“White Matter” by Natalie Enright

Here is a sneak peak of Natalie Enright’s White Matter, a story of love and loss, which will be published in our Spring 2013 issue. Natalie read the piece at the release party for Forum‘s Fall 2012 issue last Friday, video from which can be viewed below.

White Matter

by Natalie Enright

His alarm sounds loudly. She barely reacts. She was already awake. The sound of waves crashing outside their window and wind swirling reminds her of a childhood memory; a day at the beach when she lost her beloved stuffed animal. The memory ends as soon as it begins. It was just an image of a little girl in a bathing suite crying next to a woman holding her hand. The smell of brine precedes the sun peeking through the open window of the tiny room. The smell comes through the screened window down the bedroom wall across the carpeted floor and up the mattress lying on the floor, up the other wall and out the window back to the ocean. She is never up this early.

He exhales as he lifts the blanket off his body and then lifts himself up and to the edge of the bed, then turns the alarm off on the floor. The blanket folds over back towards her and a breeze from the open window kisses her exposed thigh. He stands up and leaves the room quietly. She throws the cover over herself and slips underneath. The bed is cold without him. Her body follows a current of sheets moving towards the foot of the bed. She finds a spot still warm from where he was lying and rests her body in the space he left behind. She is listening to him getting dressed and then him moving his things down the hallway to the front door. She wonders if he noticed that she was awake. She feels the undertow of her sensitivities and hopes it will pass and lead back to sleep. Instead she resurfaces to the edge of the blanket at the head of the bed to listen to him leave. He opens the door and carefully carries two bags with him. His keys jingle as he turns the lock and then she listens to his footsteps fade away. It’s too early to say goodbye.
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The Forum Fall 2012 Release Party

Friday was the release party for Forum’s Fall 2012 issue, and the party was a great success! Thank you everyone who came out. And a special thanks to the English Literature Club for hosting us, to Katerina Argyyles for the excellent hors d’oeuvres, to all the great readers—Jordy Lynch, Aaron Arnold, Brittanic X.O. Zane, John Silverman, Vincent Cheng, Jerome Steegman, Maya Archer-Doyle and Natalie Enright—for their courage and generosity, and likewise to all those who participated in the open mic, much thanks to all. In the coming weeks we will be publishing video of readings from the event but in the meantime here are a few photos of all the gala and fun.

Continue reading The Forum Fall 2012 Release Party

Last Day to Submit Work for the Spring Issue

For all of you out there who, like me, tend to wait till the last minute to submit work, now’s your time to shine! It’s now the last minute; the moment you’ve been waiting for. So finalize any remaining revisions and send your work in today. And remember, we accept submissions from anyone who has been involved with CCSF, past or present, whether as a student, as faculty, or as staff. So if you have been or currently are a part of the CCSF community and you have literary or artistic works you’d like to see published, we’d love to see them. We accept works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and art, including: short stories, essays, interviews, photography, drawings, paintings, and so forth.

For more information how to submit, please check out our posted submission guidelines. You can also direct questions to our editor at editor@forumccsf.org. Keep in mind too, if you aren’t able to submit in time for the Spring 2013 issue, there’s still plenty of time for our Fall 2013 journal.

As always, submit early and submit often. We look forward to seeing your work.

“Yesterday and Today” by Richard Compean

Yesterday and Today

by Richard Compean

He will be gone in two weeks—gone not just away on retreat, or business, not to visit family, not to the almost comatose sleep he has been going to increasingly for the past two months, but forever, to Hamlet’s “undiscovered country” as he himself would say, to the death that will us finally part.

All this I know because I just met yesterday with his hospice nurse who has told me this, as she explained, for my own sake, not his, to get me beyond denial and anger.

And, yes, I have been angry at him ever since he told me a few months back that suicide might make things easier, especially on me. We both laughed when I threatened to kill him if he so much as even tried.

The hospice nurse also told me that his periods of consciousness and lucidity will continue to diminish, both in frequency and length, until they stop completely. Yesterday there were three and all were less than an hour. Last night we talked for only about 45 minutes and he once again reminded me to be sure that his daughter Lucy gets that original Beatles Yesterday and Today album (the one with the broken dolls and meat) when she comes to visit today.
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The Bus Ride By Britannic x.o. Zane (Jul. 8th, 2007)

I sat down to wait for my bus and a Samoan woman approached me. She kept staring at me and I was getting nervous about it because she was intimidating like she could squash me like a grape. She waited till everyone around us seemed occupied with other things before she spoke to me.

“You know, in my village you would be considered a holy man because of your facial tattoos. The fact that you got facial tatts that reflect something about you makes you a wise man in my eyes.”

I smiled and thanked her for the compliment and we started talking about her tribal tattoos. The bus came and we both got on continuing the conversation. We sat down next to a black woman who looked upset about something. The black woman’s 16 year old son was yelling and goofin with his friends in the back of the bus. He came up front and started going off yelling at his mother and calling her a bitch because she would not give him five dollars. The Samoan woman got up and told him to back off.  He gave his mother a dirty look and called her a bitch again. He then went back to his friends. The mother looked frightened and embarrassed.

Continue reading The Bus Ride By Britannic x.o. Zane (Jul. 8th, 2007)

A House at the End of the Street by Jordy Lynch

Lewis Arnold had always hated his father’s name. Not his father. No other trait of his ever bothered Lewis; just his name, which in most cases is decided by forces distant to the person who is to don said name. Lewis knew this and held no grudge towards his father.

Yet if there had been anything he could have changed about his old man, it was his name. Arnold. Lewis couldn’t ever justify his dislike with a specific reason, and truth be told, he probably didn’t even have a good reason. It was like a bad taste or a rancid smell, a base reaction to something foul. Something foul sat in front of Lewis, and Lewis displayed his disgust like a mask.

Sitting across the kitchen table was Lewis’s father. His skin was drawn tight around his face, his teeth peeking through his slit of a mouth. He was wearing a black suit, a suit that looked like a good one to be buried in. A red tie and white undershirt complimented the rich darkness of the coat. Through decayed lips and teeth like gravestones, his father started singing, and from somewhere nearby a band struck up, accompanying the dead man’s vocals.

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The Last Stand by Shelly Davis

Brenda looked forward into the mirror with all of her vigor and intensity. Apparently, she possessed her own personal self bias because the convoluted figure standing before was not what she thought she resembled. This past year had been the year which defined her life. She had been diagnosed with ALS and subsequently entered into the severe stages warranting complete body paralysis. The myelin isolating her axons was deteriorating with every passing second of each day and there was not a thing she could do to stop this indelible force. Even if she desired to form a plan of attack there would be not a soul willing to help her, but just a hearth to surrender her fight on.

When she was first diagnosed she strategically placed a picture of herself when she was twenty-five years old and she was in her prime on her wall so the spirit of her pat would still remain inside her even through the worst of times. Right beside her picture was her PhD in Biotechnology from Columbia University. Before the onset of her ALS she ranked among the five most successful scientists manipulating stem cells to cure neurodegenerative conditions in the U.S. She once again turned her attention toward the mirror which reflected not herself, but a victim who society had failed. She had lost her identity and ultimately herself worth in this colossal pool of wires and tubes which extended her life. They would not extend her life to the point where she could execute municipal activities, but she survived only to remain trapped in the hellish vessel of her body until the next day. She intensely eyed her voluptuous figure underneath her black satin dress which was very risqué. That Satin dress despite being overzealous beat the hell out of the flowing white spotted gown which probably could have been uncovered in a junkyard for all she knew.

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