Tag Archives: poetry

magic spell

You will need
–A preying mantis rescued from a lawnmower
–Five ants rescued from a kitchen where
the balabosta was going to crush them.
–A wrapped piece of grocery cake
Hostess
or my new favorite that comes from Mexico
white cake covered in chocolate with some
spots of red jelly Gansito
–Your favorite pair of colored socks
–Your favorite pair of comfortable worn-out socks
–A book you’re been meaning to read
–Miscellaneous secret government files
–My mother Felice’s fountain pen with something
in her handwriting
–My father Eli’s thimble he used as a tailor
–One of my grandfather Wulf’s Hebrew Prayer Books
–Something my grandmother Rachel has sewn

–A short piece played on the piano by my
sister Ruth
–The smell of the beach of Riis Park on a
hot summer’s day
–A worn pair of my dance shoes
–The tights I started to knit and stopped at the
calf of the second leg and then forgot
how to knit altogether
–Photos of the local people who went to see
the last performance of Beach Blanket Babylon
closing after forty-five years including Nancy Pelosi, Diane Feinstein
and Dick Blum
–Some of the DNA from elephants, lions,
giraffes, feral cats
–Some bit of giant Redwoods and Sequoias
–The wisps of laughter, puzzlements,
revelations
of my now gone family and friends

(Add all of yours)
Whoosh them all together
in a beautiful canyon someplace in
New Mexico

where they will create
a whirling–like a soft tornado
up to the horizon

and out to cover the world
And surely this will save the
human species in 2020.

Helen Dannenberg writes with the Older Writers Lab. She takes various arts-related classes and featured her assemblages in Open Studios 2019. She participates with San Francisco Recreation and Parks Cosmic Elders and has been a dancer and choreographer, and worked as an Activity Director and Social Services Coordinator in skilled nursing facilities.

Cedar Pass, Linocut print, by Teresa Beatty

A San Francisco based artist, Teresa Beatty has spent the last few years honing her skills in printmaking and drawing. Her interests span from scientific illustration to art therapy. In pursuit of bettering her craft she’s traveled across the globe. She uses art as a tool for healing, expression and connection.

sifted bones

Crimson bleeds
on her clean pink jumper,
blooming,
like Poppies in October,
the Plath poem
which has nothing to do with poppies,
the wounded woman’s
heart a watercolor seeping.

Fresh ruby drops
just as we were ready to go home,
declaring a reminder
that everything is not normal, everything
is not as it should be, but the portals are open
the veins are still alert,
dripping,
as the nurse removes the plastic tubing dangling from the crook of her arm,
a thief tapping into a pot of gold
striking it rich before her veins collapse.

I want to slide inside
a pair of Emily‘s flannel pajamas,
slip into my bed and pretend that everything
will be fine,
that she will be here
to create art with me in my retirement
in her little downstairs studio,
with gelli plates
squeezing tubes of fine gold acrylic
rolling, watching it smear and shine
translucent spreading
onto every inch of plain paper.

Snuggling beside her
in the hospital bed feeling her beating
heart, holding
her hand and we are laughing
at Jim Carrey impugning god in Bruce Almighty
when she asks me quietly,
Do you know whether you want to be cremated or what?
Emily who has organized everything
down to the intimate
notes she has kept for 20 years,
then carefully hand bound into a creative atlas
to celebrate a life,
has not prepared her burial plans.
She is leaving
that up to us to spread
her sifted bones.

Diana Feiger grew up in Sandwich, Kent, UK and moved to the Bay Area in 1986. She finds inspiration in nature and from the miraculous and mundane aspects of life. Small moments and phrases can capture the imagination.

Happy Pine Cone, Charcoal Drawing by Travis Yallup

Travis Yallup is a contemporary realist who lives and works in San Francisco. He has studied art at various colleges and universities over the past eleven years and has developed a preference for drawing and painting in a variety of mediums. His  focus usually comes from life, photos, and collages and he often draws an inspiration from influences such as Andrew Wyeth and Vija Celmins.

This Morning

I went for taro,

custard, and red bean

buns. Shrieks above

from an argument

broke my somnolence;

a gull defended the cross

it perched on from

a circling raven’s

assault. The vanquished

raven landed and

sulked. Do I call it

augury, score a win

for yang, or remember

Jeffers, who wrote, “it is bitter earnestness

that makes beauty; the mind

knows grown adult”?

 

Jason Syzdlik studied poetry at City College of San Francisco.

 

Karman ghia parked by streetlamp and building
KARMAGIA, illustration by Joshua Yule

Joshua Yule  has actively been producing artwork including print, screen printing, illustrations, and digital illustrations for the likes of many local Bay area bands for almost two decades.

“my new friend”

“my new friend”

don’t follow me like that
with your sleazy saunter
and those toned (bone-d) twigs
wobbling wedges
dollbaby dress
hippie handbag
and impossibly long locks
the color of crows (screaming murder!)
the color of cats, those black island cats, following me all over
staring me down with eyes the color of citrine

don’t look at me like that
holding your ground as i back toward my car
posing against the cemeterial scene
thousands of stones
millions of bones
dressed in summer green with floral accents
languidly tossing, up and down, up and down, a white ball
daring me to hold my ground
staring me down through eyes the color of that ball
(eyes with no color at all)
don’t haunt me like that

the other patron in the red water bar
the passenger in the back seat of my car
the visitor at my bedroom door that’s ajar
silent, insistent
that we go back to play at the alae*

*alae – a cemetery outside hilo, a city on hawaii’s big island

Sarah Elliott is a poet, classical pianist, and opera coach, who in her spare time practices law in San Francisco.

Children Forever Dream, Victor Bhatti

Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Victor Bhatti started practicing graffiti art on paper at the age of 8, emboldened by the walls around his neighborhood. He works in a number of mediums, including spray paint, airbrush, acrylics, oils, pastels, color pencil, and more. Children Forever Dream is the name of an artist collective he founded to bring together community artists and inspire the next generation.

Dialectic

The absence of

Desire is sometimes

Called peace.

 

See flowers.

Smell them.

See birds.

Hear them.

 

Imagine their absence.

 

Who can deny life’s desire for more life?

The absence of desire is sometimes called peace,

 

But perhaps only by those too weary

To witness spring.

 

Jason Szdlik‘s poem This Morning can also be found on the Forum Blog.

Shy

 

S

Accessible Word Version_ Shy_Kayla_Wilton

Shy by Kayla Wilton

 I received my English degree with a Spanish minor from CSU Stanislaus in Spring 2019, and I will complete my creative writing certificate at CCSF in Spring 2020. Writing is my passion, but I also dabble in drawing, painting, photography, and performance. My work has appeared in Penumbra Literary Magazine.

Glass canister with metal top
It’s Not a Salt Shaker by Travis Yallup

It’s Not A Saltshaker by Travis Yallup

Travis Yallup is a contemporary realist who lives and works in San Francisco. He has studied art at various colleges and universities over the past eleven years and has developed a preference for drawing and painting in a variety of mediums. His  focus usually comes from life, photos, and collages and he often draws an inspiration from influences such as Andrew Wyeth and Vija Celmins.

Buckets of Rainwater

 

Proudly, he awakens his three youngest at dawn,
they’ll share eggs, herring and tea. Zeb,
his oldest won’t visit from his conscription
in Sanai for another 3 to 4 months while an opaque
gray of sadness clings to the walls
and his wife Sedja’s ashes sit above the makeshift
mantle, her lungs first, then her uterus
Metastasizing the entire family and her parents
now no longer allowed to travel
with the pedestrian crossing closed.

He remembers their weekly visits for groceries
and toilet paper, the store owner Elon, sat
with judgement like Ezra the Scribe
when he held her hand in the tight aisles
waiting in line for her medications,
no hair left under her khimar
yet he would smirk and mumble under his breath,
“see, they are weak, they even kill each other.”

His business was forcibly closed by decree,
he could no longer buy or sale supplies
to the Westbank with increased restrictions
on coastal fishing and the expanding tributary of walls
have assured him, it is forever. He’s still confused
that he no longer sees the love for humanity
his parents instilled in him from crib to classroom,
home to Sabbath, Mediterranean to Dead Sea.

He looks forward to his children’s sleepy eyes
and shuttering the windows for the night,
he will sip a small glass of Arak,
after their feet have lifted and are tucked
away quietly in the far bedroom. An array
of dog’s barking and movement of armored
vehicles can be heard in the distance.

He holds onto his resentments like springtime
buckets of rainwater near the Gaza Strip,
as the tattered Star of David flies solemnly
above and dangles tarnishing in 14k
around his neck. Everything that falls
from the sky like droplets of hate
are owned by the Promise
but his feelings are all his own.

He says, so long as they persist in hatred
of the other and the insistence on maintaining
the seclusion, they are helping to create
a group of people that do not belong
to either one of the two nations
and love is forbidden alike.

Buckets of Rainwater by Vincent Calvarese

Vincent Calvarese is a writer and visual artist born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. In his latest work, Buckets of Rainwater, he gives voice to those in the Middle East battling the multiplying walls of hate.  After 32 years in San Francisco, he recently relocated to the Coachella Valley.

Abstract, waterlike painting
Neptune by Michelle Engledinger

Neptune (acrylic on canvas) by Michelle Engledinger, published previously in Spring 2019.

 

 

 

Our Backyard After You Left

 

The stairs to the backyard are dusty with un-swept dog hair. They cling to my footsteps as I run by; the need to follow still hiding in their genes. The chickens peck holes into the sweet nasturtium caging them in. An unlucky worm is found between stalks and chicken wire. The path to the shed shows signs of neglect: unattended plants causing havoc, a meandering line of clovers that peek through cracks in the bricks we placed last spring. I shove the swollen door, the rain has been thick. Inside your old shed: fallen coins from your pockets forgotten on the floor, a lucky bamboo shoot, its small green leaf not yet wilted. I linger in the doorway. The chicken scrapes her heels into the ground.

The strawberries grow
wild in the dirt next to me.
Their sweetness untamed.

 

Our Backyard After You Left by Valeri Alemania

Valeri Alemania is a Bay Area writer living in San Francisco. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She was previously awarded first place in the Short Story section of the Diablo Valley College Creative Writing Contest.

White dog with stick
Tundra Dog by Isabella Antenucci

Isabella Antenucci is an artist, writer and blue collar worker that lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

For My Iranians

Rest in power to the 176 beautiful human beings that were taken from Mother Earthtoo quickly, on January 8, 2020, shortly after taking off from Tehran International Airport for Ukraine. Thinking of all of you, your family, and your loved ones.

People in Iran will literally give you the clothes off their back. No exaggeration.
“Ghabel nadareh.” [It’s no big deal.]
“Biya, tokhmeh bokhor.” [Come here, eat some nuts.]
“Gherdoo barat shekastam, biya azizeh delam.” [I’ve broken some walnuts for you to eat, come here my darling.]
You are a guest in Iran, always.
Iranians compete for who pays the bill. Fights ensue. Names called. From the outside, it looks like a misunderstanding, a fight, even. For us, it’s a deep show of care. We call it “Taarof”.
When Iranians walk in front of you, they will always, all ways, apologize.
“Goal poshtooroo nadareh.” [A flower has no front or back.]
The hospitality, the poetic warmth, the generosity; engrained into the very fabric of the culture. Neighbors know one another here. They talk all the time. A guest stops by my grandfather’s house, just to say hello—brings flowers, sweets, dinner—salam, chetori? hello, how are you? I heard your grand-daughter was in town. Bebakhsheed keh zoodtar nayamadam. My apologies for not stopping by sooner. I wish you health, happiness and joy.
“Hameen.” [That’s all.]
For me, it’s everything.
I remember my Haji Baba crying
As I picked up my suitcase and headed for the door
Tehran airport the final destination
He tells me
Bebaksheed ageh keh vaghteh khoobi nadaashtee.
I’m sorry if you didn’t have a good time.
Tears pool quickly fall from his eyes
Hot raindrops
I kneel down, one knee, embrace him
Feel the hot mass
Azizam, cherah meegee bebasheed? Kheili kosh gozasht eenja.
My dear, why are you apologizing? I had a wonderful time here.
He tells me “Azizeh delam, areh, areh, areh.” [My darling, yes, yes, yes.]

For My Iranians by Ladi Khoddam-Khorasani

Ladan (Ladi) Khoddam-Khorasani, known by her friends and loved ones as Ladi, is an Iranian American womxn poet, story-teller, advocate, and life-long student. Ladi’s writing is mostly fueled by mint and cardamom coffee, dark chocolate, and spontaneous dance parties in her kitchen. Her writing focuses on the power of the human spirit; kindness as a necessary ingredient for intentional living; and the resiliency of community. She currently works as a public health advocate for youth experiencing homelessness in San Francisco, and is always looking for ways to connect community to the healing power of the arts.  You can find her at IG: ladifuggindadi and/or Twitter: lkhoddam.

“my new friend”

“my new friend”

don’t follow me like that
with your sleazy saunter
and those toned (bone-d) twigs
wobbling wedges
dollbaby dress
hippie handbag
and impossibly long locks
the color of crows (screaming murder!)
the color of cats, those black island cats, following me all over
staring me down with eyes the color of citrine

don’t look at me like that
holding your ground as i back toward my car
posing against the cemeterial scene
thousands of stones
millions of bones
dressed in summer green with floral accents
languidly tossing, up and down, up and down, a white ball
daring me to hold my ground
staring me down through eyes the color of that ball
(eyes with no color at all)

don’t haunt me like that
the other patron in the red water bar
the passenger in the back seat of my car
the visitor at my bedroom door that’s ajar
silent, insistent
that we go back to play at the alae*

*alae – a cemetery outside hilo, a city on hawaii’s big island

Sarah Elliott is a poet, classical pianist, and opera coach, who in her spare time practices law in San Francisco.

Graffiti style painting
Children Forever Dream by Victor Bhatti

Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Victor Bhatti started practicing graffiti art on paper at the age of 8, emboldened by the walls around his neighborhood. He works in a number of mediums, including spray paint, airbrush, acrylics, oils, pastels, color pencil, and more. Children Forever Dream is the name of an artist collective he founded to bring together community artists and inspire the next generation.