Tag Archives: poetry

You Invited Me on a Picnic – Vivian Imperiale

It was time to go.
I walked outside to wait for you.

You were picking me up for a picnic
and I was delighted I’d be with you.

You didn’t talk about
your AIDS diagnosis —
mysterious letters I didn’t comprehend.
What was that, anyway?

Instead you were just you,
which was everything — the perfect man.
Your laughter, your wit, your exuberance
kept me smiling and, as always, adoring you.

It was time to go.
You picked up your picnic blanket.

You carefully folded it
and handed it to me.
“Here. Take it.
I won’t be needing it anymore.”

That’s how you told me.
It was time to go.

(In loving memory of Richard-Michel Paris)

Vivian Imperiale
Vivian Imperiale uses poetry to process her emotions and to pay ongoing tribute to the Love of her Life who died in 1985 in the AIDS Epidemic.

Quiver trees and the Milky Way
Photography
Constance Louie-Handelman

Constance Louie-Handelman
Constance Louie-Handelman completed her A.A. degree at CCSF in 1973. Now retired as a clinical psychologist, she has returned to CCSF 2019 spring semester with a focus on digital photography.

Little Girl Growing Up – Megan Brown

In hot suburban Florida
in an old, sandy bungalow
my father used to
measure my height on the doorframe

If we left the honey out
roaches would come
a bee drove his stinger into my arm—
that kind of summer visit

my baby brother—
learning to talk
my father tuning in
to area news
amid rows of Miller cans in the TV room

dad sold home alarms back then
drove us around
with a gun in the glovebox

I used to look for love in the gifts I gave him—
paisley ties and cologne

I wrote confrontations from 31,000 feet above
only to ball them up at sea level

enter the string of wrong
boyfriends
me, a war girlfriend
waiting by the phone

I am older now, a mother
I can see inside the dollhouse:

The marble queen pothos—that glossy, leathery, heart-shaped vine that grew up in my mother’s home—cascades down my banister. Devil’s ivy, they call it, because it is un-killable.

Dad falls off a low ladder
Son learns how to surf

Son builds castles from old boxes
Sails boats of old and worn shoes

Megan Brown
A native of New Orleans, Megan Brown feels most at home near water. Her writing has been published in the Social Science Quarterly, East Bay Times, and 580 Split. In 2008, her short memoir about her campaign work in Nevada earned an Honorable Mention in the America’s Funniest Humor Writing Contest.

Tiger and Hen
Painting
Sarah A. Smith

Sarah A. Smith
Sarah A. Smith works with ink on paper to create scenes that feature animals and nature. Often, her inspiration comes from antiques and objects in museums like this one, “Tiger and Hen,” drawn from a design on a 17th century huqqa base which is in the collection of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

Seventeen – Fernando Rosal Gonzalez

Seventeen glasses, full to the brim –
coffee, orange juice, milk, some water to drink.
They took so long to finish their breakfast,
Not that they wanted them to last.

Seventeen kisses, or sighs from Dad and Mom;
Don’t be late, come home by five o’clock.
Let’s plan tonight for our weekend getaway,
or maybe let’s watch some movie, so we better stay.

Seventeen rides going to school –
Busy cars, buses, or walking on foot.
Smiles were greeted, bags lain on desks,
Phones were barred, though they still check their texts.

Seventeen steps, walking in his boots
to reach Building 12, the mad boy took.
Shooting his AR-15 everywhere he aimed his fire –
Imploding from inside he took his ire.

Seventeen calls, or more the students made;
Smoke everywhere, what’s happening, for heavens’ sake!
Tears, cries, and bloodshed sprawled on the floor.
Who even let this guy enter the door?

Seventeen dreams, cut without warning.
On this day the sun at the park stopped shining.
3/15/18

Fernando Rosal Gonzalez
Fernando Rosal Gonzalez has published novellas, children’s storybooks and written TV scripts both for mainstream and independent producers in Manila. He created the children’s TV show, “Oyayi,” which was jointly produced by CBN-Asia, the NCCT (National Council for Children’s Television), and ABS-CBN. He is currently taking up filmmaking and creative writing courses at CCSF.

Untitled
Photography
Suzanne Notario

Suzanne Notario
My photographic journey started six years ago when I took my first photography class at CCSF. This course ignited my passion for making pictures and creating something with my camera. It has become a way of expressing myself.

Spirals – Erika Dyquisto

Spirals enthrall her.
She draws them in notebooks,
coil upon coil, twisting glyphs
about the page.

She sports a tattoo choker.
In this she finds comfort and beauty.
A loving vine about her neck turns her morning glory blue.
She re-enacts vestigial memories of a liquid time:
An umbilical cord slowly constricts;
her heart languishes
with each thrust.

She bears straps about her legs,
spiral rotators to twist in-turned hips, and inserts
that only allow for clunky shoes, an imposition most unartistic.
She howls in protest, hangs from me in anger, arms encircling my waist,
counters my legs with thick brick feet, pulling me
over, pinning me, craving the intolerable
constraint of love.

She snakes yarn about her arms,
winds the wool around her legs, circles
her trunk, all around until – wrapped like a grub
in a cocoon — she trips around the room,
delighted with the oddity.

She’s eight and knows constraint,
winds it decoratively about her body.
Dictating the confines of ability and rules, she turns . . .
the choker into
Beauty.

Erika Dyquisto
Erika Dyquisto works as an adjunct professor at City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University. She cherishes the moments of (human) itarian metaphysical power that carefully chosen words can create, however brief those moments may be.

Mary Blair
Acrylics on Wood
Ana Lazaro

Ana Lazaro
Ana Lazaro is a San Francisco-based artist. She considers herself a world citizen and has, since childhood, had a passion for capturing moods and emotions through her portraiture. Her background includes fashion and jewelry design. Ana’s current work is inspired by her desire to celebrate female artists across the globe.

Rejecting Dirges – Carla Schick

(Elegy for Tede)

How you danced with rainbow scarves
one in your hand, the other draped
across your bare shoulders

You made a tutu from violet shorts
curtsied for the camera
your red lipstick never fades.

You wrote the lyrics of your disease
Desire still trembling from fingertips
caress of a sunflower on your cheek

Sitting on the steps at the Washington march
You pulled back a sleeve, pale arm, held
the interferon laced syringe, poked

a needle into thinning veins. You, who named us
Mainstream Exiles, vagabonds, cast out of homes,
queer kids singing poetry on any empty corner

and abstract art projected onto flat buildings at night
We stole storefronts from their owners
Teeth chattering cold, but cheap

We were shadows, running to tape our words
on telephone polls on unlit streets. Your pretty boy face
returns as the exiled ones roam

and enter bars where you once sat
in dark rooms, illuminated by one disco ball
sequins, raw sex, edged in hidden alleys

back doors, the snap of fingers, attention
puckered lips, swaying hips, and the rough red spots
of disease. Coming out at twilight, a candlelight vigil

Haunting echoes of a conch shell summons
all who have laid in death’s bed
morphine induced dreams, fists raised

How the banner unfurls, blanketing us
Fingers pressed to lips, heads bowed
Not as supplicants, as dancers waiting

For the music’s crescendo.

Carla Schick
Carla Schick was in the political queer arts group, Mainstream Exiles, in the early 1980’s. Their poetry is published in Sinister Wisdom, A Gathering of the Tribes, Suisun Review and Earth’s Daughters, and they received first place in the Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Contest.

Chinatown
Photography
Desi Pena

Desi Pena
My name is Desi Pena. I am 23 years old and enjoy skateboarding, making skate videos, photography and writing. Follow my Instagram @desip_

Of Waves and Wind – R. Shawntez Jackson

Currents move unselfishly.

Lapping at the shores of our consciousness

Repainting memories now faded
from strained expectations

but it is a gift

A taste of what true love is

a healing

of the heartaches measured in the waves

watch as the sea moves 
in conjunction with the wind

they are kind lovers to one another 
like the rib I’ve sought over lifetimes
It is a gift

To remember 
the innocence of dreaming

the act of creationism from a childlike heart,

sewing the purest seeds of destiny and home.

So I listen to the sounds of forgotten pictures

Lapping at the shores of my consciousness 
repainting the memory of my own dreams

– tiny masterpieces of life

I believed would be mine one day -

and I feel the hope well

the source of my good 
the kindest parts
that I’d covered up for protection.

And in my mind 
I drink from this well

A treasure I had once lost the location of

the origin of what my love languages look
like in flesh and spirit.

And I’m happily transformed by the attention paid to the lovers,

and my own deepest desires,
of a life consisting of intoxicatingly
exhilarating

waves and wind.

R. Shawntez Jackson
R. Shawntez Jackson is a native of the Eastbay. He is an award winning poet, playwright, spoken word artist, actor, educator and father of Wordsi2i.org. He is described as a vivid story-teller creatively framing and displaying some of the best and worst details of relationships, religion and sexuality.

Astronaut (Mars Police)
S. M. Murphy
Robot (Mars Police)
S. M. Murphy
Girl (Mars Police)
S. M. Murphy

S. M. Murphy
S. M. Murphy is a multidisciplinary artist inspired by the grotesque and macabre. His murals and artwork have been shown on the walls and in galleries of Sacramento and San Francisco, including both M5Art’s Art Hotel and Art Street projects.

Privilege – Ali

privilege as
sharp cheddar cheese
bright orange almost everyone can see
special category and status
ingredients of all sorts
so special
it is mixed and matched in fine dining
eat at places that came with cushion toilet seats
Dolores Heights, Marina or Pacific Heights
filling food fabulous delights
$24.99 a plate easy peasy
mac’n cheese or nachos

territory pushes and pinches
yellow, brown, and black finches
those no one thought with privileges
i beg your pardon
i’m with privileges
lots of them too
who else knows
the privilege of
not being able to see your disgust
of my “compromised faith,”
not being able to hear your petty offering
of that inspirational speech
of my “daily bravery,”
not willing to accept
your supreme efforts
of excluding my kinds
through early prenatal examinations,
the short buses, intervention and medications,
oh yes, daily questionnaires and surveys
and attitude, offered by your eyes and hands
confirming my special status
of all else
if this is not privilege
why all the attention on me?
and guess what?
I eat mac’n cheese and nachos too
$5.99

Ali
Ali is a single mother, a voracious reader, and a fierce advocate for survivors of abuse, seniors, and people with disabilities. She also happens to be an immigrant, and legally blind. She bravely started writing just a couple of years ago in spite of the ESL ghosts that haunt her.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Etching Print
Ana Lazaro

Ana Lazaro
Ana Lazaro is a San Francisco-based artist. She considers herself a world citizen and has, since childhood, had a passion for capturing moods and emotions through her portraiture. Her background includes fashion and jewelry design. Ana’s current work is inspired by her desire to celebrate female artists across the globe.

you (me, us) – Eddy Funkhouser

I just learned about you

but you’ve become my shadow
your assault in the image of mine
influenced by my experience

I was unaware of your existence

but your ordeals were mine
before they were yours
not to be possessive— as much as I don’t want to share
the trauma, I’m here to share the healing

I do not know you

but I know your story
an echo of my own
I heard the blow-by-blow account
of what happened to you (to me, us)
and my stomach felt empty and
nauseous, both at once
I could predict the next act that you did not
consent to, before it was told to me
my body ached in the places
you (me, us) were hurt

I do not know your name

but forgive me
a reported rapist might become
a jailed rapist might become
held from offending again
had I intercepted your abuse
snatched it from the air before
it could settle onto your shoulders
I’m sorry despite
knowing that what happened to you (me, us)
isn’t, wasn’t my fault

I have never met you
but thank you

for turning in our mutual rapist
when I didn’t, couldn’t
for impeding yet another
repetition of our pain
for reminding me
that it was real, that it was wrong, that I (you, we) deserve justice
for seeking the reparation
we deserve to heal

I cannot find you, talk to you, cry with you
but I believe you (me, us)

Eddy Funkhouser
Eddy Funkhouser is a queer non-binary urban farmer and garden educator living in San Francisco, CA. Their work can be found in Dirty Girls Magazine, Beyond Bloodlines, Awakened Voices, Stonewall’s Legacy, and Written on the Body.

Sharp Objects 1
Oil on Canvas
Meghan Harris

Meghan Harris
Meghan Harris is a landscape and abstract painter in San Francisco. Her education includes Princeton University, Corcoran School of Art, Washington, DC, Art Students League of New York, and City College. Her work “Bridge” captures how one experiences objects from many perspectives. See harrispaintings.com.

Renaming This Life – Anita Kline

This is not a march she says.
This is a walk, each step a prayer.
Her words a kind reminder in the voice of the ancestors
who knew the earth as Mother, the sky as Father.

This re-emerging language of native friends
who spot a sinuous cloud crossing the face of Grandmother Moon
and call it Protective Serpent.

This re-imagined way with words—
pipe evoking peace, not bombs,
relative relaxing the moment of greeting,
kin or stranger, no matter from where or from whom.

All were welcomed to Standing Rock,
home for months to water protectors, sacred-site defenders,
indigenous people converging from every forgotten place.

Dakota, Lakota, Sioux, and more-than-enough-more names
to make this the largest gathering of native nations
for over a hundred years.

Irresistible, this call to come together, drum together,
sing, cook, circle together on land now also of burying together
old animosities.

Irrepressible, the visions. New ways of being together
on land long consecrated by ceremony,
then violently desecrated by greed, misnamed as need.

Water is sacred they teach us. Ancient wisdom,
calling into question all doing done in the name of destiny,
in the name of progress, in the name of resources,
in the name of mine, in the name of My God!

Anita Kline
Poetry came late to Anita’s life as she moved into retirement from her job as a social worker at SF General Hospital. “Renaming this Life” arose from transforming encounters with Older Writers at the Bernal Heights Library and with indigenous activists working to heal the planet in the face of ecological devastation.

Clearing Storm in Yosemite
Photograph
Constance Louie-Handelman

Constance Louie-Handelman
Constance Louie-Handelman completed her A.A. degree at CCSF in 1973. Now retired as a clinical psychologist, she has returned to CCSF 2019 spring semester with a focus on digital photography.

For Kindness – Kati Spitz

To know having
You must first have lost
Walked past the grocery store carts full of food
While counting the pennies in your pocket
To buy eggs you hope will keep everyone full for the rest of the week
To appreciate a Thanksgiving table
Piled high with green bean casserole
First you must
Have gone to bed hungry
There’s no Joy in having
Without
First having lost
You cannot know the fresh squeezed joy of birth
Until you have held someone’s hand
While they slipped away from this world and into the next
There’s no love without grief
No joy without sorrow
No ecstasy without pain
To know the breath of life truly
You must have felt the hot burn in your lungs
While you sink below the waves
Watching the sunlight shimmer and streak through the blue grey water
There is no with
Until there has been
Without.

Kati Spitz
Kati Spitz is a painter, writer, and pastry chef living in San Francisco.

Lost in the Cosmos
Acrylic on Canvas
Michelle Engeldinger

Michelle Engeldinger
This piece, titled “Lost in the Cosmos,” is inspired by space. There is something so dark and mysterious but also beautiful about the depths of the universe, which is what I hope to convey through this piece.