Volume 3, Issue xi
Wild Greens 3, no. 11 (September 2023)
Welcome to the September 2023 issue of Wild Greens
This month, we’re all in on the joke. This issue is rated M for Mature: Strong Language, Sexual Content, Adult Situations, Excessive Puns, Mild Peril. Reader discretion is advised.
In “It’s Not You… It’s Poetry,” Debbie Feit’s Dear John letter to her novel, the author leaves her husband (the novel) for a new boyfriend (poetry).
Hiram Larew’s poem “Finding Out” offers an invitation to do things differently—to live a “love-lasting kind of different life.” Hiram included a recording of him reading the poem, so go ahead and take a listen!
Evyatar Kanik’s comic, “Coup de Poulet” gives us wordplay and sympathy for chickens. In Doug Jacquier’s “Marriage and Flying Saucers,” hilarity ensues when a husband mishears his wife. “Not Leafing It Alone” by Melissa Lomax combines wordplay with food illustration to create some truly epic lettuce puns. “Ode to a Tubular Treat” by Rick Blum tenderly celebrates a summer cookout favorite.
In Lauren Kimball’s “Comedy Roots,” Turtle and Hare get tickets to see a famous comedian.
Venya Gushchin’s raunchy poem entitled “after Emily Dickinson” offers an absurdly funny cross-pollination of high and low culture. Tim Brey and Rebecca Lipperini’s take on meme culture renames Necco wafer flavors. “Dreams” in collage by Irina Tall Novikova chops up women and replaces body parts with 3D objects.
“Swing Set” in ink on paper by Lynne Marie Rosenberg gives voice to the perpetual dilemma of creative life. “deal with it” by poet Elisabeth D. is about how jokes can be cruel.
“F’ing Freddie” by Doug Jacquier is a poem full of F-words, and sweet revenge.
“The Joke’s on Who?” by Janie Brey recounts a memory from school days in the 1970s: an epic prank on a pre-calculus teacher, and his epic prank in return.
Janie leaves us with a toast to creative kids and equally creative teachers—on the first day of September we could all use that mindset!
Yours earnestly and in jest,
Table of Contents
It's Not You... It's Poetry
by Debbie Feit
Dear Untitled Project,
It’s not you, it’s me.
I didn’t spend any time playing the field. (Well, not since I was with my high school’s literary journal, but, looking back, I realize I was too young to know what I really wanted.) I just dove in blindly and ended up in a long-term relationship that in the end went nowhere. I was hurt. Rejected. Boy, was I rejected. But I knew I needed to put myself back out there.
Then I met you.
And I felt that spark once more. You were funny and intelligent and sensitive… everything I was looking for in a creative outlet. You always had a way of surprising me. And as we got to know each other, my feelings only grew stronger. Soon, we were spending all our time together. There was something exhilarating about our rendezvous at my office when we would sneak into an empty conference room on my lunch hour so we could be with each other. Or meeting you at Panera after dropping my kids off at Sunday school. Some days we couldn’t be pried apart. And it wasn’t long before we were completing each other’s sentences.
I was fully committed to you. To us. I thought we were in it for the long haul… second printing, audiobooks, paperback edition, movie rights, the whole thing. It was so easy to envision our future together.
But then… I don’t know. Something shifted. I found myself looking for excuses for us not to be together. You just required so much attention…more than I could give. I realized I was editing myself around you and it wore on me. I’m ashamed to admit this, but I became attracted to other genres and I started writing around behind your back. It wasn’t with anyone you know…it was with poetry. At first, I thought maybe this was just infatuation and the feelings would pass. But time went on and my feelings only became more intense.
I realized I was falling in love.
Poetry was so much easier to be with. They weren’t looking for a long-term commitment. They were fun and flexible and open to experimenting. They weren’t afraid to break the rules. You always insisted we follow an outline and were reluctant to veer from it for fear of getting lost. Maybe getting lost once in a while would have been good for us…maybe our story might have taken a different turn.
With poetry, I could finally date and explore my options. Sure, there was some real assonance out there, but I think…no…I know I’ve found the one. They have such an interesting way with words; I don’t always understand what they mean, but I actually think that adds a little mystery to the relationship. It was easy for us to find our rhythm and are now very happy as a couplet.
I know what you’re going to say… you want us to talk with a developmental editor to see if they can help smooth things out between us, but honestly, it feels like we’ve missed that deadline. When I think about the time and energy we would need to put in to make this work…well, I just don’t think we’re meant to be. Please know, you’re a wonderful manuscript and any writer would be thrilled to have their name alongside yours.
I hope you’ll one day find it in your heart to forgive me. I never meant to string you along. I always thought we’d be together until… the end.
by Hiram LarewHere’s a test for you Junior –
So what’s a blaring trombone or some crushed iceCompared to love?
Isn’t heading out in spite of the storm pure forgiveness?
And the taste of sugar sweet? Who held up that bank?
You seeThere comes a time and place in lifeWhen you’ll take the test and do things differentFrom God Bless Hawai’i to the tip of your tongue.
And if that means that stars collide Or that Aunt Reetie moves slowerOr that holy milk turns to holy mudThat’s okThat’s the way that things in love and life should beBut different
And not to cheat or double-walk the line twiceBut here’s what this all meansIn a nut’s shell –
Go at it with every overdue book you’ve gotGive it silly and then give it griefAnd sureTake directions from above But only if you’re pissing in a jar down below
That’s what a love-lasting kind of different life means
And no matter what the battle may beOr how many crying diapers await youOr even if someone kisses your canNo matter such things at all —
To pass goStop everything Everything you do or may becomeFor a ladle of that homemade gravy
Coup de Poulet
Marriage and Flying Saucers
by Doug Jacquier
My wife believes in flying saucers. And cups. And dinner plates. Even the occasional saucepan sails through space toward my beleaguered semi-deaf head. I say ‘semi-deaf’ because my hearing declined significantly after I was run over by that truck on Main St. But I digress.
The problem is my wife’s frustration with what she sees as an irredeemable flaw in my character, namely that her pearls of wisdom, not to mention her specific instructions, don’t seem to arrive at my ears as often as she would like and those that do arrive are somehow transformed into only a fair facsimile of what she believes she originally uttered.
She said living with me was like a never-ending game of Chinese whispers. I said it wasn’t fair that she whispered to me in Chinese when she knew I had a hearing deficit. The electric frypan has never been the same since.
Eventually, to keep the peace (or should I say ‘pieces’ of our remaining serviceable crockery), I agreed to have my hearing tested, if only to convince my wife of the error of her whispering ways.
A very pleasant young audiologist took me through a series of challenges and she seemed very pleased when I indicated that I could detect a range usually only achievable by dogs and children at a great distance when dinner’s ready. She seemed very confused however when I related a recipe back to her that she seemed somehow to have confused with the Lord’s Prayer. University standards these days; what can you say?
She recommended hearing aids, for what seemed to her the very reasonable price of handing over our firstborn grandchild and the deed to the farm. I said I’d sleep on it and went home to my wife with what I believed were some very creditable lies I’d prepared. There went the rest of the wedding dinner service.
So, I succumbed to pieces of electronic gadgetry being inserted into my aural orifices and awaited the miracles I had been promised.
This cornucopia of delights included the agony of our granddaughter’s primary school choir singing, the avalanche of clichés possessed by football commentators, and learning the gruesome details of whatever Third World country was currently at war/starving/suffering an epidemic. To say I was unconvinced that I had been delivered of a serious affliction is like saying that a man with chronic headaches was unconvinced of the need for his decapitation to cure the problem.
So, whenever I thought I could safely do so, I stuffed these harbingers of horror in my pocket and only retrieved them when my wife hove into view. And that worked fine for a brief time but I was soon a nervous wreck from her sneaking up behind me.
A compromise of sorts emerged with the idea of her sending me text messages when it was something important, the theory being there would be no room for argument about what I was required to do.
An admirable plan indeed, were it not for my wife’s propensity to be, shall we say, creative in her spelling. The early warning signs were there when she asked me to buy some naval oranges and I confused the greengrocer no end when I insisted on the ones that sailors eat. And imagine my shock when she said she was going over to her sister’s to help her with her dying.
The plan finally collapsed under the weight of the fiasco of her finding me and the local priest in the barn after she’d told me to exorcize the horses.
So now we just make sure we’re standing close enough to ensure clear communication, although this has led to dancing and who knows where that might end?
Not Leafing It Alone
Ode to a Tubular Treat
by Rick BlumWhatever they call you, it’s OK by me frankfurter, wiener, hot dog, or weenieconsumed in a diner or deli somewhereeven at the ol’ ball park… if you dare
What method is best to free thy piquant bouquet?Here is a list of the numerous ways:boiled, steamed, nuked, gently seared on a grill even split lengthwise and fried—what a thrill!
My fickle heart flutters when sleek body you flauntlounging in toasted buns, but never croissantswith spicy brown mustard on top, squiggled outthen smothered in heaps of mouth-watering kraut
Sometimes you’re sliced up, thrown in a milieuwhich I think sadly kills the essence of youwhen blended with pasta tubes all drenched in cheeseor buried in baked beans, you’re just a tease
I could go on forever extolling your charmsbut my stomach is growling, all up in armsso off to the kitchen, to let chef skills flowerthen feast on a scrumptious dog with pickle sour
If you like the issue, you can donate to Wild Greens through our Ko-fi page!
See behind the scenes of Wild Greens. Our Ko-fi page contains concept art for past issues.
after Emily Dickinson
by Venya GushchinBecause I could not top for Death -He kindly topped for me -The Carriage took a musty Smell -And my Virginity.
We slowly fucked - He knew no hasteAnd I had shut awayMy long belabored Foolishness,That notion I was Straight -
We passed the Street at half-past TenWhere Men came - Down like RainAnd Turning at Trafalgar - Square -We rode to Heaven’s Gate
Or rather - He rode Me -And drew me quivering, AloftMy hair of Gossamer, his Reins -My Ass - his Saddle Seat -
My only Thought the while I feltThe Swelling of his Mound -That I should be for Ever HisIgnoble steed - to Mount -
Since then - ’twas Thursday last - and yetEternity untilI next imbibe his Horse size HeadAnd never have my Fill -
Wafers as Puritan women.
by Tim Brey and Rebecca Lipperini
Constance Brown, Goody Conifer, Jane Merriweather
Delilah the Tramp, Sister Burlap, Charity Blossom
Prudence Smithington, Young Harmony Do-Well
deal with it.
by Elisabeth D.It’s not meant to be mean.It’s just a jokeor that’s what they say.You smile and it’s so fakeit hurts your cheeks.You keep it inside and hide your tears,repeating to yourself,you should learn to deal with it.
Take the joke and laugh it off.You don’t want them to knowit hurts deeper than you thought it would.You should make one toobut be careful not to be shameful:lots of people would hate youfor saying half the jokes they did.
Deal with itand don’t feel guilty aboutwasting tissues over tears.It’s much cheaper thanthat mascara that makes you looklike you’re not a completecrying mess who can’tdeal with it.
If you tell themyou’re uncomfortable,they’ll leave and you’ll beall alone again.You should know now,it’s always better tokeep your mouth shutand deal with itin silence.
Read about the inspiration for this month's logo on Ko-Fi.
by Doug JacquierFreddie Stare was a fabulous finesser of foot-tapping fantasia, with his fascinating rhythms filling the gravity-free firmament after he found Fionnuala Fagan, the famed fox-trotter from Fenagh.
With fame, he decided he could fare well without fair Fionnualaand was making a fine fettle of flying solo on his seemingly-feathered feet,playing footsies with footloose floozies.
Not to be fobbed off, Fionnuala furiously fanned her desire for fatal revenge and fossicked through files on pharmacology, sought to distill a phial of foul poison to fix Freddie’s fate, knowing full well he would return to the fold in the future.
She made a tincture of fenugreek, fennel, feverfew, fo-ti root and food-poisoning salmonella disguising its fetid taste with fruit juice and fizzy Fanta.
Inevitably, Freddie became fatiguedand grew too floppy for fandangos, fornications and frolics,so he presented himself to Fionnuala, with fraudulent fork-tongued promises of faithfulness, in order to charm her into ministering to his frail and failing frame, for old friendship’s sake.
Fionnuala was not to be fooledby Freddie’s flattering fakery, but feigned concern and bade him drink of her felicitous tincture, Freddie’s Fantasia, and soon after Freddie fell flat on his face and Fionnuala fed him to the fiery furnace.
The Joke's On Who?
by Janie Brey
In the mid-1970s, in my junior year of high school at a private prep school, I found myself in a pre-calculus class. I am still confused about how I ended up there because I had always struggled with math, often needing assistance. But this confusing placement led to an unforgettable experience.
Sitting at the back of the classroom were a group of sophomore boys who were studious, pocket calculator-toting fellows who were excited by equations and breezed through the assignments.
The teacher for the class, Mr. Lull, had two roles at the school—advanced math teacher and the dean of discipline. He was a kind, somewhat soft-spoken man who was eager to inspire students to better their math skills and took a keen interest in the whole student and their character development.
Mr. Lull entered the classroom each day wearing pressed slacks, a tweed sports coat with corduroy elbow patches, and a wool fedora. He always placed the fedora on the desk at the front of the room, closest to the window. The class was on the second floor of the building overlooking the girls’ hockey field.
One day, I heard the whisperings of a plot. It had something to do with Mr. Lull. Before I knew what was happening, one of the students grabbed Mr. Lull’s hat while his back was turned and quickly tossed the fedora out the window.
A day or two later, Mr. Lull arrived to find a photograph on his desk. It was a photo of his hat on the seat in a phone booth, wrapped in large chains. Next to the photo was a ransom note that said, “If you want your hat returned to you, you must sing the alma mater acapella at the next all school assembly.”
By now, Mr. Lull knew who the perpetrators of the crime were. Regardless, at the next assembly, he rose, stood before the packed bleachers, and announced he would sing the alma mater so the kidnappers would return his beloved hat. Mr. Lull then proceeded to tell all the students, who were now silent and curious, that those who had planned this kidnapping plot and crime had to solve a problem. He had buried an item on the girls’ hockey field, and, using math, he challenged the kidnappers to locate what he buried. He proclaimed that the kidnappers would have to serve detention if they could not solve the math problem and find the item.
Mr. Lull then sang the alma mater loudly and proudly, and out of the crowded bleachers flew his beloved hat.
While I wasn’t there for the final scene on the field, I did see the kidnappers—the group of sophomore boys who normally breezed through their math assignments—standing in a circle, reading a paper, and pausing to look the field over. The following day, the rumor spread that those ingenious, mischievous boys were serving detention, now assigned a math problem that could keep them on their toes.
Here’s to creative kids and their equally creative teachers!
Artists and Contributors
Debbie Feit (she/her) is an accidental mental health advocate, unrelenting Jewish mother and author of The Parent's Guide to Speech and Language Problems (McGraw-Hill), as well as numerous texts to her children that often go unanswered. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Passengers Journal, Slackjaw and on her mother’s bulletin board. You can read her thoughts on mental health, her life as a writer and her husband’s inability to see crumbs on the counter at debbiefeit.com or on Instagram @debbiefeit.
Founder of Poetry X Hunger: Bringing a World of Poets to the Anti-Hunger Cause, Hiram Larew (he/him) has had poems appear in recent issues of ZiN Daily, The Iowa Review and Poetry Scotland's Gallus. His most recent collection, Patchy Ways, was published in 2023 by CyberWit Press. www.HiramLarewPoetry and www.PoetryXHunger.com @HiramGLarew
Evyatar is a medical student and religious educator studying at St. George's University. Israel is his home and New Jersey is his residence.
Author and Poet
Doug Jacquier writes from the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. His work has been published in Australia, the US, the UK, Canada, New Zealand and India. He blogs at Six Crooked Highways.
Melissa Lomax (she/her) is a freelance illustrator, writer, and cartoonist, with 20 years of experience in the creative industry. Some of her clients include American Greetings, Sellers Publishing, Great Arrow Graphics and Highlights for Children. Her comic 'Doodle Town' posts on GoComics.com, the largest catalog of syndicated cartoons and comics. When she is not in the art studio, she enjoys spending time in nature, drinking really good coffee, and 'everyday adventures' with her husband. Pop by her Instagram @melissalomaxart for weekly inspiration!
Rick Blum (he/him) has been chronicling life’s vagaries through essays and poetry for more than 30 years during stints as a nightclub owner, high-tech manager, market research mogul, and, most recently, old geezer. His writings have appeared in more than 50 print magazines, literary journals, and poetry anthologies, as well as in numerous online publications. He is also a frequent contributor to the Humor Times. He resides in a Boston suburb that thankfully has been spared wildfires, biblical rains, weeks of searing heat, drought and flooding from rising sea levels... so far.
Artist and Writer
Lauren Kimball (she/her) 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.
You can find her comics on Instagram @turtle_n_hare_comic.
Venya Gushchin (he/him/his) is a poet, literary translator, and PhD Candidate studying Russian poetry at Columbia University. He is writing a dissertation on the late styles of Russian Modernist poets. His translations of Vladimir Mayakovsky and Elizaveta Mnatasakanova have received the Columbia University Slavic Department Pushkin Prize. His writings have appeared in Cardinal Points, KinoKultura, Jacket2, Impostor, and elsewhere. Find him on Instagram @venyagushchin
Writer and Music Editor
Writer and Editor-in-chief
Rebecca Lipperini (she/her) is a writer, teacher, and academic living in Philadelphia, and the founding editor of Wild Greens magazine. 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. She teaches in the Critical Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Irina Tall (Novikova)
Irina Tall (Novikova) is an artist, graphic artist, and illustrator. She graduated from the State Academy of Slavic Cultures with a degree in art, and also has a Bachelor's degree in design.
Her first personal exhibition "My soul is like a wild hawk" (2002) was held in the museum of Maxim Bagdanovich. In her works, she often raises themes of ecology and draws on anti-war topics. In 2005 she devoted a series of works to the Chernobyl disaster. The first big series she drew was "The Red Book," dedicated to rare and endangered species of animals and birds. She also writes fairy tales and poems, and illustrates short stories. She draws various fantastic creatures including unicorns and animals with human faces. She especially likes the image of a woman - a bird - Siren. In 2020, she took part in Poznań Art Week. Her work has been published in magazines: Gypsophila, Harpy Hybrid Review, Little Literary Living Room and others. In 2022, her short story was included in the collection The 50 Best Short Stories, and her poem was published in the collection of poetry The Wonders of Winter.
Lynne Marie Rosenberg
Lynne Marie Rosenberg (she/her) is a performer turned advocate turned content maker turned visual artist. Lynne is the host and creator of Emmy-nominated "Famous Cast Words" on the PBS affiliate network ALL ARTS, plays Dinah on HBO’s "High Maintenance", and is the artist behind the Etsy store, Hungry Bodhisattva. www.LynneMarieRosenberg.com
Elisabeth D. is a French writer and poet who learned to love the world through art. She has been writing since she was a child, and hopes someone will find peace, comfort, or love in her stories. She shares some of her work on her Instagram page (@elisabethdwrites) and is currently developing a blog.
Janie Brey lives in Ambler, PA and works as Director of OEP Preschool. She earned her degree in Early Childhood Education from Hood College. She loves her job working with children, families, and amazing teachers but values most highly her time with her three sons, daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren.
Poetry Editor and Copyeditor
Myra Chappius (she/her) is the author of six works of fiction and poetry. While her passion lies with shorter creations, it is her aspiration to complete a full-length novel and screenplay someday. She enjoys reading, music, travel, and learning. When not doing mom things, she is working full-time, seeing the latest movie, or waiting an acceptable length of time before returning to Universal Orlando to satiate her Harry Potter obsession.
Jessica Doble (she/her) holds a PhD in English 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” in 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. Her poetry has appeared in PubLab and Wild Greens magazine.
Jacqueline (she/her) earned her BA in English and creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. She was a 2021 publishing fellow with the Los Angeles Review of Books and an editor and co-editor for PubLab and UCR's Mosaic Art and Literary Journal. She is currently the fiction editor for Wild Greens magazine and a copyeditor for the Los Angeles Review of Books and The Arrow Journal.
Maggie Topel (she/her) is an artist and writer living in Philadelphia. She designs our seasonal Wild Greens logo and social media avatar.
Hayley (she/her) 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 storyteller. 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 wouldn't have it any other way. You can find Hayley on Instagram @hayley3390.