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