A Man

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John Q. Person, have you considered
what it means to be a man,
since the time someone told you
you were one?
Have you just been placing
one foot after the other,
but without a genuine plan, son?

I can tell you a man isn’t passive.
He refuses to trust to luck.
He knows the size of the heart in a man
isn’t measured by the size of his truck.
He knows the best leaders are followers too.
He knows about God’s reward.
He has an almost desperate desire
to find genuine ways to serve.

He knows each man has a talent
unique and given by God.
He strives to find and develop his own gifts
while not chasing after laud.
He never stops learning.
He values laughter
and tears.
He remains forever grateful
and cherishes every year.

© Joel Tipple

To Read


As a child
it amazed me
that people
could write things
almost as incredible
as the stuff in my mind.


Do you mean
you can write those things down,
and people will read them,
adding their own sounds?


It’s hard to find words
to describe
how much words
mean to me.
It’s like living in a city
that grows
new streets every day.


I hope growing up
doesn’t mean
I stop loving
the words in the books…
the stories in the books…
the adventures in those books…
that I read today.


© Joel Tipple

Crepuscular Countercurrent Philosophy


with countercurrent emotional pain
find their hair in retreat
and their nerves inflamed
while their own
dash for

Ed. note… “Dictionary Roulette” entrees take three randomly
chosen words from the dictionary to be used as key ingredients
for a poem.

Please, can I go too?


Going to the store?
Yes, I’ll go. Sure, I’ll go.
Please, can I go too?
Anywhere you go, is where I want to be.
I want to go with you.

Lift me up onto your shoulders.
I’m taller than everyone.
Give me your rough hands
to use for reigns;
we’ll ride off toward the sun.

Going to the beach?
Yes, I’ll go. Sure, I’ll go.
Please, can I go too?
Anywhere you go, is where I want to be.
I want to go with you.

Sand is a world of adventure.
We’ll put it in my sandbox.
The ocean gives it up for free.
God knows I like to play.

Anywhere. Anything. Anyhow. Anywho.
Anywhat. Anyone. Anyis. Anydo.
Yes, I’ll go. Sure, I’ll go.
I want to be with you.
I want to go with you.

I’d like to be…

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i’d like to be
as strong as a tree
that grows stronger
with the wind
turning over new leaves
while learning to breath
tasting news of where the wind’s been.
my roots would wind
toward the earth’s middle
halting before they burned
with so deep a grasp I’d survive
though swiftly the planet might turn
then after thousands of years
and lightning and wars and men’s tears
with one limb left green
teachers would take little ones to me
to wonder
and marvel
and dream


No Airbag, Bees and a Dog Pack (Bees)

One Saturday, I was out riding with the usual crowd (gaggle, gang… I especially like what they call a bunch of crows, a murder) when we decided to leave our bikes at the bottom of a hill near the end of our neighborhood. We walked up a ways, past some blackberry bushes and into a little meadow of sorts where the hill leveled off. It’s unfortunate that we were never able to go back there, because it was a really neat place. It would have been a fun area to get together and plan pirate raids, or whatever sophisticated adventures 10-year-old boys can devise. My memory is foggy regarding everyone present… David, because of the bumblebee. Jodi, because what happened was his fault. After we got to the meadow we were hanging out and shooting the breeze. Jodi found a few cans and started throwing them at a line of berry bushes. If you’re a boy and you pick something random up, there’s a law that says you have to throw it. Whatever you try to hit then becomes a target which any other nearby boys must attempt to hit too. You have to do it. It’s a law. Still, what followed was Jodi’s fault, law or no law.


So, like I said, we’re standing there talking and throwing and all of a sudden, they’re all over us. Bees! What smidgen of manliness we were able to display at any given time was now thrown out the window as we began to scream and run for our lives toward our bikes at the bottom of the hill. The whole scene resembled a cartoon as we pedaled madly down the street toward our homes. Bees were falling out one of my short sleeves as they left their barbed stingers in my upper arm. David managed to get stung by a bumble bee which must have been hanging around the honey bee hive, waiting for stupid boys to stop by. David was the biggest, so I guess it was fair that he got bragging rights, since he was stung by the largest bee. Neighborhood stores of Bactine were depleted as we each visited our own first-aid stations. My one swollen arm gave me the appearance of a professional tennis player. Home we stayed, for the rest of the weekend, just in case the bees were conducting surveillance outside each of our houses. Yes, they were good times, the worst of times, the “beest” of times.

To “bee” continued…

No Airbag, Bees and a Dog Pack

Bikes in the mold of the Schwinn Stingray had two distinguishing characteristics: chopper handlebars and a banana seat. This particular day the handlebars would prove to be my undoing. Fortunately, I was able to eventually father a child, so things turned out all right. I was riding one day with Alan and David. They had normal bikes with narrower handlebars and managed to make it down the narrow gap between Alan’s house and his garage. I was last in line, trying to catch up (the usual situation) and so had built up a head of steam. David went through. Alan went through. My bike, unable to make it through, stuck fast between the two buildings. However, not for the last time in my life, inertia proved to not be my friend and my body shot forward. Now, the bolt that held those handlebars was in an unfortunate position vis-a-vis my sensitive place. In hindsight, an airbag might have served me well. Maybe even a balloon. Anyway, after a terribly uncomfortable ride home and an embarrassing examination by my mother, I was pronounced fit for taking it easy and watching cartoons, or whatever else was on that Saturday afternoon. Maybe Wide World of Sports. “The agony of defeat.” Ouch.

To be continued…

Ed. Note:
The author apologizes for the juxtaposition of the words: “sensitive place” and “hindsight.”