Wild Greens

Volume 1, Issue xii

Ritual

Wild Greens 1, no. 12 (October 2021)

Ritual

Welcome to the October 2021 issue of Wild Greens

Falling leaves pile up in a blanket of golden brown and ruby red on cut lawns and forest floors and street gutters. The divestment of leaves from trees is a ritual of loss and change, every year again and again. The leaves are a reminder that humans aren’t the only creatures who create rituals; ritual is part of the cyclical earth we inhabit.

The act of making itself is often composed of rituals, patterns, and routines that get us in the headspace to create.

This month we feature the ritual of movement in Jessica Donahue’s breathtaking dance performance, “Light Our Inner Night,” with choreography by Jessica scored to music by Tim Brey. Lisa Molina’s poem, “Sacred Trance Dance,” captures the ritual of going to a concert performance, and feeling unison with strangers.


Katie Huey and Rebecca Samuelson both reflect on the problem of how we define and create rituals. In Katie’s essay, "Globes of Red and Ritual,” she reflects on the pressure of establishing a grieving ritual after the death of her father. Rebecca’s poem “Disconnect” is similarly engaged with the problem of memorialization.

In the next installment of Lauren Kimball’s “Turtle and Hare,” our two friends critique one another for their respective rituals of boxing and basking.


Douglas Hardman’s “spirited away” and Aimee Nicole’s set of poems, “Direct Hit” and “Prayers #2,” ask: how do we break from toxic rituals? How do we redirect our paths in order to create more holistic and healthy ones?

To end, we pull back the lens to ask why we keep rituals? What are we really remembering and memorializing? Sam Vladimirsky’s portraits of historical reenactors documents the instincts of self and community preservation, and also the joy of getting together with friends. Finally, Jessica Doble’s poem “Good Ground” follows Persephone, the goddess of spring, as she performs a ritual on the ground of the bloody battle of Gettysburg. The poem explores how places hold memories, and how those memories create meaning.


If this issue has us questioning our rituals, it also marks a ritual of its own. Each month we publish, and we are grateful that you return to read and share with us.


-Rebecca


Light Our Inner Night.mp4

Light Our Inner Night

by Jessica Donahue, featuring music by Tim Brey


Inspiration: All year long I go to the beach, show up how I feel, release my emotions, and record my process and progress. It’s become a way to let go, mark the period of time, and solidify the direction I am traveling. Expressing through dance feels like my best friend and most sacred experience.


Sacred Trance Dance

by Lisa Molina


In the trance-like daze of the

darkened dreamlike domed arena,

the players swagger

onto the stage


into the

spotlight, smiling, and

the crazed communal crying crowd

swoons and screams in ecstasy


while hearts of primal drums

beat

beat

beat

beat


and guitars of wood and

metal strings awaken to life

by the long nimble fingers


touching,

pressing,

strumming,

caressing.


And we are stunned.


Surrendering to the swaying

sea of sound surrounding us,

seeping into our marrow until

the surreality of this moment


Holds us.

Heals us.


Strangers, we sing together

as luminous lanterns shine

like The Liturgy of the Light

in the darkness of the night.


We roar, as a wave crashing

towards the shore, fingers reaching

for the glowing edges of

that magic shining orb so that


we may be baptized in the Light

and blessed by the humming

vibrations of the sacred

soul-searching songs of

Love and Loss,

Desperation and Satisfaction,

Betrayal and Redemption.


All songs sung since the

beginning of time.


We dance

in this trance

as one.

Our souls in unison.


Globes of Red and Ritual

by Katie Huey


On an ordinary Thursday evening we sat in my small kitchen, sharing food and laughter as dusk turned to darkness behind my sliding glass door. The last dinner I ate with my father included three of his hearty favorites ​​— bloody steak, green salad, and a baked potato dripping with butter.


After we ate, Dad and I did the dishes, taking turns dipping our hands into the sudsy sink to wash away dinner’s remnants. Dad took a red wine goblet out against the metal tub, accidentally cracking the rim. As he lifted the glass, large shards broke away, leaving him holding a stem with half a globe. A set of four suddenly became a set of three.


I told Dad to not worry about the mistake. Crate and Barrel is always stocked with more. He promised to buy me a new one next week.


The promise never was fulfilled, because there was no next week. Dad died, unexpectedly, the next day. Our family of five turned to four overnight. There were many shards to pick up in the suds.


Time has a way of marching on, wobbling at times in a disconcerting sway. As I began to develop my grief legs, I was told about the milestones I’d come to and how important ritual would be to my recovery process.


When the year anniversary approached I was asked by multiple people, “How will you mark the day? Do you have any traditions?”


“Traditions?” I thought. “Doesn’t it take repetition to build a tradition? How many years do you have to do something in a row for it to count as a tradition?”


In pursuit of an answer to my own wondering, and a sense of obligation to grieve correctly, I gathered with friends from my grief group. Squished around a dining room table with goblets of red, I asked for advice. Wise women reminded me to do what feels good. Ceremony or not, the day of his death doesn’t have to be marked by darkness. There is no guide book for this part of life after loss.


On the first year anniversary, I gave myself the permission to say, “I think I’ll try this, just for this year.” I went to Dunkin’ Donuts, selected three, and left the greasy bag in the park next to the lake where Dad taught me to ice skate when ponds still froze over in January.


I’ve now had a few years to practice. While I’ve gotten a bit more creative, with each approaching death day, the marbled weights of worry and wonder fill up my shoes, dragging me down with the fear of what honoring should look like. The pressure to create meaning while honoring his absence swallows me up into dark pits of guilt.


* * *


In 2020, the anniversary of Dad’s death approached a week after lockdowns first began in the U.S. I was afraid to drive three miles to the Dunkin Donuts to get a chocolate with sprinkles. I made waffles at home instead. This year, the five year milestone was marked with isolation. A surprise delivery of gourmet donuts from a friend arrived at my door a la Door Dash and accompanying texts of support buzzed in .... Dad would have said the maple and bacon was excessive. His preferred donut was plain glaze. Nothing fancy.

The gifts of sugar, carbs, and smears of frosting brought him into my space. I wept by myself and went to work behind Zoom screens, waiting for the day to be over.


Both grief and the pandemic continue to teach me I can’t control much. I can, however, choose to do what feels good. The threads connecting my intention to honor his life and integrate his memory into my living, present tense, always surprise me. Remembering him must take place on more than one day of the year.


Often, these small ceremonies include hunks of red meat with a side of fries and blue cheese to dip them in. Or an extra black cup of coffee left on my desk to grow cold while I wait for him to absorb the steam. I’ve marked mornings with fingers of shortbread and tumblers of whiskey on the piano. I’ve toasted with cold beer, pouring Colorado craft beer onto sand and pebbles where he used to hike.


Ritual does not have to mean repetition.


I play his favorite songs when I’m working. Baseball makes good background noise for a Saturday afternoon. Drinking coffee from his mug is an easy way to sip in his essence on an ordinary Thursday morning. Whether I’m pouring red wine, sinking my hands into a sudsy sink to do dishes, or slicing into steak, maybe my dad is there with me.


I raise my glass of red to toast to ritual. Here’s to trying. Here’s to creating ways to remember, and here’s to you, too. Perhaps, the magic lives in our choice to witness and welcome in whatever way feels good. Cheers.


Disconnect

by Rebecca Samuelson


Deactivate my fb when I die

do not send out birthday wishes

or overdue DMs from beyond

One time I got a message

happy birthday in caps from

my grandpa five months after

his funeral because someone

still had his password and

thought this would be sweet.

I cried for a week.


Let my birthdate reside in

memory with tribute to my

photo on the living room wall

My mom says people

pass away around important

dates so you don’t forget them.

How come no one in our family

has died around Arbor Day?


Erase the comments left

on shared posts no threads

to obsess over independently

I have multiple email accounts

with multiple folders that lead

all the way back to my Xanga.

Reminiscing over old blog posts

takes up a lot of time.



If I should go before you,

leave the tags for my head

stone & flowers for me to marvel at


Boxing and Basking

by Lauren Kimball


Digital stylus

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

spirited away

by Douglas Hardman


Double, double

Toil and rubble

Into the cauldron

A recipe for trouble


Blood moon fever arises

A chalice of red wine pressed against my lips

Dendritic Chalcedony

Mookaite Jasper

Charging and cleansing my aura

The first sip is the hardest

Bitterness begets bounty

The transformation is about to begin

Who you once saw

Will be a distant memory

The séance has begun

But this enchantment has no expiration date

At least not for me


Saturday night

Doesn’t mean I’m feeling alright

I left my amethyst under my pillow

For my eventual hibernation

While the effects are temporary

The repercussions are everlasting

Even the grandest of Supremes

I, too, must face my demons eventually

But the spirits, they beckon to me

Meet me at the alter

Speak in tongues as we enter a new realm

Friends turned strangers turned deviants

My curse is now yours

Burdened with purposeful glory


Will you meet me on the cliffside to howl at the moon?

Just long enough for me to trip you down the hill

I have been given different instructions

My master expects perfection

I have shed blood and tears and identity for this

How could I possibly go back?

Night after night, years after years

What could you possibly fear?

Happen to a terrible life? The unexpected


The shadows are fading

I must retire

But do not fret

The ritual is never over

Just at rest


Direct Hit

by Aimee Nicole


As we enter hurricane season,

the first storm barrels towards us.

Rhode Islanders clear

shelves of milk, bread, and eggs.

How they plan to prepare a dozen

eggs once the power sputters out,

no once can answer me.

I sit calmly with electronics

drained—so many years spent

limbs flailing and debris blurring vision

trying to feel my way towards safe

haven center. I’m here to report

that no amount of preparation

can save your body from

the impending destruction

caused by a direct hit.


Prayers #2

by Aimee Nicole


Standing beneath Echo Bridge

I howl obscenities into the ether,

hoping to crack a slither into

a parallel universe, reverse life

before those wicked ways.

Hard to swallow but yes there

was a time when I didn’t act

out for so much attention.

Sat in lace dresses on pews

and begged for forgiveness

of crimes I wasn’t even sure I committed.

How can I confess every sin

when they are also the responsibility

of the boy who threw me into that

well of my mind until I could scratch

my way to the surface, knuckles so swollen

I required amputation at the wrist.



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

Encore

by Sam Vladimirsky


Digital photography


Inspiration: Some of our strangest behaviors are performed in the interest of self-preservation, a sort of primal vanity that comes out when we try to remember and be remembered. We have developed public rituals around remembering the past in the form of re-enactments: choreographed performances designed for members of a community to tap into a time-swept culture, place, or event. Generations of hobbyists, in full period costume, flock to the spot at which something of perceived importance took place, to ceremoniously re-stage the original course of history as they imagine it.


But such events are reflective more of broad public imagination than historical reality, and done, in part, simply for the fun of charging at your best friend with a lance in one arm and a hand-made rusty iron shield in the other.


This portrait series documents historical re-enactment communities in the UK.


Good Ground

by Jessica Doble

My tasks each year

goddess of spring

The ground of the bloodiest battles

Gettysburg

Recovery needs coaxing

The white and purple wildflowers

Thistles that grow five feet

The buried acorns to seedlings

I place my palm on ground

Crackling dead grass

The thawing ground

Seeped blood of men

Last two seasons,

I find embittered cold from Father-Zeus

Tastes of chalk on the back of my throat

I dirty my thigh with brown decay

Place remembers relives

The humans reenact

The gods remember

The shades entombed

The opening of the ground

Ritual and battlement park

Happens at sunrise

We waken

I raise my arms

Mimic the sun’s path

Mother behind me

These tasks alone we perform in alignment

Dryads emerge from shadowed trunks

The Auloniades from their grounded bedchambers

The scarred Hamadryads, life tree-tied

These are the nymphs of the land—eyes of knotted bones

We call upon mother earth

Gaia of us—we are you

To heal from the frozen season

and deaths of thousands

We call upon Gaia

for fertility and victory

in the compassed ground

ridged to little and round topped hills-beat our breasts

We call upon the hearts

of pilgrims, the salt tears

the rooted connection

and the care of history

We wrest life

from the dead

We scream Ouranos

sky holds life giving light Aether

We scream Gaia

Earth food giving life

We scream Poseidon

in thirst we cannot be quenched

It pulls more from me

My domain and power more violent

The spring volatile

from thousands of years

I grasp, it positioned upon the miled ground

Retread for hundreds of years

I wield power and body to dirt

Delicate fingers alight the veins of memory, desire, death, and hunger

We build a great bonfire

Light to light of the rising sun

We greet Dawn

Soak our faces in her caress

The birth of spring

In Gettysburg

Mother kisses my parched forehead

Her wheat hair entangling mine

Dryads dance flickering and strengthening

In the coming day

Naked limbs and torsos their trees

The waters from beneath them

Stealing the air

Pressing the sunlight between

Their hands their thighs

Each blink of the eye

The earth my back

Light piercing lids

Shrunk husk

I’m unmoving

Soon the humans will come, marvel at Gettysburg

Cry from bent backs

We used to pound our breasts in mourning

Instead these humans take pictures

Listen to Gettysburg’s storytellers

They don’t remember the gods

Clasp hands between them or in front of their chests

Sometimes I star my body and wait for them

To walk the grassed plains

Reverberating footsteps echo

Hades picks up my body

Grasping hands behind knees and back

To Plum Run to be soothed by the Naiads

He wades to the deepest part of the river

And the Naiads press me

Cool water seeping to tissue

A tide upon bone

Goddess of spring


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

Artists and Contributors

Jessica Donahue
(she/her/hers)

Poet & Dancer

Jessica is a “heArtist” whose passions run deep. Her backgrounds are rooted in the arts, dance, theatre, creative movement and direction, yoga, wellness, mental health advocacy, and community event coordinating. Jessica has been deepening her learnings in sustainability practices and clean beauty for a better way of living. She is currently pursuing her Associate's Degree in General Studies and is grateful for the ability to both exchange with others in all art mediums and be a forever student in life.


You can find her storefront on her website: simplyjaed.squarespace.com; on Instagram @authenticstrive and @starsmoonsunshinejd; and on Facebook: Authentic Strive


Lisa Molina
(she/her/hers)

Poet

Lisa Molina is a writer/educator in Austin, Texas. Molina has twice been a winner of the Beyond Words Magazine 250-Word Challenge, and has also been published in both print and online publications, including Wild Greens magazine, Trouvaille Review, Neologism Poetry Journal, and Amethyst Review. She taught high school English and theatre, was Associate Publisher of Austin Family Magazine, and now works with students with special needs. Her son is a 3-time childhood cancer survivor. When not writing or reading with her silver tabby in her lap, she can probably be found playing piano, singing, or hiking and swimming in the cool, clear waters of the Barton Creek Greenbelt near her home with her daughter.


You can find her writing at her blog: lisalitgeek.wordpress.com; on Instagram: @lisabookgeek; and on Twitter: @lisabmolina1


Katie Huey
(she/her/hers)

Writer & Poet

Katie Huey is a writer, marketer, and facilitator. She believes in the power of story and the beauty found in sharing personal experience. Her work has appeared in Invoke Magazine, Conscious Company Magazine, and Hello Humans. You can follow more of her story on her website katiehuey.com. She lives in Colorado with her husband Dylan and rambunctious puppy Olive.

Find her on Instagram: @52beautifulthings and Twitter: @52beautiful

Rebecca Samuelson
(she/her/hers)

Poet

Rebecca Samuelson is a Bay Area poet from Hayward, California who writes from the intersection of caretaking and grief. She received her MFA in creative writing, with a concentration in poetry, from Saint Mary’s College of California. She received a BA in English, with a concentration in creative writing, from San Francisco State University. Her work can be found at rebecca-samuelson.com.


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.

Douglas Hardman
(he/his/they)

Poet

Douglas is a veterinary technician by day and a brooding lyricist/poet by night. He has a background in theatre, with a few original productions under his belt. A love of the city and hiking the Wissahickon is making Philadelphia feel like home since August 2019. He has an original writing series on YouTube called “the hideaway” where he presents his poetry and song lyrics in spoken word; while breaking down each piece, Douglas explains metaphors, inspiration, and offering vague writing tips for creative writers.


Find him on Instagram: @caliboynewyorkmind (personal) and @the_hideaway16 (writing)

Aimee Nicole
(she/her/hers)

Poet

Aimee Nicole is a chronically ill, queer poet currently residing in Rhode Island. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Roger Williams University and has been published by Cajun Mutt Press, The Nonconformist, and Rye Whiskey Review, among others. Her first collection Daily Worship was published by Laughing Ronin Press Jan 2022. Feel free to follow her on Instagram @aimeenicole525 for awkward selfies and pictures of her cat.


Sam Vladimirsky
(he/him)

Photographer

Sam Vladimirsky has worn many hats: artist, filmmaker, ex-archaeologist, washed-up actor, cat enthusiast, child ventriloquist. He currently produces documentary shorts for PBS and has previously held positions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Mana Contemporary, Jersey City. His films and photographs have been published in Vogue, Italia, The British Journal of Photography, Musée Magazine, The Billboard Creative, and screened at festivals nationwide. He graduated from University College London in 2020 with an M.A. in the History of Art and currently lives and works in the New York Metropolitan Area. Follow him on Instagram @samvladart or view his other work on his website samvladimirsky.com.

Jessica Doble
(she/her/hers)

Poet

Jessica Doble recently graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She's published two critical works: “Hope in the Apocalypse: Narrative Perspective as Negotiation of Structural Crises in Salvage the Bones” Xavier Review, and “Two-Sides of the Same Witchy Coin: Re-examining Belief in Witches through Jeannette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate” in All about Monsters. She recently completed and defended her dissertation “Reading Fandom: Fandom as Reception and Creative Authority.” Her poetry investigates pivotal moments in women's lives that are often deeply emotional and traumatic. She uses a feminist lens to focus on gendered bodies and experiences. She is also currently an intern for Black Lawrence Press. Her poetry has appeared in PubLab and Wild Greens magazine.


You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @JessicaLDoble.

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.


Hayley Boyle
(she/her/hers)

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.

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).