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Inspirations

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Inspirations Cover designed by Sandra Johnson Content provided by The Inspired Published 2011 by Firesong Arts All Rights Reserved Edited by Sandra Johnson Original work by Laura Campbell, Kerry Cline, Douglas Clitheroe, Richard Johnson, Sandra Johnson, Charles Williams, and Jean Williams.

Firesong Arts ladyfiresong@gmail.com sandra.johnson-artistwebsites.com

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Summer Rain: A Portrait of Homesickness

Grief Speaks

An Elegy in Three Parts

Inspirations Articulated Dreams

The Poetry and Prose of Sandra Johnson

Hundred-Octane Agvas: An Introspecttive of Flight

Learning From My Rock: Truth in Meditation 3


For all those who seek inspiration in their lives. It’s never too far away.

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Contents 6

A Toast

A Dark and Stormy Night

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- Story by Charles Williams

A Man Walks

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- Poetry by Douglas Clitheroe

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Hunter’s Song

My Rock

- Prose by Kerry Cline

After The Fall

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Grief Speaks

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Oh Death!

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- Poetry by Jean Williams

Weep No More

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Hundred-Ocatne Agvas

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Inspire

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- Poetry by Sandra Johnson

- Prose by Richard Johnson

- A Chant by Laura Campbell The Dance

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Summer Rain Winds of Aeolus

Poet’s Dream Contributors Letter from the Editor

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A Toast

- Sandra Johnson

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood Where time and faith collide. Broken, winding, turning ‘round, Upon and in the mind. Where upon we take our paths Blindly on the course ahead. Forward moving in the lane Forever rhythmic pain. Here’s to the road less traveled, Save where only we, walk Through the woods of hallowed ways Into the life we lead. There is no end to step, step, step, When foot fall forward leads. Onward traveler, stay thy course And find a shallow whole. Comfort sought and chaos found Now the light in arms enfold Open to the world. And here’s to the road less traveled Save where only we, walk Through the woods of hallowed ways Into the life we lead.

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Avenues unfold around And wonder at our time, Down the rows of colored trees, Until the flames arise. Drink in all we see around And empty out the heart. Soon we follow where we go Into the broken streets. Here’s to the road less traveled, Save where only we, walk Through the woods of hallowed ways Into the life we lead. Two lives diverged from pillars strong In walking from our dreams Upon the empty heath, the heart Bellows to the world. So wanderer great, and wavering fool, Welcome all who pass this way. In the forest splits the path And I took the one less traveled. So here’s to the road less traveled, Save where only we, walk Through the woods of hallowed ways Into the life we lead.

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A Dark And Story Night

- By Charles Williams

It was a dark and stormy night when another shot rang out. He sat and looked upon the silent, still form of his wife. Oh how beautiful she was just a few short weeks ago. That was before they came, and brought the disease. What was it the medicine people called it? He couldn’t recall the name; too many words for a man of the fields to remember. His heart sank when he thought of the happier times with his woman and their children. The smallest, Nora, was the first to go. They said it would take the smallest first; but why Nora, so small, so innocent, so full of love? It became all to clear that even living so far from the city would not stop the silent killer of his dear sweet Nora. The disease crawled up from the ground and took each of his children, youngest to oldest. With each death, he and his woman felt their hearts being torn apart, piece-by-piece. How could his house be so quiet, so empty, so cold? He picked up his wife and laid her down on the bed as gently as he had the first night they had shared. He chose her prettiest dress and the hat she wore only for those, what did she call it? “Special days”. He tried to fix her up and make her look pretty. She would have wanted it that way, but it was hard because the disease had taken so much from the beautiful woman he had joined. He went out to the porch and looked toward the city. The lights that used to brighten the sky were no longer there. Maybe nobody really cared to keep the power 8


companies running. Everybody was dying, only the very strong would last much longer. He laughed. Why would you want to last longer? The pain of seeing everything you love die in your arms; it made even the strongest man a weeping child. Only two weeks ago they came and brought death to all. It was an occasion that was celebrated throughout the world. There was life on another world, and it appeared that they, or we, were descendants of a common ancestor. The events and the conferences help became a thing of importance in the media world. When they left, they said they would return with their world leaders, and we would share out knowledge. They will return to a dead planet. They will learn that just their being here doomed us to a slow and painful death. “Earth”; that’s what they called their planet. Earth. Such a simple name; death is what it meant to him. He walked back inside, closed the door and turned out the lantern. He laid beside his woman, held her close in his arms, and closed his eyes. On a dark and lonely night another shot rang out.

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A Man Walks

- Douglas Clitherore

A man walks the path of his blood. Guided by the handed of his ancestors to fall victim to the same vices of old and let all turn to sand and faint wishes. But woah, where doth his courage lie? Will it be in the craft or the trade, art or science, war or peace? None can know lest their time is shown. He rides the horses of destiny with no knowledge of control, thundering hooves driving heavy beat with not to do but take the reins. A man walks the path of his evolution. Filled with times of good and bad, dark and light, big and small. He is shown the stuff of legend, and expected to rise to the challenges. Whilt the man be rider or captive? Will he not take up the call? These things are all for naught if there is no self driven need. A man  walks the path of his rebirth. Destiny and dark karma will not hold him. Drought and doom shall not sway him. He is made of the stuff of dreams and power. A man walks. Not as a man alone, but one guided by and driven forth on the winged army of his own Self. Lesser beings fall at his footfall. 10


There are none that can challenge  one driven By need and honor,  truth and valor, love and life. A Man walks and his peace reign supreme.

Hunter’s Song - Sandra Johnson Hunter growling in such haste Fighting hard to keep apace Always moving towards your goal Never knowing of the road. Blessed are your strength of hand, Skill of mind, and speed of man, Joyous is your heart and song, Howling to the wind. On the prowl, strong and proud, You stalk the forests in the night Running free with open heart The daylight calls your name. Companion of the Hoof and Scale, Canter, hunt, and fly, A love of family so strong, The call never dies. Eternal guardian, champion well, You protect the sacred paths. Hunter friend, my dearest friend, Your path is strong and true. 11


- Kerry L. Cline

The slam of the door behind me was satisfying, but did nothing to still the anger in my twelve year old heart. I was furious. My skin tingled with unexpressed emotion. My brother, older than I by at least twenty years, had accused me of stealing from the boxes he had stored in my bedroom closet. How dare he! It was my room in the first place! And I wouldn't dream of messing with his precious crap anyway. It seemed it was always like this. I was always getting accused of things I didn't do. At least this time Mom had taken my side. But it's not like she got in his face or anything. All she did was tell him she was sure I wouldn't steal from him. Never mind that nobody bothered to ask me if he could use my closet in the first place. Even now, I was denied the refuge of my room because he was in there; sorting through his things and acting as if he owned the place. I headed out the back gate and up the alleyway; looking for some place where I could be alone. At the top of the alley, the land opened up into a large field. I stormed on. The tall grass tore at me and left welts on my bare legs. The smell of the sage that usually delighted me was lost to my inner turmoil. I couldn't help but notice, though, when the grass in front of me suddenly gave way to an enormous rock. A large formation of milky quartz seemed to rise out of the field just to offer me sanctuary. It was a big piece, shot through with iron pyrite. I figured it was maybe five or six feet across, and almost that tall. The cloudy white of the rock contrasted with the riotous green all around it. The grass and sage moved constantly in the wind, while the stone sat, stable and serene, in the middle of it all. I climbed up to the very top, and sat down to nurse my anger. Stupid brother! Stupid family! Stupid 12


junk! Like I wanted anything that belonged to him anyway! As I sat there, though, I began to feel that my anger was ill-suited to such a place. I could feel the cold of the stone through my clothes. It chilled my skin, not unpleasantly, and sank into my body. My muscles started to loosen and my jaw unclenched. I started to think about the rock I perched on. I wondered how far down into the earth it penetrated. I found myself trying to follow the lines of iron pyrite under the ground with my imagination. In my mind, the striations became pathways. I envisioned myself following these pathways deeper and deeper into the dark quiet places of the earth. This rock must have been here for maybe thousands of years. What was a stupid fight compared to that? My anger faded, and I felt a sense of calm replacing it. Almost ready to go home. Almost. I was calm now. I wouldn't shoot off my mouth and get into more trouble. If only I could get rid of this sick feeling in my stomach. I became aware of the wind on my face. I watched it carry fluffy bits of grass seed away. “That's a good idea,” I thought. “Let the wind take it.” I stood up, and faced into the wind. I opened my arms out wide and threw my head back. I felt the wind blowing my hair back from my face, and ruffling my clothing. I took a deep breath, pulling the air into my body; trying to make it reach that icky feeling in my stomach. I imagined the air wrapping itself around my resentment and carrying it away into the wind. I let the wind blow through me, cleansing and clearing. Soon I felt ready to return home. My brother would still be there, and I would still be sharing my closet. But Mom did stand up for me and tell him I was no thief. Soon, he would be gone, and I would have my space back. It was going to be alright. Thank you Rock.

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After The Fall - By Sandra Johnson

Silence. We should have seen it coming. This plan, this scheme, preordained since the dawn of the world. The songs swept us up, washed tears from our eyes and left no doubt. Why then were we taken by surprise? Sound. So distinct before. What is this now? It is so alike and so unlike the sounds we knew before. There is a sweet sound like… We don’t remember. Did we ever know? Bells. We are a bell. Ding-dong. Ding-dong. Do we know what bells mean? Should we? Light. Ah, now this I remember. Bright and pure. It has all been like this since… We know nothing beyond the light. The light encompasses. The light enfolds. We are the light. The light brings respite. Silence. Grace. I am the light. Thought. ... Nothing follows as it should. I don’t know me. I’ve been like this – what is this? – for … I don’t know how long. The end. I remember the end. It was clear in the end. I prayed. I wept. … or did I lead the charge? I was a general in God’s army. I was the Pope. I was a babe in the womb, unaware of the carnage. Innocent. I was all of them. We were all of us. All were God’s children. Who are we now? What are we now? The end of the world brings clarity. Our vision cleared. Life… I don’t remember life. Do I remember death? When the end came. I knew. I knew. I know. I am eternity. I am all. We fought beautifully well, didn’t we? That brillaint spark of Justice led under His banner. All forces of light. The sun… the Son. The brilliant glory of God 14


on the battlefield. God. I am God No. Not… God. Everything. God… is everything. I wait. Recall. Exists and don’t exist. Judgment calls my name. My name. I don’t have a name. There are others here. Like me, they wait. They’re not really “other”, no more than I. I am other… I am we, and we wait, enraptured by time… Enraptured… Rapture. I know this. The apocalypse. The end. Where, how, I… I can’t. I am dead. Dead? Done? I live. I… Trees. I remember trees. Small and furry. They live. No. Not trees… Cats. Words fail. We don’t associate. After? Is there after? We are after. We are warm. Cold. Empty. Full. All. None. Color. Light. We are not dead. We… we are before the after. Judgment. We are judged. Eternally motivated – forward movement. Heaven. Hell. We go. We suffer. We love. We are. In God we trust… we become.

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GRIEF SPEAKS I. What is this that cannot be so yielding? The body is but the breath’s confinement. We strike up arms at death, ever wielding Swords of most poignant life. Such resignment Becomes us naught. Death brings his weapons here, But never a word or whine is produced. Is this not Death who comes to sow such fear? Tis a phantom’s nightmare, a shade induced By Foes unseen. Tarry with me here while I dream of better things. Ever enough To ask for soft visions to beguile, Sleepily, whilst I call the Devil’s Bluff. Afraid when we must needs forever part That this Grief overwhelms a hapless heart. II. False tragedy! Misfortune clutteréd Within the lies of tears unheard. So, God Uncaring, forms a truth unutteréd. Is this what is left? The true worth of fraud. Bitter ire, unsought, and yet begot, Forever burning here within this tomb. Failed to see, failed to hear what has been wrought; Left us here alone, left us to exhume. Begone! O’ shade of ever-lasting sleep; Words fail to capture the true heart of wrath. Mortals live, seek reprise before you reap. Hear me here! Standing in the aftermath. Anger when we needs must forever part, And this Grief overwhelms a hapless heart.

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III. Tip the merchant’s measure my way once more And sign the deedless dead away from here. Stack these coins within my chest, and rewrite These lines told. Buy from me, oh puppeteer, The broken strings of fate to thread your dolls. Dance the marionette around with death, And dance the corpse to life. The boatman calls. Ah, but still, Styx and stones for Charon’s breath Are not the only ways to make a deal. Come back to this visage, my sweetest friend, And for your sake I will slake the appeal. All is well again, as all will amend. Barter what we must needs forever part, Or this Grief overwhelms a hapless heart. IV. Sing songs without words, tuneless and hollow. Nothing stirs the still-beating heart of grief. Sleep deep within glass prisons, and swallow Down the empty spaces, lost in belief Of better days long gone. Is sympathy Not all forgotten? Or love not forgone? The end is near and lost in infamy, For when we no longer seek to press on. No sound escapes the heartless stone. No light Shines from the candle. Where are the tears that Flow? Where is the epitaph for this knight? All hear, there is nothing left to combat. Empty when we must needs forever part. For this Grief overwhelms a hapless heart.

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V. These gentle means of understanding truth Fade away into mornings early light. Gone away again; age turns into youth, Time moves forward on, and day turns to night. Still, the waters wait. Stones casting rippled Illusions in the sky, reflect our tears. Breathe again, oh child of this crippled Fate; the day will dawn anew. In these years, We’ll find our summer’s glow, and learn to sing The Sun again. Breathe it in, exhale fears, And soon enough, time will remove the sting. At peace, now we must needs forever part. Grief shall not overwhelm a hopeful heart.

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Oh Death! - By Jean L. Williams

Oh, Death! Where now thy comfort? When at night my arms are cold and empty, Where now, thy Grace? My true Beloved, once so warm and safe beside me, now stilled his manner gone without a trace. My life seems black and aimless, Lost among the tears and twilight yearning. Where now thy peace? I search the silent stars for answers, coldly burning. But in my heart they bring me no release. My love, I am not ended. Our bond endures beyond life’s passioned ken. Take here thy rest. That in thy soul, my spirit rises, quick to offer Love’s dear embrace, my touch within thee blessed. I am no more lost to thee, wandering safe within Death’s hallowed halls, than ere I died. If I come to thee, but changed in manner, shape and form still, I thy tender groom, and thee my bride. 22


Weep No More - By Sandra Johnson I hear the waves upon the shore, ‘weep no more! weep no more!’ The ocean calls to me. The song is sweet. I hear it still. ‘weep no more! weep no more!’ The echo does enchant me. Not to weep? Not to fear? ‘weep no more! weep no more! I hear the song. Is’t possible a thing to do? ‘weep no more! weep no more!’ The revelation wakes within me. ‘weep no more! weep no more!’ Not to weep. Not to slumber. ‘weep no more! weep no more!’ But to live? Tis the thing I knew not! But I shall weep no more!

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Hundred-Octane Agvas - By Richard Johnson We are all bound to the earth. Gravity is utterly reliable. But God gave us the brains to build airplanes. Now, we can also be creatures of the air. Beginning a takeoff is much like accelerating away from any stoplight. But then you start to feel it in your fingertips. Soft. Subtle. Steadily increasing. The controls become firm, the plane becomes light on the ground. At that moment your fingertips feel the breath of God on the wings. You pull gently on the stick and are now too, a genuine creature of the air. The pilot and the plane form a mystical symbiosis. Without a plane, a pilot is just a highly-skilled driver. Without a pilot, a plane is just a noisy contraption. This symbiosis is amazing, but nothing. God speaks in flight. The physics is simple. Air on the wing’s upper surface moves faster and consequently has lower pressure than the air under the wing. So we’re held aloft by vacuum. Something we can’t see, and in fact isn’t there at all holds us aloft. This then, this ... nothing that somehow is, that we can feel, that we can use, must truly be the breath of God. I fell in love with flight when I was four. A nondescript man stepped quickly from the tin building and swung the door shut noisily as he crossed the asphalt to the oddly-shaped vehicle. He pulled a large drum over, unscrewed something on its top, attached a hose, pushed the other end of the hose into the bulk of the contraption, and started the noisy pump. After a few moments the sound changed and he stopped the pump just as easily. It was truly ugly. The four-year old had never seen anything like it. It looked more like a three-wheeled pull toy than a 24


real machine. It was stubby. It was a snob, with its nose pointed upward at that angle. That nose was covered with strangely-shaped, finned, metallic knobs each sprouting tubes and wires. It was shaped like a milk jug glued between two wooden planks, with fletching on the neck. It was oily, dirty, and reeked of some chemical-gasoline miasma. The man removed the hose, quickly peeked at a small tube on the side of the big jug, and then very methodically began walking around the hideous contraption, stopping every few steps and performing some unpredictable action. He kicked a tire and pulled something from the wheel. He tugged on the lower plank and watched the upper one. Then he tugged on the upper plank and watched the lower. He twisted something near the end of the plank. He ran his fingers lovingly along the side of the big jug as he walked around it. He actually picked up the back end of the beast! How can any machine that big (and ugly) be so light? Then he walked the tail around in an arc, a half-circle, and carefully placed it back on the ground. And he repeated his tweaking, tugging, and caressing on the other side. Then he climbed into a hole on the top side of the jug, yelled something indistinct, and suddenly the beast belched gray smoke, created a horrendous racket, and I realized the beast had a motor ... like a car ... but this one was real big and real noisy. It weaved back and forth slowly across the asphalt, then caused me to cover my ears as it accelerated away, crossing left-to-right not fifty feet away. Then it did something I’d never seen anything do before. It left the ground. It didn’t just bounce or fly up and arc back to earth. It kept clawing its way skyward, turned left, and eventually disappeared over the crest of the hill. The world stopped. Time stopped. I stood transfixed,

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waiting for some miracle worth of the one that showed me man can fly. With perfection of timing normally reserved for stand-up comedians, that miracle appeared. The noise came from behind me. Turning around I could see a speck in the sky approaching, growing larger. This one had only one wing, not two. Its engine was inside, like a car’s. It was made of metal, not fabric and wood. It came closer, lower ... closer, lower ... and then it came back to earth. Not in any dramatic, noisy, or Hollywood fashion but quietly, smoothly, and without fanfare. I stood at that fence all afternoon, watching airplanes come and go. Watching that crop duster return, refill his tanks, do his paperwork, and take off again to spray some other field, finally climbing into the August sunset and not returning. In that moment, inspired. In that moment I knew I must someday also be one who could leave the ground—and return. Every flight ends. Eventually gravity wins and we return to earth. But for a while we can fly. On landing, as in takeoff there is a brief moment when the divine trinity of God, man, and machine balance, and the plane and pilot are creatures both of the ground and the air. Both you and plane are both flying and also earthbound. Like the fate of Shroedinger’s cat, what happens next is undetermined. The wheels can stay on the ground, or they can leave it again. To this day I can’t go near an airport without again inhaling that little breath of God. It helps me try to live my life as if I’m always at that moment of possibility—either taking off or landing. God’s breath smells like hundred-octane avgas. 26


Inspire, breathe deep, take in the sacred flame.   Let the energy flow through you.   Express the joyful power that infuses your every thought.   Create, manifest, produce, demonstrate.   You are Deity, you inspire, you light the world.   Inspire, breathe deep, be the sacred flame.

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A spark arrives Hush firedance Prepare Light blossoms Feel the heat Step Begin

Th e D a n c e

Scent of smoke and glow of light echoes in the chill-cast night Only here, only be alive and twisting, flowing free Blooming swirl of spark and flame become one, and breathe the same twirl again, step in time pulsing with each ancient rhyme twist around, around again in each passing mortal strain build upon the hearth of coals a bed for resting mortal souls Scorching Comet, burning out dance again a dance devout Faster now, drum beats swirling twirling, whirling calling grace sweetest fire ’s warm embrace Step, step, step again lift up higher, hear the din of ancient roaring flames Twist, dance, toss and drop Dance again! And stop Flame goes out Hush Breathe Night sinks in Breathe Breathe Breathe again 28


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Summer Rain

- By Sandra Johnson

It is late. The night settles to the Earth, sketching calm in darkness. There is silence. No, not silence. Stillness. Rain trickles steadily down from somewhere above. I am watching the pavement of the streets below, where lights glimmer off the road from the streetlights. It is a pale yellow, almost gold, color. It is the only light and color in an otherwise black and gray world. I breathe deeply of the night air, perfumed by wet-earth and hydrangea. I sit with my eyes closed and listen to the rain falling. It is a gentle rain, dripping into the grass and asphalt with a quiet “plip-plop”. At times it becomes a downpour, lasting only a few minutes and drowning out every other sound. The worst of the storm has already passed, but the sizzle and crackle of energy brought by the lightning still hangs in the air. This is my favorite kind of rain. It is an Oregon rain. When I was very young, I found my perfect place for watching the perfect rain. I was always exploring; getting into places most people thought I couldn’t go. One day, when I was about eight-years-old, I was exploring the back yard when I found the perfect little cave. There was a hole in the paneling around the bottom edge of the back porch; probably put there by some burrowing animal, but that didn’t occur to me then. It was as if I found a secret little world that was all mine. I always looked forward to the first summer rain. I would snag a pillow and a blanket from the hall closet, and sneak off to my cave. I would sit there for hours watching the rain dripping on to the sweet grass from the colossal pine trees in our yard. It is the smell that reminds me. That dusty-sweet smell as the rain lands on warm pavement. That smell, when mixed with a good warm breeze, is home. This place I’m in now, it has the same smells, the same warm30


gold glow from the streetlights, … it’s not home. It only rains once in a while. I remember my first rain in New York. It was the day after I arrived. As the thunderheads rolled in, I took it as a sign that the weather gods were approving of my choice to move here, but as the storm opened up I began to think differently. It was a Sunday in late August. Torrents of water fell from the skies for twenty minutes, and then stopped. Just as quickly the sun came out. It was over too quickly. There hadn’t been enough time to really enjoy the storm, and it was too hot, too muggy to be a good, refreshing rain. It was only my first storm in Buffalo; I didn’t know they were all like that. No matter where you go, it is never quite the same as that first time you felt the powerful shelter and love that makes a house a home. My home is on the other side of the country. Here, I have no porch and no blanket. There is too much wind, and too much snow for a good Oregon rain. Any sense of peace and home drift away in these Eastern storms. I thought I could make a home out here; someplace that was mine. I grew up in one room at my mother’s house. My bothers and sisters switched bedrooms a lot, always looking for that place they belonged, but I had mine from the beginning. From crib to bunk bed to futon, that room saw me grow. When I was sixteen, my brother and I painted our rooms. His was a solid, dark blue that made the room shrink. I made mine white. It was my canvas. The clear primer-white walls called to me for something more. I spent several months drawing sketches and mapping my creative attack. Finally, I gave up the pretense of planning and took a pencil to my walls. Everywhere, pictures began to emerge. Dragons by the windows, faeries above the closet, vines creeping up the doorframe. It was my work. My space. My home. The thought makes me smile. The expression fades as I turn back into my apartment. It’s a charming, twobedroom cage. I had never met my roommate before mov31


ing in. I found her through bulletin boards at school. I still don’t know her. In the two months I’ve been living here, we haven’t spoken. Our bedrooms are two hovels of safety and isolation, tucked securely down a hallway and out of the way. There is a living room that no one ever goes into, and a kitchen that is only place I ever encounter my roommate. The walls are plaster-white, and echo of the temporary. There are no paintings, no photographs, no hangings or tapestries, nothing to break the monotony of white. The counters are all bare. Back home, there would be books and papers, recipes and dirty dishes piled onto those counters. My mom always called it “flat surface syndrome”; if there were a flat surface anywhere, I would put stuff on it. This apartment is clean. Sterile. It is empty. Outside through my open window, I hear cars. Their wheels churn through the damp streets with an odd crackling sound. People head off to destinations unknown. I, the silent observer, sit and watch, and wait. What a strange sensation waiting is. I am trapped in inaction. I know what I would do if given the opportunity, but it never comes. I hover somewhere between the practical minutiae of everyday, and the constant daydream of what will be. If I look too long, the light recedes from the end of the tunnel. So I don’t look. It is there, but I am not yet close enough to touch it. Graduation. My ever-present goal is so close. Six years I have spent dreaming, praying, working, until I thought I would implode under the weight of it all. I transferred to New York from a community college in Oregon. I thought of it a grand adventure. I wanted to see the world, not just stay in the town I was born in. I didn’t anticipate losing 1/3 of my credit hours, or having to fight with counselors and advisors. It was two years of bitter work. I won’t implode though. I never do. Just as my mother taught me, stiff back, thick skin, and do what needs to be done. Two more classes, eight more weeks, and I will leave this place. 32


I will pack up my things and head west again. Soon. I have to rent a van; I brought too much with me the first time. I try to tell myself that everything I brought is what I needed, all trinkets to remind me of home. But come August, I will pack up all the shoes I never wore out here, all the oil paints from under my bed, the clothes that never seemed to make it out of storage, and I will go home. I want to start packing now. This overwhelming desire to be done pulses though me, thrumming in rhythm with my heartbeat. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Get-packed. Make-plans. Go-home. But my heart skips a beat. No. It says. Al-most. Not-long. Soon. Work-first. The irregular pounding of my thoughts doesn’t seem to still the longing. Under my window, two people are talking. I can’t see them from where I am sitting, but I can hear them clearly. A man and a woman. They are making weekend plans. She is trying to convince him to blow off a party and take a trip. I feel a weak smile on my lips. I was that girl. It didn’t take much, just a fleeting moment for an idea to sink into my head and become a desire. I would call up my friends. “Hey, what are you doing?” “Nothing much” they would usually say. “Want to go to the fair?” “The fair isn’t for six weeks” they would say. “I’m sure there’s a fair somewhere. Come on”. We would pile into a car and drive, following our noses in whatever direction took us. Random adventures, whims, and fancies were our idea of fun. Any time we were bored, it was into downtown Portland, or up into the mountains, or out to the beach. Because it was summer, and we could. I can’t remember the last time I simply got in a car and drove. This isolation is a cage. I sit and stare through the bars, watching life flow around me, waiting. Always waiting. I wait and watch as people moving through their day-to-day activities. They never know how far away I really am. I am here in body, but my heart, my life, is 3000 33


miles away. My body is locked up, here, where I cannot get to myself. I can see the key in the lock of my prison, but it is taking an agonizingly long time to turn. It whispers to me as it creaks in the lock. Not yet. It says. Soon. Soon. Soon, I will have finished what I needed to accomplish here. Soon, I will back in the loving arms of my friends, my family. I will crawl under the porch at my mother’s house and wait for the rain. I will call up my friends for the latest escapade. I will pile things on flat surfaces and paint on walls. I will be home. Not yet, though‌ I step away from the window and lie down. My bed is near the window. I can still hear the nighttime noises outside. A bird of some sort rustles in the bush, trying to settle for sleep. The stillness is carried in on the breeze and it wraps around me, trying to comfort me. I roll over and bury my face in my pillow. Home. I want to go home. Tears form on my cheeks and soak into the cotton pillowcase. I can feel sleep creeping up on me. One more night. One night closer. Not yet. But soon.

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Winds of Aeolus Sweet my lord I am your lute L a y t h y w i n d s t o me A e o l us f a i r Come uproot A l l my p a i n s f o r t hee

- By Sandra Johnson

With thy winds My song is free C o m e a n d s i n g y o u r song L i f e an d j o y Without restraint F o r t h o s e w h o p l a y belong In empty heart O n e ’ s h e a r t d o e s b eat F o r m u s i c b r i n g i n g life Harper’s love Plant the seed T h i s p r i s m f r e e o f strife Sweet my lord I am your lyre P l a y u p o n m y b r e ast Bring to me Music free A n d I s h a l l l a y a t rest

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Poet’s Dream Gentle breezes, flowing streams These are the things of poet’s dreams. Of roses in bloom and children at play, A bird, a tree, a golden ray, The songs we sing, The bird of wing, All this the poets feel. When life stands still, Wait, life, until, All the dreams are real.

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Laura Campbell is a celebrated priestess and leader of her church. She has been writing off and on for several years, though her interests and tallents tend to lead her elsewhere. She is a loving wife and mother, and never fails to give love when it is needed. Also, as she did not see fit to write this herself, I am free to add that she is a strange and creative woman, who continues to inspire us all.

Kerry L. Cline is a devoted wife and mother living in Oregon. She is variously described as a witch, pagan, and occasionally new-age priestess. She writes as part of her ongoing pathwork. She is dedicated to finding and nurturing the magic in each of us and in everything around us.

Douglas Cedric Clitheroe has been writing since he was a wee lad, though it is assumed the quality has increased over time. Despite growing up with an avid interest in science fiction, his true passion is in medieval, albiet a romantic version. His primary range if inspiration is Tolkien to Chaucer to Goodkind. In the end though, it’s more about why and not the how or who, of which endless pages could be written. Living on in the western extremities of Portland, Douglas has seven grand children, which is a lie, and only the youngest will listen to his stories anymore.

Richard Johnson is an inventor and engineer in Portland, Oregon. He has written professionally since 1976. He has been a photojournalist, a stringer for the Associated Press, and written technical documentation for robotic machining equipment, software operating systems, and lasers. He has also been published in various trade journals. He has received awards from from the Associated Press (for photojournalism of comet West,) the Society of Technical Communication (language-free laser operation manuals,) and the Department of Justice ( just-in-time real-time programming to apprehend escaped felons.) 38


Sandra Johnson is a writer/artist from Portland OR. Her passion for the written word has gotten her into more trouble than it has gotten her out of, though in most cases leads to completely inconsequential facts of historical figures no one has ever heard of. She has a B.A in MedievalLiterature from the University at Buffalo, and plans to either start her own publishing company or cure cancer. Whichever comes first.

Charles Williams was far too busy to provide a bio for himself, but his loving neice had this to say; Charley is frightfully creative, though it usually shows itself more in the inventive pranks he pulls on his fellow firemen. Although the piece he provided us is over 30 years old, it still resonates. His skill as a writer is astounding, and I wish he would do more of it.

Jean L. Williams has been writing in secret most of her life. Her poetry and prose are a method of healing work for her, and she tends not to share it unless she feels it will help another. She lives in Buffalo NY with her husband and two dogs, and shares a secret passion for Chaucer with the editor.

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A note From The Editor I have always been a seeker of inspiration, and relish those rare moments when it hits you over the head. Inspiration isn’t one of those things that comes and goes, it is a universal constant; we just don’t always remember to look. I used to believe that inspiration was those moments of pure joy that brought us closer to God. Having recently lost someone very important to me, I have begun to realize that inspiration is those moments that bring us closer to God, though not always through Joy. Inpiration is in the moments of life, great and small, pain and bliss, eternal and temporary, that make us remember we are alive. And that is the only blessing we need.

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Inspirations