Category Archives: Forum Magazine

CCSF Creative Writers’ Reading Series

You are invited to this fall’s Reading Series!

If you’re an avid reader or if you’re interested in anyone of the authors in this year’s lineup, join us to learn about them and to hear more about their work. You can find more information about each guest and their work in the image below.

The link to each event will be posted here on Forum three days in advance so make sure you check back with us for the link! For any further questions, comment below.

magic spell

You will need
–A preying mantis rescued from a lawnmower
–Five ants rescued from a kitchen where
the balabosta was going to crush them.
–A wrapped piece of grocery cake
Hostess
or my new favorite that comes from Mexico
white cake covered in chocolate with some
spots of red jelly Gansito
–Your favorite pair of colored socks
–Your favorite pair of comfortable worn-out socks
–A book you’re been meaning to read
–Miscellaneous secret government files
–My mother Felice’s fountain pen with something
in her handwriting
–My father Eli’s thimble he used as a tailor
–One of my grandfather Wulf’s Hebrew Prayer Books
–Something my grandmother Rachel has sewn

–A short piece played on the piano by my
sister Ruth
–The smell of the beach of Riis Park on a
hot summer’s day
–A worn pair of my dance shoes
–The tights I started to knit and stopped at the
calf of the second leg and then forgot
how to knit altogether
–Photos of the local people who went to see
the last performance of Beach Blanket Babylon
closing after forty-five years including Nancy Pelosi, Diane Feinstein
and Dick Blum
–Some of the DNA from elephants, lions,
giraffes, feral cats
–Some bit of giant Redwoods and Sequoias
–The wisps of laughter, puzzlements,
revelations
of my now gone family and friends

(Add all of yours)
Whoosh them all together
in a beautiful canyon someplace in
New Mexico

where they will create
a whirling–like a soft tornado
up to the horizon

and out to cover the world
And surely this will save the
human species in 2020.

Helen Dannenberg writes with the Older Writers Lab. She takes various arts-related classes and featured her assemblages in Open Studios 2019. She participates with San Francisco Recreation and Parks Cosmic Elders and has been a dancer and choreographer, and worked as an Activity Director and Social Services Coordinator in skilled nursing facilities.

Cedar Pass, Linocut print, by Teresa Beatty

A 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.

sifted bones

Crimson bleeds
on her clean pink jumper,
blooming,
like Poppies in October,
the Plath poem
which has nothing to do with poppies,
the wounded woman’s
heart a watercolor seeping.

Fresh ruby drops
just as we were ready to go home,
declaring a reminder
that everything is not normal, everything
is not as it should be, but the portals are open
the veins are still alert,
dripping,
as the nurse removes the plastic tubing dangling from the crook of her arm,
a thief tapping into a pot of gold
striking it rich before her veins collapse.

I want to slide inside
a pair of Emily‘s flannel pajamas,
slip into my bed and pretend that everything
will be fine,
that she will be here
to create art with me in my retirement
in her little downstairs studio,
with gelli plates
squeezing tubes of fine gold acrylic
rolling, watching it smear and shine
translucent spreading
onto every inch of plain paper.

Snuggling beside her
in the hospital bed feeling her beating
heart, holding
her hand and we are laughing
at Jim Carrey impugning god in Bruce Almighty
when she asks me quietly,
Do you know whether you want to be cremated or what?
Emily who has organized everything
down to the intimate
notes she has kept for 20 years,
then carefully hand bound into a creative atlas
to celebrate a life,
has not prepared her burial plans.
She is leaving
that up to us to spread
her sifted bones.

Diana Feiger grew up in Sandwich, Kent, UK and moved to the Bay Area in 1986. She finds inspiration in nature and from the miraculous and mundane aspects of life. Small moments and phrases can capture the imagination.

Happy Pine Cone, Charcoal Drawing by Travis Yallup

Travis Yallup is a contemporary realist who lives and works in San Francisco. He has studied art at various colleges and universities over the past eleven years and has developed a preference for drawing and painting in a variety of mediums. His  focus usually comes from life, photos, and collages and he often draws an inspiration from influences such as Andrew Wyeth and Vija Celmins.

This Morning

I went for taro,

custard, and red bean

buns. Shrieks above

from an argument

broke my somnolence;

a gull defended the cross

it perched on from

a circling raven’s

assault. The vanquished

raven landed and

sulked. Do I call it

augury, score a win

for yang, or remember

Jeffers, who wrote, “it is bitter earnestness

that makes beauty; the mind

knows grown adult”?

 

Jason Syzdlik studied poetry at City College of San Francisco.

 

Karman ghia parked by streetlamp and building
KARMAGIA, illustration by Joshua Yule

Joshua Yule  has actively been producing artwork including print, screen printing, illustrations, and digital illustrations for the likes of many local Bay area bands for almost two decades.

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.

 

Jason Szdlik‘s poem This Morning can also be found on the Forum Blog.

Shy

 

S

Accessible Word Version_ Shy_Kayla_Wilton

Shy by Kayla Wilton

 I received my English degree with a Spanish minor from CSU Stanislaus in Spring 2019, and I will complete my creative writing certificate at CCSF in Spring 2020. Writing is my passion, but I also dabble in drawing, painting, photography, and performance. My work has appeared in Penumbra Literary Magazine.

Glass canister with metal top
It’s Not a Salt Shaker by Travis Yallup

It’s Not A Saltshaker by Travis Yallup

Travis Yallup is a contemporary realist who lives and works in San Francisco. He has studied art at various colleges and universities over the past eleven years and has developed a preference for drawing and painting in a variety of mediums. His  focus usually comes from life, photos, and collages and he often draws an inspiration from influences such as Andrew Wyeth and Vija Celmins.

Solanum Lycopersicum

light from overhead fixtures

reflects off of your hallowed surface

like distant low beams

cutting through fog 

 

cold and unyielding

though supple in places,

your smooth skin covers familiar topography

in reds and oranges so fine

hiding the vulnerable flesh within 

 

nightshade sepal

that you wear as a crown

does it remind you of the flower

which commenced your only season? 

 

your scent is strongest

at the point where you jettisoned the connection

to the vine of your birth

leaving behind countless brothers and sisters

to find your destiny before my eyes 

 

thank you.

Written By: Steven Louis Ray

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

Copy of The Little People in Our Plants_Visual Arts_Procreate Digital Illustration

Art Title: The Little People in our Plants

Artist: Bianca Joy Catolos

Bianca Joy Catolos is a graphic designer based in the Bay Area  with a passion for drawing and illustration. She illustrates to document memories, stories, and assets of life in a quirky, abstract and colorful way to share and commentate how she sees people and world. Bianca is a digital artist with a traditional background in painting and often mixes the two to create endless worlds and scenes to fuel the imagination.

Bag of Marbles

We were shooting marbles with our older brother

Arnulfo kneeling on a patch of dirt

Front of a mud brown apartment building 

 

Clink as one marble collides      into another

He won a ruby glass Cleary 

 

Shiny marbles, shiny joy in our eyes

As he was 27 and playing with us kids

My little brother Herbie and me

Written By: Rocio Ramirez

Rocio Ramirez is a Counselor who works with families. She has a Masters in Counseling Psychology and a Certificate in Expressive arts therapies. She has been a Presenter for IVAT, Center for the Prevention of Abuse and Trauma, in La Jolla. She has recently presented on the use of Sandplay therapy and Collage with Domestic violence survivors. She is currently writing a book on sandplay therapy and art therapy with disenfranchised populations. She is always happiest when she is next to the sea.

Copy of Canid I_Visual Arts_Pastel on Stipple Paper

Art Title: Canid I

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.

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.