“Ray” by Joaquin Ceniceros

Ray_pastel_Joaquin Ceniceros
Ray by Joaquin Ceniceros, pastel
“I have been drawing most of my life, and have been passionate about art most of my life. The only other thing I may be just as passionate about is music. So in this piece I decided to meld the two passions by creating this portrait of one my musical influences.”
Joaquin Ceniceros born and raised in the Bay Area, Hayward more specifically.

“This is the kinda nothing that folks retire early for.” (Lelonnie Taylor)


Best Interest

by Lelonnie Taylor

(an excerpt) This is the first story in my creative non-fiction anthology, “Child Who Hurt You?” The full story will be released on my blog, this Christmas.

I saw the back of his head and fell in love.

It was the only thing I could see when I cocked mine over my shoulder after hearing a collective “OH SHIT!” followed by the instigative chatter surrounding a fight.

It had to be around 11:45 a.m.; lunchtime at Trevor G. Browne High School was typically rowdy–with gang fights, spirit rallies, and the bustle of young gossip.

It was partly cloudy, but the sun shined a blinding pastel yellow. In its ray his hair was coffee: silky, black, with reddish amber highlights revealed when cast in the right angle. Tied in a low ponytail, it poured past his shoulders in soft S’s stopping half-way down his lanky, 5-foot-4 frame.

His skin was lit tobacco: spotted mahogany with a soft glow, dressed in a white tall tee, and silver Starter basketball shorts, to be acquired by me the summer before junior year.

I elbowed through the thick crowd of bystanders and yank his ponytail.

“Can I fucking help you?!”

“I don’t need help with anything, but YOU can walk me to class.”

He slowly grinned, took my hand and we made our way to Algebra 1.

The only thing anyone could see for the rest of the school day was my teeth.

After the final bell, I meandered with the rest of the herd to the bus station at the mall two blocks from campus. I was looking to kill time since it was early-release, and my mom didn’t pick me up til at least 4:30.

I was looking for that boy.

Continue reading “This is the kinda nothing that folks retire early for.” (Lelonnie Taylor)

“The Boogeyman” by Dee Allen


The Boogeyman

by Dee Allen

As lousy as
Some of my
Early childhood was,
I had never
Feared the dark.
Come thirteen,
Onset of puberty,
A frightening age,
Like other youngsters,
I dreaded
Running into
Some child killer,
As mentioned
On the news,

Or the boogeyman,
Coming straight from
Out of darkness,
Charging at me,
Little skinny me with my
Sun-darkened skin,
Unspeakable cruelty
On his agenda—–

He never crawled
Out of closets,
From under beds.
Somebody gotten those
Little details wrong.
I’ve learned
To avoid

The woods,
Lightless roads
At night
Where he
His numbers
May lurk.
Adults & children
Among my
Dusky people

In the South
Feared the twilight threat,
Terror-filling remnant
From the bad old
Days before I was born,
Real as you and me:
Phantom in white

White hood,
White robe,
Brandishing a blazing
Cross in one hand,
A loaded pistol
In the other—–

Dee Allen is an African-Italian performance poet currently based in Oakland, California. Allen is author of 3 books (Boneyard, Unwritten Law and Stormwater) and 14 anthology appearances (Poets 11: 2014, Rise and Your Golden Sun Still Shines, to name a few). Dee Allen is a former Political Science major at CCSF (2004-2010). Allen’s work appeared in Forum (Fall 2007).