Poetry: “Blue Fig”, Featuring Image: “Purple Yam”

blue fig

 

my shoulder bone hooks

soft and bruised

beneath your arm

tenderly threaded

hands slide inside
blush of blood
wrists rotate round waist

cupped together

cold limbs blanket

from arching branch
in the windy night

smell of sweetness

against your winter jacket

our flesh leaks

 

Written By: Lisa Graves

About the Author: Lisa Graves is a California Native, now living in El Cerrito. She is attracted to the unconventional were she can quietly push boundaries and explore the edges. Lisa now finds art and expression in writing and photography. Her work has appeared in Milvia Street Journal and Rag Zine.

Purple Yam_Visual Arts_Photography.jpg

 

Visual Art “Purple Yam” By: Gloria Keeley

About the Artist: 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.

Poetry: “Autumn in New York”, Featuring Image: “The Fog”

songbook: Autumn in New York 

Why does it seem, long

after I left, long after she

left, autumn invites Aunt

Stella down from her

penthouse to walk her

way into it, just a few

blocks east, until 93rd

stops being west. 

 

And the hurried grid of Manhattan

spread-eagles suddenly onto rocks

and grass and Stella can pass

through birds scurrying through

what’s left of their September

sounds, and Stella can still sniff

past her own perfume and still

inhale auspicious splendor of

autumn decay. 

 

Passing the benches of

Central Park, she kicks her

Bergdorf boots through

unpackaged piles of

crackling russet riot which

the trees, green gone, would

not hold on to. 

 

Stella turns to me to wonder

with me what it will be like to

be scattered and remembered

this way.

 

Written By: Jeff Kaliss

About the Author: Jeff Kaliss has been studying creative writing and music at City College following the completion of an MFA in creative writing at San Francisco State University. At City, he’s appeared in Forum in various genres, read at Lit Night, and hosted the Poetry for the People Podcast.

 

The Fog_Visual Arts_Photography

Visual Art “The Fog” By: Nikos Kihem

About the Artist: Nikos Kihem is a bicycle, motorcycle, world traveler and music lover. Enjoys reading graphics novels in newly discovered lonely benches. Awards winning photographer and writer living in Athens,Greece. Poetry publication“οι στροφές και ο δρόμος”(the road and it’s turns). You may visit him at kihem.com or send an inquiry to nikos.kihem@gmail.com.

Poetry: “Three Cloves of Garlic”, Featuring Image: “Lion Chops”

Three Cloves of Garlic 

 

The members of the allium 

family remained whole, 

its Gilroy roots still bonded together, 

hidden underneath the dry soil 

along the narrow highway 

but the Romeros lost a 6-year old, 

standing 4ft tall, a chubby 

cheeked smile, and as an arid 

light breeze blew through 

the festive food court, 

a grandmother wept 

at what might have been 

and a mother’s grief spilling 

onto the sidewalk outside 

the hospital walls. 

 

It is an ancient bulbous vegetable, 

easy to grow and requires very little 

space, offset now from the darkened 

expansive imagination of a 13-year-old dreamer, 

a baby’s life now without an older sister, 

brushing her long black hair 

as Mama peels back the flakey skins, 

mincing its flavor into Monday night’s 

chicken dinner, now with one ingredient 

missing, and Papi sits back, tears 

gathering, while futbol, like his mind, 

is televised miles and miles away. 

 

Each will multiply in the ground, forming 

a new bulb of up to 10 cloves, 

as 60 separate rounds spilled out, 

maiming him lifeless, while his father 

holds his son’s biology degree close 

to his heart, remembering 

his 25-year-old’s love of humanity 

and studying life’s interactions 

but now not understanding its hate 

for one another. 

 

Love, like garlic, 

is eternal, it grows 

from individuals, broken 

off from a whole. 

It tastes enticing, always blended 

like flavoring in a recipe and between 

each other. It hugs us around our waists 

and in about a searing oiled pan. 

Its aroma drifting throughout our lives, 

remembering those moments, 

like the light scent 

on our fingers, 

…days later.

 

Written By: Vincent Calvarese 

About the Author: As a writer and visual artist, he found his wings amongst his heroes of Eureka Valley. Using the San Francisco Bay Area as his canvas, he highlights themes of restorative justice in The Final Visit, familial pain in The Flesh of the Father, gun violence in Three Cloves of Garlic, the pharmaceutical crisis in The Clipboard and the gentrifying 7×7 plain in The Slanted Winds Down Guerrero Street. He is a past General and Poetry Editor for Forum Magazine.

LION CHOPS_Visual Arts_Photography.jpg

Visual Art “Lion Chops” By: Victor Turks

About the Artist: Growing up in San Francisco, Victor Turks attended locale schools. His writing has appeared in the SF Chronicle and the Examiner featured his story about the first-ever Rolling Stones concert in Moscow. Victor presently teaches ESL at City College.

 

Poetry: “Courage of our Ancestors”, Featuring Image: “Maya Angelou”

Courage of our ancestor
My grandmother was named after one of the Adelitas
in the Mexican revolution
The dresses she sewed for my sisters and cousins,
were Art
We walked for miles,
in the Colonia de San Andres hills,
selling her dresses door to door
She was home for me,
an inner home
With her I found joy, emotional nourishment
I took her to Acapulco once
We breakfasted outdoors,
next to a turquoise green sea
We ate chilaquiles
and the most delicious ice cream I have tasted,
made from fresh coconuts
I bought her soft brown spiraled seashells
It was all she asked for
In the 80’s, our sister Patricia paid a coyote
to get our grandmother across the border,
from Tijuana to Los Angeles
Family pitched in with money for this journey
I gave $200
Her priest gave a santa cruz blessing
She was squeezed tight with another immigrant, a youth,
as the lid of a trunk of a car was closed on her.
A viejita praying she would not die
I was scared for her
It was not criminal for our Abuelita
to want to see her grandchildren
Her only motivation for crossing
She never talked much of the rigors of this crossing

She talked once of my grandfather Sixto,
not giving her a document she needed,
to cross the border
Intentional withholding,
so he could have power and control over her
Revenge for leaving him
I recall playing with red geraniums,
when I was 6
She said, This is your grandfather, Sixto
A saxophone player
I never saw him again
He died a few years later
My Abuelita died in her house, in Mexico City
400 people came to her funeral
I could not go.
I have never visited her grave
I feel too sad to see it
On a hot July afternoon
walking by Chicano Park,
I saw a mural of an Adelita painted underneath the bridge
She was wearing a long white cotton skirt
and a rifle
I felt then that my grandmother
was in a sanctuary, a deeply peaceful place
Her courage still inspires

 

Written By: Rocio Ramirez

About the Author: Rocio Ramirez has a Masters in Counseling Psychology and a Certificate in Expressive arts therapies. She has recently presented on Sandplay therapy and collage, with Latina domestic violence survivors, at the Institute for Violence, Abuse and Trauma. She is always happiest when she is next to the sea.

Maya Angelou_Visual Arts_Acrylic on Wood

 

Visual Art “Maya Angelou” By: Ana Lazaro

About the Artist: Ana Lazaro is a San Francisco based artist. She considers herself a world citizen and has, since childhood, had a passion for capturing moods and emotions through her portraiture. Ana’s current work is inspired by her desire to celebrate empowered women making a difference across the globe.

 

Poetry: “Essential Processes to the Development of a Sense of Self”, Featuring Image: “Zion’s Watchman”

Essential Processes to the Development of a Sense of Self

 

You string a hammock 

up beneath the willow 

within a thicket of oaks and redwoods, 

your body swings gently

back and forth, back and forth, 

 

time to relax⁠—inhale 

 

a deep breath of crisp fresh air, 

savor the soothing scents of eucalyptus, 

appreciate the rustle of leaves

after a sudden gust⁠—a chilling breeze,

the sun punctures her way through the clouds

kissing your skin⁠—the warmth tickles,

then there’s bliss, 

the bliss that comes with 

staring up at a canopy of bright

green leaves, eclipsing a sea of evening stars,

 

dawn draws near⁠—You exhale  

 

amongst the grove of oaks and redwoods, 

vines of ivy grow, clambering towards the sky, 

You observe, in the hammock 

beneath the willow swaying 

back and forth, back and forth. 

 

Written By: Francesca Bavaro

About the Artist: Francesca Bavaro enjoys reading and writing poetry and short fiction. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, walking dogs, and frolicking in the grassy knolls of Golden Gate Park. She is terrified of birds.

Zion's Watchman_Visual Arts_Photograph

Visual Art “Zion’s Watchman” By: Constance Louie-Handelman

About the Artist: Constance Louie-Handelman completed her A.A. degree at CCSF in 1973. Now retired as a clinical psychologist, she has returned to CCSF 2019 spring semester with a focus on digital photography.

Order

Order

 

The magnets spelled out the A      B Cs

Or they should have, to my mind

My friend arranged them in      any

order

 

I told him he was wrong

I knew how to read after all

Even if I was faking it half the time

I wanted to be like my older brother

 

The same friend moved away

We lost      touch as easily as we had met

 

At 18, I read an article

A rifle, a murder-suicide

A     hole   in the universe

This time

I’m not sure there is      any

order that

makes

      sense

 

Written By: Matt Luedke

About the Author: Matt Luedke is a former editor of Forum. He loves to use words and art to pursue the magic of the Bay Area.

Mom's Chewing Gum_Visual Arts_Adobe Illustrator.jpg

Visual Art “Mom’s Chewing Gum” By: Veronica Voss-Macomber

About the Artist: Growing up in the wilds of Saskatchwan (you know where that is, eh), Veronica created with whatever was at hand – the family Super 8 camera, sidewalk chalk. Now a grown up (sorta) Veronica mostly uses a computer to create, but she has been spotted using a pencil and paper.

Poetry: “Cars”, Featuring Image: “En El Trafico”

Cars

 

if we could talk for hours

I’d tell you of planned nights

nights that I have mapped and charted

that we might journey through and

visit every part of

no traffic on the roads

just us

exploring slick streams

that keep replenishing at the

toss of a pebble 

gently flown to the waters

if we could touch for hours

you’d know of planned nights

riding in warm cars

the motor idling at the

dips of rivers

idling at quiet, swaying 

forest trees

trees bending silence in our ears

you, a canopy over me

as we dull the motor

and shift into night

 

Written By: Gloria Keeley

About the Author: 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.

en el trafico_bnw

Visual Art “En El Trafico” By: Erick Orihuela

About the Artist: Erick Orihuela is an Ethnic Studies and Film as Literature high school teacher. He grew up in the Mission District after moving from Mexico City. For him, teaching is a means of showing people his favorite philosophers: Frantz Fanon, Silvia Federici, San Te of the Shaolin Temple, and MF Doom. Takes pictures to better balance work and ludic activities.

Poetry: “Earthly Things”, Featuring Image: “Foggy Curve”

“earthly things”

 

In the dip of my suspension bridge heart

lies a letter to my next incarnation.

 

It contains secrets once held in my cavities now

paused, hanging in the negative space,

lodged between beginnings like foodstuff

in one’s teeth. As non-memories

 

become, only earthly things matter now. 

First words, chopsticks, rosaries, goosebumps—

life’s details encrypted into non-consciousness 

and awaiting translation. We seek divinity,

 

not knowing it’s here in our lungs 

and dirty laundry; we need only unravel 

our harrowed orbits and lay flat to dry. 

Written By: Aiya Madarang

About the Author: Aiya is a creative writing student at CCSF and a member of the SF art collective Syzygy. She holds a bachelor’s in linguistics from UC Santa Cruz. She is a lover of words, the layers beneath them, and the spaces between them.

Contact: Kharmanci@gmail.com
Contact: Kharmanci@gmail.com

 

Visual Art By: Kerim Harmanci

About the Artist: Kerim Harmanci – raised in PA and NY – is a San Francisco photographer and student at City College, currently taking darkroom and lighting classes as well as peer mentoring and doing aerial drone photography on his days off.

Poetry: “Lamentation”, Featuring Image: “Ruth Bader Ginsburg”

Lamentation

 

‘Tis known age comes to each and all who’ve been

But what, I ponder is such change about?

No more, soft babe-in-arms, oh how I miss that skin, 

Like alligator, now, and that fact makes me pout.

A mind, in school days, fast, at last enjoys

Slow cogitation in this elder manifestation

But thick’ning waist, chipping nails; each loss so annoys;

Though very small price to pay for continuation.

In age, youth’s lustrous sheen shuns hair and eyes,

The glow of rose no longer cheers the cheek.

Yet, the twilight owl within this aged breast soon flies

With taloned understanding when deemed time to speak.

          Growing old may be but lamentation;

          And yet, each indignity invites some revelation.

Written By: Claire Heinzelman

About the Author: Claire Heinzelman is enjoying retirement from serial careers of (reverse order) music education, advocacy training for families of children with special needs and corporate finance. To the untrained eye, this progression may not make sense; nonetheless, each chapter has provided a different lens through which to observe life and attempt to capture it on the page.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg_Visual Arts_Acrylic

Visual Art Image Titled “Ruth Bader Ginsberg” By: Ana Lazaro

About the Artist: Ana Lazaro is a San Francisco based artist. She considers herself a world citizen and has, since childhood, had a passion for capturing moods and emotions through her portraiture. Ana’s current work is inspired by her desire to celebrate empowered women making a difference across the globe.

Poetry: “Ten Days”, Featuring Image: “Married to Art”

Ten Days

 

My friend, I write to reach you:

It’s the loneliest thing in the world—

waiting to be found.

 

Days annotate themselves before us,

before we have time to arrive

before we have memorized the

proud trot of

a passing morning.

 

You are behind my eyes, where I lead my life most of the time—

I watch us walk,

bellies hollow, arms

raised In identical obedience,

the last wash of light bleeding from the sky.

 

We are animal-bent on this plane

our angst—

a footnote to the dissertation

the entropy

of hours

winking on our lips but

 

at least we enjoy the moonlight,

the way it trickles down our throats like laughter

We open our mouths for luck and

the sharp crease between us blurs for a little while

 

We are masters at knocking things over

 

Written By: Eva Langman

About the Author: Eva has lived and worked in San Francisco since 2002, when she moved from her hometown of New York City for the promise of gold. She learned to love music and poetry through her grandfather, who wrote and composed original songs that they sang together on Russian radio when Eva was little. For the last 12 years, she has been teaching drama and creative writing to young people, who sometimes ask her if she is a “real” adult.

Married to Art Grace Jones_Visual Arts_Photography

Visual Art Piece Titled “Married to Art” By: Vincent Calvarese 

About the Artist: As a writer and visual artist, he found his wings amongst his heroes of Eureka Valley. Using the San Francisco Bay Area as his canvas, he highlights themes of restorative justice in The Final Visit, familial pain in The Flesh of the Father, gun violence in Three Cloves of Garlic, the pharmaceutical crisis in The Clipboard and the gentrifying 7×7 plain in The Slanted Winds Down Guerrero Street. He is a past General and Poetry Editor for Forum Magazine.