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

  • November 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Radium Girls
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      The Unreliable Narrator
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Birds 2
      by JJ Williamson
      Babilu

      Honorable Mention

      Too Late
      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
      The Waters

  • October 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      The Emails Go Unanswered
      by Lois P. Jones
      PenShells

      Second Place

      Hidden Room
      by F.H. Lee
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      The Penitent
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Honorable Mention

      You Can Call Me a Tough Cookie, But It Really Doesn’t Matter
      by Midnight Moon
      Wild Poetry Forum