Fiction Friday: Micropoetry Based on the Book

mormoni

Loving Brad in my way had been so easy.
I would never have that kind of uncomplicated friendship
with another man again.
I had already decided to move on to a life without him—
just as I had to a life without Elder Roberts.
The only exception was that I had loved Brad
& had lost him,
I believe,
because he had chosen me,
even as Elder Roberts had chosen against me.

The night of the Johnny Lingo luau
was a sea of modest swimsuits,
an expanse of Mardi Gras bead grass skirts,
& an ocean of plastic palm trees—
a wholesome activity
to keep us out of the lake of fire & brimstone.
The tableau was like a movie set
where everyone was ad-libbing.
We weren’t on the beach
but in the cultural hall,
where we would not possibly see
any scantily clad females,
for we were responsible for helping men
control their desires
by covering the flesh
that draped our lovely bones.

A 1969 BYU short film that reminded me
of The Blue Lagoon with Brooke Shields—
minus the cinematography
or Brooke Shields—
at its soul,
was not about a girl who fought against the system
of being bought
but who bought into it,
given away by her father as property
to be loved, honored, & cherished
as someone else’s.
Though I had always seen Mother as a kept woman,
thinking my ugly thoughts about what that meant,
I was a hypocrite,
for I felt that David
belonged to me.

Like many ugly duckling stories,
3-cow Mahana
magically became beautiful—
with just a smile.
She hadn’t had to lose weight
or get plastic surgery;
there were no birthmarks,
burns,
or scars
to blemish the already perfect specimen,
& the knowledge that she was not worth more
but had been paid more for
than any other woman on the island
had turned her into a dark swan.
There was a certain irony that,
unlike the adage about buying the cow,
Johnny Lingo had paid for his
with 10 of them.

The pink lei I had been given at the door
which hung over my chest made me appear
bigger than a B-cup—
a symbol (or two) of fertility,
which was highly prized in the Church,
& I wondered if,
by having 10 children,
& smiling all through it,
I, too,
could be a 10-cow wife.

Logline for Because of Mindy Wiley An Irish-Catholic girl coming of age in the Deep South during the New Millennium finds her family splintered when two Mormon missionaries come to her door, their presence and promise unearthing long-buried family secrets, which lead to her excommunication and exile.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

There was Brigham Young University, singles conferences, Institute—so many ways to meet our eternal companion, which was about creating more tithe payers for future generations.

My life had been built in Green Haven; Mother wanted me to rebuild it in the Mormon Mecca. My life would be deconstructed in the Deep South, where it would rise again through Reconstruction.

Donna was a MINO (Mormon-in-name-only) because she was into NCMOs (non-committal making-out) sessions.

For him, I’d been willing to give up my family, but he hadn’t been willing to give up his Church. For him, I’d have given up everything, so he would have had to give up nothing.

A man could have a career & family, but a woman had to put the 2 together, so that they became her one & only purpose, for there was no purpose for a woman outside her family.

Donna had said make-up & pantyhose was like a Mormon burka, for she saw all that separated her from being a man as a form of oppression.

My awareness of men had been awakened in Elder Roberts the boy, but my sexuality would be awakened in David the man.

Mormon wives came in 2 forms: corporate & hausfrau. Though they looked different, in their hearts, they were 2 sides of the same feminine coin.

Life as a Mormon wife would be full of Sunday services, domesticity, & children. It was their ideal, but I wasn’t sure it was mine.

I was a romantic idealist who found the Mormon ideals neither romantic or ideal, except for those who’d been raised to believe them so.

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

The Green Haven Ward was austere compared to the facilities of The Mount of Olives Baptist Church, but then, the Mormons had their temples.

Like little children, we played ping-pong & Ultimate Frisbee, had cookies & Kool-Aid, & talked about our friends. We were the unmarried Mormons.

One temple marriage a month was Green Haven Ward’s average, & Kath, Leann, & I were expected to contribute to it. The girl least likely would.

The notion of going to Brigham Young University or on a mission, of marrying young, & having many children was foreign to me.

I’d seen what I wanted that hot July day, & so I spurned all others, ultimately saving my hand, if not myself, for when he returned.

The R.M.s (returned missionaries) were considered a real catch for the Y.S.A. (young single adult) women.

I had never been casual about sex, but I’d never considered making love outside of marriage as tampering with the sacred powers of procreation.

Elder Roberts, for me, was a cool drink on a balmy day. Tony, for Kath, was a wildfire without hope of abeyance. I knew love, but not passion.

When Kath asked me if I’d ever been in love, I said, “I am in love,” for I’m in love with an elder, who is out there, making himself worthy of me.