All posts by Blog Editor

Embryonic Drums 

I need to pasture this plain

but have no water supply,

no aqueous piping to advance the drink 

 

that last river to cross

in the bloodvein of bone-filled alleys

where bibles and knives

lay used and worn 

 

hummingbirds careen in plein air,

flip, then flop,

land in a grove of latticed leaves

their journeys immense 

 

a jigsaw of cracks

beneath my feet

show intricate veins on stones

that map the wandering mountains 

 

a bony little fist of flowers

in a smoke of moon

ignite the petaled sky 

 

whirlwinds tousle my hair,

over the barn weathervanes

spin like pinwheels

brooms lose straw 

 

clouds crash together

in cool combo

the notes of chords

like embryonic drums

beat through the woods 

 

bursts of raindrops

like marbles from a sack

soak undertow roots

the waters of floods

cyclone through the streets

the parched land

comes to an end

Written By: Gloria Keeley

I’m a graduate of San Francisco State University with a BA and MA in Creative Writing.  My work has appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review, Slipstream, FORUM and other journals. I graduated from CCSF and I taught at CCSF for 34 years and was the editor of FORUM in 1969.

Copy of spitblossoms_spring_Visual Art

Art Title: Spring

Artist: Spitblossoms

CCSF student, Bay Area born and Tijuana-raised, Spitblossoms is a visual artist and successful musician who has always found joy and meaning in realizing his artistic visions and sharing with a community of artists. For Spitblossoms, art is a meditation, release, source of pride and sustenance that helps him perfect his vision, overcome hardship, and continue to push forward to achieve his goals and dreams.

Sticky Pavement

Tense, blurry sight. 

Status? Stagnant water 

without the contemplation. 

 

A deep-rooted 

spinal itch, 

trails like a trickle, 

not cool,

not sweet, 

up to my neck and down 

to my tailbone. 

 

Let me breathe myself 

into the night air that drifts 

and clings to my nose tip 

ears, eyebrows, lips, 

chest. 

 

I want to melt 

into the sticky pavement 

because it sounds cool 

and might smell like 

woodsmoke, 

carried on the rain. 

 

But I am filled with string, 

muffled and amassed like 

cobwebs and candyfloss. 

 

Tense-eyed, blurry sight and heated cheeks from stagnant 

studying, still water but without the contemplation but instead a deep- 

rooted spinal itch trailing like a trickle, not cool, not sweet, up to 

my neck and down 

to my tailbone. 

 

Let me breathe 

 

breathe myself into the night air that drifts so sweetly across, clings ever-so 

slightly to my nose tip, ears, dry lips, 

tongue, chest. And let me forget all the rest, that mass of muffled string filling 

me so unproductively. Yes I know it’s me but how can I help myself when 

 

I want to melt into the sticky pavement because it sounds cool and 

might smell like woodsmoke floating on the rain. Bathe me in the white light that’s dulled 

by the misted streets, let it seep into my pores and line my lungs so they fill. 

 

I am filled with string, taught, but with too much of it, strung energy 

with nowhere to project to.

Written By: Helen Halliwell

Originally from England, Helen is currently studying English Literature in the Bay Area, and hopes to one day move back to the UK to continue studying and pursue teaching. When not reading or writing, she tries to keep a keen eye out for things in people or nature to inspire her poetry, stories, and sketches.

Copy of Canid IV_Visual Arts_Linocut Print

Art Title: Canid IV

Artist: Teresa Beatty

San Francisco based artist, Teresa Beatty, has spent the last few years honing her skills in printmaking and drawing. Her interests span from scientific illustration to art therapy. In pursuit of bettering her craft she’s traveled across the globe. She uses art as a tool for healing, expression and connection.

Momma Spider

The tenuous strings that hold her aloft 

Are of her own creation. 

She weaves them and deals them, 

Spins until she feels celestially secure. 

 

Strung between a hearty green branch 

And a wooden-panelled house, 

She softly sways against the pitch 

And fall of the warm-winged night, 

Silhouetted by the tiny icy stars 

That align her grand design 

With pinpointed, shining accuracy. 

 

She creates brilliantly and with ambition, 

So that even the moon sees fit to backlight her vision 

And allows her to nestle, 

Centered, in her crescent curves, 

While the rest surround and applaud — 

Diamonds who whisper and wink. 

 

Momma spider sits in the sky, 

Without an inkling of fear, 

For her spindly reach stretches far and beyond 

Outplaying fate with a hand of her own.

Writen By: Helen Halliwell

Originally from England, Helen is currently studying English Literature in the Bay Area, and hopes to one day move back to the UK to continue studying and pursue teaching. When not reading or writing, she tries to keep a keen eye out for things in people or nature to inspire her poetry, stories, and sketches.

Copy of WomanWithHat_Visual Arts

Art Title: Woman With Hat

Artist: Suzanne Notario

My photographic journey started seven years ago when I took my first photography class at CCSF. This course ignited my passion for making pictures. It has become a way of expressing myself while capturing moments in time with my camera.

Neon Pharmacy

I know I’ve stepped on sands of beaches

hit on all sixes; shot the Chicago typewriter

mammy cradles Jazzbo to the living end

near the villa I kiss his warm lips,

tarot cards over dry lake beds

near Missouri tugboats

map my route

wings flap like coattails as

anchors fall from the sky

leaving their sailor moon

over the lily pond snowflakes mix

like neon pharmacy by the candy aisle

butterflies land, colors camouflaged.

in the backyard the dog gathers bones

to study archaeology

the sound of crab apples in the distance

lingers in the key of leaving

chopsticks click; once conjoined

the capo slides onto the guitar 

Written By: Gloria Keeley

I’m a graduate of San Francisco State University with a BA and MA in Creative Writing.  My work has appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review, Slipstream, FORUM and other journals. I graduated from CCSF and I taught at CCSF for 34 years and was the editor of FORUM in 1969.

Copy of ornithophobia_Visual Arts_photography

Art Title: Ornithophobia

Artist: Eunbin Lee

I am a student studying photography  from Korea. Living in a new culture and environment of the United States, I try to express through pictures what I felt based on various daily experiences. I feel a sense of freedom by expressing it through my photographs rather than words. I hope people can feel the feelings that I want to convey through my photos.

Pant Legs Protrude

Gritty sneakers, one 

sock, raggedy pant legs protrude 

from a soiled pockmarked box 

abandoned in a doorway 

the wrest of him 

slumbers hidden 

in precious privacy. 

 

Next door excited 

people queue up 

for a grand opening 

salivating for pricey chicken 

and waffles and the hullabaloo 

of musictangledchatter to numb 

conflicted hearts.

Written By: Grace D’Anca

I came to San Francisco in the late 60’s to pursue theater and dance, performed with small companies and wrote poetry too; discovered creative arts therapy as a profession and    worked encouraging people facing challenges to express themselves. Retired now, I love taking writing and art classes at CCSF.

Copy of Flowers_illustration_ink

Art Title: Flowers

Artist: Dimas Arellano

Illustrator of queer things and Portfolio Club representative pushing for more Art exposure on campus! From Los Angeles but have called San Francisco home for nine years. Love City College to death and want students to continue to express themselves as much as they can through the Arts programs offered.

Court Geometry

r           r

  u      e

     b b

pavement 

 

cassette tape beat

don’t chase the ball into the street 

l            r

  e       e

    a th

hardwood 

 

scoreboard screams

television bleacher dreams 

 

he and i memorize the lines

— on the court

on the ball —

in our pronouns 

 

sweat and contact and equipment closet-

ed

after practice 

 

one on one 

 

a timeout stolen from the game with no final buzzer

in which every move is a statistic

and on the line is

out

Written By: Matt Luedke

Matt Luedke is a former editor of Forum who continues to be inspired by the writing community he’s found through CCSF. He has also been published in Prairie Light Review and Ripples in Space. Links to his published works are at mattluedke.com.

Away

Our eyes met amongst the oak desks 

 

and rough wooden school benches, 

pencils lost between their skinny cracks, 

 

and stray chalk dust on shiny wax 

 

floors that reflect your blue 

sneakers reaching out to mine 

 

But only briefly— 

you headed out the door, 

 

shoes squeaking in the wax.

Written By: Britt Trachtenberg

Britt Trachtenberg is a high school senior who plans to major in creative writing in college starting in August. They are inspired to write mostly by nature. Their favorite poet is Mary Oliver.

Quiet Places

quiet places

 

there’s something about walls and ceilings

and their clearly delineated lines

are rooms put together

/ constructed

that way

to give us the illusion of order

providing a familiar

/ predictable

space

to come back to to

exist

in

after

spinning in the

maelstrom of life

?

clearly, they don’t satisfy every need

we’re always nailing things up

calendars to remind us of passing days

art to remind us of beauty

the forgetful or addicted mount their televisions

to remind them of the

madness alfresco

if bare walls mirrored life

they’d resemble cubist art

which would be good

museums are always quiet places.

Steven Louis Ray is a multidisciplinary artist working in traditional film and darkroom processes, in addition to writing and recording experimental music and writing poetry. He’s currently slogging his way to a creative writing certificate and studying printmaking at City College of San Francisco. More of his photography can be viewed at stevenlouisray.com

a couple admiring a work in a museum
At Moma by Junona Jonas

Junona Jonas is a student at City College enrolled in the Fine Arts Department. She has been painting and drawing for a number of years and have been able to develop as an artist working with the extraordinary teachers at City College.  Her work is largely narrative, Whether using pastel or acrylic for work that is landscape or figurative, Jonas wants to engage the viewer by telling a visual story.

Buckets of Rainwater

 

Proudly, he awakens his three youngest at dawn,
they’ll share eggs, herring and tea. Zeb,
his oldest won’t visit from his conscription
in Sanai for another 3 to 4 months while an opaque
gray of sadness clings to the walls
and his wife Sedja’s ashes sit above the makeshift
mantle, her lungs first, then her uterus
Metastasizing the entire family and her parents
now no longer allowed to travel
with the pedestrian crossing closed.

He remembers their weekly visits for groceries
and toilet paper, the store owner Elon, sat
with judgement like Ezra the Scribe
when he held her hand in the tight aisles
waiting in line for her medications,
no hair left under her khimar
yet he would smirk and mumble under his breath,
“see, they are weak, they even kill each other.”

His business was forcibly closed by decree,
he could no longer buy or sale supplies
to the Westbank with increased restrictions
on coastal fishing and the expanding tributary of walls
have assured him, it is forever. He’s still confused
that he no longer sees the love for humanity
his parents instilled in him from crib to classroom,
home to Sabbath, Mediterranean to Dead Sea.

He looks forward to his children’s sleepy eyes
and shuttering the windows for the night,
he will sip a small glass of Arak,
after their feet have lifted and are tucked
away quietly in the far bedroom. An array
of dog’s barking and movement of armored
vehicles can be heard in the distance.

He holds onto his resentments like springtime
buckets of rainwater near the Gaza Strip,
as the tattered Star of David flies solemnly
above and dangles tarnishing in 14k
around his neck. Everything that falls
from the sky like droplets of hate
are owned by the Promise
but his feelings are all his own.

He says, so long as they persist in hatred
of the other and the insistence on maintaining
the seclusion, they are helping to create
a group of people that do not belong
to either one of the two nations
and love is forbidden alike.

Buckets of Rainwater by Vincent Calvarese

Vincent Calvarese is a writer and visual artist born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. In his latest work, Buckets of Rainwater, he gives voice to those in the Middle East battling the multiplying walls of hate.  After 32 years in San Francisco, he recently relocated to the Coachella Valley.

Abstract, waterlike painting
Neptune by Michelle Engledinger

Neptune (acrylic on canvas) by Michelle Engledinger, published previously in Spring 2019.

 

 

 

Dialectic

 

The absence of

Desire is sometimes

Called peace.

 

See flowers.

Smell them.

See birds.

Hear them.

 

Imagine their absence.

 

Who can deny life’s desire for more life?

The absence of desire is sometimes called peace,

 

But perhaps only by those too weary

To witness spring.

 

Dialectic by Jason Syzdlik

Jason Szydlik studied poetry at City College.