Laying in the Parking Lot at the Low Water Dam Store

concreteThe cops were called in because of the report
Of a woman “laying in the parking lot
At the dam store.” It’s not spoonbill season
So the store was not busy,
Just one woman supine on the concrete
And then one young man trying
To get her up.

She was belligerent and told to leave the store,
Then lay down in the parking lot
And refused to go anywhere else,
Until her son tried to pick her up
Before the cops came. He was unsuccessful.
I don’t know if she was arrested.
I do hope that instead of laughing,
Like I did when I read the story,
If I had been there, I would have been
A traffic cone rigid and mute between her
And the rest of the dam world.

–Shaun Perkins


The Train to Will Rogers

willToday is the birthday of one of the greatest Okies who ever lived. Will Rogers, who was born Nov. 4, 1879, said, “It’s great to be great, but it’s greater to be human.”

In honor of Will, here is a poem that I wrote many years ago. It is based on a memory my gangy told me about when she would ride the train from Locust Grove to Tulsa to see a movie or to go shopping.


They were fifteen and smoked Lucky Strikes
on the train to Tulsa. Both wore their best dress.
Montie Jean’s was blue taffeta with lace
crocheted along the collar. She had to stand
or stroll to keep it from creasing at her hips.
She held Ann’s arm and they squeezed their heads out
one window and shouted into the spring
day at the flitting bright spots of bluebirds
and young men in the fields, checking the soil
to see if the seeds could be planted yet.
They waved to the men, and their smart curls held
in the wind and in the hot, cramped theater
where Will Rogers lassoed both their hearts and
Montie Jean, laughing, swallowed her mint gum.

–Shaun Perkins

Tin Can Drum Contest

tincan1As part of the celebration of the fall season, the Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry will have a Tin Can Poem Drum Contest. Make a drum from a tin can and come drum it in a rhythm circle at Autumn Movement with us!

Bring your drum out for a contest at the museum:

Saturday, Sept. 26

Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry

5:00-9:00 p.m.

Museum tours at 5:00, a drum workshop at 6:00, folk dancing at 7:00, and a drum circle at 8:00 are the events planned. Drums will be judged and prizes awarded at 6:45.

Here’s Your Poem

recorderPOEM LIFE premieres this Saturday night, March 21, at the VFW in Locust Grove. Here is another post about something you will experience in the show–the chance to have a personalized poem composed on the spot and taken home with you. If you follow ROMP or know the activities I get up to, you already know what poem-in-a-minute is about. You give me 3 words you like or want to see in a poem, and I type up a poem on the spot with those 3 words somewhere in it.

Instead of typing poems during the show, I will have a segment where I cassette-record 2-3 poems for people. Yes, I have moved up in the technology world–from manual typewriter to cassette recorder. It will be quicker to compose the poem and say it straight into a recorder, rather than to type it–though I’m a quick typer . . typist.

Over the years, as a poet, I have discovered my true calling not in the typical poetic endeavors of publishing poems, teaching them and holding poetry readings (all heroic endeavors) but in creating experiences of poetry for other people. That’s the strong teacher side in me coming out. My family has a long history of accomplished educators, and though I occasionally throw in the towel with teaching, I always come back to it in some way.

Poem Life and the Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry itself have been ways for me to bring together the celebration of poetry with the facilitation of its practice in the lives of everyday people. Poems-in-a-Minute has been one way I’ve extended this philosophy of poetry as experience–having performed at many festivals and venues. Though I no longer strive to have my poetry published (other than on this website), I cannot not be a poet–a wise woman told me that once. I just want to be a poet for other people.

Come to the show, ya’ll!

There will be a $100 door prize drawing and other fun surprises.

–Shaun Perkins




shaun-davidHe had meningitis as a baby
And almost died. It came
With horrible headaches
That he relieved by lying
In bed and rolling his head
Back and forth and repeating
Uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh
Until he fell asleep.

As children, we often went
With our dad into the woods
And listened to him name
The trees and the fox dens,
The place where moss
Would grow, the unrelieved
Smell of turtle flesh
Rotting in bleached shells.

Once on a trail ride,
My horse slipped and fell
And he jumped off his own
To . . . check on me? Save
Me? He was a tiny, sick baby.
He walked in the world
With me. He is my brother
And nothing will change that.

–Shaun Perkins