Sarah Machinak Wins the Oscar Wilde Award
Sarah Machinak of Pittsburgh has won the 2010 Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award for the best poem that relates GLBT life. Her poem L.B.A. was chosen by Chino Mayrina, last year\’s winner.
In addition to having her poem published online on the Gival Press website, Sarah Machinak received a cash price of $100. Here below is her winning poem and the list of finalists for the contest.
Winner of the 2010 Gival Press Oscar Wilde Poetry Award
I awoke in my bridesmaid gown, panties draped over hotel room doorknob. The pressure
of the wedding gift was painful. But it was the least I could do after ten years
of friendship. I knew something was amiss at the rehearsal dinner—could sense her un-
spoken fear as only a best friend can. She knew there was a possibility
of being labeled L.B.A. (Lesbian by Association), and we couldn’t have that.
Of all the best friends at Saint Joe’s, why did she have to pick the lesbian? The girl
who nervously looked away in the locker room before cheerleading practice, where an
ill-timed glance could result in Bra. Thigh. Belly. Which would result in lesbian best friend
turning red, sweating, wishing to escape. Not to mention the sleepovers. What kind
of girl shares her king-sized canopy princess bed with a lesbian, who must lie
rigidly in the dark, as far away from her best friend as possible, so as
not to accidentally touch her? After the wedding, I could be gay again, we
decided through telepathy. So I passed. Passed on facebook-friending the bridal party,
so they wouldn’t see that I was Interested In: Women; passed on flirting with Amy,
the cute bridesmaid with whom there was extended eye contact; passed on genuine conversation
at the rehearsal dinner. But something had to give. Had enough wine with my meal
to make flirting with the groomsman to my left seem less than repulsive. Enough wine
that I could laugh graciously when the groom’s grandmother told me don’t-worry-I’d-find-
a-man-soon-too. At the wedding before we were announced, hiding in a back room
with the rest of the bridal party: chugged two beers on an empty stomach when the
underage best man commented on his allergy to my brand of lip gloss. “No
making out for you two tonight,” the other guys joked loudly. To which I replied that
the best man was “just a baby, much too young for me.” Failed to mention that he had the wrong
anatomy. I passed. And I drank. Gave a wasted maid-of-honor toast and an
impromptu blessing when the priest was running late. Danced inappropriately with the boldest
of the groomsmen. Pounded shot after gin- and-tonic after shot. Drank like I hadn’t
since sophomore year of college, since years before realizing my love of women. I blacked out,
of course, and remember nothing in between dancing and awaking sans panties. Perhaps
my best friend will decide that L.B.A is not so embarrassing in hindsight.
Copyright © 2010 by Sarah Machinak.
Sarah Machinak is an emerging poet who lives and writes in Pittsburgh. She has worked in the social services field since earning a B.S. in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. She plans to attend Chatham University’s MFA Creative Writing Program this fall.
Honorable Mentions for the Oscar Wilde Award: Competition by Pablo Martinez of San Antonio, Texas.
The Break Up by Michael Montlack of New York, New York.
Parentheses by Julie Weber of Ashland, Oregon.
On Turning 40 by Michael Montlack of New York, New York.