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.

IMG_1797
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 submissions@forumccsf.org 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.

VisualArt-AtEarthsEnd-Photography
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and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity.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.

IMG_1408

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.

IMG_1739

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.

image.jpg

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.

Writing Prompt Wednesday (on Thursday)

I know you all must be on tenterhooks waiting for more Forum Magazine news. We’re still in the last whirlwind days of finalizing choices (there are so many amazing pieces, you guys), deciding on fonts and graphics and planning our last couple of steps.

IMG_1728
The talented Graphics Department passed along two Forum mock-up pages using Camille Chavez’s “Tides” and Kristopher Helton’s “Suicide Moment” from the Spring 2016 volume.

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

large_1F9I9905[1]
Projections, Jenny Holzer 2009

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 submissions@forumccsf.org 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.

Day After The Deadline: Your editors and readers hard at work!

We got such an overwhelming response to our call for submissions!

Here’s a quick glimpse into Forum Magazine lab night– we’re all really excited to share some amazing pieces with you, here and in the published magazine.

ANNOUNCING! Art and Fiction Contest, Forum 2017

forumcontest-21

Forum, City College of San Francisco’s literary magazine, is holding two contests!

We’re looking for Visual Art and Fiction submissions– the winning submission will be published and the two winners will receive $50 each! All submissions will be considered for publication.

Submissions are due by Tuesday, February 21st 2017

Submission Guidelines can be found here

We are also looking for creative non-fiction, screenplays, interviews, poetry, and other literary work, so please feel free to submit your work!

CCSF’s Creative Writing Program Presents: Q.R. Hand

qrhand

Poetry Reading by Q.R. Hand

Rosenberg Library Room R305
February 21, 2017 12:40-2:00
Free and open to the public!

Q.R. Hand, Jr. Originally published in the 1968 classic, Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro American Writing, he is the author of three poetry books, i speak to the poet in manhow sweet it is and whose really blues, new & selected poems . He has recently been anthologized in The Outlaw Bible in American Poetry, An Eye For An Eye Makes the Whole World Blind, Poets on 9/11, and New American Underground Poetry.

This reading is being sponsored by the Concert and Lecture series as part of the African American History Month celebration.

Forum Online– Fall, 2016

We are pleased to announce the winners of the first annual writing contest!

Poetry: Gloria Keeley for her poem, “Billie”

Fiction: Chandler Vannasdall for his story “End of the Line”

Click for more poems, stories, and photos from our fantastic Fall, 2016 authors to the right–under Who We Are!

And the amazing photo above, “Fall,” is by Suzanne Notario.  More photos by her appear in the genre sections!   Suzanne’s  first photography course was in Fall 2013 at City College of San Francisco. She discovered a whole new world of creativity, and has been taking photography classes here ever since.

 

 

 

 The winning poem chosen by Cullen Bailey Burns

Billie

By Gloria Keeley

Thelonious played Black Crow

low and slow

strange fruit still echoes

blackened in the cold hard sun

night fell on

the slip knot of moon

color lines drawn on

the maps of trees

roots unaware

magnolias budded white

sway with the gentle breeze

music of washboards and harps

far from plantation mansions

in the backwater’s dark strut with

the taps of shoes

before the wolves hunt,

the black locusts buzz

gospel singers tune

their collective voices

the fruit gathered neatly

beneath the darkening shade

headed toward heaven

the horns blow Dixie

And the winning story chosen by Jackie Davis-Martin!

End of the Line

By Chandler Vannasdall

Rambert sits cross-legged near the back of a crowded city bus. He dreads the long commute home, because after this bus reaches its final destination, he still must catch two more crowded busses before he can rest. He takes tiny sips from his flask, hidden in his sleeve, in order to ease the stress of his workday. Rambert looks up from the newspaper he just struggled several minutes to fold in the perfect shape for reading the article he saved to read last.

While carefully observing the long dark smudges of ink on his left hand, he notices just beyond his focus sits an elderly lady. She is sitting with her arms crossed over her chest under a faded pink shawl, her mouth tightly pursed in a scowl, and her hair curled up like that of a dainty but dedicated 1940’s housewife.

Rambert stares at her and begins to imagine all the horrible discomfort and displeasure that this old woman must feel, cramped into the same mechanic cage as he is. He begins to imagine how she must be so disgusted by the harsh reality of the four young school boys, giggling, huddled around looking at nude photos of the same celebrities in the same teenaged TV shows they will undoubtedly watch with their siblings when they get home. He imagines how her soft ears are getting bombarded with brutal words. People forming phrases so profane, and so near her head that she is forced to imagine the kind of violence these young people speak about to one another as if commonplace. Rambert wishes he could kick everyone of these people off the bus for the way they are behaving in her elegant presence.

The bus clears out some, and Rambert now lowers his newspaper without reading the article he had saved previously, uncrosses his legs, and with a sharp exhale begins to carefully walk towards the front of the bus. He glances a little longer than normal at each disappointing group of millennials as he passes them, believing that if he could position himself nearer to the old woman and match her disapproving scowl he will be able to save her from the struggle of her commute.

He finds an empty seat and carefully slumps back down into the hard plastic seats as he takes another sip from his flask, and crosses his other leg. Rambert is now so dialed in on defending the honor of the lady now just a few seats away; he notices a very young couple standing a block away on the bus route. The couple is smoking the end of a joint and caressing one another with glazed over eyes, smoke stained fingers gliding through one another’s hair. Rambert now sees that the young man is covered in piercings and tattoos and the girl is not covered in very much at all, and he now wonders what the sweet old woman must be enduring. Her feeble arms suddenly unfold and he shares his disapproval of the couple’s demeanor, because Rambert knows that the elderly lady stuck on this circus of a bus would never have tolerated this kind of public behavior and never stood for this grotesque display of mutual disrespect if only she could even still stand on a moving bus.

The same young girl, although at this point in the ride there are many empty seats, sits on her boyfriends lap. Rambert stares coldly and starts to even feel embarrassed for the old woman and her honor, as the young man sticks his tongue down the throat of his girlfriends and slowly slides his hand up her shirt. The old woman’s pursed lips now fall agape, in the uncertain shock and disbelief that Rambert feels he fully shares with this woman by now, and uncrosses his legs to match her physical response.

The bus is now approaching the last leg of the long route out of town, and the last of the rotten and unforgivable proprietors of these so-deemed public atrocities exits the bus. Only Rambert, the old woman, and the insistently unbiased driver of the bus now share the silver space. With the departure of the deviants and the last sip of his flask, Rambert is now able to relax. He uncrosses his legs, stretches his arms, picks up the treasured article from his perfectly folded paper and his eyes slide across the gray page in the total silence of the once chaos-filled chrome coffin the two quietly endured for over an hour.

Rambert begins to pack up his briefcase and buttons his brown jacket, noticing the bus slowing to approach the first station in his travel. He stands and walks past the woman. As he is passing he leans his head down, smiles sincerely at his stranger-friend and nods his head. Rambert steps carefully onto the dark wet cement, lights a cigarette and begins to walk to his next bus stop six blocks south.

The old woman is still sat on the bus Rambert had left moments ago, and is not moving even one of her meek, little muscles despite the once silent bus driver now shouting “Everyone off!” for the third time to an otherwise empty bus. The driver, now in her full state of frustration, walks back to the woman and begins to nudge her right shoulder, still speaking loudly at her “Excuse me!“ the old woman now slumps over onto the linoleum floor as cold as her flesh, eyes wide, and mouth still stretched open, and the bus driver’s mouth finally opens as wide as the woman’s and screams.

The ambulance arrives in a storm of red steaming mist, matching the brake lights against the fog on the back of the bus. A young man in all white is sprinting up the steps of the bus, skipping half of them and leans down immediately to remove the woman’s pink shawl and examine her. With water in his eyes the young man glances up at the bus driver and now softly speaks through his teeth, “Dead…for three or four hours”. And Rambert removes his hat and steps carefully onto his second bus, crossing his legs in the dotted reflection of the next ride’s rear window.

Essay by Nataniel Gondra

Domingo, Who Joined the Foreign Legion

San Francisco, 17 Sep 2015.

I have a very lousy memory. I can’t really remember what I had for lunch yesterday. Or what was the chapter of the book I was reading about a few hours ago. But I do remember some things clearly.

Growing up with my mother, she never told me what to think about death. She avoided the subject, as most of Western civilization (although recently I’m not sure if you’d think we share the same concept of Western civilization since I’m South American), but she also avoided teaching us anything about religion. She went to a very good Catholic school run by Yugoslav nuns that taught her how to write, read and think properly. She excelled in every course and she became one of the most intelligent (if not the most) woman I’ve ever met. It’s not just because she’s my mom. She had a sensible answer for everything. Except death.

Those same Yugoslav nuns gave her that education through an archaic but apparently effective method: fear. She once told me how they traumatized her about going to hell if she didn’t behave properly and that god was all seeing, all knowing and all judging. I don’t know what was going on my mother’s mind in her last days. At times I know it was fear, she said it at least once. But I don’t know if she was remembering the fear of hell instilled in her by the nuns.

I fear death. I fear death because I’ve had panic attacks. And I know, I just know, that when it’s my time to die, unless I’m heavily drugged and unconscious, I’m going to be in one perpetual, terminal panic attack. I’d give up many things not to have another panic attack again in my life.

But I’m not particularly concerned about hell. At least not at this moment, while I feel no immediate threat to my life. Mom raised me and my brother freethinkers. “It’s your choice to believe in what you want to believe”. Still, I was in a Christian society. So my friends where Catholics. My school made me do the First Communion, although I did asked in Religion class how come dinosaurs were so impossibly old and that got me sent to the principal’s office (I loved dinosaurs). I knew only one prayer, the one my mother taught me: “Little guarding angel, sweet company, don’t abandon me, neither night nor day”. That’s the Spanish transliteration of what my mother said. The whole thing is more complex and has darker passages. “I’d be lost without you” it adds. She didn’t teach me that. I think she didn’t even told me to say Amen after I completed the prayer.

One day I figured out that El Ratoncito Perez (the Tooth Fairy) wasn’t real and then the whole superstructure came down and I saw the vacuum and the strings. So if Little Mice Perez wasn’t real, then Jesus wasn’t either (he’s the one who’s supposed to bring you presents in Christmas from where I come from), nor god or heaven or hell. For some reason that scared the shit out of me. Maybe it was my first panic attack. Maybe others have experienced this before. Maybe what scared me that much was that my own parents were able to deceive me for so long.

But they did their best not to do so, really. I understand it can come as cruel and maybe non adaptive to teach your children that there’s no tooth fairy and no guardian angel and nothing at all and that there are only very slight differences between you and a worm.

“What happens after we die?” I asked my mother anxiously one day.

“Nobody knows. But it’ll be in such a long time that there’s no need to worry”

As a kid, I worried a lot. Even if I died, I found out that the sun was going to explode. So not even the world I was living in would survive. And before that, I already knew about the Arms Race and the upcoming nuclear holocaust.

Death was an uncomfortable subject to me.

So when other people died, I didn’t know how to react. I went to my mother for answers.

“Do as you feel, dear, if you don’t want to go to the funeral, you don’t have to”

I haven’t gone to a funeral in my life. My mother donated her body to scientific research and the cremated rest was given to my brother in a standard mail-quality square brown box. It’s sitting in my brother’s closet waiting for the time we get the courage to go to Venice, a place she always dreamed of but never visited. A place she told us we would go when she got cured.

So not even my mother’s funeral. She didn’t have one.

But my memory’s not that good. I was closing down old accounts in old pages I didn’t use anymore and I found a blog I made titled: “My friend Viernes (Friday) is dead. Thank god I still have Domingo (Sunday. Also a name)”. It was full of the strangest writings I’ve ever found. It took me a few minutes to understand what was going on.

These were literally messages from the past. From a time when Domingo and I exchanged almost daily Burroughsian emails and chats. I don’t know if he understood anything that we were talking about. We didn’t do drugs. We weren’t trying to be hip. This was something actually extremely amusing to do. Shared stream of conscious with scifi, political, tropical nihilism and rock music themes.

Domingo’s father had died recently. Of cancer, like my mother would years later. I had no idea of how he felt. It was the equivalent of being raised a no-sex-before-marriage, if-you-masturbate-you’re-going-to-hell and trying to imagine what sex felt like. Not even like that, really, because even those people get wet dreams. I had literally no idea. I thought it was bad, I said what my mother told me to say (an obsolete phrase everyone uses and that I still don’t have any idea of what it means): “Mi sentido pesame” (I’m not even going to try to transliterate that. To me it sounds like random words combined), patted his back and thought sadly about his father for a few weeks.

He wasn’t particularly sad. I don’t know if my empathy is a recent ability or if he was very good at hiding his feelings, but he just sang to me an Alan Parsons Project song, half-jokingly, half-seriously: “Time… keeps flowing like a river”.

I have much to say now about Domingo. Now that he’s gone.

It has been more than a year since he hanged himself. The last email we shared was a short story I wrote about mass suicide in my shitty Ballardian. He was doing his thesis on Ballard.

He also sent me, in an ultra-secret email, his draft of Tristicruel, the best short story book to come out of that hellhole that is Caracas. It was published a month after his death. I bought it this year through Amazon. Somehow it made its way through Venezuelan customs and got into the US.

I was part of the people he dedicated it to.

Now I know a lot more about death. I’ve lost my mother and the only friend that could possibly appreciate anything I try to push out of my mind. I’ve had other losses too. And for the things that have been going on in my life, I know how bad it must have been for him to get to that point. Fuck Dante and his Wood of the Self-Murdered.

He was kind to children. He was bright. He was a great friend. He lived like an accursed poet, but he had strong values. His writings reflect that he loved and cared a whole lot more about humanity than most of the people I know who go to church every domingo.

Domingo Michelli isn’t dead.

He just “went to France. To the Foreign Legion. Like Manu Chao”*.

*The last things I heard from Domingo that made me laugh. I found it in a YouTube video one of his hipster friends made when he visited Barcelona.

 

 

 

City College of San Francisco's Literary Magazine