Wild Greens

Volume 2, Issue iii

Generosity

Wild Greens 2, no. 3 (January 2022)

Generosity

Welcome to the January 2022 issue of Wild Greens

Today is the first day of the New Year, and I’m writing to you from a place of grief. It’s in the air; an atmosphere of malaise, that you may be feeling too. I can pinpoint two definite causes amid the haze. One, I’m holed up on the couch with a cough and a sore throat: omicron, probably, although it’s been difficult to get a test in the U.S. And two, my grandmom passed away a few days ago.

This issue of Wild Greens feels like a gift. It is a uniquely comforting issue, with its lacings of kindness tied together with moments of generosity and giving. We had asked contributors for art and writing around the theme of generosity. Inside the issue, contributors have created art about the generosity of the earth and the ways we show up for each other.

We have so much to give!

Our issue is punctuated with three poems by J.I Kleinberg. These poems combine the principles of found poetry with those of collage to create something new. The first, “wild with gratitude,” yearns for a future where we can touch each other again with abandon.

In “Eight Years Old and Evergreen,” the first of two poems by Hayley Boyle, a childhood side-yard cedar is a site of giving. High in the branches, among the tiny ants, the needles and combs of the tree, the poet reflects that “insignificance / does not exist.” The world gives to us if we let it.

In “Sharing Joy,” the newest mosaic by Robin Brownfield, the joy of sharing what we have with others is imagined as sharing seed with birds. Food is such an intimate and generous way of giving to each other, and over the holidays many people express love by sharing food. In Clara Peterson’s short story, “A New Year,” a devastating loss is lessened by an unexpected visit from a friend. Giving one’s time and friendship is generosity, too.

In the new Turtle and Hare, our characters gift each other the present they would have wanted–a faux pas, assuming that someone else might love what we love!

The second poem from J.I. Kleinberg speaks of the generosity of nature, the giving acorn. Hayley’s poem “Food for Fruiting Bodies” builds on this theme, writing about the ecosystem of the forest, the mushrooms that grow on detritus and decay and give room for rebirth and renewal.

Finally, we leave you with a shout—“We need” by J.I. Kleinberg, Shout it out, we have enough to give to others—we have so much, we can share.

-Rebecca

wild with gratitude

by J.I. Kleinberg


Torn fragments of magazine text, green paper


Methods: I search magazines for phrases (roughly the equivalent of a poetic line) created unintentionally through the accident of magazine page design, then collect and re-assemble them to create new sense and syntax.


Inspiration: In a world informed by greed and self-interest, generosityin humans and in natureis always an inspiration.


Eight Years Old and Evergreen

by Hayley J. Boyle


Reaching clear into the sky,

stretching limbs and fingers out—

as if to pull the sky closer—

our side-yard cedar

became like a second home for my

scabby knees and calloused hands.


My face freckled among its branches,

mirroring the bark,

dappled and flecked

with sun and beetles and specks of dirt.


Climbing into its canopy

filled my small body with joy.

An escape into a world

of marching ants

sparrows flitting from bough to bough

sap that would stick to my palms

for days following hours among needles and cones

lingering, reminding me that

insignificance

does not exist

but miracles do.


They smell like an evergreen

and look like an eight-year-old,

swinging her legs, carefree,

reaching higher, touching the heavens.

Sharing Joy

by Robin Brownfield


Glue, grout, several band-aids


Inspiration:

The people who give you their food give you their heart.

~ Cesar Chavez


Life’s persistent and most urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'

~ Martin Luther King Jr.


The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them away.

~ Dorothy Day


I lived my teenage years working for Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers, where the notion of sharing selflessly had essentially become how I've tried to live my life. (Of course, my mom, a very generous woman, was a strong influence as well). One of my own personal sources of joy since the age of seven has been watching birds. I once had a red-breasted nuthatch hang out in my yard for two weeks. It would sit on my bird feeder while I filled it, and it would talk to me. In this mosaic, the birds represent the joys of sharing with others.


A New Year

by Clara Peterson


There are a few times in life when you leap up and the past that you'd been standing on falls away behind you, and the future you mean to land on is not yet in place, and for a moment you're suspended knowing nothing and no one, not even yourself.

-Ann Patchett


I stared down the length of the couch at the drab gray upholstery, the worn fleece blanket that lay listlessly across my lap, the brace on my knee, and the Kleenex strewn about the whole wretched tableau. I closed my book, which I had long since stopped reading. TickTick… What was that noise? The sound reverberated in the empty apartment. I held my watch to my ear — unbearable! I tore the offending object off my wrist and threw it across the room.

“Don’t cry,” I instructed myself strictly, “Don’t cry.”

I threw a pillow at the watch to muffle its still-audible tick.

The truth is, I wasn’t used to being alone. As an only child, I had always been proud of my ability to entertain myself. But I didn’t like an empty house. That’s why I had lived with four roommates — other busy Brooklynites whose general human puttering made the place feel lived-in — until, one after another, they had moved out as the pandemic dragged on. Visas ran out, budgets wore thin, and the struggle to find replacements strained the leaseholder until finally, she, too, announced her departure. Now, I had zero roommates and the lease to a five-bedroom apartment. My jaw tightened stubbornly just thinking about it. I would fill those rooms. I wasn’t about to let slip the final ribbon tethering me to my life.

My phone rang. In the split second before rational thought could reign, my heart leapt. But I knew it wasn’t him. Sure enough, there was my mom’s voice, crackling into my ear over the last remaining land-line on planet Earth. “Hi, sweetie! How are you today?”

“Same as I was two hours ago, totally fabulous,” I said testily.

“Well, how’s your…leg?” At least she remembered that much. Alzheimer’s was taking its toll, but she could still remember when something big happened, most of the time.

“My knee is the same. It hurts like hell,” I reported for the second time that day.

“Oh, it just kills me that I can’t be there!”

“It’s fine, Mom.”

“Is your boyfriend helping you? What’s his name…?” My throat constricted. Sometimes she remembered the big things, and sometimes she didn’t. Soon I would have to stop telling her. But she was still my shoulder to blubber on — the one who would stick up for me every time, tell me with real conviction that it didn’t matter what anyone else thought, I was still the greatest person alive. So I’d blubbered through it all with her the day before. Now, I couldn’t imagine rehashing it again. I answered simply: “Michael.”

“Oh, right! And he… OH MY GOD!” she cried suddenly.

I bolted upright. A current of electric fear ran down my spine. “Mom, are you alright?”

“Anna, you would not believe — There are four squirrels on my planter right now!” She exclaimed. I laughed in relief — saved by the squirrels. “I meant to put cookies out for them,” she continued, perplexed. I could hear her rummaging through the kitchen, could picture her in its warm yellow light sporting the ratty old sweatsuit she refused to give up, reheating her coffee for the hundredth time that day. I blinked back another threatening tear.

“I better let you go then,” I said, “I love you.”

“I’ll call you back! I love you too!”

“I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” I said firmly, hoping she would take (and remember) the hint this time; I couldn’t handle another circular conversation today. I hung up and closed my eyes, wishing for the sweet relief of a dreamless sleep. But it was only 3 p.m., and lately, I had slept in fits. Every few hours I would wake from dreams so vivid they left me feeling strange and scared, hollow and hurt. Like I’d narrowly escaped a twisted world that I could easily fall into again, spiraling alone down the rabbit hole if I only took a wrong turn.

Last night I’d dreamed of the accident. I was charging down the mountain through big tufts of deep white powder that I didn’t know how to navigate. The wind cracked at my ears. I spied a sleek, untouched surface on the far edge of the slope — so I cut right. But when I got to the gleaming path, I just started going faster and faster. I couldn’t stop! I lost control. So I cut left again in a desperate attempt to slow down, but my right ski caught on a mogul — and suddenly, I was tumbling down the mountain like a paper doll, rolling through thick white chaos that became a blizzard that subsumed me. It spun me around and around while I strained desperately against white blindness for a glimpse of him, waiting for me at the next pass, arms open wide, ready to hug me on the ski slope as he had before. But all I saw was white snow and flashes of his black jacket until his face appeared in front of me with that cold look in his eyes — a look I knew. A look that said: “I feel nothing.”

The buzzer to my apartment screeched through my reverie, and I jumped, jerking my knee. I howled at the sudden pain, then rolled my eyes. “Don’t be such a baby, Anna!” I muttered, grabbing my crutches begrudgingly. “But who the hell…” The buzzer clanged again, and I scowled as I crutched huffily across the room, pulled open the heavy apartment door, parked my crutches, and made my way down the stairs, leveraging the banister and the opposing wall to swing down step by step. “If it’s another goddamned delivery guy with a package for Sarah…” I grumbled, not sure how to do justice to my wrath in light of my handicap. I reached the bottom and hopped the last few paces to open the door to the outside world.

A sharp stream of cold air slapped my face, and I inhaled sweet reality as I took in — not the dreaded delivery guy — but my friend, who had evidently trudged all the way to Brooklyn from East Harlem to stand before me now with a bottle of champagne and a bag of groceries. I yelped with joy. She grinned and held up the bottle. “There’s another one in my backpack,” she said.

One foot standing firm on the cold ground, the other hovering in the air, I lunged forward and wrapped her in my arms. “Don’t cry,” I instructed myself tearfully, “Don’t cry.”

The Gift Exchange

by Lauren Kimball


Digital stylus


If you like the issue, you can donate to Wild Greens through our Ko-fi page!

a visceral fragrance

by J.I. Kleinberg


Torn fragments of magazine text, green paper


Methods: I search magazines for phrases (roughly the equivalent of a poetic line) created unintentionally through the accident of magazine page design, then collect and re-assemble them to create new sense and syntax.


Inspiration: In a world informed by greed and self-interest, generosityin humans and in natureis always an inspiration.

Food for Fruiting Bodies

by Hayley J. Boyle


Death comes slow for the forest.

Sleeping giants felled,

conceding to spores settling among fibers,

fingertips clasped to one another

chewing through winter wood or summer wood.

Moss damp with dew

and green like cutting teeth,

throwing tiny periscopes up to grow beyond.

Little lives marrying under the sun,

fractals festooning the earth in sunbursts,

turning stone to dust and wood to pulp.

All demanding existence while

wings beat and whiskers twitch and tongues flicker

for another meal.


We need

by J.I. Kleinberg


Torn fragments of magazine text, green paper


Methods: I search magazines for phrases (roughly the equivalent of a poetic line) created unintentionally through the accident of magazine page design, then collect and re-assemble them to create new sense and syntax.


Inspiration: In a world informed by greed and self-interest, generosityin humans and in natureis always an inspiration.


See behind the scenes of Wild Greens. Our Ko-fi page contains concept art for past issues.

Artists and Contributors

J.I. Kleinberg
(she/her/hers)

Poet

J.I. Kleinberg’s visual poems have been published in print and online journals worldwide. An artist, poet, freelance writer, and three-time Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, she lives in Bellingham, Washington, USA. You can find her on Instagram @jikleinberg.

Hayley Boyle
(she/her/hers)

Poet, Arts Editor, & Artist

Hayley creates the cover image for each issue of Wild Greens magazine and serves as the Arts Editor. Hayley is a social justice seeker, world traveler, rock climber, dog snuggler, frisbee player, event planner, and story-teller. She loves to paint with watercolors, embroider, and write. She grew up reading sci-fi and fantasy, and to this day she still turns to those genres to help her make sense of the world. She calls Philadelphia home, and she wouldn't have it any other way.


You can find Hayley on Instagram @hayley3390 or @haypaints. She takes commissions, and you can find examples of her work on her website.

Robin Brownfield
(she/her/hers)

Artist

Robin Brownfield is a former sociology professor who turned to art after becoming disabled. While she dabbles in numerous art forms, she finds mosaic art is a great way to recycle old materials and found objects. She has created murals, garden walkways, ornate tables, and countless other mosaic works, but recently, she has turned to creating portraits and works for social justice. She was recently featured in a FOX-29 News report, because she was commissioned by Tamika Palmer to do a mosaic portrait of her daughter, Breonna Taylor, whose death, in part, launched an international movement for justice for victims of racist murders. She has also won numerous awards in juried art shows, was featured as one of the Best Mosaic Artists in New Jersey in Best of NJ, and has had her art displayed in galleries all over the United States. She is currently working on a mosaic mural with the help of volunteers at Thomas Sharp Elementary School in Collingswood, NJ, and will be working on more murals in the Camden County area.


You can find her on Instagram @nebula1400 and Facebook - Robin Brownfield Mosaics Online Gallery. You can also visit her website Robin Brownfield Mosaics.


Clara Peterson
(she/her/hers)

Writer

Clara is a freelance writer and film producer based in Brooklyn, New York. She’s passionate about fairytales, dance, winter, rainbows, and all things that sparkle. You can find more of her musings and the occasional attempt at humor at clarapy.wordpress.com, and follow the journey of her first feature film, Snatchers, at @snatchersfilm across social media!


Lauren Kimball
(she/her/hers)

Artist

Lauren Kimball lives in Philadelphia. She teaches literature and composition at Rutgers University, New-Brunswick. In her spare time, she plays with paint, digital pens, words, and home improvement tools.

Jacqueline Ruvalcaba
(she/her/hers)

Fiction Editor

Jacqueline is a senior undergraduate student at the University of California, Riverside, working toward earning her BA in English and creative writing. She was a 2021 publishing fellow with the Los Angeles Review of Books and served as a co-editor, copyeditor, and producer on the fourth issue of PubLab journal. As a bookworm, writer, and homebody at heart, she spends her spare time looking for new fictional worlds she can lose herself in and working on crafting stories of her own.


Tim Brey
(he/him/his)

Music Editor

Tim Brey is a jazz pianist living in Philadelphia. He holds positions as Artist-in-Residence and Adjunct Faculty at Temple University and The University of the Arts, where he teaches jazz piano, music theory, and improvisation. Check out more of his music and his performance schedule at https://www.timbreymusic.com.


Maggie Topel
(she/her/hers)

Artist

Maggie Topel is an artist and writer living in Philadelphia. She designs our seasonal Wild Greens logo and social media avatar.


Rebecca Lipperini
(she/her/hers)

Editor-in-chief

Rebecca Lipperini is a writer, teacher, and academic living in Philadelphia, and the founding editor of Wild Greens magazine (hi!). She holds a PhD in English from Rutgers University, where she taught all kinds of classes on literature and poetry and writing, and wrote all kinds of papers on the same. Her essay on the soothing aesthetics of the supermarket was recently published in PubLab.


You can find Rebecca on Instagram @rebeccalipperini (personal) @wildgreensmag (you already know it).