by Dee Allen
As lousy as
Some of my
Early childhood was,
I had never
Feared the dark.
Onset of puberty,
A frightening age,
Like other youngsters,
Some child killer,
On the news,
Or the boogeyman,
Coming straight from
Out of darkness,
Charging at me,
Little skinny me with my
On his agenda—–
He never crawled
Out of closets,
From under beds.
Somebody gotten those
Little details wrong.
Adults & children
In the South
Feared the twilight threat,
From the bad old
Days before I was born,
Real as you and me:
Phantom in white
Brandishing a blazing
Cross in one hand,
A loaded pistol
In the other—–
Dee Allen is an African-Italian performance poet currently based in Oakland, California. Allen is author of 3 books (Boneyard, Unwritten Law and Stormwater) and 14 anthology appearances (Poets 11: 2014, Rise and Your Golden Sun Still Shines, to name a few). Dee Allen is a former Political Science major at CCSF (2004-2010). Allen’s work appeared in Forum (Fall 2007).
by Dee Allen
In the movies
She’d already graced
A Broward County
With her presence,
As swift as
Her two fists,
Landing where they may.
Laying the smackdown
In a tacky
Bright blue dress.
Had no purpose
In this public fight.
Without their use
Or her shoes.
Forget everything you
Think you know
About Wonder Woman.
The facts regarding her
Character are fraudulent:
Doesn’t own her
And her real name
Isn’t Princess Diana
From Paradise Island,
But Colleen Dagg,
Hailing from South Florida.
In real time, too.
Dee Allen is an African-Italian performance poet currently based in Oakland, California. Allen is author of 3 books (Boneyard, Unwritten Law and Stormwater) and 14 anthology appearances (Poets 11: 2014, Rise and Your Golden Sun Still Shines, to name a few). Dee Allen was a former Political Science major at CCSF (2004-2010). Allen’s work appeared in Forum (Fall 2007).
Nicky Rodriguez is a Puerto Rican born and raised in the states. Her work explores memory, culture, the concept of home and how this all manifests in the formation of identity. She loves all things tropical and enjoys roaming around the Bay Area by foot.
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.
Rachel Forrest is a a painter based in San Jose. Her work can be found on her website.
Stella and the Fratboy
by Clyde Always
Once upon a time, in a rip-roaring party town set by the sea, there lived a stunningly beautiful siren named Stella. Stella had shimmering sapphire eyes and shapely long legs and soft flimsy skirts and her armpits she never would shave (though she would shave her head down one side). She lived in a battered and clunky Westphalia van with an old mandolin and an overfed goldfish named Fatty, who was never content with a sprinkle of fish-flakes, but instead, had developed a rather insatiable appetite for human flesh.
Now, it so happens, that one sweltering April afternoon, Stella had parked her van on the beach, positioned between the frozen margarita stand and the tiki-torch emporium and there, she sang out some notes while strumming away on the old mandolin, emitting over the scene of sun-bathers and surf-waders the most eerie and bewitching music, loud enough even to drown out the incessant robotic donkey-braying coming from the dub-step DJ booth. Right away, a small crowd of funnel-clutching fratboys gathered around Stella, all swaying in their saggy board shorts and grinning and chuckling and flexing their pecs at her.
“Hey, boys…” Stella sang out at them with a tangy rasp in her voice, to which, they all replied in unison,
“Spring break bro! Whoo!”
She beckoned one husky and meaty, shaggy blond surf-jock into the van and looked on in grisly delight as Fatty devoured the boy in a single, gulping, schlorping swallow. She then poked her head out of the window and called out a coy and sinister,
The ‘bros’ all fought like wild dogs to the front of that line, pushing and shoving and punching and biting each other, until the strongest amongst them had elbowed his way right into the jaws of the goldfish before he could even say “duuuuude, what the fuuucccckkkkk!” And so, it went, one after the other until Fatty was so engorged that he’d shattered his fish bowl and flopped out onto the floor, straining his gills and coughing up puka-shell necklaces.
Only a single fratboy remained, so Stella tried luring him in with a wink from her eye and a pucker from her lips but he stood there, frustratingly motionless, just stroking his flawless washboard six-pack, when suddenly, there came from the beachful of revelers, a giant, collective, blood-curdling scream, as a tsunami rose way in the distance and out from the depths of the ocean came the stark silhouette of a horrible, hideous, tentacled sea-monster! Stella eyed the fratboy in the midst of this chaos but he showed not even a single sign of panic, in fact, he snapped his fingers twice, manifesting out of thin air a heavy and hefty golden trident — crusty with rubies and pearls, and then, with a few clever flicks of his wrist, he used it to cut the roof off the van as if it were merely a can of sardines. Then Stella looked on in horror as poor Fatty was gutted alive, releasing the hoards of spring-break-party-bros, all of whom ran for the hills, shrieking like ten-year-old girls, and then the fratboy tossed the carcass of the goldfish over his shoulder and the monster gobbled it up like sashimi.
Then the sea fell calm, and the monster retreated back into the deep, and Stella grumbled miserably at the sight of her mangled Westphalia van, until, this sea-faring demigod of a fratboy whistled a shrill ‘♪♫,’ summoning out of the foamy surf a chariot drawn by two-winged sea-horses, which swept Stella and himself off of their feet and into the air and over the choppy, blue waves, and for perhaps, the first time in her life, Stella felt kind of weak in the knees, as at last, this mysterious suitor finally spoke with rugged charisma and looking her longingly right in the eyes, he requested politely and oh-so-succinctly that Stella-the-Siren… ‘show him her tits.’
Clyde Always, for the promotion of bliss, writes and recites his own blend of tall tales and clever verses, as well as creates assorted works of surrealist beauty.
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.
Nikii Davidson is a horticulure student at CCSF. “I am an adventurer who loves to find new gardens to spend my time in…”
Thou Shalt Not…
“Thou shalt not murder”
Leaving this world should always be on the almighty’s hands
That’s what they teach
That’s what they want us to believe
That’s what they taught me
That’s what they wanted me to believe
I kill people
For it needs to be done
For I have people dear to me
I will keep killing as long as there are enemies
I’ve never murdered, for killing is not murder
“Thou shalt not kill”
The new words differ from those that they taught
What I believe now
I find no pleasure in the kill, for it is not murder
I kill those who wish to harm, but that’s not murder
I kill for the need to protect
Little by little, every kill gets a toll
Little by little, humanity is lost
Little by little, the shackles of death weight us down
Imprison by our own actions
The chains of death grow
Grouping those that died by our hands
Killing or murder
They both take a toll
The following, “Family Affair” (script, excerpt), is an excerpt of a completed script by Jeff Kaliss.
Jeff Kaliss studies writing and jazz piano at CCSF after completing an MFA in Creative Writing at SFSU. His poetry appears in the Suisun Valley Review and he reads it around town. Jeff wrote a biography of Sly & the Family Stone and thousands of articles about music.
by Jeff Kaliss
EXT., YASGUR’S FARM, NEAR BETHEL, NEW YORK, AUGUST 16, 1969, CIRCA 4 AM.
FADE IN, over sound of an insistent rock drumbeat, to a scene tinted psychedelically:
PAN, hordes of slowly stirring sleeping hippies, most in sleeping bags across the occupied meadowland, some wandering half-naked, some smoking doobies. CAPTION: “Woodstock Music & Art Festival, Bethel, New York, August 16, 1969, 4 a.m. On stage: Sly & the Family Stone.” An amorous, still-sleepy HIPPY COUPLE, he black, she white, embrace as they listen:
SLY (OS, AMPLIFIED)
What we would like to do is, sing a song together.
(Pause) But most of us need approval.
HIPPY COUPLE embraces, kisses, then turns their smiling faces towards the glow of the stage. CUT to CU of SLY STONE, 26 years old:
Most of us need to get approval from our neighbors,
before we can actually let it all hang down.
CUT TO HIPPY COUPLE. He looks down towards his midsection, looks at her, they both start laughing. CUT back to:
Now, what we’re gonna do here is a singalong. A lot
of people don’t like to do that, because they think it
may be old-fashioned. But you must dig that it is not
a fashion in the first place! It’s a feeling, and if it was
good in the past, it is still good! So what I want you to
do, I’d like everybody to join in, when we say “Higher!”,
I want you to hold the peace sign up. It’ll do you no harm.
SLY starts to sing, against the continuing pulse of GREG’s drumming. INTERCUT with the hippy couple responding vocally and with peace signs.
(Chanting:) I wanna take you higher!
Chant is repeated.
Way up on the hill! I wanna hear y’all!!
CUT TO dusky vista of hippie throng on the hill, some distance from the stage. Many more now are standing and displaying peace signs, as well as many more illuminated joints.
CUT TO entire Sly & the Family Stone band on stage. JERRY, on saxophone, and CYNTHIA, on trumpet, launch into the brassy instrumental tag from “Music Lover”, then transition to “I Want to Take You Higher”, with SLY taking the lead on vocals and keyboard, ROSE on backup vocals, LARRY on backup vocals and bass, and FREDDIE on guitar, along with JERRY, CYNTHIA, and GREG. During the performance of the song, we get to see all of them in closeup, intercut with shots of an audience reclaimed from the night, the Hippy Couple among them, moving to the music. We may or may not run opening credits and the film title here. On the chorus line, “Baby light my fire”, the Hippy Couple can do just that. On the extended chant of “Boom-laka-laka-laka”, CROSSCUT to:
INT, LIMO, STREETS OF OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, PRESENT DAY