Tim Tomlinson was born in Brooklyn, and raised on Long Island, where he was educated by jukeboxes and juvenile delinquents. He quit high school in 1971 and began a life of purposeless wandering that led to purpose. He’s lived in Boston, Miami, New Orleans, London, Florence, Shanghai, Manila, Andros Island in the Bahamas, and Cha-am, Thailand. Currently, he lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Deedle. He is a co-founder of New York Writers Workshop, and co-author of its popular text, The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. He is the author of the chapbook Yolanda: An Oral History in Verse, the poetry collection Requiem for the Tree Fort I Set on Fire, and the forthcoming collection of short fiction, This Is Not Happening to You (due late summer, 2017). He is a Professor of Writing at New York University’s Global Liberal Studies Program. He’s an avid scuba diver with just under 300 logged dives, and a 200-hr Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor.


The Storm (Father Hector, San Jose Nov 8 2013)


When the water came

I was alone hiding, taking cover,

anticipating that the roofing might not hold,

worried of dying.


The water came

the strong winds howling, shaking the whole place,

white mist like needles piercing through my skin.

I’m going to die in this place.


Later our neighbors came

scampering climbing shouting panicking.

This is okay, this is good—

there’s somebody to tell my relatives


I died this way.




The Giant Claw (Beatrice Zabala, 16, Palo, Nov 8, 2013)


Before the giant claw came, I was inside

the comfort room with my grandmother.

She was praying the whole time. My parents

called us to transfer to a safer room,

but the winds kicked up, slamming on our door.

The wind was like a drunken man punching

the door, kicking it, trying to rip it apart.

The strong winds against my father’s strength.


Then suddenly, I felt water on the floor.

I thought fresh water from the river, it

didn’t smell salty. It started to rise,

to our knees, our waist, our chin. Salt water.

How was it possible? The sea was almost

a kilometer away! Then, the giant claw came.




The Surge (Zenia Dulce, 46, Professor UP Visayas. Tacloban, Nov 8, 2013)


I called to her,

I called to her and then

we held each other’s hand


and then suddenly the water under her

inside the house it was eating up the whole house

and she said oh my god


and then suddenly

one wave washed her down then another wave

another wave brought her up


so I held her

another wave put us both down together

with the whole house


so all the house and us we were under

and we did not know what was happening to us

but we held on together


we are both safe she knows because I am holding on to her

I give her a signal to hold on tightly

and then we were engulfed by the water


and then we tried to go up

once we neared the surface I released her

so that we would be able to have the chance to crawl up and swim


well the water was actually pushing us up together

I was telling her to it’s OK you release

so she released her hold on me also


and we resurfaced but the problem

we were both trapped big debris uh, maybe big debris

like this four or six like this


I don’t know it’s big I was scratched

this is still the bruise uh what do you call this my remembrance

and that was how many months ago that was six months eight months ago


and that bruise is still there

I was struck here also at my back

and she was struck at the neck I heard the snap


like that super loud

and then there was no emotion on her face

I saw the blood blood blood coming out from her nose and mouth


I thought oh my god she’s dead

and then slowly slowly

she was sinking