Tag Archives: encounters with people

The Curelom by Scott Hales

The Curelom

The world is in chaos, but Tom Turner is frying two eggs and a side of bacon. His wife, Mattie, sits at the kitchen table eating cold cereal and watching the news on her tablet. Revolutions are whittling away at South America. Europe is on the brink of collapse. China is squeezing the U.S. dry. In Salt Lake City, crime rates have tripled in six months. As Tom spatulas his eggs onto a plate, he overhears a report on the killing of Peep Stone, a local superhero. Six bullets to the chest. Police have no leads.

“Poor Peep,” Tom says. He takes a seat next to his wife and silently blesses his food.

“Did you know him?” Mattie asks when he raises his head. Continue reading The Curelom by Scott Hales

The Trees in River Country by Sarah Dunster

Maple leaves on grass by Rosendahl

The trees in river country know the wind,
and how to bend  in winter blasts. They hold
snow and take the water. They change color—
as the leaves of maples turn, so too
a sister to her brother.

There are deep roots in a certain field, grown up
on our name past—fed by ashes of Cedar.
What wounds we’ve had will bear true grain,
but you and I will not be felled
by spade or tractor chain.

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To read another LONNOL Month poem by Sarah Dunster, go here.

Spooky by Sarah Dunster

blue eye art

You watched her pass, the woman you
were with while you learned Poetry.
Black hair—she smiled with such grey eyes—
you watched  her pass without goodbyes,
and these hills blind me, golden; fierce
with bristling grass, smoking in the sun:
a cloud kicked up, an offering
to sanctify our suffering.

She lay down for a minute
to allow that one to come. Only
think, while holding him, a child
once held in warmth and now, exiled:
blue eyes, all. And hair like lightning.
That’s us, our full cheeks swelling,
full eyes dripping with questions still,
bellies and hearts and arms to fill.

That’s us. Black hair—she smiled with such
grey eyes. You watched her pass without
heart-ill goodbyes, at least in words.
And summer passed, and autumn turned
to place her in the pines, in heaps
of needles, sharp with what you felt
but did not say. We found her there:
ponderosas, pitch-dark like her hair.

We sang you out one icy night,
with half-shy notes of grief you would
have quickly silenced. We stood there
by your bed and sang the trio, though
you were joking when you asked; how
truly black she was beside you—
Tongue lolling, and that spooky eye
watching even as we said goodbye.

___________________________________________________________________

Sarah Dunster picSarah Dunster is wife to one, mother to seven, and an author of fiction and poetry. Her
poems have appeared on the online LDS poetry blog Wilderness Interface Zone as well as in
Victorian Violet Press, Segullah Magazine, Dialogue: Journal of Mormon Thought, Psaltery
& Lyre and Sunstone Magazine. She has published two novels with Cedar Fort under their
Bonneville Books imprint: the award winning historical fiction novel Lightning Tree, and Mile
21, which is a contemporary fiction/romance novel. When she is not writing Sarah can often
be found cleaning, cooking vegetarian or international meals, holding small people in her lap,
driving kids to soccer and piano lessons, singing in local musical productions with her family
or taking long walks after dark, especially in thunderstorms.

LONNOL Events

WIZ Valentine9

WIZ’s heart and LONNOL Month is officially open.

We’ve received a few tokens of affection but are longing for more. Please search your files for poems, short fiction, short essays, mp3s of readings of your work or of other work that’s in public domain, your original artwork, etc. and send them winging our way.

Along with submissions from our readers, we’ll have a winter wonderland/fond feelings haiku chain, to be initiated soon.

Also, February 24th is WIZ’s birthday. We’ll be four years old. To celebrate, we’ll be offering one or more of WIZ’s old movie giveaways. Giving our readers presents on our birthday is something we really enjoy doing. To “win” an old movie, all you’ll have to do is read each movie’s review and comment in the comment section. WIZ will contact you with further instructions about how to receive your free DVD.

It has been a hard, difficult, overlong (some would say interminable) winter. Let’s use February to warm things up.

The Pressure of Procrastination by Enoch Thompson

439px-Face_in_the_Pool-Knight_Fighting_Dragon

My teeth sting in my face, the gums feel like they could bleed,
but I don’t brush them, no, why do such a simple thing,
it would be a waste of time.  Instead I loaf,
waiting for the brilliance that’s rightfully mine,
waiting for a smell of joy, a salty tear running down to my nostril,
waiting for love as obvious as the warm hour of day when I’m out in the sun.
Maybe I’ll discover a new color when it happens merely by chance,
but I wait for greatness.

I could never be content with just a toothbrush in my hand.
Let that invisible sting at the bottoms of my gums, deep in my veins,
turn into a green tinge of growth, climbing up, climbing out.
Let me cry out in pain and rage when I eat.
Then with a scalpel, with rough-studded tools,
let me slay that dragon, and I’ll smile easier.

_____________________________________________________

Want to read more of Enoch’s poetry? Go here, here, and here.

Me at 18 by Enoch Thompson

800px-US_Restroom

At first the hard tile floor beneath the sink
was relief from mounds of powder and frost
feet and feet deep

The silver pipes above my head
felt like distant blankets, not soft, or even felt by me
but as a sense of found security

Whose thin crust shattered in the night
when fathers, sons, or truck drivers
stopped to piss and be my guest

____________________________________________________________________________________

To see more poetry by Enoch, go here and here.

Visitors to Canyonlands by A. J. Huffman

Red_Cliff_along_US287_between_Lander_and_Dubois_in_Wyoming by Wing Chi Poon

The rocks were caught by child’s eye,
and changed with the sunset
into horns and antennae,
goring and grinding, and going off.
Bumped into the night.

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You can find more of A. J. Huffman’s work here, here and here.

The Mechanics of Creation by Scott Hales

Model T Ford by O'Brien

“Darwin’s book was rather heavy, but by close application, the young student thought he learned what the scientist was ‘driving at.’”—Nephi Anderson, Dorian

Elder Joseph F. Smith, Jr. knows the Ford Model T as thoroughly as he knows his scriptures, and he knows those better than any man in the Church. So, with the automobile in neutral, he has little trouble guiding Brother Anderson through the process of setting the throttle and choke, adjusting the spark advance, and safely operating the hand-crank.

“You always crank with the left hand?” Brother Anderson asks after the demonstration.

“Always!” says Elder Smith. “If you use your right hand, you could lose your thumb when the engine backfires.”

“Oh, dear,” says Brother Anderson. He removes his glasses and polishes them with a pocket handkerchief.

“The Lord has provided us with a wonderful machine,” Elder Smith says. “Respect it!”

Elder Smith spends the next hour drilling Brother Anderson on the proper care and use of the Model T. They discuss the four cylinder engine, the flywheel magneto, the timer and trembler coils. He demonstrates how to use the foot pedals and handbrake, offers his opinion on gasoline and ethanol. After Brother Anderson successfully starts the engine three times, Elder Smith removes his coat, rolls up his sleeves, and shows how to change a flat tire.

“Extraordinary,” says Brother Anderson.

***
With Brother Anderson behind the wheel of his new Model T, the two men bump their way down 700 East. From the passenger’s seat, Elder Smith offers instruction about speed control, braking, and how to safely pass slow-moving vehicles. Over the sputter of the engine, he says, “Remember that you have dominion over the road. Nothing matches you in strength, speed, and mechanical sophistication. Even the streetcar, with its petty reliance on cable and track, is no match for you!”

Brother Anderson nods his head and tries to look attentive.

“Even so,” continues Elder Smith, “your dominion must be righteous. You must not lord over the road. ‘The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.’ I have seen it happen before! Just the other day—turn here!”

Applying the brake, Brother Anderson turns haltingly onto 900 South. To his left, he thrills to see the magisterial trees of Liberty Park. With a gloved finger, he points to the park’s entrance, a wide thoroughfare flanked by two stone pedestals. “Shall we take a spin through the park?” he asks.

“Yes,” says Elder Smith, “but I must be at my office in thirty minutes.”

***
Liberty Park is full of late-summer picnickers lazing in the noonday shade. Brother Anderson steers the car south through its tree-lined lanes and admires how the landscapers have molded and shaped nature to accentuate its inborn beauty. As they pass the zoo, Brother Anderson asks Elder Smith if he has taken his children to see it.

“No,” says Elder Smith.

“You really should,” says Brother Anderson. “The elephants are a sight to see.”

“Yes,” says Elder Smith. “I saw one in a circus once. When I was a child, that is.”

“You really should take your children,” insists Brother Anderson. “My children love the zoo. Have you ever seen a chimpanzee?”

“In England.”

“Amazing creatures,” says Brother Anderson. “They almost persuade me to believe those theories about pre-Adamite man.”

Elder Smith scoffs. “You don’t suggest…?”

“Not necessarily,” says Brother Anderson. “Elder Grant and I attended a lecture in Liverpool on Darwin’s theories some years ago. They’re rather compelling.”

“Let me remind you of your Bible, Brother Anderson,” says Elder Smith. “‘And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.’”

“Certainly,” says Brother Anderson, “but is there no greater metaphor of man’s eternal progression, from lowly intelligence to divinity itself, than the monkey that evolves into a man? Does it not say in Abraham, ‘And the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed’? Could it be that pre-Adamite man was merely disobedient…”

“And I suppose next you will tell me that these pre-Adamites lived with us in premortality. Perhaps they even pursued each other romantically, like those spirits in your storybooks.”

“Well, no…”

“Such,” says Elder Smith, “is like saying that a machine as sophisticated as this automobile has the capacity to make itself. No, Brother Anderson. Man had a creator just as the automobile has Henry Ford!”

“I am only bringing this up as a matter of speculation,” says Brother Anderson. “The chimpanzee is no doubt of a lesser order than we who are created in the image of the Father. But still, face to face with a chimpanzee…”

“Remind me,” says Elder Smith, “to give you a copy of my father’s statement on the origins of man when you drop me off at the office.”

***
With his hat brim low across his forehead, Elder Smith walks hand-in-hand with his daughters through the strange noises and smells of the zoo in Liberty Park. They see an elephant, a lion, some exotic birds, and two chimpanzees. The girls squeal with delight as one chimpanzee peels a banana and smiles at them. “Look, father!” says the youngest daughter. “He eats just like us.”

Elder Smith watches the monkey chew its food. The way its mouth moves, the way it carelessly tosses the peel to the floor of the cage, seems so vulgar and common. Elder Smith stares at the beast until it locks eyes with him. For a moment, he recognizes something in the monkey’s grimace. He gasps as it proudly shows its brown teeth and pink gums.

“Look, Papa!” his daughter shouts. “He looks like Uncle!”

“Silly goose,” he says. “He doesn’t look a thing like Uncle. Uncle is bald.”

“But he does! He does!” says the girl.

“No,” Elder Smith says, looking at the beast. “No. No. No.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Scott Hales1Scott Hales does not usually write fiction, but when he does, he tries to keep it around 1000 words. He blogs at A Motley Vision, Dawning of a Brighter Day, and Modern Mormon Men. He also maintains a personal Mormon literature blog, The Low-Tech World. When he isn’t writing short short stories or blogging or parenting, he is writing his doctoral dissertation on the Mormon novel.

Picture of Model T Ford by Don O’Brien via Wikimedia Commons Images.

The happen stance by Patricia Karamesines

800px-Japanese_-_Fuchi_with_Hunting_Hawk border added
Fuchi bowl (Japanese)

This is a rewrite of an earlier post published here on WIZ.

One dark night in January of 2010 Mark and I made a last minute run to the only grocery store within 22 miles. On our return trip home, I drove with the SUV’s highbeams on, because we live on a rural road where, even in winter, we’re likely to come across a wide variety of animals on the pavement, anything from cats, rabbits, deer, mice, coyotes, and foxes to neighbors’ loose horses and cattle. In spring and summer, the variety of animal-on-road is even wider.

As we arced along a curve, the vehicle’s lights splashed against something moving on the road. A small cottontail had emerged from cover, probably looking for something to eat at the road’s edges where the unusually heavy and long-lingering snow had melted back from the asphalt’s edges.

“A bunny,” I said. The rabbit hopped straight for us and I slowed down. As the vehicle edged to a stop, we saw another flash in the headlights, high up in the air to our right. A great horned owl dropped out of the darkness into the swath of our headlights, swinging its talons out toward the rabbit, working its wings to correct its aim.

“Whoa!” we both said, surprised by the sudden drama. The cottontail feinted right, seemingly away from the owl but still heading toward the car. The owl hesitated midair, quite possibly blinded by our headlights, then tumbled to the ground a good two feet off its away-running target. For a moment, the bird sat on the roadside, staring after the rabbit. It looked like it was considering giving chase but, glancing at us, seemed to decide the risk wasn’t worth it. The opportunity had passed. With another flash of wings, the big bird lifted away into the darkness above the highbeams. Continue reading The happen stance by Patricia Karamesines

2013 Spring haiku: Come join the dance!

800px-Winterling-005 purple crocuses

In my part of the spring world, the arrival of the vernal equinox has not felt much different from the arrival of the autumnal equinox. The green flame is burning unusually low for this time of year. Winds have been abrasive and cold. Usually, the Big Green is well on its way by now, but only the dandelions are turning it up.

So I was wondering–how is spring coming along where you are? (For those of you who are moving into spring, that is.) I thought that it might be fun to give and receive reports of spring’s arrival in the form of haiku. That is, any excuse seems good for starting a haiku chain. Tracking spring’s approach–like news stations track Santa Claus’s progression toward their position–lends itself especially well to a sequence of meditative post-it notes.

What is a haiku? A haiku is a classical Japanese poetical form, usually 17 syllables all in a single line in Japanese, but I understand that there are longer and shorter forms.  In English, a haiku often takes the form of one short line of 5 syllables, a long line of 7 syllables, then another short line of 5 syllables, but there are many paths–pick what pleases you.  Often, haiku mention the season under scrutiny–in this case spring, obviously.  If you wish to learn more about haiku, you can go here or here.

For this chain, I’ll post an opener that I brought up out of Crossfire Canyon yesterday when I went down to look for spring there. Imagine my surprise to see that not even the wild buckwheat are bucking up yet. They’re usually the first flower to bloom, after stork’s bill. Then, the wild phlox.

But yesterday, nada.

Or only slightly more than nada.

After I post my haiku, the chain is open for business. Simply post your haiku in the comments below the post. You can riff off the previous haiku or totally cowboy it. Those of you who aren’t springing it up but are actually falling–don’t feel left out. Remind us that hemispheres have minds of their own. Just have fun.

Me:

Spring flickers low in
root embers and cold pith, in
rare red sparks of ant.

Go!