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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.

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