Category Archives: Submissions to WIZ

Guest post by Tyler Chadwick: Fruit

by Tyler Chadwick
 

1. First

“She’s like an apple
in a water balloon,”
the doctor says. They watch

their fruit unfold across
the screen in light movements.
Submerged beneath her sea

enclosed by silent walls,
slow fluid breaths inspire
her ripening, baptize

the room in innocence.
Within this matrix
of tranquility,

they sense her beckoning
through sound’s translucent waves,
calling from her still place

into time’s raging sea
for a Return. Then Light
ripples from around her world

as from the Garden tree
whence God called Adam
and questioned why his seed
had grown so ripe with blood.

2. Last

Within their yellow tree
atop a falling hill,
shades of spring shadow

the waiting fruit. Chilled rains
stagnate in micro-seas
about their stems, throw drops

of ripened dew across
his face as he climbs
upward, pulls the apples,

and drops them
to her waiting hands.
Pale bruises hide beneath

the golden skin, some from
their gathering, some from
tussles with branches

and hungry birds, and some
from the inside-out
of parasitic guile.

Holding his breath,
he cradles the last fruit
as naked branches steal
the blood from his cold hand.
 

3. Return

The pair, fallen with years,
returns to their garden,
straining for shades of green

within withered gold.
Arm in arm, they step
beneath their tree

and rest against the trunk.
His eyes pursue the land
into a blurry field

and hers cover his face
in reminiscent strokes.
As the sun departs his gaze,

dark winds carry
the breath of swollen fruit,
pooled around their feet. He sighs;

she leans against his arm
and waits with him as night
folds across his frame.

Her tears swell with their fruit,
distilling through Earth’s skin
into the flowing blood
of their generations’ veins.

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For Tyler’s bio and blogs, go here (scroll to the end). 

Originally published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 39:3 (2006).

Guest post by green mormon architect: 8.3 Million

As the bus exits the Lincoln tunnel and enters Manhattan, I strain my neck to look out the window at the buildings towering over me in the narrow corridor called a street.  I am overwhelmed with awe at the beauty and majesty of this new environment.  I can hear, feel and smell the city breathing with both life and decay.  Steam coming out of the asphalt.  Music coming out of a church.  Rotten food coming out of buildings.  Light coming out of windows.  People walking everywhere.  I am a foreigner here.  Where can I find shelter, or a drink of water?  Where do I push my stick into the landscape, like Brigham, and say this is where I will begin?

I decide to explore this living organism called a city.  Much more seems to be going on here than is visible on the surface.  The landscape before me is teeming with life like a tree, with roots extending deep into the earth and branches soaring into the sky.  Lightning and water flow hidden through arteries giving life to all.  Burrowing under the city’s skin I enter one of the arteries called a subway.  Here I am transported to another time.  As I emerge, not knowing what to expect, my eyes take time to adjust to the changed scene before me.  A person reeking of urine and dressed in rags asks for money.  I get a sandwich from a guy at a deli.  Someone follows me calling out that he knows me, but I’ve never seen him before.  This part of the city is old.  The scale of all I see is different.  Ground Zero lies in ruins.  People around me share where they were when it happened.  There is a wall lining an entire street with flowers and graffiti-like markings.  One of the scrawlings says, “I sat in silence watching.”  Why are all these people here?

By chance I run into a friend from high school.  I don’t know what to say to him.  He doesn’t say anything, so we pass each other on a piece of concrete called a sidewalk.  How do I make my mark?  How do I make a difference?  I run into a friend from college.  He lives here now.  We talk as though we were not in a foreign place.  I forget that I am the foreigner.

An obsession begins to develop towards this strange wilderness.  I feel at home for the first time in my life even though I am alone.  But I’m not alone.  This vast landscape is layered with people, surfaces, textures, and materials that combine infinitely to provide me the community, music, crime, art, filth, food, and beauty that I need.  Every stranger I pass on the street helps contribute to make each of these parts of my life here possible.   Again I burrow into the city’s skin.

I emerge reborn, now a child of the city, confident.  I am ready to begin.  I know where in the landscape to place my stick.  I enter a box called an elevator and fly upwards, unseen, as high as is humanly possible, to the top of an Empire.  Here I stand on stones carved out of the earth by human hands.  These stones suspended 1250 feet above the street allow me to see the grandest achievements of Humanity.  It is February 14th at midnight.  Sleepless in Seattle comes to mind.  Except my love is not coming for me.  My love is already here, all 8.3 million of them.

____________________________________________________________

Jonathan is an architect and blogger who loves talking about sustainability, the environment, buildings, and cities.  He has worked in Orlando, San Francisco, Portland, and now Salt Lake where he is approaching one year in Utah working for the LDS Church.  He blogs at green mormon architect and salt lake architecture and is looking forward to a return trip to New York next month.

Into freedom: An essay by Elizabeth R.

Elizabeth is a 12-year-old girl who loves to write. Her favorite genre is fantasy. She loves riding around on her scooter, and this is one of the ways she gets her inspiration.

I sit at my computer desk with a blank document in front of me. I gaze out the window at the never-ending rain. I yearn for the sunlight that time forgot.

I have no ideas for stories. My mind wanders on other subjects that connect with the real world I live in every day.
 
Wait! There still is a small bit of hope. A hope that is so small, I never see it. I must search diligently for it. I must ease out of the fears, out of the worries, out of the fast and the slow lane. I must stop.
 
I picture myself in a grassy field. The sun shines warm on my face, I hear a bird singing, and the whole field is filled with a tingling sensation that I long for.
 
I somehow have a desire to run. But I am growing up, I think to myself. I have no time for such childish little games.
 
However, my legs are moving.
 
Go ahead, a voice inside my head says, go ahead and let yourself fly. Set me free.
 
My fingers now dance over to the keyboard. I type, slowly at first, but soon I am going faster and faster on the keyboard.
 
I begin to fast-walk in the field. Soon I am jogging. Then I start going at a full-out run. My heart skips, and my fingers pause…
 
Suddenly, I leap into the air and fly. Fly like I mean it! I fly, and nothing else matters to me.
 
My fingers are now dancing, flying with the story. Flying with my heart, and my soul…
 
Finally, I land ever so gracefully and softly. I walk for a little, and then find myself at my computer again.
 
I look out the window to see the sun peeking over a cloud, and the thunderheads moving away.
 
This is my chance! This is the opportunity I have been waiting for! I leap up and throw on some shoes, running outside and into the fresh air.
 
Into freedom.

August is people month on WIZ

I’ve decided to officially declare August Homo narrans month on WIZ.  Throughout the month, I’ll post narrative prose and poetry that’s people-centric in nature.  Homo narrans (“storytelling man”) is John D. Niles’ provocative turn on our self-assigned scientific designation Homo sapien:

Only human beings possess this almost incredible cosmoplastic power, or world-making ability… Through storytelling, an otherwise unexceptional biological species has become a much more interesting thing, Homo narrans: that hominid who not only has succeeded in negotiating the world of nature, finding enough food and shelter to survive, but also has learned to inhabit mental worlds that pertain to times that are not present and places that are the stuff of dreams (p. 3).

When I write poems and essays that focus on nature, human presence permeates them — my presence out in nature as observer of and participant in some events and also as teller of the stories I relate.  Also deeply important: the audience who follows these narrative trails with me.  Though it might not appear obvious, my writing is all about people.  I wouldn’t present my narratives to audiences if I did not carry deep and growing feeling for fellow humans.  But I worry — a little — that the feeling I bear toward my own kind doesn’t shine through as much as I might hope.   So I’m tipping my hand.

One of the reasons I don’t write much (comparatively) about people is that hummingbirds or deer or swallows don’t especially care much if I write about them, but some of the people with whom I’ve had stunning encounters and whose stories weave through mine might feel put out by my narrative take on events or as if confidences have been betayed.   I embark on this project with the greatest respect and undying affection for my fellow beings.  As far as I’m concerned, the same rules of engagment apply in the human environment as when I’m out in the natural one.

Pretending, for the moment, they are not one and the same environment. 

Throughout August, then, WIZ will run narrative pieces celebrating the human presence on this planet and in general reveling in both the perks and glorious ironies of being human.  Readers wishing to join in — please feel encouraged to do so.   Stories, poems, fiction, or hybrid pieces that weave natural threads through the human narrative tapestry are especially welcome.  Please read the Submissions guidelines then send your best Homo narrans efforts to wilderness@motleyvision.org.

_____________________________________________________________

Niles, John D.  Homo Narrans: The Poetics and Anthropology of Oral Literature.  Philadephia: The University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.

Hudson’s Geese: Reprise

(For Leslie Norris)

By Tyler Chadwick

Day’s last reflections
catch on wind-swept ripples
as two geese throw shadows
across watered silence.
Embraced by echoes,
each circles the other.
Tracing this current,
I watch Hudson’s pair
venturing back
across the continent:
Her wings bear no scars
of hapless encounter
with fox or wolf or man;
his body carries
no hunter’s spray,
the lead that felled him
to the dogs. They bask
in this dusking plane,
watching the horizon
gather them, leaving
phantom indentations
in the eyes of those who
understood their love.

 

Tyler Chadwick is an academic refugee from Utah living in Idaho with his wife, their three daughters, and their Miniature Schnauzer, Bosley. He leapt into the Mormon blogging scene at A Motley Vision (his home away from home) when Theric Jepson’s post about Onan’s sin coaxed him to finally plant his rhetorical seed in the field of Mormon letters. His poetry has appeared in Metaphor, Dialogue, Irreantum, Salome Magazine, Black Rock & Sage, and on WIZ (here and here) and AMV (here and here) and many of his poems and his Mormon Poetry Project can be found on his personal blog. He enjoys chasing clouds and draws his natural philosophy from Whitman: “You air that serves me with breath to speak! / You objects that call from diffusion my meanings and give them shape! / You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers! / You paths worn in the irregular hollows by the roadsides! / I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so dear to me.”

“Hudson’s Geese: Reprise” was originally published in Irreantum: A Review of Mormon Literature and Film 8:1 (2006).  For Irreantum’s home page, go here.

If you would like to read Leslie Norris’ poem “Hudson’s Geese,” go here.

Field Notes #7, pt. two

Guest post by Saul

Mom came home at just after 11 AM on Saturday and told me that she wanted me to finish what I was doing and go down into Crossfire Canyon. She explained that the creek had stopped flowing, leaving some fish stranded in a puddle, at the mercy of garter snakes.

I was working at the time and it took half an hour to finish what I was doing, devour some watermelon and put together a my gear: a butterfly net, a metal bucket, a notebook and some water. At last, I rolled my bike out of the garage and took off. Continue reading Field Notes #7, pt. two

Communion with the small: An essay by Theric Jepson

Theric Jepson is best known in Mormon blogging for his Motley Vision post on Mormon comics. That and his other Motley Vision work are listed at http://www.motleyvision.org/about-theric-jepson/ along with essays and short stories hosted at other sites. He is the editor of that Fob Bible thing that all the cool kids are talking about. His online presence is best summed up by listing thmazing.com, thmazing.blogspot.com and twitter.com/thmazing. His poemMorning Walk, Spring 2009” was published here in March; it and this essay together sum up Theric’s daily natural philosophy: We are part of nature and nature is part of God and both nature and God should be part of our everyday lives. Even living as he does now in California’s East Bay, Theric will pause to watch a squirrel or listen to a bird. He is particularly curious as to why deer are commonly seen three blocks from his house yet never in his neighborhood, and how in the world so many raccoons can fit into a single sewer drain.

 

Why do we cityfolk so often imagine it necessary to leave the paved world to enjoy the natural world? I can remember one Sunday at Brigham Young University, walking from campus back to my apartment along the south border of a parking lot, just looking at the bushes. Some still had leaves, others were bare. Some had berries. One of the berried demanded my attention: each of this bush’s berries had three leaves growing in to and out of the berry. Perhaps they had once been petals from the flower? I don’t know, but it was new and fascinating and question-generating.

A neighboring bush was already naked of leaves in preparation for the coming winter, but the younger branches were covered in a soft, pleasant fuzz. The closer to the main trunk, the more likely a branch was to be bare, but those further afield had their own fur coats. Was this for winter protection? Was the fuzz there year round? Continue reading Communion with the small: An essay by Theric Jepson

The Island for Poi: a short story by Lora

“The Island for Poi” is a short story written in the “And that’s how the fox got his red coat” tradition, except with a twist: this story is about how the fantastic and mysterious relics found on an island came to be there.  Also, the story is told by a first person narrator who learned the “truth” in parts.  It’s a fun and breezy rite-of-passage tale, as satisfying to read as a berry can be to eat.  Its nature overtones make it a good fit for WIZ.

Lora lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two children, dog and rat. She is currently reading Atlas Shrugged. Lora gardens, writes, and runs the household. She is also preparing for the next school year when she will have both children enrolled in cyberschool.  

 

“Poi Maluuma, you get in here!”

Poi was second oldest of us seven boys, and cursed with the curse of secondness, as everyone knew. As he slouched into the shade of the tree where our family spent our days, he dragged his big feet and hung his tousled head. It was much too hot for Momma to sit or cook in the hut until after dark, but that didn’t stop her from growling her command anyway. While Dad went fishing and could be anywhere at sea, everyone knew that home was where the Momma was.

She stared up at him from where she reposed on a mat in the shade of the tree. Momma was not your typical openhearted islander. Other women sometimes asked each other if she had even been born among the Friendly People. She was steely and flinty. I didn’t know these were the words for her until years later when I went away to Chile for school. Eventually it would occur to me that Momma might have been channeling the soul of some mean housewife from Detroit. She was bad for the tourist business. She didn’t care what others thought. She had seven boys and she always declared that she had been stricken enough. Continue reading The Island for Poi: a short story by Lora