Month: December 2017

“‘Cause, I’m gonna snooze back some further in time and about forty, fifty miles north of here.” (Jeff Kaliss)

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The following, “Family Affair” (script, excerpt), is an excerpt of a completed script by Jeff Kaliss.

Jeff Kaliss studies writing and jazz piano at CCSF after completing an MFA in Creative Writing at SFSU. His poetry appears in the Suisun Valley Review and he reads it around town. Jeff wrote a biography of Sly & the Family Stone and thousands of articles about music.

Family Affair

by Jeff Kaliss

EXT., YASGUR’S FARM, NEAR BETHEL, NEW YORK, AUGUST 16, 1969, CIRCA 4 AM.
FADE IN, over sound of an insistent rock drumbeat, to a scene tinted psychedelically:

PAN, hordes of slowly stirring sleeping hippies, most in sleeping bags across the occupied meadowland, some wandering half-naked, some smoking doobies. CAPTION: “Woodstock Music & Art Festival, Bethel, New York, August 16, 1969, 4 a.m. On stage: Sly & the Family Stone.” An amorous, still-sleepy HIPPY COUPLE, he black, she white, embrace as they listen:

SLY (OS, AMPLIFIED)

What we would like to do is, sing a song together.
(Pause) But most of us need approval.

HIPPY COUPLE embraces, kisses, then turns their smiling faces towards the glow of the stage. CUT to CU of SLY STONE, 26 years old:

SLY

Most of us need to get approval from our neighbors,
before we can actually let it all hang down.

CUT TO HIPPY COUPLE. He looks down towards his midsection, looks at her, they both start laughing. CUT back to:

SLY

Now, what we’re gonna do here is a singalong. A lot
of people don’t like to do that, because they think it
may be old-fashioned. But you must dig that it is not
a fashion in the first place! It’s a feeling, and if it was
good in the past, it is
still good! So what I want you to
do, I’d like everybody to join in, when we say “Higher!”,
I want you to hold the peace sign up. It’ll do you no harm.

SLY starts to sing, against the continuing pulse of GREG’s drumming. INTERCUT with the hippy couple responding vocally and with peace signs.

SLY

(Chanting:) I wanna take you higher!

HIPPY COUPLE

(Chanting:) Higher!!

Chant is repeated.

SLY

Way up on the hill! I wanna hear y’all!!

CUT TO dusky vista of hippie throng on the hill, some distance from the stage. Many more now are standing and displaying peace signs, as well as many more illuminated joints.

CUT TO entire Sly & the Family Stone band on stage. JERRY, on saxophone, and CYNTHIA, on trumpet, launch into the brassy instrumental tag from “Music Lover”, then transition to “I Want to Take You Higher”, with SLY taking the lead on vocals and keyboard, ROSE on backup vocals, LARRY on backup vocals and bass, and FREDDIE on guitar, along with JERRY, CYNTHIA, and GREG. During the performance of the song, we get to see all of them in closeup, intercut with shots of an audience reclaimed from the night, the Hippy Couple among them, moving to the music. We may or may not run opening credits and the film title here. On the chorus line, “Baby light my fire”, the Hippy Couple can do just that. On the extended chant of “Boom-laka-laka-laka”, CROSSCUT to:

INT, LIMO, STREETS OF OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, PRESENT DAY

(more…)

“If ignorance is bliss / Innocence means shit.” (Meg Brittain)

C. Davis Dream of Water

Dream of Water by Clara Davis

Clara Davis was born in Redondo Beach, California and moved to San Francisco for college. She is in the process of completing her BA in studio art at CCSF and SFSU. She has been shown in multiple local galleries and currently works in a shop fabricating and installing public art. 

Shepherd’s Sheep

by Meg Brittain

Come, O’ come ye faithful
Give praise to who sold you.
When capital is god
And Wall street is law
All gain is lost.
All truth is fraud.
Your name no longer suits you
Sheep Number Three will do.
If ignorance is bliss
Innocence means shit.
You don’t see the blood that spills
Wolves were let in.
They sleep in your den.
Comfort distorted
Yet, are you awake?
The only pain known has been your own,
But what if the corruption and violence drove you out of home?
All your loved ones are no ones
Left all alone
Tell me now, who will be the savage one?

Meg Brittain works as a hairstylist and is attending college for the first time. “I love the classes and professors at CCSF and feel lucky to be here at this time in my life. My goal is to develop a practice which promotes holistic wellbeing for my community.”

“At last check, Jesus’ teeth were doing fine,” (Christopher Cantrell)

Lydia La Roux Cycles

Cycles by Lydia la Roux, collage

Lydia La Roux is a Detroit transplant to the Bay area. She enjoys daydreaming, vegan cooking, screenplays, and the sun. Find her on Instagram @lyddderbox.

 

Medical Exam

by Christopher Cantrell

Jesus has a liver, you see,

that does its job of filtering impurities;

and two kidneys that function quite well, regular and dutifully.

At last check, Jesus’ teeth were doing fine,

save for the usual amount of plaque here and there.

Apart from a mild sunburn, his skin is healthy and in good shape, unbroken and clean;

his hair, as well, seems all right (though not very cosmetic, with all those split ends).

The microfilaments lining his large intestine, moreover, function with textbook precision.

Indeed, Christ’s internal organs, one and all, seem normal and complete: nutrients are broken down, energy is stored, and disease is combatted.

I might go so far as to say that, overall, he is a fine biological specimen, young and strong, and in as a good physical condition as can be expected.

Christopher Cantrell is a career educator, credentialed in five different subject areas, with twenty-five years’ teaching experience who grew up lifeguarding, playing tennis, and performing in community theater in Southern California.  Cantrell earned a MA from SFSU in 2000.  His previously published work includes poetry in Mists of Enchantment (National Library of Poetry: 1995); the short story “City Dance” in Blue Eyes & Other Short Romantic Stories (Phyllis Scott: 2011); and, most recently, the nonfiction essay “The Importance of Physical Education” (TheSportsDigest.com: 2017). He lives in San Francisco with his wife and children.

“I may be as average as they come in so many respects, … but I’m not a dummy.” (Dana Wagner)

Old Town Parking_photography

Old Town Parking by Chiao En Huang

Chiao En Huang studies Graphic Design in CCSF. Currently, Chiao works at speciality coffee shop SPRO. “Obviously, [to] create is one of my biggest hobbies. I also do a lot of painting and drawing. Line (geometric) and color are two really big inspiration for me.” More work can be viewed at Chiao En Huang’s website: www.chiaondesign.com.

A Simple Task

by Dana Wagner

Call me Kobayashi.

That’s what the short, clean-cut Japanese man in the dark suit had said when he’d given me the small package.  If his name had actually been Kobayashi, he wouldn’t have said it the way he had, but as I walked through the afternoon crowd in the Ginza district with the brown-paper-covered parcel under my arm, I was still wondering why he’d picked that as his cipher … and why he’d picked a cipher at all, an obviously fabricated pseudonym that had been completely unnecessary since I was highly unlikely to ever see him again.  It seemed pointless, a deception merely for the sake of itself.  Maybe that had been the point, simply to impress upon me how little I knew.  You do not know my name, he was saying, you do not know anything about me, and there is very little of this you will ever understand.

Not that I needed much reminding.  As a foreigner living in Tokyo, I felt uncertain and unwelcome even on the best of days.  The man allowed into the party solely because he could score something everyone there wanted, tolerated and even spoken to, but with whom no one wanted any kind of personal connection.  The Japanese would smile, buy you business meals, make small talk, get drunk with you, and play at being your guides through their complex society while they sought to exploit your knowledge of western markets, but they would never, ever let you in or do anything to give you any illusions about being truly trusted or included.  They barely let each other into their inner lives, and they weren’t about to shake off centuries of xenophobia and emotional repression for a nondescript American businessman like me.  I was no stranger to being the painfully self-aware stranger in their midst.  So why was it eating at me that this Japanese man of indeterminate age, whom I had never seen before and would hope never to see again, had bothered to give me a transparently fake name?

Because he had bothered.  That was the thing about the Japanese I dealt with in my business interactions, whether inside or outside the office.  They never bothered with anything gratuitous.  If they had to suck it up and place a veneer of hospitality on top of their forced relationships with the corporate emissaries of the West, they would, but they weren’t going to put anything more into it than necessary.  Everything they did and shared with a gaijin like me was a deliberate choice and had a desired purpose.  Often it was immediately clear to me what it was, sometimes it wouldn’t become clear until much later, and sometimes I would never figure it out.  But always I knew it was there.  There was always something.  If this squat Japanese man who’d pushed the package towards me across his desk had told me to call him Kobayashi, then there had been a reason, and I was focused on trying to puzzle out what it had been.

(more…)

“This would be the perfect emoji for today.” (Kate Steinheimer)

Dimas Arellan strangers_Charcoal

Strangers by Dimas Arellan, charcoal

Dimas Arellan is a surrealist creature artist from Los Angeles who loves City College and all it’s colorful people and things.

Sardonic Face

by Kate Steinheimer

I’d like to invent a new emoji. One that says, “I can’t believe you just said that.” Or something like that. I could use it a lot, although I’m not sure exactly what it would look like. Maybe eyebrows slightly raised. Mouth pulled slightly to the side to look a little bit disappointed and maybe a little bit mocking. This would be the perfect emoji for today.

I use emojis in all of my texts and Instagram posts. A bunch of emoji key chains clink around on my backpack. I have an emoji rug, emoji pillows, and 20 pairs of emoji earrings, each with a different expression. Although they make my ears hurt if I wear them for more than one day, all of my friends are jealous of them. The main problem with emoji earrings, though, is that my emotions change so quickly that the pair I picked in the morning is never the right one by lunchtime, and sometimes not even by my first period advisory class. I have emoji leggings, too, but I haven’t worn them since Chloe told me they looked like pajamas.

(more…)

“Its body grew small and yet, it towered before us” (anonymous)

Visual Arts – BUGSUR – THOTH – Acrylic on Canvas

Thoth by Alex Nizovsky, acrylic on canvas

Alex Nivosky is a designer, and biologist who is focused on the beauty of living organisms. His art expresses his passionate engagement with the beautiful forms of insects and their relatives. His new art project WWW.BUGSUR.COM is devoted to creation of the fantastic worlds of surrealistic creatures which are all based on natural forms.

Day of the Dark Sun

by anonymous

It was late at night
A dark sun illuminated the black sky
Pulsing waves coming from the dark sun

First wave came with a flash, making us see the light of day while the rest remained in dark
Ominous wind came next, damaging our hearing
A blazing beast followed them, set free to burn and crumble as it pleased
It’s growl heard everywhere

We got our hearing back; we wish we didn’t
The blazing beast grew quiet allowing us to hear the screams
The screams that were muted by the air and fire were now clear
Finally, they came
On the fourth and final wave

Their Presence, the ominous wind became docile
The fire looked merciful
The dreadful presence that was engulfing the town
By instinct we embraced each other
They moved as unison no place left untouched
A single mind, many bodies
Wherever they walked, a death miasma was left behind
Whatever was loud in front became silent behind

Those of us that were alive didn’t move, simply looking at the destruction before us
Many ran away, but we didn’t
Frozen within that fire
One approached, silently
Her shadow cooling us off
A young girl stood before us
Blonde hair and yellow eyes
She was young, yet mature
Docile, yet dominant
Beautiful, yet terrifying
She wore a black kimono with a white lotus pattern
She glared us down, with curiosity glimmering on her eyes

Some of them came to stand behind her
With their black robes covering their bodies, and white skulls hiding their faces
She stopped them in their tracks as they approached
Like predators in front of a prey stopped by fear
With a simple wave of her hand, she dismissed them and they vanished into the black sky
She returned to glare at us once more
She smiled and with another wave told us to follow her
We did as such
The miasma of death and destruction parted ways for us

We left the place we called home for so long
We entered a dark forest
Dark embraced us, the light of the dark sun was no more
A different light illuminating our path
The black night parting ways for us
Her presence illuminating our path
We walked through the night, reaching a clear field
She made a wave to the sky

A shadow moved from the dark sky
It fell making a graceful descend
It touched the ground causing a comforting breeze to engulf the field
It was like the night itself stood before us
A creature with big wings, long arms, body covered in feathers and a bird head
She talked to it in a different tongue
It looked at us with those big yellow eyes

They moved toward us
Its body grew small and yet, it towered before us
He wore a black robe that looked to be made out of feathers
It moved the bird skull hiding its face, revealing glaring yellow eyes and a human face
The glaring eyes became merciful and comforting
They spoke to us in our mother tongue like it was natural
That was how we met our parents

“Can’t substitute a milkshake, sorry.” (Jackie Davis Martin)

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Diner

by Jackie Davis Martin

You would have lied, too.  You would have promised the manager to work the entire summer when you applied for the breakfast shift at the diner which had you arriving in the parking lot at six in the morning in a brown nylon dress and white oxfords, to set up the creams and sugars and ketchups, shine the counters, all the easy part until the doors opened and people demanded their eggs over light, over for at least a minute, poached firm, scrambled soft, egg whites only, hash browns, home fries, bacon, make it sausage. You stand there, pen in hand, smiling at fat women who want extra gravy, stringy women who cringe at butter, sliding into padded booths, hour after hour so early –- where do they all come from?

You need the money, driving in the next morning in your washed brown nylon dress, your polished white oxfords, ready to ready the counters, wipe the menus.  More coffee?  Decaf?  Juices? Can’t substitute a milkshake, sorry. They slide in, slide out.  It’s almost mid August, six weeks you’ve done this, and your boyfriend who doesn’t love you as much as he once did is impatient.  Are you coming with me or not?  You’re going to London with him, but you’re also going to the diner, morning after morning.  He’s paying for London; you are paying for your kids’ food and clothes and rent.  You tell him yes, yes, I’ll be quitting any day and you arrive again in your limp brown nylon dress and scuffed white oxfords thinking I must tell the manager I won’t be back, that – that what? – you’re scheduled for three more weeks, maybe tell them you have to have surgery, or you’ve contracted something contagious, anything but that the man you love who doesn’t love you the same will cancel your trip, will return to the woman he had an affair with, tell them anything but that your life will be over if you don’t quit tomorrow. You need time to pack, to please him once again, yes, okay, eggs barely flipped for you and sunny-side for you, I got it, no muffins, just three kinds of toast, and all the while, what will you do, what will you do as you gather quarters, sometimes dollars, from under saucers, wipe down the tables, take off your apron and say to the boss with the oily scalp, I’m sorry I won’t be back tomorrow: my uncle needs rides to the hospital and I’m the only one – I’m so sorry – but, you don’t have an uncle, and you walk to the car, tears streaming with humiliation, a job you cannot return to next summer.  You say to the boyfriend, it’s okay, I’m ready, and he says good then, let’s go, and even though you don’t know where you’re going beyond London, you say yes and never go into that diner again, not even for a cup of coffee.

Jackie Davis Martin’s work has been included in print and online journals and collections, including Modern Shorts, Love on the Road, and Road Stories.  Prizes were awarded by New Millennium and On the Premises. A memoir, Surviving Susan, was published in 2012.  Jackie teaches at City College of San Francisco.