Maya Archer-Doyle graduated from CCSF with an AA and a certification in Library Technology and from Mills College with a BA in creative writing. “I grew up in San Francisco and continue to live here despite everything.”
Rachel Forrest is a a painter based in San Jose. Her work can be found on her website.
Save the Sloths
by Sean Taro Nishi
The thing about non-profits is: the people who work there are always beautiful. It’s as if they’re giving back for their God-given gifts, paying it forward if you will.
Paying it forward is what made me seek out the Save the Sloths Foundation. A dead relative left me a huge sum of money with one request: that I donate at least part of it to a charitable organization of my choice.
So I looked through some brochures and saw one with a picture of a beautiful tall woman holding a baby sloth in her arms. The tagline said “Be a boss, save a sloth.” I was attracted to her immediately.
Another thing about beautiful people: they’re good for advertising.
Four Trees for a Name
by Zach Hauptman
Firsts are powerful. They’re seeds devouring the last of their nutrients to grow towards sunlight. They follow patterns laid out by the lines of the universe–a riot of roots that grow into flowers, the first thorn on a blackberry bush precisely placed, even when the thorn pierces a thumb.
But firsts are deceptive. Energy undirected can kill. Split cells become cancerous.
The Fair Folk devour firsts, are made of energy in potentia. Follow their promises on the lines laid out exactly and reap the benefits. Step off the path and never find your way home again.
This is why humans are such fascinating creatures. Potential energy is converted to action, breaking patterns and putting them back together. Creative energy is the peculiar synthesis of habit and creation. Beneath the bark of our defenses, the fae, like mistletoe, seem young and soft but are deadly and pointed towards the heart.
* * *
In the earliest memories, all you knew was the pair of iron shears hung with red ribbon above your crib, a mobile that you watched turn in air currents. And then you closed your eyes and slept.
* * *
This is what happened the first time you met a fairy.
You were six, and finally allowed to sit on your own horse at the Golden Gate Park Carousel. Your hands were sticky from the bar of pink popcorn your mothers bought, and you left fingerprints on the mane of your caramel-colored horse. The only things you knew about fairies were what you learned from Peter Pan, and even then you knew better than to believe technicolor lies.
The horse was one of the ones that didn’t move, so you could watch the dingy carousel glass and line of children waiting for their turn without getting sick and falling off. Somewhere on the third rotation, you saw, in a space between older children, something broken with glassine skin and wings that sputtered and flapped at the wrong angles.
With the bravery of a small child, you climbed down from your horse. Probably it was a good thing that the carousel was coming to a stop then, because even now you’re not sure you wouldn’t have just taken a leap of faith off the platform. Maybe your mothers called to you, but you had eyes for cotton candy blue dandelion hair and wings with edges that stuck out at 90 degree angles but somehow still managed to fly just far enough ahead of you that you had to run a little to catch up across the expanse of pavement. It settled beneath a tree, the sweep of dirt and grass extending out to lap at the edge of the sidewalk.
“I want to play with you,” it said, and it had too many teeth. “Tell me your name.”
When your mothers swept you into their arms, two steps into the span of dirt and just before the line of flat-capped yellow mushrooms curved into an uneven oval, the fairy hissed and bared silver needle fangs. It sounded too loud, as though you’d left the sounds of shrieking kids at the carousel far away.
At school the next day, the wind whipped your hair into knots so tight your mothers had to cut them out, and the scrape on your leg from where you fell off the swings looked like a hemicircle of too sharp teeth.
The iron nail sat beside your backpack the next day and, though your mothers never said anything, you pocketed it and hugged them both.
Clara Davis was born in Redondo Beach, California and moved to San Francisco for college. She is in the process of completing her BA in studio art at CCSF and SFSU. She has been shown in multiple local galleries and currently works in a shop fabricating and installing public art.
by Meg Brittain
Come, O’ come ye faithful
Give praise to who sold you.
When capital is god
And Wall street is law
All gain is lost.
All truth is fraud.
Your name no longer suits you
Sheep Number Three will do.
If ignorance is bliss
Innocence means shit.
You don’t see the blood that spills
Wolves were let in.
They sleep in your den.
Yet, are you awake?
The only pain known has been your own,
But what if the corruption and violence drove you out of home?
All your loved ones are no ones
Left all alone
Tell me now, who will be the savage one?
Meg Brittain works as a hairstylist and is attending college for the first time. “I love the classes and professors at CCSF and feel lucky to be here at this time in my life. My goal is to develop a practice which promotes holistic wellbeing for my community.”
by Jackie Davis Martin
You would have lied, too. You would have promised the manager to work the entire summer when you applied for the breakfast shift at the diner which had you arriving in the parking lot at six in the morning in a brown nylon dress and white oxfords, to set up the creams and sugars and ketchups, shine the counters, all the easy part until the doors opened and people demanded their eggs over light, over for at least a minute, poached firm, scrambled soft, egg whites only, hash browns, home fries, bacon, make it sausage. You stand there, pen in hand, smiling at fat women who want extra gravy, stringy women who cringe at butter, sliding into padded booths, hour after hour so early –- where do they all come from?
You need the money, driving in the next morning in your washed brown nylon dress, your polished white oxfords, ready to ready the counters, wipe the menus. More coffee? Decaf? Juices? Can’t substitute a milkshake, sorry. They slide in, slide out. It’s almost mid August, six weeks you’ve done this, and your boyfriend who doesn’t love you as much as he once did is impatient. Are you coming with me or not? You’re going to London with him, but you’re also going to the diner, morning after morning. He’s paying for London; you are paying for your kids’ food and clothes and rent. You tell him yes, yes, I’ll be quitting any day and you arrive again in your limp brown nylon dress and scuffed white oxfords thinking I must tell the manager I won’t be back, that – that what? – you’re scheduled for three more weeks, maybe tell them you have to have surgery, or you’ve contracted something contagious, anything but that the man you love who doesn’t love you the same will cancel your trip, will return to the woman he had an affair with, tell them anything but that your life will be over if you don’t quit tomorrow. You need time to pack, to please him once again, yes, okay, eggs barely flipped for you and sunny-side for you, I got it, no muffins, just three kinds of toast, and all the while, what will you do, what will you do as you gather quarters, sometimes dollars, from under saucers, wipe down the tables, take off your apron and say to the boss with the oily scalp, I’m sorry I won’t be back tomorrow: my uncle needs rides to the hospital and I’m the only one – I’m so sorry – but, you don’t have an uncle, and you walk to the car, tears streaming with humiliation, a job you cannot return to next summer. You say to the boyfriend, it’s okay, I’m ready, and he says good then, let’s go, and even though you don’t know where you’re going beyond London, you say yes and never go into that diner again, not even for a cup of coffee.