2 Poems by Rod Tipton | (2009 Pushcart Nominee)


I had never seen
him without his teeth
but he is sitting
on the corner
of a bed in a motel
lips caved into his mouth
until they are almost gone

his skin looser
and more transparent
than last time
he came through

In the 1950s and 60s
he smoked Luckies
wore his cap tilted back
and just off center

Taught me about fishing,
car maintenance,
airplanes, his temper
and that life is always work

He loved to move then
always traveling
but age has caught
him in mid stride

and when he should have
a wife, home and comfort
they have left conjured away
by disease and the banks

So he still travels
sleep walking through cities
his body becoming inert
falling in on its self

Right now he is slouched
next to a pink lamp
on a white spread, laid over
a commercial grade mattress
and will not budge

Will only make indifferent
noises to every suggestion
with small lifts of his shoulders
as if his words have lost
their power and been pulled
into a final nothing
gone with everything else
that had been his



something charming
on the piano

a rolling tune
to make you think
of a small circus

a slender woman
on the rope

agile, balanced

wraps her leg
like a snake

and hangs
in arched glory
at a dangerous height

then snaps and twists
and lowers herself

uncurling her body
onto the stool
next to yours

“bravo” you shout
and quickly check
your wallet

hoping you have enough
to buy her a drink

Rod Tipton is a poet and filmmaker from Seattle, Washington.