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October 27, 2014

On the Fly

by Timothy Bradford & Chad Reynolds

On a cool March evening, we set out a sandwich board that read “SHORT ORDER…
Get a “Head of Steam for Your Self-Esteem” is a video based on the short…

by Rivka Galchen

Hear it first. Subscribe to This Land Radio in iTunes. Heroes rise from the McDonald’s…
ShopGood OKC brings the best of This Land’s issue covers to life with this milk…

10/27/2014 | Letters

Wearing the Wrong Colors

By Drew Tully

He got started quick. He found me out, honed in, and covered me at the bar. The clash was long awaited. I went running, went out for a coffee or a sandwich or an afternoon round at the polite dive up the street, and heard the same “you’re wearing the wrong shirt, pal” quip on each occasion. It was only a matter of time, I’d figured, until I would be caught in th…

10/27/2014 | Poetry

Two Poems by Rose McLarney

By Rose McLarney

First in Right A subdivision’s plumbing, a predictable grid, is of greater worth than irrigating the uncertain growth of stalk and vine, sees the farmer who sells his water rights, looking ahead. But with the rivers, nothing moves forward between the mudflats (the fish bones un-swimming), the banks’ dry lips, mouthing something about, My shape mad…

10/24/2014 | Okiecentric

Torment Relieved in Song

By Cheryl Pallant

On October 25, 1914, banker John Allyn Smith and schoolteacher Martha Little welcomed their first of two sons, John Allyn Smith Jr.—now known to the world as John Berryman. Berryman was born in McAlester, Oklahoma, a town of roughly 17,000 people, about the same size then as it is today, best known for housing prison inmates and a munitions plant. In 2005, F…

10/23/2014 | Original Okie

Allison Hedge Coke

By Shane Brown

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke lives with her mustangs, dogs, and 92-year-old father in an old rock house just south of Guthrie, Oklahoma, where she sleeps in a moriche palm hammock and is regularly awoken by earthquakes. Allison is musician, filmmaker, and writer who says she’s inspired by nearly everything. She studies change, motion, and migratory b…

10/22/2014 | Okiecentric

John School

By Marcos Barbery

On Valentine’s Day 2012, Jarrae Estepp climbed into the passenger seat of a white Ford pick-up. She was five months pregnant and holding a long-stemmed rose. The truck picked her up from the 3800 block of Oklahoma City’s South Robinson Avenue, drove a dozen blocks, and turned into the Catalina Motel. After the driver registered at the front desk, the pai…

10/21/2014 | Okiecentric

Suspicious Mind

By Matt Lardner

The November race for Oklahoma’s 3rd Congressional District, which spills out of the Panhandle and fills the western half of the state, is rated a “safe Republican” contest by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Thus, the Republican primary, in June, was the de facto election. The district elected Democrats through most of the 20th century…

10/16/2014 | Okiecentric

Hard Times Oklahoma: A Russell Lee Photo Essay

By Catherine Whitney

Seventy-five years ago, in April of 1939, John Steinbeck published his fictionalized account of the severe hardships facing Oklahoma’s rural poor. His novel, The Grapes of Wrath, told a story of “exodusters” forced from their homes by economic and environmental aftershocks of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. Inspired by Steinbeck’s tale, s…

10/14/2014 | Okiecentric

Capitol Coercion

By Brian Ted Jones

Texas Governor Rick Perry’s recent indictment by a grand jury in Travis County, Texas, might seem familiar to the people of Oklahoma County, if they’ve been following the case of Albert Gustava Gerhart, founding member of the Sooner Tea Party. These cases call into question the definitions of blackmail and coercion—and whether those words ought to…

10/13/2014 | Okiecentric

An Interview with Ralph Ellison

By This Land

Ellison was not known for giving interviews, but in 1966 he sat down at his home in New York City with Robert Hughes. The video of their conversation shows Ellison dressed in a sweater vest and dark-framed glasses. He’s in his element—an office decorated with stacks of books and Buddhist statues. When answering questions about American society, Elliso…

10/13/2014 | Poetry


By Ken Hada

 For Uncle Max Greed, I guess—my father answered me uncharacteristically critical of our ancestors, their impulsive move to New Mexico Territory stopping somewhere around Clayton where nothing worked out. When the horses died from grazing locoweed they loaded their sparse selves in a wagon and bleakly headed back to northwest Oklahoma—the grass…

10/03/2014 | Okiecentric

The Cathedral Cruiser

By This Land

When GM decommissioned the Parade of Progress, 12 Futurliners went up for sale. We know that a couple of them found their way to the Michigan State Police and were used as traveling exhibits for fairground displays. We also found out that at least one Futurliner found its way into the hands of the Oral Roberts and was utilized in his popular evangelical crusade…

10/02/2014 | Okiecentric

This Is My Beloved Son

By Kiera Feldman

The fall of the first family of televangelism came swiftly. Two Oral Roberts Ministries employees crouched on a desk on their hands and knees, their heads sticking through a hole in the wall. The voices of the Oral Roberts University Board of Regents on the speakerphone conference call one floor below carried up through the thin ceiling panels. Patriarch…

09/30/2014 | Poetry

Three Sonnets

By Randy Roberts Potts

1. Richard Roberts, ca. 1954 He used to hold her down (my mother used to say) and lick. His long, pink tongue would dart from chin to forehead as snail trails cruised along her face, her eyes part-way closed, part- way opened. His face, suspended art- fully like the moon, watching, waiting, hoping that she would cry, but not too loud. Tears smart- ing, fury gathe…

09/29/2014 | Original Okie

Sam Gillaspy

By Brooks Nickell

Sam Gillaspy has lived in Arcadia, Oklahoma, for 88 years. He’s devoted the last eight of those to giving tours at the Round Barn of Arcadia on historic Route 66. To folks who visit the antique attraction, Gillaspy is known simply as Mr. Sam. Tourists and locals alike have made it a mission to stop in an hear Mr. Sam recount the time the round barn collapsed…

09/23/2014 | Okiecentric

The Red Shift

By Larry Guthrie

North of the Red River, in the “Land of the Red Man,” on the iron-rich red soil and matching dust, with red Russian wheat waving, and rose rocks abounding, and red-tailed hawks circling, and redbuds blooming, the red “46” state flag was flying over the 1914 State Capitol, and inside were six Socialist Party legislators.[1] Our Populist foundin…