SPARK get together | get creative | get sparked! Tue, 03 Jul 2018 20:40:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Amy Souza and Victoria Nessen Fri, 29 Jun 2018 00:08:43 +0000
Victoria Nessen
Inspiration piece

White Space
By Amy Souza

Chalky overlays
Blur what’s hidden
In plain sight
The house is not mine
Family gone
Hum of a small plane
Rush hour buzz
Inside so quiet
Not even breathing
Rings in my ear
Pinprick of yellow
Neighborhood dogs
Whine behind closed doors
Soft focus
A rustling breeze

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Marilyn Ackerman and Kamika Cooper Sun, 24 Jun 2018 22:36:36 +0000

Marilyn Ackerman

So Long
By Kamika Cooper
Inspiration piece

it’s been a while since you’ve been gone
i’ve got a little more room to breath
some extra money in my pocket
a few less reasons to be seen

had i not been with you for so long
it might have been easier to walk away
since you nearly brought me to my knees
no more excuses no you cannot stay

so go on on
don’t you turn around and look for me
so long this is how it’s got to be
i’m gonna run on on
got to get far away from you
so so long
can’t believe it taken me this long

so long

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Gena Stutzman and Alyscia Cunningham Sun, 24 Jun 2018 22:23:45 +0000

Alyscia Cunningham
“I Am More Than My Hair” (video)

Inspiration piece

By Gena Stutzman

be the thorn and the rose.

be the oak and the lilac.

put down your pen

throw away your to do list

and your not to do list.

unlock the door,

walk out of the house,

navigate by touch.

consider the way things feel,

then choose.

you determine the words you’ll keep.

you determine the words to describe yourself.

each glimpse an awakening,

a joyful encounter.

dancing shoes, hiking boots, and bare feet

you choose.

there’s need and time enough for each.

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Jonathan Ottke and Amy Moffitt Wed, 13 Jun 2018 03:10:08 +0000

Amy Moffitt

Inspiration piece

Jonathan Ottke


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Sharon A. Murphy and Lisa Kilhefner Mon, 11 Jun 2018 21:04:52 +0000

Sharon Murphy
“Finding Myself”

Lisa Kilhefner
Inspiration piece

He looks like

Sunset balloon ride in Cappadocia.
Buttery glide through a moonlit Venetian canal.
Tranquil slide down the Napa countryside.

But the sky is heavy with rain,
and the local water too murky to navigate,
and the drought has whispered adieu to the grapes.

something, else.

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Kamika Cooper and Victoria Nesson Sun, 10 Jun 2018 00:10:40 +0000
Victoria Nesson
“Green I”
Inspiration piece

Envie’s Ivy

by Kamika Cooper

Envie didn’t drive a sleek, black luxury car or live in a swanky community with manicured lawns. She didn’t have a savings account and could not remember a time when she wasn’t living paycheck to paycheck. Aside from sick days – hers or her children’s – vacations from work were not an option. She was constantly tired, always on the verge of the next illness, and felt as if she could not catch a break.

On the contrary her younger sister, Ivy, enjoyed a luxurious existence. She breezed into rooms like the wind, with a smile on her beautiful face. She looked, smelled, and walked like money. Ivy was single with no children, to Envie’s three, and had no obligations to anyone but herself. She took lovers when she wanted and found ways to lose them when the spark had run its course. She jet-setted between bustling cities and quiet remote islands on a whim.

Ivy sought to help her sister, but this always resulted in some sort of sharp-tongued kerfuffle which left the two not speaking to one another for several months. It was during one of these periods of silence that Ivy came to be ill. Her quality of life saw a rapid decline and there was nothing more the doctors could do but make her comfortable. Envie came to her baby sister’s side and held her in her arms, full of regret for all the horrible things she had last said to her. All of the years of jealousy and resentment now came down to this: Ivy had wealth and popularity, but was suffering and withering away from life. Envie had life and had wasted her adult years sneering at her sister for her success and wealth instead of finding her own – now she was going to lose her.

She spent the next month making Ivy’s days and nights as peaceful and loving as possible. She told her that she was proud of her, and apologized for the times of tumult they had experienced over the years. They talked and laughed as much as Ivy’s energy level would allow. Envie’s children decorated their aunt’s room with painted pictures of rainbows, sunshine, butterflies, and plush hills in various shades of green which faded into tiny circles as Ivy closed her eyes and took her final breaths.

It came to pass that Ivy left Envie everything she owned – a great mass of riches and possessions which changed the trajectory of Envie’s life. Her children and husband were happy, she was healthy, and she finally got the vacations that she had wanted. Yet at the end of the day, driving down the street in her sister’s sleek black luxury car, bank account fat and possessions abound, she felt poorer than she had been just a few months prior. Envie came to realize that she had been rich all along, having lost her most valuable possession the day Ivy closed her eyes.

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Tora Estep and Rissa Miller Fri, 08 Jun 2018 19:16:18 +0000

Tora Estep, untitled, oil on canvas



Rissa Miller



You’re considering a tattoo on your shoulder
in what I like to think of as the Orion system,
located between here and here on your skin.
My universe, your skin, all alive, sweet,
the multiverse of you-ness.
A rose, you say, or perhaps a chain of ivy?
An alien invader of my eternal constellations,
the freckles that trail your arms and neck.
Recognizable patterns and forms create legends across you.
Often my mouth leads me to the system of Andromeda.
Will the sword of Perseus cut me down, I wonder
as I glide along your spine, breathtaking distinctive flecks
already marking you, lovelier that the goddess herself.
Hers, a story of a beauty brought down by boasts.
The night sky holds 88 such tales.
Your body, though, so many more, each ever new to explore.
Centaur points his arrow, and you ask
What about a heart or a word, something with meaning?
I try to imagine it etched in ink on the cosmos.
At the edge of your neck, my lips connect stars, you to me.
Stargazing into the darkness, I encounter ruling planet Venus
as you settle on infinity.


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Rissa Miller and Tora Estep Fri, 08 Jun 2018 04:05:24 +0000

Tora Estep



Beach Drift

By Rissa Miller

Natalie glanced nervously around the waiting room. Beige walls with framed posters showing smiling women and tranquil beach scenes hung over tables piled with well-read magazines and askew stacks of pamphlets. Her younger sister was in the next chair. Lilly’s delicate frame slouched on the wooden armrest and her feet were tucked under her. She was skimming her phone.

The picture directly across the room was a close-up of a seashell nestled in the sand, water eddying around it. Natalie put her hand on her tummy and sighed. Something lived in that seashell once. What lives in shells anyhow? Clams? Snails? Her mind drifted back to high school biology but the distraction didn’t last. It doesn’t matter at the moment what lives in seashells.

“Remember that time Mom took us to the beach and all the shells were washed up on shore? I think we picked up a whole bag of them,” Lilly said, following Natalie’s gaze.

“Yeah. We were so young. Mom had a way of, I don’t know…”

Natalie couldn’t think of the words.

“Making everything special,” Lilly finished the thought.

Yeah, that was it. Mom did make everything special. Fucking cancer. If Mom were still alive, she would know what to do. She would have somehow, someway, said the right thing, made more possible. But Mom had been gone three years. Natalie was 28, divorced, recently laid off, and except for Lilly, felt more alone than ever in her life.

A long sigh escaped her lips.

“Hey, Nat,” Lilly’s hand was on her arm. “You’re going to be okay. It’s the right call, you know it. We’ve talked about this, yeah?”

Natalie nodded. She couldn’t bring herself to look at Lilly. Sweet Lilly, always practical yet upbeat. Growing up Lilly had been level-headed, never effected by gossip or girl-world politics. As an adult, the 25 year-old was steady, confident. Her shoulder length hair was neat even now, in a place no one cared. Her nails were short, but filed and manicured a pale, conservative pink. Lilly was every bit the practical woman their mother had been. Suddenly Natalie understood.

Lilly had gotten all the best traits from their mom. Just like Mom made things better, easier, so did Lilly. Which left… our father’s scrappy, mediocre traits for me? She acutely felt it hit her chest. She was the dark sheep. At family gatherings, aunts and uncles cousins gave her the “understanding smile,” like maybe one day she’d get her shit together. Today wasn’t that day. In fact, as she looked around the clinic, she decided that today meant that might never come.

A woman in light blue scrubs appeared at the sliding glass window to the offices.

Natalie sat upright. Please, let this be it, let this be over with.

“Kara Thompson?” the nurse called out.

As the petite woman at the end of the room got up and disappeared into the office behind the painted metal door, the hollow pain in Natalie’s chest deepened. How can I do this? How can I just… give up like this? When did my heart die? My hope?

“Do you still have any?” Lilly asked absently.

“Any what?” Natalie said. Heart or hope? Probably neither…

“Seashells. I know you held onto a bunch of them. When you and Thomas had the house on Maple, remember? You had shells in all those shadowboxes. They made me happy, especially when Mom was gone. Seeing them… it was like she was still here and we were little girls at Rehoboth, running in and out the waves in sundresses and picking up shells,” Lilly’s smile was warm as she turned in the chair. “Remember how she told us the story about shells being for special fish that needed a house in the ocean?”

Natalie crossed her arms tightly around her torso and focused on her breath.  Her face burned hot and bile was rising in her throat. No job. No husband. Lonely. Men on dating apps and stupid, stupid decisions. Far from the little girl on the beach. Now she was about to rip a life from its shell before it even got a second in the ocean.

Without acknowledging Lilly, Natalie rose from the sofa and hurried into the rest room. She locked the door behind her and kneeled in front of the toilet, holding back her unwashed brown hair. Yet nothing came. She had dealt with nausea since 6am, and her gut was totally empty. Concentrating on breathing helped…

The floor was cool. She wrapped her arms around the sterile-smelling white toilet bowl to cool her skin. Tears were easy. They started with zero effort and beaded off her cheeks, dripping into the toilet below.

A soft knock came at the door and echoed through the empty rest room. Probably Lilly. Shit, what if it wasn’t? What if someone else needed the rest room?

“Just a second,” Natalie called towards the door, trying to swallow her sobs.

Her mind raced through the past year. Thomas, her high school sweetheart, her most trusted friend sitting her down in the kitchen and saying he was leaving. He was marrying a woman from work, who was carrying his child.

“It never worked out for us, anyhow,” he said. “We tried for years.”

That patronizing kiss on the cheek when he drove off in the U-haul. The empty house. Days passed into weeks, going through the motions, but barely alive. He had a little girl. One day his daughter would wear sundresses and take gymnastics and go to sleep with her favorite doll. A life I couldn’t give him.

Then the loneliness set in. It unfurled like a coiled animal and spread through her like poison. Almost any man was comfort, at least for a moment. If she hadn’t lost her job, her health insurance, the house… it wouldn’t have mattered. There was no way.

“Natalie?” Lilly’s voice was muted by the thick wood door.

Standing up, Natalie brushed her hair back and used her sleeve to wipe her face. Her cheeks still felt warm. Because Lilly was at the door, she flushed the toilet. At least it would seem legitimate. She shuffled to the sink and turned on the cold water, splashing some on her face, eyes clenched. There was a mirror right in front of her, but she didn’t want to see it.

“Are you okay?” her sister’s muffled voice inquired.

“Yep, just finishing up,” Natalie called out, feigning normalcy.

Can I ever be normal again? Rejected by my love, toss aside by my career. The beach drift that no one wants, one of those partial shells that could have been beautiful but ends up washing in and out of the ocean until the water breaks it down to tiny particles of sand…

Natalie turned off the water and stood up. No avoiding the mirror. Her eyes flicked to the reflection above the sink. Golden hazel eyes surrounded by dark purple circles from sleeplessness, pale lips from days of morning sickness and fringe of stringy hair looked back at her. Water finished drizzling down her cheeks and from her chin. She reached toward the mirror and lightly rested her fingertips against the unyielding solid of perfectly-wiped-clean glass. Hard and cool, like a seashell. She almost smiled, reminiscing about her mother. Natalie did have her mother’s eye color and was getting the same wrinkles on the edges.

She dropped her hand lightly to her belly, wondering which of three men belonged to this child. It didn’t matter. Not one of them was part of her life. Under her fingertips though… this someone was hers. To love or not; to care for, or allow to wash back out to the sea.

Another knock at the door.

Natalie quickly wiped her wet face and unlocked the bathroom.

“They’re in storage,” she said to Lilly.

Her sister had their father’s brilliant blue eyes. The response clouded them with confusion.

“The shadowboxes with Mom’s shells. I put them in storage when I moved into your basement. I wasn’t planning to decorate, you know?” Natalie said. Good memories are safe packed away in a long soulless row of containers, right?

“Oh… yeah, that makes sense,” Lilly nodded, fidgeting with the cuff of her blouse. “They called your name a minute ago. I said we’d be in as soon as you finished pottying.”

Natalie recalled the counselling session. The entire procedure would take five to ten minutes. Less time than getting a pizza or answering emails.

“Are you ready?” Lilly asked, furrowing her perfectly shaped brows. “I’ll be with you the whole time. It’s going to be okay.”

That’s how I ended up here. I’m never ready for anything. If only I could have a shell to live in.  Natalie pushed the swirl of her emotions back, like the bile in her throat as she took Lilly’s outstretched hand and walked from the bathroom.


Note: All of the art, writing, and music on this site belongs to the person who created it. Copying or republishing anything you see here without express and written permission from the author or artist is strictly prohibi

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Alyscia Cunningham and Gena Stutzman Fri, 08 Jun 2018 03:26:05 +0000

Alyscia Cunningham

Lost Threads
By Gena Stutzman
Inspiration piece

lost threads from your old coat
chosen and carried through the air
by that hope-filled sparrow
contain memories of you
particles of you-

smiles, loving intentions,
tenderness, tears
wild rhythms and wild dancing
each thread like stardust.

imagine a tree filled with memories of hundreds of seasons
for the softness of feathers
the rejoicing of birdsongs.

traces of you becoming the answer to the prayers of a tree and a bird.




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Alyscia Cunningham and Brian MacDonald Fri, 08 Jun 2018 03:17:57 +0000

Brian MacDonald
Inspiration Piece

by Alyscia Cunningham

At first you grasped me tenderly,
Caressed my core vivaciously,
Piece-by-piece, created me,
To light our cosmic galaxy.

Formed my inner soul perfectly,
And topped my crown so carefully,
Then flipped the switch in hope to see,
A flick of light inside of me.

My inward being wanted to be,
Your hopeful opportunity.

But your smile conflicted far from glee.
As my glow dimmed like debris.

Unfilled expected goals,
Felt as if you’ve lost control,
A space once warm has now turned cold,
Frustrations trigger lonesome holds.

You turned your back from our console,
And slipped into a sunken hole.
Forgotten pathways to uphold,
Trials and tribulations stroll.

Return to feed your dreams abstain,
Let time not be your goals refrain.
Please pick me up and try again,
And Spark the coil that joined our chain.

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