18–Again

by Cherryl E. Garner
SC Writers Workshop
Third Place, April 2008
Judged by Patricia Smith


Big-lipped mincing — mind’s eye —
that perfect Brown Sugar bass
boot thump at the light — only
my plasticchrome volume button
on the stock FM, black toggles,
turned me, 18-up.

Only cross winds in car cabin,
blue-shine Chevy, carried best
shrilly teeny angst, atomic-rocket
wrench, the turn of menses
into red power in free air
and wild, skin-pocked riot.


As someone who is trying (with varying levels of success) to reverse a reputation for rampant wordiness (not to mention sudden spates of alliteration), I've always envied conciseness that embraces huge vision. This little poem roots the reader squarely in a time and mindset; each little line is dense with atmosphere. And "...the turn of menses into red power..." Amazing. --Patricia Smith

  • December 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Avaricious
      by Judy Kaber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      To James Bulger, aged 2, murdered February 1993
      by two boys aged 10 in Liverpool, England
      by Christopher T. George
      Babilu

      Third Place

      Dr. Pachango’s Mango
      by Jim Fowler
      Babliu

  • November 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Notorious RBG
      by Laurie Byro
      Babilu

      Second Place

      To My Old Age
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

      Third Place

      Beggar’s Lice
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block