Volume 1, Issue xii
Wild Greens 1, no. 12 (October 2021)
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.
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
spotlight, smiling, and
the crazed communal crying crowd
swoons and screams in ecstasy
while hearts of primal drums
and guitars of wood and
metal strings awaken to life
by the long nimble fingers
And we are stunned.
Surrendering to the swaying
sea of sound surrounding us,
seeping into our marrow until
the surreality of this moment
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.
in this trance
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.
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
If you like the issue, you can donate to Wild Greens through our Ko-fi page!
by Douglas Hardman
Toil and rubble
Into the cauldron
A recipe for trouble
Blood moon fever arises
A chalice of red wine pressed against my lips
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
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
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.
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.
by Sam Vladimirsky
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.
by Jessica Doble
My tasks each year
goddess of spring
The ground of the bloodiest battles
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
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
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
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
Poet & Dancer
Jessica is a 30-year-old “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 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
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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 is an artist and writer living in Philadelphia. She designs our seasonal Wild Greens logo and social media avatar.
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).