By Ryan Johnson

Star drops litter the quiet street outside 

Dead fireflies 

Fallen from a night sky where others walk With turned down gazes 

The trees all grow downward here 

Like leafy ostriches burying their coniferous heads In denial of the maddening world around them Street signs are backwards 

And maps lead away from where you’re going So one doesn’t have to worry when one gets lost And the moon is still down below 

Shining up along the way 

As ways are often hard to come by 

In this out of the way place 

Turning eyes upwards 

Small rats the size of ants 

And ants the size of elephants 

Scurry along the side alley looking for sustenance The shadows cast like street lamps in the rising light And dead fireflies begin fluttering 

Drops of stars

Rising above the leafy ostriches Stretching towards the freedom of morning

Council Of the Mind

By Ryan Johnson

Behind the storm strong trees evening began its stretching the 

Lady, our night mother, keeper of cycles and master of motion

 Pointed her shadow west 

East had already fallen happily under her song drifting sleepilly into dreams 

reaching a bobbing skiff built for one 

anxious for what will be revealed 

Pointing a hooked red claw off the bow of the small skiff 

the Crab, with ocean dripping from its carapace of red mountains 

says, “Look to the Moon.” 

Rays from a sleepy sun drift drunkenly away as the moon wakes in the sky

pondering these ever changing wheels 

of birth, of living, and of death. 

Elegant words dance from a beak atop the center mast 

the Albatross, the oceans pathfinder, and keeper of celestial maps 

states, “You are the way.” 

Shadows of memory shimmer among swells of sea this bobbing skiff alone 

finding truth in the sweeping waves 

living through myself not others 

Echoes of a thousand voices ripple along the water line 

the Siren, eyes to the abyss of passion and master of divine currents 

shares, “Trust and move with.” 

Near the neglected rudder sits tiny stars flickering their promised freedoms 

don’t go tinkering with life’s mechanisms 

no, it is to trust these unseen currents 

Thorny blue scales cut neatly out of the darkening water 

the Serpent keeper of infiniti and master of the entirety of experience 

chuckles, “It’s always unfolding.”


By Ryan Johnson

I’m staring out 

the brightening west window 

towards the invisible ocean


Pine Trees sway gently 

on overgrown grass 

like paint brushes 

reaching to the sky


Painting hues of orange 

and red 

as the sun leaves 

the dark blue canvas 


Now the salty symphony 

of the coast comes 

crashing alive with 

the oceans gong 


splashing the allegro


As the joyous harmonies 

of finches 

and chickadees 

animate the work of the trees 


Where the obsidian 

of the east 

meets the carnelian 

of the west


A plane lights the border 

with white dots 

turning east like stars 

traveling home from vacation


I wonder 

what the stars did 

out in the blue sky

the one they headed home from


did they swim 

in the vast sea 



Were they lovers 

coming home 

from their honeymoon 


They are gone now 

back home

and I wait alone

with questions 



as night falls

on the west window 

I’ll see them soon

Ryan has two amazing kids who inspire them to explore their creative potentials. They are a full time student at Lane, literature and philosophy majors. Ryan is in work study at the respite room near the health center, and loves writing. Generally, Ryan enjoys writing poetry, prose, and short fiction but they also enjoy writing research and argument essay’s. “Though I wouldn’t say an argumentative essay is my ideal way to wind down at the end of a day.” – Ryan 

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