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This Land Press

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During the final phase of military conquest of the continent, surviving Indigenous refugees were deposited in Indian Territory, piled on top of each other in smaller and smaller reservations. In 1883, the first of several conferences were held in Mohonk, New York, of a group of influential and wealthy advocates of the “manifest destiny” policy. These […]

09/12/2014 | Okiecentric

Greed Is Good

By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

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I had been watching freight trains from the window of my 10:00 Tuesday-Thursday class all semester. The classroom was on the third floor of a four-story brick building, a converted dorm, located on the edge of campus, beyond which a set of railroad tracks rose out of a shallow ravine on a gravel ballast. Class ended at 11:10 and usually […]

09/09/2014 | Okiecentric

The Train Singer’s Song

By George McCormick

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If only Dana Spiotta had an Oklahoma connection, I thought. I had just been invited to guest edit This Land’s summer fiction issue and was thinking of the writers I’d like to invite to submit stories. Spiotta’s acclaimed novels Lightning Field, Eat the Document, and Stone Arabia mean a lot to me, but I could see no way to make her […]

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Rilla Askew was born in the San Bois Mountains of southeastern Oklahoma, a place she’s noted for its harshness and beauty—both qualities that cling to her prose like campfire smoke on an old jacket. She also cites Oklahoma’s rich language, a mixture of Southern vernacular and the King James Version of the Bible, as inspiration […]

09/05/2014 | Original Okie

Rilla Askew

By Shane Brown

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Reed picked change off the floorboard of his Buick parked outside the Blue Note to pay the cover for the Oi! show. It had been a few weeks since he’d had income, so he gathered his quarters and dimes, some of which stuck to sawdust and wood splinters that had been kicked off Reed’s boots at […]

09/03/2014 | Okiecentric

Working Class Hero

By Angela Morris

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Joey Rigoletto is a spazz. We know this. What a dickhead, we said as he went by, tipped over practically, calling out, Snake ball! There’s a snake ball! He shouted, Under the Rainbow Bridge! This, the Rainbow Bridge, takes its name not for its colors, yellow and brown mostly, rust colors, but for its shape, which arcs […]

09/02/2014 | Okiecentric

Snake Ball

By Bayard Godsave

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Thirty-one men crowded the starting line, the late-August sun beating their backs, sweat pouring down their faces. Some wore track shoes with no socks, some were in everyday dress shoes, and others were completely barefoot. Stretched out before them was one of the most daunting athletic challenges of the era: the 1904 Olympic Marathon. A 24.85-mile […]

08/28/2014 | Okiecentric

Running Amok

By Jessica Puckett

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Let’s take a voyage to a not-so-distant land and visit a strange tribe. Or maybe not so strange. In fact, you may even belong to it. Before we begin our expedition, a trivia question: What do Bill Clinton, Miley Cyrus, Johnny Cash, and Elizabeth Warren all have in common? Answer: All of them have claimed […]

08/26/2014 | Okiecentric

Among the Tribe of the Wannabes

By Russell Cobb

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There’s hardly anything about McAlester, Oklahoma, that Steve Adams doesn’t know. For 35 years, he’s been the local historian, amassing a vast collection of hometown history through newspaper clippings, research, books, and photos, which he displays at the McAlester library. A lifelong resident, Adams worked as a security guard for 25 years at the Oklahoma […]

08/22/2014 | Original Okie

Steve Adams

By Brooks Nickell

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When folks ask me where in Oklahoma I live, I say “near McAlester,” because this is where I go to shop, use the library, eat out, get my oil changed. It has the post office I visit most often, the courthouse I’ve been inside more than any other. I’ve set portions of two novels and a […]

08/20/2014 | Okiecentric

Near McAlester

By Rilla Askew

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The afternoon opens with a birthday party. Your neighborhood friends are ramping BMX bicycles in the driveway. You’re playing jacks with the girl who will take you to Sadie Hawkins when you’re 15. Dad pulls up in his work truck with a birthday card from Grandpa with a $10 bill in it. Life at 10 is […]

08/18/2014 | Okiecentric

Thirty Minutes of Terror

By Aaron Toney

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One of Tulsa’s most notorious crimes occurred on Thanksgiving night, 1934. Twenty-one-year-old John Gorrell’s body was found around midnight slumped over the steering wheel of his car, which was jammed over the curb at the intersection of Victor Street and Forest Boulevard in the exclusive Forest Hills section of Tulsa. Two days later, 19-year-old Phillip […]

08/13/2014 | Okiecentric

The Society Gang Killing

By Kent F. Frates

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Rilla Askew

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Steve Adams

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Victor Moreland

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Bill Crawford

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Gary Busey

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Kristen Vails

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Bob Wills

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Katia Anaya

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Brian Hearn

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Lauren Zuniga

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Randall Gabrel

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Robert Hedgecoke

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Transcendence? That’s a ten-dollar word, Delbert. But yeah, I’ve got one for you. This happened the summer I was eight. We lived in Hobart, down in the southwest part of the state. It was mid-June. My parents’ church was running its Vacation Bible School week, and we’d go from eight o’clock in the morning to—I’ve told you I […]

09/09/2014 | Okiecentric

Ten-Dollar Word

By Steve Garrison

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I always thought I would grow up to work in a Bookmobile. It’d be my job to drive the lumbering green bus through the hot wide streets of summer Park on dusty schoolyard lots, or at empty, half-finished construction sites And then crank open the doors for the children, Who’d stumble, blinking, up the steps and […]

08/25/2014 | Poetry

Bookmobile

By Angelia Herrin

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(State Motto: Labor Conquers All Things) I learned about the battle over the lethal drugs on the radio while driving home from work. There are thick reference books on pharmaceuticals and slim volumes on death at the library where I work. I know women in Oklahoma who wear a uniform and make prisoners stand behind […]

08/04/2014 | Poetry

Work: A Ghazal for Oklahoma

By Julia McConnell

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I am saying goodbye to my life. Throwing away books, teapots, pens. Saying farewell to my mother’s passport my father’s books. Offering to strangers crystal plates and funerary urns. There is comfort in discarding. A kind of grace blooms in the space where leather bindings once exhaled dust, redolent of stories whispered late into the […]

07/28/2014 | Poetry

Cleaning House

By Britton Gildersleeve

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What does it mean, that the universe is growing larger, faster? Unlike my life, which seems to be slowing, even as it thickens and grows larger, my own frail body a metaphor for dreams and hopes and what I thought I’d be when I grew up. The universe is growing up? Is that it? Or […]

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Snow covered fields with ice hanging from limbs of trees. A doe came walking out from behind a cedar and looked at me for a moment. “Can you hear me?” I asked. “Nod your head if you can hear me.” I stood silent for a moment waiting on her response. “Do you understand me?” I […]

07/21/2014 | Poetry

Only Indians Can Talk to Animals

By Michael Daugherty

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  (About the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot: It is not our failure to remember the past that dooms us to repeat it; it is our failure to believe we are capable of the same acts.) Your disbelief blooms in slow motion, like smoke smothering the sky, like a death wound under white linen. This telling of history […]

06/30/2014 | Poetry

Doomed to Repeat

By Deborah J. Hunter

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  An old man sits in my straight-backed chair salvaged from the curbside trash sits quietly, without shifting or harrumphing, sits and drinks plain tea, his sober eyes never doubting what his life’s been worth or who he has become. I wait for him to swallow one more slow sip of tea, before I ask […]

06/16/2014 | Poetry

The Return

By Jim Tolan

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  I punch you in the head. You fall down, unconscious but not quite dead. Thank you. It was precisely the response I had intended. Originally published in This Land, Vol. 5, Issue 9, May 1, 2014.

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  Sometimes I google “art AND love,” and then I click on “Images” and scroll way, way down until I come to a duct taped heart. I peel at the edges with my thumbnail and make my way in. Usually I find my fifteen-year-old self flung on a bed, crying, having just been dropped off […]

06/13/2014 | Poetry

Duct Taped Heart

By Nicole Callihan

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  There was a time when I couldn’t write a poem without my mother showing up in it. There she would be, yellow-appled hair, slapping mayonnaise onto white bread and calling it dinner, her head thrown back, laughing, and we’d always be ready to hit the road and drive some place with a bigger sky […]

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Flashes

By Nicole Callihan

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A black bear has come out of the hills to the highway. He lumbers along the shoulder and throws a great paw out. A gesture, not a plea. I stop and offer him a ride. He crawls, front feet first, into the cab, and sets there, smelling of undergrowth, of the banks of the Neosho […]

06/09/2014 | Okiecentric

Surrey with the Fringe on Top

By Karin C. Davidson