sat in my car with my eyes closed with the days growing shorter and all of these streets as empty and ugly as i remembered them and none of them going anywhere none of us loved nothing to do but turn away from ourselves and drive

John Sweet’s recent collection, HEATHEN TONGUE, was just published by Kendra Steiner Editions in a limited edition. He currently resides in New York.

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Coma Frances Ruhlen McConnel On the first day, a blanket of stillness, his hands like hands carved in stone, eyelids egg-smooth as if who he is has plunged down through body, thin mattress narrow steel bed, tile floor, concrete of hospital foundations, cold granite beneath, flows somewhere underground. Second day, his right foot stirs a millimeter. Third day, his left leg thrashes, snake-like, in slow motion. A grimace as if a fly had landed on his cheek. Fourth day, he nods yes to your question; yes, he knows you, though yes is his default mode. His hand in your hand. still neutral as a book, a glove, a ladle. Fifth day, he shakes his head no, No, he is not in pain. Though he never admits to pain.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Sixth day, he shrugs. A shrug! You’d asked if Alan came to read him the Tuesday Science section of The New York Times beside him on the bed. He starts to shake his head, pauses, shrugs. Gladness blossoms. There is thought in a shrug. On the sixth day, he opens his eyes.

Frances Ruhlen McConnel is retired from teaching in the Creative Writing Program at the University of California in Riverside. She is co-chair of Claremont Public Library’s poetry reading series which regularly features winners of the Kingsley Tufts Award and other highly respected poets. She has published two full books of poetry, edited a poetry anthology, and has a chapbook coming out from Kelsay Books in 2019.

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Before the Invention of Clocks Jenny Kalahar Before the invention of clocks we knew May at noon by the pure breeze-yellow of daffodils, and on what day in May we’d risen by the degree of wilt clinging to each moist bloom Before clocks hung on walls or sat on shelves we knew January by the scent of the third layer of snow crusty underfoot with pulverized breadflour sprinkled on top, the bareness of branches, the way our fireside snapped and roared Before clocks tocked we knew it was time for love when our arms began to ache and pull towards someone we’d been admiring, as if at birth a muscle had been generated cell by cell by cell for this purpose alone Before minute hands, and seconds we knew when to eat by an empty yearning for company over a slow, dusk-sky meal, a want of talking to someone of fields and crops, oceans and long, dirt roads and for silent sips of warmth Before clocks stared with blank faces into ours we knew it was time for death by the fullness of our hearts no longer seeking another morning no longer reaching for the fruit above our heads. We knew something else was waiting we knew when it was time

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Tipton Poetry Journal

This Will Be My Progression into Dementia

Jenny Kalahar I remember writing this before The noon was blue and full, liquid ocean lapping at the edges I remember writing this before The sand shone brightly, sparkling with gulls, flying with a life I wanted I remember writing this before Cats purring into seashells, recording words that I could listen to at home I remember writing this before Breathing through my pencil, taking notes on how to heartbeat I think I remember writing this before Riding pillows to my childhood years in dreams and drips and drops I may remember writing this before Forgetting all my lines when yearning to say I love I forget if I’ve written this before Forget if noon is blue or golden, dry or liquid all around I forget if sand glistens, sparkles Or if it sits dully beneath my hands I can’t remember any particular cats who’ve come into my life Or if I have a husband now, or if I had a wife I don’t remember any dreams, or if dreams ever had come I do not bring them back with me to here and now from then But I remember that I’ve felt true love, just not to who or when So sit beside me, stranger, on this blue sand, at noon, till death Jenny Kalahar is a used and rare bookseller in Elwood, Indiana with her husband, Patrick. She is the author of four novels, a collection of poetry, a children's story/poem book, and an anthology of her Tails Magazine columns. Jenny is on the executive board of the Poetry Society of Indiana and is their publisher, helms Last Stanza Poetry Association, and has begun work as the president of the Youth Poetry Society of Indiana.

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Ides of March with Grandchildren Joan Colby She’s assembled an album of her life so far; Smiling toddler on a fat pony To black-gloved softball star. Sixteen, Flame-haired. Eyes of blue fire. He’s finished a research study On the negative implications of fracking. How water will be the critical issue By mid-century. I won’t be here to see If the girl designs innovative Products, if the boy discovers The secret of cheap desalination. They loom over me, tall and slim, As I shrink into their DNA, A froth of genes they’ll carry Into the future. We chat Forking eggs benedict on a sunny morning In the small café adorned with prints Of dead authors.How we take for granted What seems suddenly marvelous As the tiny clenched buds on the potted trees, Or the books shelved in the adjacent shop, Or the black locust waving its wizard arms Or the lemon slice in the water glass Or all the acts of love.

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102 Degrees Joan Colby Step outside into the water-laden air. Swim through Queen Anne’s Lace, day lilies, Chicory. Cross the road To the rusted mailbox where Only bills await you. Remember as a child, you slept On the screened porch as fireflies Winked above the phlox. The air stirred. Heat lightning anchored the horizon. You ran cold Water on your wrists, sucked ice cubes, Waved the Japanese fan With its flamboyant peonies. Your mother smoked Camels, flapped her cotton dress Over her knees. You held Sticks of punk to combat mosquitoes. That was heat. Walk back along the curdling blacktop. Even the birds are silent. In the house, a metallic winter Makes your cheekbones ache. Open the windows. Sweat bees gather Beneath the hanging baskets of begonias.

Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, etc. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She has published 21 books including Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press, which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and Ribcage from Glass Lyre Press, which has been awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. Her most recent book Her Heartsongs is available from Presa Press. Colby is also an associate editor of Good Works Review and FutureCycle Press.

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Tipton Poetry Journal

Review: Floodwater by Connie Post Reviewed by Dan Carpenter

Title: Floodwater Author: Connie Post Year: 2014 Publisher: Glass Lyre Press

Much-honored California poet Connie Post’s Floodwater collection wastes no time alerting readers that they’re in Godforsaken territory. The title poem, also the book’s opener, presents the desperate spectacle of a house filling and flooding and drowning its occupants, even though “there is no water” as well as no way out. What there also is not is the conventional source of help. Oh, there’s a lifeguard – who’s “in an irreversible coma” and “has forgotten / how to survive/ in a room / with no air.” No hope, in short, and no Jesus to bring redemption. Such is the arid, treacherous but still somehow beloved world that Post invites us to plunge into; and considerable are the intellectual, moral and aesthetic rewards that await the intrepid. Carrying on with no light visible up ahead, and staying alert for grudging glimmers of grace along the way, constitute the prevailing theme of Post’s second book. Often, the poet reaches deep inward to find the lamp, as in “A Road of My Own.” “. . . where the stones have not been counted

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I want to walk on dirt that has fallen from the back side of reality where the soil is the color of shaman’s blood I need to hold a compass that has forgotten the way home and points south of shame”

Shame is a self-judgment in a Godless universe; and it’s akin to a wide range of other feelings the poet shares – fear, tenderness, wonderment, most of all loss – in that she’s driven by them to elevate the personal mode to downright scary heights of imagistic exploitation. Post astonishes here. Her metaphors and conceits for the body, mind and desires are as inspired, as arrestingly out-ofnowhere, as anything you’ll find this side of abstract freeassociation poetry. tongue”

“I was hungry once / I let the earth’s crust / melt over my “I drank the sky today / emulsified blue / frosty, hazy shake”

“There are stars in our veins . . . there are meteors in the pulse of the neck” “I open a scarf . . . like the ways I cannot unfold you”

And then there is the plea to a handyman, “. . . standing here in the hallway searching for a crow bar a drill a sturdy platform of granite anything that might help me lift these broken beams that look too much like my splintered bones”

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Sometimes, I daresay, the trick doesn’t work; she overreaches or just fails to get the wax-winged contraption airborne. An example of the former is “Extremities,” which begins with “You can lose body parts / crossing a city street” and ends with “as if all those pieces you’ve / picked up along the way / were never you.” The latter lapse I found in “I Need to Make Something,” about the writer’s attempt to console herself after a funeral by purchasing a store’s entire stock of artificial flowers “as if they too – could pretend / we are perennial.” “As if.” As if the reader, like the cashier a few lines earlier who looks at the customer “like I’m crazy,” needs help seeing where the synthetic shopping spree is going. It seems inevitable that this spate of auto-reflection would feature a poem titled “Self Exam.” But here as elsewhere, imagination and deft orchestration of concrete detail raise the confessional to the universal: “each moment becomes a mother, aunt, sister a mastectomy, a passing worry an unhealed incision an unborn regret”

Lest there be any doubt as to her capacity for thought beyond her four airless walls, Post devotes several poems to the sorrows and sufferings of fellow humans whose plight she gleaned from news accounts. She clearly is haunted by the rape of a 10year-old girl in Sierra Leone and the ravages of war on civilians in Iraq, and she conveys her anger and identification with a harsh eloquence worthy of Denise Levertov or Carolyn Forche. “I walk down the streets of my town wondering where I might hide if I were a young girl in Sierra Leone I hear my footsteps like a loss that has its own rhythm”

It is significant that in both these cries de coeur Post employs refrains of simple piety from the Roman Catholic Mass, dona nobis pacem (give us your peace) and Kyrie eleison (Lord have mercy). This is mockery without sarcasm and without

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Tipton Poetry Journal cynicism, a good and Godless mortal’s chant into the void. As the African rape victim “sings / over and over / ‘dona nobis pacem’ / in the dark,” so we sing with the innocents of Iraq “Kyrie eleison for the sun who will someday swallow this earth and the ground who will no longer be silenced” Such aphoristic incantation abounds in this collection, and speaks to the soulfulness that distinguishes it from so much competent and forgettable domestic verse. This is a personal poet for whom everything is personal. Whitmanesque, yes, with gritty resolve in place of the rapture. Witness the opening and closing lines of my hard-chosen favorite of these, “Not Like the Rest:” “I have never had a pedicure I do not want anyone else hovering around my feet – to come close enough to smell the blood I have walked upon from the roads of centuries passed I am too afraid, they will find ancient bone fragments between my toes, realize I am not from this time ... “I wake to hot coals placed in distinct line across the floor of my bedroom I avoid them on the way to the shower but traveling back I fall – and later much explain to the mute man at the grocery counter why my hands are burned beyond recognition”

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Tipton Poetry Journal You can call this one any way you wish: a Christ fixation or empathy on steroids. By the time I reached this testament, the fifth poem from the end of Floodwater, my regard for the poet and her Delphic gifts were such that I would grant her both indulgences as high risks triumphantly taken. She has ferried us to the place where Dante was warned to “Abandon All Hope” and has answered Camus’ modern call to trade hope for courage. Her eloquence is the more satisfying for being well-earned, the song all the sweeter when, as in “Sierra Leone,” one is left “wondering where the last singer has gone.”

Connie Post served as Poet Laureate of Livermore, California (2005 to 2009). Connie’s work has appeared dozens of journals, including Calyx, Comstock Review, Crab Creek Review, Pedestal, Cold Mountain Review, Slipstream, River Styx, Spillway Spoon River Poetry Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review and Tipton Poetry Journal. She has written seven books of poetry. Her first full length book Floodwater (Glass Lyre Press 2014) won the Lyrebird Award. Her other awards include the 2017 Prick of the Spindle Poetry competition, the Caesura Award and the 2016 Crab Creek Poetry Award.

Dan Carpenter is an Indianapolisbased 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: The Annotated Murder of One by Jared Pearce Reviewed by Barry Harris Title: The Annotated Murder of One Author: Jared Pearce Publication Date: September 7, 2018 Publisher: Aubade Publishing Pre-order from Amazon

Jared Pearce’s collection, The Annotated Murder of One, is unified around the lyrics of a Counting Crows song, “A Murder of One.” The lyrics, written by Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz, are poetry all by themselves. Pearce, an associate professor at William Penn University, uses the titles, lines and phrases from the song to build a new construct, one that not only illuminates Duritz’ lyrics by shining new light on them, but also manages to reflect their meaning into the kaleidoscope bits he creates with the poems in this collection. Every word in the song makes its way into poem titles. It helps, but isn’t required, to have a passing familiarity with the song lyrics. When you buy the book, the lyrics are helpfully included near the back for reference. If you want an advance peek at the lyrics while reading this review, you can find them here: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/countingcrows/murderofone.ht ml. The song lyrics contain a modified version of a traditional English nursery rhyme, “One for Sorrow,” a counting song about magpies in England and later crows in America. This also is the source of the musical group’s name: “Counting Crows.” Each of

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Tipton Poetry Journal these lines (from numbers one through seven) find themselves as entire poems with multiple sections. Nearly all of the sections in these poems are sonnets. The first, “One for Sorrow,” appears to be about a couple, one a lung cancer patient and the other her love who stands together with her in their life together: “The only truth: death burned / It’s mark upon the pair of them.” “Two for Joy” is a twosectioned poem whose section 1 begins “I married you, I wanted to marry / You: sprung-trap of my loneliness.” Section 2 is its bitter companion. The red-hot branding iron of your initial – It was that sting, that hiss of singing Ran me in your holding pen, raising Dust, trotting up the trough, Then the narrow shoot, the long haul, Then the hammer, then the saw, all The while that dumb smile on my mute jaw.

In “Three for Girls,” three sonnets tell of a fledgling but growing love, one that began with youthful cruelty: “Trashing the toy ring, teasing the fealty / of the hashed-out sonnets jammed / Down your rusty locker, rejecting each / Door I propped open.” That love transforms through musical images of seeking harmony and crescendo but concluding that “We were each attempting to solo / Pull new selves from the whistling air.” Finally in the third sonnet, “Your eyes bang on me like hammers / Twisting my face to tragedy or wide / Into farce, and your creamy hands ride / My length like anvils. . .” “Four for Boys” are four sonnets, directed at four youthful friends and exploring how love ties each to the poet through different aspects of their friendships. “Five for Silver” consists of five poems stitched together with recurring images of Sun and Moon, God, an argument, an absence, and grace. The storyline starts with: The Sun must rise against this dark of night, Where the holy Moon glimmers atop us As if God strolled through the evening, hoping To catch us out of nest, our wings banged in, With His flashlight. . .

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You left in the morning, the Moon’s train Draping you as a schoolyard ghost. . . I wrestled light: I grappled and pinned The Sun against heaven’s curvature, I stuck the Earth’s face with luminescence, Only to drive again the pain of your absence.

By the fifth section, whatever the cause of the argument, it seems to reach resolution with a grace note. Your grace’s feast shut against what I’d done. Yet here comes Moon, her loving dispersion Smoothly wearing, just as smoke and the dead Untwist the air and surrender their grip. “Six for Gold” contains six poems directed toward six named people from the poet’s past, including “6. for my evaluating students:” You called me a loser and a racist, like a man who after a long tryst strikes his lover so he can exist as love’s victor and learning’s exorcist.

And to cap off the number-counting sequences, Pearce offers up “Seven for Your Secret, Never to be Told,” a sonnet corona (where the last line of one sonnet becomes the first line of the next – and the first line of the first sonnet repeats as the last line of the final sonnet). There, we learned something, didn’t we? The corona’s titles are Marriage, Children, Manhood, Love, Understanding, Faith and Art. The song “A Murder of One” is ostensibly about seeing someone you really care about who is in a negative relationship – pleading with them to examine their life and perhaps change, perhaps with the singer. Because of how this collection is built on the skeleton of that song, the reader notices the expected images and brief references to birds, their nests, and how things weave together – all elements in both the poems and the skeletal song. The core sentiment of the Counting Crows song is perhaps expressed in this verse: There’s a bird that nests inside you

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Tipton Poetry Journal Sleeping underneath your skin When you open up your wings to speak I wish you’d let me in

What the reader may not expect are new or unfamiliar words. For example, Pearce drops the word syzygy on us in “Shame, Shame All Your Love” about the love for a woman that pulls the man into orbit around her. . . . Sick of circling, you get Hungry to crush her, to pin her, but save Yourself from that blame, holding the plight Of knowing you can’t get what you want By gravitational swing or dropping out, So stay caught in the syzygy of her name –

After we learn the meaning of syzygy, either in context or through a little side research, we are also faced with the word apricity, a little-used word that was first cited in, and perhaps invented for, an early 1623 English Dictionary. It means the warmth of the sun in winter. Pearce uses it in “Set in the Snow” to describe a seed sprouting in late winter. The heat tugs on Her head and feet, She pulls my way – A tendril apricity, Her heart hammering Its frozen clay.

These are poems that explore themes of love and friendship and family without any reluctance toward either stark honesty or vulnerable tenderness. There is also much mystery to ponder. From the opening poem, “When You Open Up Your Wings to Speak,” Pearce signals us toward the core of the song’s meaning. Her head clicks An angle away. She opens; An eddy of air.

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The murder’s over. All that darkness Drains into me –

Perhaps the murder of one does refer to the wasting of a life in a negative relationship, as hinted in the song. But in the very first poem, the poet presents the possibility that the murder happens instead when the “bird that nests inside you” opens her wings to let him in. And if that is the murder, who or what is murdered? That is the something that Jared Pearce invites us to ponder.

Jared Pearce’s poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, shortlisted for the Slate Roof and Blue Light Press competitions, and have won the BYU Studies Prize in Poetry. His poems have appeared in several journals in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The Annotated Murder of One is his debut poetry collection. He is an Associate Professor of English at William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

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, Writers‘ Bloc, and RedHeaded Stepchild.

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Review: Carrying Bodies by Timothy Robbins

Reviewed by Kylie Seitz

Title: Carrying Bodies Author: Timothy Robbins Publication: Oct 2018 Publisher: Main Street Rag Pre-order at discount rate

Through the collection Carrying Bodies by Timothy Robbins, readers catch glimpses of an identity shaped by love, sex, friendship, and family but also by loss and cruelty. As the title poem displays, we are shaped by the people of our pasts while at the same time we filter our memories of them into something sometimes altogether different. “…I remembered how different the bodies and the act of carrying had been in my head, lying on a futon before dawn…”

In that title poem, we see lovers described as corpses. The defining moments of their love, or at least their love-making, are drawn out before the reader amidst imagery of death and burials and dead-body removal. Within this poem, Robbins points to the heaviness of each body, each loss, each memory and to the idea of an expected numbness that never arrives. “...You’d think after a while I’d feel I was rolling heaps of dirt, pulling loads of dolls, carrying rolled up rugs that hid no murder victims. It wasn’t so. Not even for foes

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Tipton Poetry Journal Or strangers…”

This unshakeable sense of pain is reawakened throughout the book in all forms of relationships. Notably in “I Count Two Birds. How About You?,” we see this pain awaken with flash after flash of memories of lost lovers. “the one whose quiet turns me on the one whose noise doesn’t turn me on as much as I thought it would the one who I missed when he went extinct after two years of making me feel as valuable as the business suit he carefully removed…”

The bodies go beyond just these lovers, though. Every piece is shadowed by a piece of what is being carried through a multitude of human connections—both good and bad. We see the depth and familiarity of a twenty year marriage in “Focus/Falling”. “I adore the little yelp of distress when I lift the frames from his face, fold the temples and lay his sight next to mine.”

In “The Hall Walkers,” we see the pain of a child watching his mother mourn. “…In one room my mother sits alone for the first time in her life. The sensation is so foreign she can’t identify it.”

We see blossoming bonds between people who could have remained strangers in “Siam House.” “The first time we dined here, the waitress glided footless own from the wallpaper, chanting the menu, the wine list and later her grandkids’ names and grades…”

In “After Orlando,” we see hatred sowing sorrow and support after the Orlando nightclub shooting.

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Tipton Poetry Journal “Their anonymity becomes their beauty as they flank their slain friend’s mother, rubbing her arms as though the grief were in her triceps—as she once rubbed dirt from her son’s cheek.”

We even see pieces of literature, both secular and religious, being carried and referred to as they shape our understanding of an experience. Referring again in the title poem to the unfilled expectation of numbness, Robbins writes: “Not for the singer who looked suspisciously like Jesus, or the senator grimacing like Judas or the old man reeking like Lazarus…”

In all of these moments and more, Timothy Robbins opens our hearts to emotions, memories, and experiences that make us human. We see the bodies we ourselves carry reflected in each poem. In this, may we find ourselves more aware, compassionate, and empathic to the bodies, weights, and burdens that we all carry. Timothy Robbins teaches ESL. He has a B.A. in French and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics. His poems have appeared in Three New Poets, Slant, Main Street Rag, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Off The Coast and others. His collection Denny’s Arbor Vitae was published in 2017. His Carrying Bodies is due out from Main Street Rag in 2018. He lives with his husband of twenty years in Kenosha, Wisconsin, birthplace of Orson Welles. Kylie Seitz is assistant editor of the Tipton Poetry Journal, as well as Editor-inChief of Etchings Literary and Fine Arts Magazine at the University of Indianapolis. Despite being a double major in creative writing and professional writing at the University of Indianapolis, Kylie spends far too much of her time actively avoiding any actual writing, academic or otherwise. As such, she is currently mastering the arts of baking banana bread, sliding in her fluffy socks on hardwood floor (and sometimes the university’s tile hallways), and pulling sumo for deadlift.

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The Editors 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, Writers‘ Bloc, and Red-Headed Stepchild. One of his poems was 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.

Assistant Editor Kylie Seitz is assistant editor of the Tipton Poetry Journal, as well as Editor-in-Chief of Etchings Literary and Fine Arts Magazine at the University of Indianapolis. Despite being a double major in creative writing and professional writing at the University of Indianapolis, Kylie spends far too much of her time actively avoiding any actual writing, academic or otherwise. As such, she is currently mastering the arts of baking banana bread, sliding in her fluffy socks on hardwood floor (and sometimes the university’s tile hallways), and pulling sumo for deadlift.

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Contributor Biographies Gilbert Allen's most recent collection of poems is Catma, from Measure Press. His book of linked stories, The Final Days of Great American Shopping, was published by University of South Carolina Press in 2016. A frequent contributor to TPJ, he is a member of the South Carolina Academy of Authors and the Bennette E. Geer Professor of Literature Emeritus at Furman University. Carl Boon lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at 9 Eylül University. His poems have appeared in many magazines, including Posit, The Maine Review, and Diagram. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Boon recently edited a volume on the sublime in American cultural studies. Casey Carsel was born and raised in New Zealand. She is currently completing her Master of Fine Arts in Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been featured in Hamster, Meanwhile Gallery, and Window Online. Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, etc. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She has published 21 books including Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press, which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and Ribcage from Glass Lyre Press, which has been awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. Her most recent book Her Heartsongs is available from Presa Press. Colby is also an associate editor of Good Works Review and FutureCycle Press. Hugh Cook attends University of Santa Barbara, California, studying Writing and Literature. His poetry has been published in The Catalyst literary arts magazine. Paul R. Davis lives in Central New York with his wife, parrots, and cats. He worked as a faceless bureaucrat in an obscure Federal agency until he came to his senses and devoted his time to better pursuits. His work has been published in The Comstock Review, The Externalist, Centrifugal Eye, The Good Men Project, PoetryRepairs, Halcyon, Oddball Magazine, Moon Magazine, Carcinogenic Poetry, Red Fez, Third Wednesday, With Painted Words, and others. A simple inhalation and exhalation is life, and life itself is art. His poetic philosophy is: the joy of expression; the necessity of communication. 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 Jill Evans, also known as Jill Evans Petzall, makes documentary films, media art installations, writes poetry, and teaches about social justice from a female perspective. She is the winner of four Emmy Awards for her scripts and documentary films. Jill also designs and crafts one-of-a-kind jewelry in her company, Touchstones Designs. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and started her career in her 40s while raising three young children as a single mother. All her work is fueled by a graduate degree in Philosophy. Now in her 70s, she has just begun to publish the poetry that she has been writing all her life. William Greenway’s newest book, Everything We Bring, All We Leave Behind, is forthcoming from Main Street Rag, and he has poems forthcoming from The Southern Review. His Selected Poems is from FutureCycle Press, and his twelfth collection, The Accidental Garden, is from Word Press. His publications include American Poetry Review, Poetry, Missouri Review, Southern Review, Georgia Review, Southern Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, and Shenandoah. He has won the Helen and Laura Krout Memorial Poetry Award, the Larry Levis Editors’ Prize from Missouri Review, the Open Voice Poetry Award from The Writer's Voice, the State Street Press Chapbook Competition, an Ohio Arts Council Grant, an Academy of American Poets Prize, and been named Georgia Author of the Year. He is a Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus at Youngstown State University in Ohio. Thomas Hansen, Ph.D., is an Independent Consultant with a variety of roles in Education and Advocacy. One of his current areas of work is Grant Writing and another is Grant Reviewing. He also teaches courses in Education and Teacher Certification as an Adjunct Professor. He has had over 100 book and movie reviews published and over 40 articles, poems, and essays printed. He loves to write and is an avid reader. He currently resides in Illinois. Anastasia Jill (Anna Keeler) is a queer poet and fiction writer living in the southern United States. She is a current editor for the Smaeralit Anthology. Her work has been published or is upcoming with Poets.org, Lunch Ticket, FIVE:2:ONE, Ambit Magazine, apt, Into the Void Magazine, 2River, and more. Jenny Kalahar is a used and rare bookseller in Elwood, Indiana with her husband, Patrick. She is the author of four novels, a collection of poetry, a children's story/poem book, and an anthology of her Tails Magazine columns. Jenny is on the executive board of the Poetry Society of Indiana and is their publisher, helms Last Stanza Poetry Association, and has begun work as the president of the Youth Poetry Society of Indiana. Steve Klepetar has recently relocated to the Berkshires in Massachusetts after 36 years in Minnesota. His work has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, including three in 2017. Recent collections include A Landscape in Hell (Flutter Press), How Fascism Comes to America (Locofo Chaps), and Why Glass Shatters (One Sentence Chaps).

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Tipton Poetry Journal Former Indiana Poet Laureate Norbert Krapf is the author of eleven poetry collections and the forthcoming "Cheerios in Tuscany: A Laureate’s Poems for Ecstatic Grandparents." He is the winner of a Glick Indiana Author Award, a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. He collaborates with bluesman Gordon Bonham. Judy Kronenfeld is the author of six collections of poetry including Bird Flying through the Banquet (FutureCycle, 2017), Shimmer (WordTech, 2012), and Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths, 2nd edition (Antrim House, 2012)—winner of the 2007 Litchfield Review Poetry Book Prize. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Calyx, Cider Press Review, Cimarron Review, DMQ Review, Hiram Poetry Review, Natural Bridge, The Pedestal, Poetry International, Valparaiso Poetry, The Women’s Review of Books, Ghost Town, Rattle and in more than twenty anthologies. She is Lecturer Emerita, Creative Writing Department, University of California, Riverside, and an Associate Editor of the online poetry journal, Poemeleon. Gary Lark’s work includes: River of Solace, Editor's Choice Chapbook Award from Turtle Island Quarterly, Flowstone Press, 2016, In the House of Memory, BatCat Press, 2016. Without a Map, Wellstone Press, 2013, Getting By, winner of the Holland Prize from Logan House Press, 2009. Ordinary Gravity, is forthcoming from Airlie Press, 2019. His poems have also appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, The Sun, Poet Lore, and ZYZZYVA. Gary lives in Oregon. Carl Lindquist is a US citizen who has lived for many years in India, where he teaches creative writing, humanities, studio art, and heritage studies at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore. His work draws upon Indian culture as well as his childhood and young adult years living in the American South. Frances Ruhlen McConnel is retired from teaching in the Creative Writing Program at the University of California in Riverside. She is co-chair of Claremont Public Library’s poetry reading series which regularly features winners of the Kingsley Tufts Award and other highly respected poets. She has published two full books of poetry, edited a poetry anthology, and has a chapbook coming out from Kelsay Books in 2019. Elisabeth Hershey Meyer attended the University of Evansville, where she edited The Evansville Review. She obtained an MFA at SIU-Carbondale, where she worked with Allison Joseph and Rodney Jones. Her poems have appeared in Iambs & Trochees, Raven Chronicles, and Gulf Coast. Her 2017 chapbook, the word b-i-r-d, is available on Amazon, through New Chair press. She lives in Kentucky.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Robbi Nester is the author of three books of poetry, a chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012), and two collections—A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014) and Other-Wise (Kelsay, 2017). A new collection, Narrow Bridge, will be published late this year by Main Street Rag. She has also edited two anthologies: The Liberal Media Made Me Do It! (Nine Toes, 2014) and an online Ekphrastic ebook, Over the Moon: Birds, Beasts, and Trees—celebrating the photography of Beth Moon, which was published as a special edition of Poemeleon poetry journal. Her reviews, poems, essays, and articles have appeared widely, in many journals and anthologies and on a number of webblogs and websites. She currently lives in California. Guys like Tom O’Dore do not have biographies. Jared Pearce used this poem to consider what it's like to love and share illness, which is dreadfully weird, he thinks. He currently resides in Iowa, and his debut poetry collection, The Annotated Murder of One, is due from Aubade Press this year (http://www.aubadepublishing.com/annotated-murder-of-one). Timothy Pilgrim, a Pacific Northwest poet with over 410 acceptances by journals such as Seattle Review, Cirque, San Pedro River Review, Toasted Cheese, Windsor Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, and Third Wednesday and is author of "Mapping water" (Flying Trout Press, 2016) and co-author of Bellingham poems (2014). His work is at www.timothypilgrim.org. Tanya Pilumeli has an M.A. in English from John Carroll University. She is a poet, writer, and English instructor at Lakeland Community College and owner with her husband of Alessandro’s, a Italian restaurant on Lake Erie in Ashtabula, Ohio. She has three children, Giuseppe, Violetta, and Dionisio. Her poetry has appeared in Tipton Review, Wild Violet, The Blue Collar Review, Blaze Vox, and other places. She was a winner of a Lakeland Poetry prize, Blue Collar Review winner, and a first place winner in Time of Singing. Donna Pucciani, a Chicago-based writer, has published poetry worldwide in such diverse publications as Shi Chao Poetry, Istanbul Literary Review, Poetry Salzburg, The Pedestal, and Journal of Italian Translation. Her most recent book of poems is EDGES. Janet Reed earned a Master's degree in English Literature from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. She currently teaches writing and literature at Crowder College in Missouri. She has work published in multiple journals with more forthcoming.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Allen Kenneth Schaidle is currently a faculty member at Zayed University in the United Arab Emerites. He holds graduate degrees from the University of Oxford and Columbia University, as well as a BA from the University of Kansas. Allen's writings have appeared in The Nation, Inside Higher Education, and The New York Times. In his free time, Allen publishes stories retelling his outdoor explorations and is a published poet. A native of Metamora, Illinois, Allen considers the creeks and forests of central Illinois his eternal home. To learn more about Allen, please visit: www.akschaidle.com. Richard Schiffman’s work has been published in the Southern Poetry Review, the Alaska Quarterly, the New Ohio Review, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times, Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and many other publications. His poetry collection What the Dust Doesn't Know was published by Salmon Poetry in February. He currently resides in New York. Joyce Schmid’s recent work has appeared in Tipton Poetry Review, Missouri Review, Poetry Daily, New Ohio Review, Sugar House Review, and other journals and anthologies. She lives in Palo Alto, California, with her husband of over half a century. David Spicer has had poems in Gargoyle, Rat’s Ass Review, Reed Magazine, Third Wednesday, Raw, Your One Phone Call, Chiron Review, Survision, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, In Between Hangovers, among others, and in A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Pushcart, three Best of the Nets, and is the author of one book of poems and five chapbooks, the latest being From the Wings of a Pear Tree, from Flutter Press. He is the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books and lives in Memphis, Tennessee. Michael E. Strosahl was born and raised in Moline, Illinois, just blocks from the Mississippi River. He has written poetry since youth, but became very active when he joined the Indiana poetry community. He has participated in poetry groups and readings from all parts of that state and at one time served as president of the Poetry Society of Indiana. Maik currently resides in Anderson, Indiana. Laura Sweeney facilitates Writers for Life in central Iowa. She represented the Iowa Arts Council at the First International Teaching Artist's Conference in Oslo, Norway. Her recent and forthcoming poems appear in Red Savina Review, Main Street Rag, Canadian Woman Studies, One Sentence Poems, Midwest Review, Aji, Hawaii Pacific Review, The Good Men Project, Mobius, Split Rock Review, Appalachia, and the anthologies Nuclear Impact and Beer, Wine, & Spirits. She is an associate editor for Eastern Iowa Review. John Sweet’s recent collection, HEATHEN TONGUE, was just published by Kendra Steiner Editions in a limited edition. He currently resides in New York.

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Tipton Poetry Journal Mark Vogel has published short stories in Cities and Roads, Knight Literary Journal, Whimperbang, SN Review, and Our Stories. Poetry has appeared in Poetry Midwest, English Journal, Cape Rock, Dark Sky, Cold Mountain Review, Broken Bridge Review, and other journals. He is currently Professor of English at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, and directs the Appalachian Writing Project. Maryfrances Wagner’s books include Salvatore’s Daughter, Light Subtracts Itself, Red Silk (Thorpe Menn Book Award), Dioramas (Mammoth) and Pouf (FLP). Poems have appeared in New Letters, Midwest Quarterly, Laurel Review, Bearing Witness, The Dream Book, An Anthology of Writings by Italian American Women (American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation). She lives in Independence, Missouri and co-edits I-70 Review. Erin Wilson has contributed poems to San Pedro River Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, New Madrid, The Hunger, and Mobius, The Journal of Social Change, with work forthcoming from West Texas Literary Review, Split Rock Review, and Open: Journal of Arts and Letters. She lives and writes in a small town in northern Ontario. 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.

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Profile for Tipton Poetry Journal

Tipton Poetry Journal #38  

Summer 2018

Tipton Poetry Journal #38  

Summer 2018

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