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

  • May 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      A Brief History of Rain
      by Antonia Clark
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Oklahoma
      by Dale Patterson
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      Driving Home From Santa Rosa
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      Trans-figuration
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      The Photograph
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • April 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      (how to lose at) Kimberly’s Game
      by John Wilks
      The Write Idea

      Second Place

      A Legacy of Sorts
      by Paul A. Freeman
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      Waiting for a bus at Armarnath Temple
      by Ieuan ap Hywel
      The Wriiter's Block