Trip to Tipton and Other Compulsions

Comb-bound: 85 pp.
Published: 1997

Price: $9.95




Trip to Tipton and Other Compulsions, a volume of sixty-eight poems, records the unfolding events from one year of the author’s life, capturing special highlights (a trip to Europe with his wife, the celebration of their second wedding anniversary, their mystical visits to Wisconsin and Illinois) as well as daily routines (his first experiences as an outlet-store manager and as a traveling salesman, his journeys to St. Louis and to small Midwestern towns, his home life in Farmington, Missouri), revealing his struggle to incorporate the idealistic, romantic world of the artist into his realistic, pragmatic existence as a young, newly married businessman, left wondering if life is more than "the sum of seasons leaving and arrived."




Schools reopening call back all lost souls,
Vagrants, little waifs and vagabonds
Who ran ragged through summer heat,
To retreat down green, echoing corridors
Bordered everywhere by squeaking lockers
And imperious wall clocks parenthesizing hours,
Confining their bodies to hard maple seats.

June and August become mere old friends
Too soon forgotten as new ones are made
From classroom incarceration.
Face replaces face in changeless procession,
Until each day accumulates a legacy in space.
Waifs emerge as lawyers, grocery clerks;
The vagabond becomes town drunk, friendly cop.

Something is lost with each exchange
As the pace quickens. The graceful, wasted days
Pass away. Nothing remains beyond the paintings
To remind us of berry picking, kids at play
In games of snap-the-whip and kick-the-can.
My child has never even slept one night
In the musty Pullman of America's last dawn.





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