Category: Oklahoma Poems

Blanton-Kiowa Line

From Blanton up to Kiowa ran the Santa Fe,
her whistles lay silent to this very day.
It all started in 1902 by the DE&G,
stretching across the land just as far as you could see.

Passing through the towns that dotted the Great Plains,
she carried many a man and grain,
transporting stories of love and pain,
even running up those Great Salt Plains.

For ninety odd years, her tracks, they sang
as the street crossing bells, so sweetly they rang,
where the Rock Island line once met the Santa Fe,
greeting passengers as they went on their way.

Bought up by K&E back in 1997,
this line ceased to be—gone to train track heaven.
Old maps and books alone now speak of her station.
Her tool house leaves no trace of its foundation.

Her bridges have now fallen into the river.
No more freight shall she deliver.
The line still vivisects the landscape—
a scarred reminder of past escapes.

The land is divided by a barrier of green—
a line of trees that once shielded folks from the heat
slices through squares of red dirt, hay, and wheat.
In this land that once tilled itself to dust,
only a few tracks remain, just left to rust.

Now no one remembers ole W.B. Blanton,
nor the big white sign for his namesake junction.
He worked the rails from the south to the west,
once touted in the papers as one of the best.

So when you’re out walking that Pine Pass Trail,
just remember the story of these mighty rails.
If they could only talk, the stories they’d surely tell
of the Blanton-Kiowa line that once ran so swell.

Oklahoma Poems Poems from the book Dragonfly Tomorrows & Dog-eared Yesterdays

Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma has declared Oct 13th Oil Field Prayer Day. Seriously.

The Church of Holy Crude

The governor of my former home state
has asked us all to pray.

The governor of my former home state
practices a different faith.

The governor of my former home state
has anointed us with oil.

The governor of my former home state
has erected a monument to her god.

On the capitol lawn it watches over us
like a guardian angel
crafted of metal,
as schools lack funding and tornado shelters,
while placing first for fracking earthquakes,
crumbling our family homes,
we know nothing is more sacred.

We listen to her holy prophets,
who worship in the name of profits.

Oh, have we faith in the souls
of the dead dinosaurs
that have come before us,
as we pray our way
towards an equal fate
as lead by the governor
of my former state.

Amen.

Oklahoma Poems Poems from the book Armor Against the Dawn Poetry

If you grew up in Enid, Oklahoma as I did, and have studied the town’s history, mythology, and artists, you’ll understand the cultural references in this poem that appears in Abundant Sparks & Personal Archeology. This poem also appears on the spoken word album Happy Accidents recorded in Enid in March 2015. (This is a repost, as I noticed there was a broken link on the old post.)

Dining with your Skeleton

From the sweet simplicity of wooden sidewalks of yore
Words intricately woven by that judicious James
Your sweet wheat blows
Through the fields where dreamers lay.
The gentle serenade of Hedges
Waltzes with the soulful Mitchell,
carrying me beyond those rough days
Spent struggling for survival.
How I admire your modern day bards,
As they fly on pegasys wings,
Igniting my soul. I study your myths,
From George to Holden to Roye.
You build the statues of my heart,
Painting the dreams unending,
That carry me onward, a rooted rose rock.
I’ve walked your hallowed halls in exile,
With infamous grey evangelicals,
Amid the Roman columns of values,
Silhouetted in skies once inspiring
The likes of Cessna and Woodring, that Musketeer.
Placed my feet solid in red dirt
That may hold not the mummy of that rascal George,
But the Union Patriot turned messiah gopher, Corbett.
They like me never saw your Victory ships,
Nor your Carnegie. Though these days
My eyes oft admire mountains and palm trees,
The faint train whistle carries my heart,
Whispering “Remember your history.”

Oklahoma Poems Poems from the book Abundant Sparks & Personal Archeology Poetry

I wrote this about 12 years ago while attending The University of Oklahoma. Outside the Student Union is a fountain from the class of 1935. Pausing between classes at that fountain inspired this poem which appears in my first book, Tea & Sprockets.

I’ve noticed that while there are several poems on my Instagram, a few appear on my album Happy Accidentsand you can download some in the book samples, I hadn’t ever posted any poems from that book directly on this blog, so I’ll be sharing a few on occasion, starting with the poem below:

Fountain (1935)

Life drips from the fountain of youth,
Streaming from a distant future.
The well of a never ending past.
Peaceful, glistening drops hurry to their end.
Continuous life streams pass.
Simultaneous origins of origin.
Soft ripples of pain and pleasure
Spread beyond memory.
Recycled dreams and history
Soon to be forgotten,
But to those who stop inquiry
Receive a peace in rhythm
Seldom discovered today.

Oklahoma Poems Poems from the book Tea & Sprockets Poetry

Bring the Heart Back Into The Heartland

Bring the heart back into the heartland.
These harsh laws are so heart-breaking, man.

Being raised an Oklahoman, I confess,
becomes harder to be proud of
as the state attempts to roll back progress.

I don’t even live there anymore,
but, Oklahoma, you deserve so much more!

I want to say that not all Okies agree,
and their hearts are ruled by love, not bigotry.
The government is so out of touch with the people,
most of whom just want to live, love, work and be free.

This nation is fueled by justice and equality,
and not by hate and division cloaked behind steeples.
Stop persecuting folks in the name of your faith.
A religious life is about love and spirit, joy and grace,
and not narrow-minded control of every different face.

Bring the heart back into the heartland.
Stop these nonsense laws and take a stand.
Find a way to move past your fear and understand.

Bring the heart back into the heartland.
Have compassion on your fellow man.
Be as welcoming and open as you can.

Bring the heart back into the heartland.
C’mon, Oklahoma, I know you can.

Oklahoma Poems Poems from the book Barefoot in the Sanctuary Poetry

East Maine Noms

In the downtown of Enid–
that’s my old home town–
stands a hungry railroad bridge of great renown.
He’s 11’4″ from his teeth to the ground.

If you’re a trucker you best avoid East Maine Street,
because that old bridge is after a treat.
He’ll open you up like a can of sardines,
because for the noms, he’s quite keen.

He’s chewed on a cookie truck–
followed by a soda truck to wash it all down.
It doesn’t matter if your cargo’s edible.
He’s got a taste for yummy scrap metal.
His teeth are ready to chomp on down.

Most bridges say, “Don’t feed the troll,”
but this bridge has got its own soul,
and he’s ready to make you roll!

So if you find yourself on East Maine,
staring into its mighty white teeth,
you’d best turn your rig around,
or all the local folks are going to laugh you out of town,
along with your autograph upon a ticket
that says, “Pay attention, clown!”

Let’s all raise a toast,
to the shark bridge our town created,
as he opens a semi of beer with that smile serrated.

Oklahoma Poems Poems from the book Id Biscuits Poetry

Like most writers, I have a sort of love/hate relationship with the state that I grew up in. This is a poem about the last time I visited Oklahoma.

Going Back

My friend said, as I sneezed,

“There’s Kleenex in the window.
I assumed you’re allergic to Oklahoma.”
I laughed at her incredible truth.
I watched Fox News for the chalk illustrations of fracking.
I felt the earth quake underneath me,
But felt more connected to my friends than ever,
Even unplugged from the web.
I watched people of my generation rise up
Against racism, and I am proud.
I revisited my old haunts,
I rekindled old friendships,
I remembered what I loved,
And was in awe of change.
In isolation I fell into deep depression,
When I realized some folks had changed for worse,
And other folks had ceased to believe they could for better.
Some give in to fear, some give in to hate,
Some give in to pain, and some give in to fate.
They bulldozed the building where my soulmate and I met.
They bulldozed the one field of happiness I had.
I was distracted by sweet synchronicities,
But empowered by a childlike faith,
And the blessings of heroes and friends.
I told my friend I had to go,

And she said that’s TMI,
I said, “Sorry, I’ve held it in for so long,
That it all just wants to come out.”
I meant my opinions, but we laughed.
I spoke my truth through my art.
I made an album, but lost a friend,
Which in some ways makes the art meaningless.
The only thing I can control is my art.
Life is sweet chaos interrupted by moments of peace.
Oklahoma, I wish you well, but I do not belong in you.
I flew in two days after a snowstorm,
Was spoiled by good weather and rain,
And left two days before a tornado struck again.

This poem was published as a part of Look Ma! No Hands! If you dig it, please support the author, and grab a copy!

Oklahoma Poems Poems from the book Look Ma No Hands Poetry