Oklahoma

by Dale Patterson
The Writer's Block
Second Place, May 2018
Judged by R.T. Castleberry


Near old photographs of oil fields
and dust bowl refugees
a Rock-Ola jukebox
plays Earnest Tubb.

I’m drinking shots, ready
to stop driving trucks, to start
selling cars for my brother
in East Sacramento.

The bartender pours another
and knows she is striking,
a Cherokee maiden
with masculine shoulders,
heavy eye liner
and black press on nails.

We talk about Huntington’s disease
and Guthrie’s divorce,
ribbons of highways
and Dorothea Lange.

A wagon wheel light
is a circle of fire
on the ceiling.

I confess to sorting things out,
that my wife has filed papers.

Moon Mullican is singing
‘Goodnight Irene’
a cowboy in red leather boots,
stitched on the side
with white Texas stars,
slow dances his partner
into a corner.


A beautifully created, detailed scenario of working class blues and whiskey talking over the jukebox. --R.T. Castleberry

  • November 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      Rapture
      by JJ Wiliamson
      Babilu

      Second Place (tie)

      Red Spider Lilies
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place (tie)

      The Big House At Mambalam
      by Siva Ramanathan
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place (tie)

      What Have I Done to Thee O Muse
      by Peter Halpin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place (tie)

      World Affairs
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      Morning
      by Mary MacGowan
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      A Can of Grandma Figlioto’s Pasta Sauce
      by Daniel J. Flore III
      Babilu

  • October 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      We Could Use an American
      by Mignon Ariel King
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Dante’s Outer Circles
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      Time of Move
      by RC James
      Babilu