Tag Archives: Oklahoma

sarah webb | let there be light

In this story, there was sun from the beginning always and only now and ever shall be but ecstasy too can pall and grass cannot always be growing. When men stood up and could speak, more than cattle give tongue or wolves howl, they complained of thirst and heat and the blowing dust. They lay in the shadow of big rocks and refused to do anything. Don’t want to work up a sweat, they said. The children cried, I’m tired, I’m hot, it’s glittery! and their parents said, yeah, we didn’t want to say so, but really! At last the god thought better of it and he drew from his shadow night, said sleep, said, all right then. But even then those folks complained. We’re not ready to go to bed, it’s boring, can you tell us a story? So he gave them dreams.
lightSarah Webb is not presently teaching any classes after her retirement from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, and she just resigned as Poetry and Fiction Editor for Crosstimbers. She is still a co-editor of Just This, the Zen arts magazine for the Austin Zen Center, but presently is feeling free. She’s on the road until September, her poetry collection Black is coming out this summer from Virtual Artists Collective, and the world feels new. Her website is bluebirdsw.blogspot.com.
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alvin o. turner | signs of the times

The "Cold Beer’ sign at Hardesty, shines with the sunset backdrop though its promise has been long since lost to forces killing dreams throughout this land. Stores, restaurants and beer joints all gone now, along with the symbol of the latest promise, a dry lake bed a few miles west, stark reminder of water table limits in a hard land, where the only certain sign is one that declares; "hard times ahead."
turner_signAlvin O. Turner is dean emeritus and professor of history at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma.

jim spurr | the advice of mrs. tubbs

There is a simple and safe way to shed a sweater. First you free the arms. Then take both hands and pull it over the head. Always get the arms free first. That is the most important part.
He crashed through the rear screen door with his arms and head locked up in a pullover and he fell into a bed of freshly watered day lilies. And she had gone across the alley to visit. He couldn't get up on account of the mud. He suffocated face down with his feet in the impatiens. She mourned a respectful length of time then married a skinny fellow and they had two children by 1940. He died soon after in the war on a Pacific island. Whose name I forgot. Unlike the first husband his death had been heroic and predictable. She never married again. In honor of her second husband she dedicated the remainder of her life to working for world peace. But, as lacking in glory as her first husband's death was, awkward man, she maintained, in his memory, all her life, a small backyard garden. Consisting mainly of lightly watered impatiens and day lilies.
from Hail Mary, On Two. Village Books Press, Cheyenne, Oklahoma, 2011.
Jim Spurr is an Oklahoma poet. "In the mid fifties I was 18 and a paratrooper getting ready to make my first jump and I thought, 'someday I gotta write about this.' Every poem I have ever written ever since has been a failed effort to capture that brief but glorious instant."

ken hada | last night on the beach

Last night on the beach a curvy, dark-skinned lady whirls, tip-toes before soft-landing surf. The sun has set, but it is not yet dark. A candy-red top hangs loosely above modest white shorts, bare feet celebrating the discovery of sensuous waves. Her hair is tied up exposing her strong black neck. She glances a few times over her shoulder at the panoramic sea foaming behind her. She is aware she is being watched. Self-consciously she smiles but she’s no exhibitionist. She spins, then settles softly into sand just the way she feels it – just the way he wants it – her husband brings his camera close. She freezes before a blinding flash, then they look to see what image has been found, what beauty she reflects – then walk away. Unending waves pull them, caressing shore with tenderness I have rarely seen.
Ken Hada, from Ada, Oklahoma, is a poet and professor at East Central University where he directs the annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival. Ken finds inspiration for writing in nature. Raised in the rural Ozarks, with close ties to his Hungarian ancestors in the gypsum hills of northwest Oklahoma, he finds the natural order a powerful presence for writing. His award-winning books include The Way of the Wind, Spare Parts and The River White: A Confluence of Brush & Quill. A popular reader of his work, Ken also contributes regularly to the poetry blog: All Roads Will Lead You Home. Visit his website at kenhada.org.

johnie catfish | ghost stories

( Visions create psychosis, psychosis creates visions. Psychiatrist’s mantra) When you see a ghost Try not to become bewildered Unsure of whether or not It is real or just imagined. They don’t appreciate Your disbelief or indecision. Be afraid or not afraid, But always be polite. Try not to tell the ghosts What they are, Who they are, Or why they are. They don’t care. They want to know What you are, Who you are, And why you are. Don’t try to tell them. They know you don’t know.
catfish-photoJ. C. Mahan, Johnie Catfish, is a poet, hairstylist, potter in Edmond , Ok. He has 6 kids, 7.5 grandkids, 8 peacocks, 25 geese, 50 chickens, 3 ducks, 3 dogs, 6 cats, 1 turkey and 1 pot-belly pig. He has self published 5 books of free verse and has had several poems and sketches published in local journals. He believes life is all about partisapation.

ron wallace | war horses

Bukowski is inside-reading; I leave him at my desk to wait the dead of winter with whiskey and cigars             and walk outside onto the cedar deck. I carry leather, stone, steel and oak with me into the elements             Dickey, Jeffers, Komunyakaa and Howard Starks; these are my war horses.             They bleed Whitman, sometimes in fine arterial spray, sometimes in droplets that spatter in bright red splotches             and sometimes -- sometimes they seep, saturating the pages. They speak of horses, hawks, yellow jackets and mountain boomers, Osage County, Buckhead and Bogalusa             and I listen for echoes in trees and rain beyond the empty clink of beer bottles where unfolding black steals the sunset,             as I lift worn western heels up onto a low wrought iron table to watch a changing sky             before reading the blood.
Ron Wallace, currently an adjunct professor of English at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, is the author of five volumes of poetry. Published in a wide variety of journals and anthologies, his first book, Native Son, was a Finalist in the 2007 Oklahoma Book Awards, and Oklahoma Cantos was a Finalist in the 2011 Awards. His newly released book is baseball themed and entitled Hanging the Curveball.