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Stephen S. Mills Wins the 7th Annual Oscar Wilde Award

Stephen S. Mills of Orlando, Florida has won the 7th Annual Oscar Wilde Award for his poem entitled Iranian Boys Hanged for Sodomy, July 2005.

. Stephen S. Mills received a cash prize of $100.00 and his poem is posted on the Gival Press website ( In addition, his poem will appear in the anthology Poetic Voices Without Borders 2.

Winner of the 2008 Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award

Iranian Boys Hanged for Sodomy, July 2005*

We have their last photograph, a magazine cutout of the blind- folded boys, with nooses round their necks and masked men behind. Men with thick hands, hands that keep everything in order, everyone blind.

We let the picture drift around the apartment like an omen that will one day make perfect sense. Some mornings I stick it on the bathroom mirror before you shave, the next you have it on the fridge or tucked inside my O’Hara Collected. Some nights I slip it in a shoebox marked “private” and forget we ever cut it

out, but by the following evening it’s under our mattress as we make love. Each time I thrust into you, I’m thrusting into them, creasing their boyish bodies, one only 16. On Sunday morning I ask you if you think the Iranian boys loved each other like I love you

here in America where true love must be complicated. You’re sure they did, believe being hanged together reeks of romance, of epic novels, and Hollywood love stories, but I fear it’s just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

All I can see are two terrified boys, hands bound, about to be hanged for public view. And I need to know if it was quick. If the rope did what ropes are meant to do or if the boys found freedom in the dark of their twitching eyelids?

Copyright © 2008 by Stephen S. MIlls.

*The poem refers to the event that occurred on July 19, 2005 when two young men (one rumored to be 16) were publically hanged in Iran for the crime of sodomy. They were held in prison for 14 months where they were beaten until they confessed to having gay sex. An estimated 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been put to death in Iran since 1979 when the ayatollahs took power. The incident was reported in The Advocate, July 2005.


Stephen S. Mills recently completed his MFA in poetry at Florida State University. His poems have appeared in The Gay and Lesbian Review, Hoboeye Online Arts Journal, and on Others will soon appear in The New York Quarterly, The Broke Bridge Review, and The Quirk. He currently lives in Orlando, Florida with his partner and his dog and is a founding member of the Black Tarp Poetry Society.

Honorable Mentions: Love Poem by Christopher Nelson of Tucson, Arizona.

Whitman\’s House by Brian Cromwall of Kupa\’a, Hawaii.

My Indian Sappho/The Sappho in Me by Nishi Chawla of Bethesda, Maryland.

Judge: Pablo Miguel Martinez, last year’s winner, who read the entries anonymously, served as the final judge.


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