I sat down to wait for my bus and a Samoan woman approached me. She kept staring at me and I was getting nervous about it because she was intimidating like she could squash me like a grape. She waited till everyone around us seemed occupied with other things before she spoke to me.
“You know, in my village you would be considered a holy man because of your facial tattoos. The fact that you got facial tatts that reflect something about you makes you a wise man in my eyes.”
I smiled and thanked her for the compliment and we started talking about her tribal tattoos. The bus came and we both got on continuing the conversation. We sat down next to a black woman who looked upset about something. The black woman’s 16 year old son was yelling and goofin with his friends in the back of the bus. He came up front and started going off yelling at his mother and calling her a bitch because she would not give him five dollars. The Samoan woman got up and told him to back off. He gave his mother a dirty look and called her a bitch again. He then went back to his friends. The mother looked frightened and embarrassed.
Lewis Arnold had always hated his father’s name. Not his father. No other trait of his ever bothered Lewis; just his name, which in most cases is decided by forces distant to the person who is to don said name. Lewis knew this and held no grudge towards his father.
Yet if there had been anything he could have changed about his old man, it was his name. Arnold. Lewis couldn’t ever justify his dislike with a specific reason, and truth be told, he probably didn’t even have a good reason. It was like a bad taste or a rancid smell, a base reaction to something foul. Something foul sat in front of Lewis, and Lewis displayed his disgust like a mask.
Sitting across the kitchen table was Lewis’s father. His skin was drawn tight around his face, his teeth peeking through his slit of a mouth. He was wearing a black suit, a suit that looked like a good one to be buried in. A red tie and white undershirt complimented the rich darkness of the coat. Through decayed lips and teeth like gravestones, his father started singing, and from somewhere nearby a band struck up, accompanying the dead man’s vocals.
Brenda looked forward into the mirror with all of her vigor and intensity. Apparently, she possessed her own personal self bias because the convoluted figure standing before was not what she thought she resembled. This past year had been the year which defined her life. She had been diagnosed with ALS and subsequently entered into the severe stages warranting complete body paralysis. The myelin isolating her axons was deteriorating with every passing second of each day and there was not a thing she could do to stop this indelible force. Even if she desired to form a plan of attack there would be not a soul willing to help her, but just a hearth to surrender her fight on.
When she was first diagnosed she strategically placed a picture of herself when she was twenty-five years old and she was in her prime on her wall so the spirit of her pat would still remain inside her even through the worst of times. Right beside her picture was her PhD in Biotechnology from Columbia University. Before the onset of her ALS she ranked among the five most successful scientists manipulating stem cells to cure neurodegenerative conditions in the U.S. She once again turned her attention toward the mirror which reflected not herself, but a victim who society had failed. She had lost her identity and ultimately herself worth in this colossal pool of wires and tubes which extended her life. They would not extend her life to the point where she could execute municipal activities, but she survived only to remain trapped in the hellish vessel of her body until the next day. She intensely eyed her voluptuous figure underneath her black satin dress which was very risqué. That Satin dress despite being overzealous beat the hell out of the flowing white spotted gown which probably could have been uncovered in a junkyard for all she knew.
Grandma likes her rock garden to be neat and orderly. She doesn’t have to water it or have it mowed, and those pesky neighborhood kids can’t run and play all over it. A trip and fall and a skinned knee will teach them that.
The kids like to take a single gray rock from the outer section of the garden and carefully place it into the center circle full of all white rocks. They run and hide and wait for Grandma to come out. They watch and listen. She bitches and moans as she struggles across the garden of rocks with her bad hip, slowly bending over to pick up the gray rock and put it back with the others.
Gray Rock, fiction by Seth Luther
© Copyright Seth Luther
VICIOUS, YOU HIT ME WITH A FLOWER
-Lou Reed. “Vicious”. Transformer
by Natalie Saunders
Poetry, like an essay or any piece of writing partaking of both literary composition and a theme of nature is green literature. Poetry differs, but only slightly in it’s presentation, from other forms of literary work. Usually, poetry incorporates rhythm and metaphor, and is both song and speech. Poetry’s sonic aspect allows the author to add stress on particular words by their placement or repetition. Punctuation can also be used to add stress on particular words or syllables. What constitutes a poem? And is a nature poem the same as a green poem? My theory is green literature is a message to humanity that asks that we recognize ourselves in the text and put an end to the desecration of nature. Some poems are meant for us to marvel at nature’s beauty and not a call for action. While it may not be the author’s intention, the appreciation of the imagery in their nature poem can influence our action. Poets can document their story differently than other fiction. Similarly, short stories manifest their green agenda more concisely than a novel. The elements of fiction in poetry are not always as blatant and at times can be abstract. Still the elements of fiction: setting, character/characterization, climax, plot, and theme that we’ve seen in various forms are present in poetry as they are in other forms of literature. Structure and a theme of nature constitute green literary composition. How the author illustrates their green theme (short story, essay, poem, novel) is a matter of preference. What’s important is that we recognize our relationship with nature. In this essay are three original poems that reflect on humanity’s nature (wicked, remorseful and speculative at times about the consequences of our endless invention), in three different styles that will be explained by their inspiration and relation to green literature.