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This Land Press

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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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These men know how to roll with the punches. A decade ago, Cornel Williams (right) created Tulsa Crime Monthly — the satirical tabloid famous for its copy-and-pasted illustrations and bold, all-capped analyses of crime and politics in T-Town — to heighten awareness of violent crimes after a close friend was murdered. Next to him is […]

08/12/2014 | Original Okie

Cornel Williams and Keith Reed

By Brooks Nickell

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The air was cold and bitter the day George Birdwell robbed the Farmers and Merchants Bank in Boley, Oklahoma. Normally bustling, the town was quiet the morning of November 23, 1932, the day before Thanksgiving. Birdwell and his accomplices, Charles Glass and C.C. Patterson, ate breakfast at a farmer’s house before heading toward Boley on […]

08/10/2014 | Okiecentric

Bandit in Boley

By Jamie Birdwell-Branson

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Tension and a sweltering summer heat hung over the courtroom at Enid, Oklahoma Territory. All doors and windows were open to admit the breeze that never came. Outside, locusts hummed lazily. Nature seemed at a standstill as men wiped perspiration and waited. Everyone in the room knew that he was witnessing a drama that would be […]

08/07/2014 | Okiecentric

Lawyer with a Gun

By Glenn Shirley

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Allen Ross was a free spirit. He wore thrift-store clothes and Converse tennis shoes to complement his tall, gangling frame. His glasses contributed to his meek, yet intellectual, appearance.  A filmmaker who worked full time as editor on Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, Ross helped found the artists’ cooperative and film society Chicago Filmmakers, which […]

08/06/2014 | Okiecentric

Murder by Samaritan

By David A. Farris

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In 2010, Tamra Schmidkunz sat in a dark car outside the Rib Crib on 51st Street and Sheridan Avenue in Tulsa. She was in the car with three of her boyfriend’s friends. One of them had a gun. They had already circled the restaurant a couple of times. Tamra had worked there for a while […]

08/05/2014 | Okiecentric

Strung Out, Locked Up

By James A. Pearson

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By Molly Evans and Tony Beaulieu Oklahoma is home to a surprising number of “World’s Largest” attractions, as well as other odd, quirky, and interesting things to see. If you’re planning an end-of-summer road trip, here’s your list of sights worth pulling over to see. 1. Ames Astrobleme Museum, Ames Astrobleme is a fancy word […]

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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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Kaylin Haught

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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

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With four hysterical little girls running from my left and from my right, I could only think of one thing: I never wanted to go to Oklahoma. A month earlier, when my dance teacher announced that the whole school, including my intermediate tap class, was going to entertain Evening Star Retirement Village in a Broadway-themed […]

05/05/2014 | New Fiction

Showbiz Folk Hero

By Laurie Notaro

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We are the plastic children, flying toward the sun. We are the infirm rising through rooftops, we are the real housewives of Duluth, our dresses blown above our cheeks, we are the dads jetting above the jigsaws, weedwackers. And the dead in their nightclothes or La-Z-Boys or under the sea: all of us steering with […]

04/30/2014 | Poetry to the People

Rapture

By Miss Terri Ford