Category Archives: Forum Magazine

Poetry: Sober by Jake Ortega


by Jake Ortega

Moving on sounds simpler than it is
I can’t move on if you don’t let me go
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard it
“Just give it up!”
“Do something else to substitute it!”
As if I haven’t tried

Despite the brand you left on me
As blatant as the day it started
Your influence seems superficial to them
But that’s just the man that I portray
The pain continues because I try
I try to salvage what remains

And every day that precipice gets wider
Every hour you goad me to take that leap of faith
I’ll never be rid of you until I do
And you wave that opportunity like a checkered flag
Assured that I won’t even try
It’s a distance you know I can’t overcome

You drink my misery like beer
But I’m the one who’s off my face
As the world goes ‘round without me
I can’t lay down without holding on
I used to relish such spirituous delights
Part of the plan you’ve laid before me

Your laughter echoes through my being
A face beneath my jaundiced skin
Cackling at the husk you inhabit
Knowing that all that I carry with me
Is everything that I have
And everything that I am

Your presence threatens to consume me
But with your presence I must live on
In hopes that my appeasement is enough
And if the day comes that you depart
The vacancy of your being may be too inviting
For another to take your place

Do I have you, or do you have me?

Textile Art: Comet by Trudi Hauptman

Copy of Visual Arts – Comet – Fabric
Comet by Trudi Hauptman
Trudi Hauptman is anchored in modern feminist Jewish sensibilities of spirituality and a commitment to social justice with an understanding that one’s life is Hanging By A Thread, this work comes from the soul. As an artist, she is involved with fiber crafts and is a member of NOCA Women’s Caucus for The Arts; Surface Design Association;  and the Pointless Sisters Guild. Her child is a student in CCSF’s Creative Writing Program

Writing Prompt Wednesday (on Thursday)

Hey everyone! I know we took a bit of a sabbatical last week (Forum Lab was canceled because Professor Young had the flu– happily she’s much better now), but I definitely missed y’all.

Here are a couple of photos from yesterday’s lab, where we wrestled with the final proofs, talked about grammar, and tried to obey Graphics’ directives about cutting some pages. Y’all, we got so many awesome submissions the editors and readers loved that Graphics had to ask us to cut 20-40 pages! So, you know, if you submitted something and it didn’t get in, keep in mind that there was a ton of amazing competition and we definitely want you to try again in the Fall.

On to the writing prompt!

I’ve seen some amazing quotes for National Poetry Month, but I think this one, from G.K. Chesterton’s essay Cheese, has to be one of my favorites.

Respond to this beautiful and extremely deep quote in any way you please:


A poet’s hope: / to be, like some valley cheese, / local, but prized elsewhere. (W.H. Auden, “Shorts II”, Collected Poetry, 1976)


Whenever you write a poem, story, take a picture, or create a piece of artwork based on these prompts, you can post it in the comments or submit it to for consideration on the Forum Magazine Blog.

Make sure to follow all submission guidelines and in the subject line include “Writing Prompt Wednesday”. In the body of the email, please include the writing prompt you used for your piece.

Writing Prompt Wednesday: Spotlight on Haiku

Happy Wednesday, everyone. We are back from spring break! Today’s topics are all about finalizing publishing documents, page counts, fact checking, and arguing about whether we should cross-publish pieces here and in the magazine (make your opinions known in the comments, y’all!)

Professor Jen Sullivan Brych, Carolina and Obo listen to C (off-camera) holding forth

We’re also starting work on some group projects reviewing other literary magazines, because professional development is important.

On to the writing prompt!

Spotlight on Haiku

I know we all learned a very rigid definition of the form when we were in grade school– a three line form with the format of five syllables/seven syllables/five syllables. If you pick up any book of joke haiku, you’ll see this impulse at work.

There are other traditional haiku rules that we don’t talk about as much– writing in the present tense, a “season word,” (kigo) which is a nature image specifying the time of year. Still, many modern poets writing haiku break with the traditional formats– modern haiku, especially, are increasingly unlikely to follow the tradition of 17 syllables or to take nature as their subject.

But the essence of haiku is the juxtaposition of two images or ideas with a kireji (cutting word) or caesura between them, a verbal or visual punctuation mark signaling the moment of separation and relation.

Below are a few famous or Forum staff-written haiku to get you going:

Matsuo Bashō:
In the twilight rain
these brilliant-hued hibiscus –
A lovely sunset

Yosa Buson:
Over-ripe sushi,
The Master
Is full of regret.

Richard Wright:
With a twitching nose
A dog reads a telegram
On a wet tree trunk.

Zach Hauptman (Forum Web Editor):
a late afternoon
coffee break

Kriz Natalie Monrose (Forum NonFiction Editor):
madness creeps out and
plays, in and out of the shadows
breaking my mental state

shadows play
on the raven’s wings
in my mind

Alexandra Saba (Forum Assistant Web Editor):
flickering lights shine
through early morning windows
sirens sing their song

Whenever you write a poem, story, take a picture, or create a piece of artwork based on these prompts, you can post it in the comments or submit it to for consideration on the Forum Magazine Blog.

Make sure to follow all submission guidelines and in the subject line include “Writing Prompt Wednesday”. In the body of the email, please include the writing prompt you used for your piece.

Meet the Editors 2017 [Part Two]

Today we’re meeting the head genre editors!

These talented folx are in charge of maintaining the submission logs of their specialty, organizing the submissions, and leading reader discussions. They’re also responsible for editing, author revisions, proofreading, and work in conjunction with the Managing Editor to communicate with authors and artists.

Bryce Riegel is our Fiction Editor

Bryce presides over the brilliant fiction crowd.

Bryce Riegel moved to San Francisco 7 years ago for school (with a B.S. in biochemistry with a physics minor). He’s now a carpenter and spends most of his time remodeling houses and apartment buildings in the city. In his free time he’s either writing short stories or reading them.


Kriz Natalie Monrose is our Nonfiction Editor

Kriz Natalie, excited to get to work on the Non-Fiction pieces

Kriz Natalie Monrose is your Transgender gender fluid non-fiction editor! Thank you for reading this blog. She likes all animals, especially cats and snakes! She’s looking for a husband. To apply, email


Kevin Cosby is our Poetry Editor


Kevin Cosby lives and works in San Francisco. He recently #####%%&&


Meredith Brown and Lulu Samuel are our joint Visual Arts Editors

Lulu (front) and Meredith (back)

Lucretia Rhys Samuel is a Visual Arts Editor on this edition of Forum. She is a poetry-writer and a zine-maker residing in the Richmond District of San Francisco. She is currently studying Creative Writing and Visual Media Design at CCSF, working at the San Francisco SPCA, and spending too many hours hogging the xerox machine at the public library publishing her own zines.

Meredith Brown
Meredith gave me an actual picture!

Meredith Brown is a lifelong learner from Tracy, CA. She believes in empathy, art and science.

Writing Prompt Wednesday:

It’s another week, that means it’s another Forum lab! Today’s topics include cover choices, finalizing choices and table of contents (look for acceptance emails once that’s done), copy-editing and getting pestered by me for blog material.

Kriz Natalie with our cover options.

While you’re waiting, take a moment to write something fun based on the below prompt.

Today’s prompt is:
A Secret Someone Else Doesn’t Know

Whenever you write a poem, story, take a picture, or create a piece of artwork based on these prompts, you can post it in the comments or submit it to for consideration on the Forum Magazine Blog.

Make sure to follow all submission guidelines and in the subject line include “Writing Prompt Wednesday”. In the body of the email, please include the writing prompt you used for your piece.

At Earth’s End, Carolina Pistone (Photography)

Happy UN World Poetry Day!

decision to proclaim 21 March as World Poetry Day was adopted during UNESCO’s 30th session held in Paris in 1999.

One of the main objectives of the Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.

The observance of World Poetry Day is also meant to encourage a return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and to support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity.

The selection of poetry below is not even a scratch at the surface of poetry all over the world.  Take a moment to think about how you feel, talk and write about poetry. Poetry can be heartwarming, sublime, hilarious and political all at once.

What do you like about it? What don’t you like? What inspires you?

Continue reading Happy UN World Poetry Day!

Meet The Editors 2017 [Part One]

Our first round of introductions covers the three editors whose purview is multi-genre!

Oyunbileg (Obo) Shirendev is our Managing Editor
The Managing Editor builds and maintains a log of all work received, directs all submissions to make sure they are received by the appropriate editors, and proofs work for accuracy. She also oversees communication with authors and artists.


Originally from UB, Mongolia– the land of the blue sky and endless steppe– Obo has made San Francisco her second home. She is majoring in Child Development and Creative Writing at CCSF. She loves reading, films, fashion, traveling and art. People like Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, Dalai Lama,  Malala Yousafzai, Jhumpa Lahiri, Salvadori Dali, and Frida Kahlo inspire her. She also believes in the power of helping others and supporting one another through unconditional kindness.

Whenever she has free time besides school and work, she travels and think that experience is something that makes her grow as a person. Not only does she enjoy traveling but also learning about different cultures, the way of life and meeting new people. She works as a part time Applied Behavioral Analysis therapist with children who are autistic. She wants to be a good therapist, counselor, teacher and educator in the near future.

“Be the change you want to see in the world” 


Carolina Pistone is our General Editor
The General Editor directs the project, serving as overseer of the magazine as a whole. She  works with layout editors and attends meetings with the Graphics Department. In coordination with Faculty Advisors and the other editors, she develops the policies to establish and support the quality and vision of Forum Magazine.


Carolina Pistone was born in Argentina, raised on the East Coast of the United States (north and south), and is currently life-ing in San Francisco. She loves croissants, probably too much for the well-being of any one individual and doesn’t like the smell of bananas. She likes people, animals (she has three cats), books, art, design, movies (The Land Before Time gets her every time!), authentic conversations, and did we mention croissants? She also likes to write sometimes. She plans to one day die of croissant overload.


Zach Hauptman is our Social Media/Web Editor
The Web Editor is in charge of keeping our social media and blog alive and growing. In conjunction with the Managing, General and Genre-specific Editors, they organize and plan social media postings, including photos, literary selections and calendars of events. Also, they’re very cute.


Zach Hauptman is an Electronic Resources Librarian at Touro University by day, a CCSF student at night, and a gigantic genderqueer nerd at all times (they/them pronouns, pls!). With their group, Truth Sans Justice, they run panels on popular culture, misogyny and the queer community, and write LARPs that run in and around the SF Bay Area. In their copious free time, they write poetry, short fiction and snarky blogs about social issues.