Boxer Paused, by Leland Jung
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
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
–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,
of my now gone family and friends
(Add all of yours)
Whoosh them all together
in a beautiful canyon someplace in
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.
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.
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.
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”
don’t follow me like that
with your sleazy saunter
and those toned (bone-d) twigs
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
(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 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.
My name is Desi Pena. I am 23 years old and enjoy skateboarding, making skate videos, photography and writing. Follow my Instagram @desip_
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
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
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
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.
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.