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

  • June 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Escape at the Speed of Transience
      by Peter Halpin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      The Palace Hotel
      by Paul A. Freeman
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      Camping
      by Mike LaForge
      The Waters

  • May 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Burying My Brother
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

      Second Place

      The Asian man who walks past the balcony
      by Daniel J. Flore III
      Babilu

      Third Place

      Five Hundred Yards from Home
      by Richard Moorhead
      Wild Poetry Forum