What’s the connection between lady arm wrestlers, prisoners, and literature? Who knows? It just so happens this CLAW will mark our third event for a prison-related organization, this time Kay Allison’s (of Quest Bookshop) Books Behind Bars, a 20-year-long project that buys and mails books to prisoners on request.
We’re also excited to announce that Jenny Johnson, a local writer and old school CLAW fan, recently won her way into the 50 Best New Poets anthology with a poem written about CLAW, called “Ladies’ Arm Wrestling at the Blue Moon Diner.” She will be reading this poem at CLAW 8. Please get there early, as we exceeded our 300-person capacity by 8:30 last time! It goes a little something like this:
Ladies’ Arm Wrestling Match at The Blue Moon Diner
On a red booth with Rose, right hand bracing a beer,
left elbow dismantling a pastoral, we shout into the throng—
In a leather body suit, Stiletto squeezes, insists, reconciles,
hazel eyes working overtime on the fist of her opponent.
Under the table there’s a penalty, “Left foot off the ground!”
A python en-circling her bicep, Sidewinder hisses like this: Sss Sss Sss
Then, Cheryl, golden as Carhartts, softening us,
“My grandma always told me if life gives you lemons
throw ’em away.” And so, we loosen. We shuffle off sore tendons.
Tuesdays. And insults cat-called out Chevy windows.
Clinking whiskey glasses, we wipe away sweat and
old flames who only leave muscles warm in daydreams.
Before the heat begins again, I have this vision
of a kid kicking up dust for hours in the road.
All I ever found in the gravel was the paper body,
what the gartersnake shed. Take off that old suit, tonight.
Even as your good arm shudders to the mat
like the waning crescent meeting the mouth of the Shenandoah.
In new skin, come back again and again. Own this acreage.
This new ground rippling under rolled sleeves.