san francisco peace and hope

Chapter 5: PLACE
"I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself." Maya Angelou

Drifting Into A Caribbean Lagoon

juicy yellow mango

of ripe papaya

pomegranate orbs


bougainvillea bloom


full moon
refracting on

the breakers



Sheryl L. Nelms


Karin Batten, Hello World, acrylic, pumice, dye, charcoal, black magma and glue

Watermelon Festival

we went
in July

to Knox City, Texas

to dance
in the sun

to see
the 50’s
classic cars

to eat


of red

Sheryl L. Nelms



Pants rolled up, holding hands
obedient to the fog shrouded signs
that cautioned no swimming allowed

one day, years ago, at Ocean Beach
we rinsed sand-encrusted toes
in choppy metal-green foam

hopped from foot to foot
as catching the hem of a wave
one of us fell, pulling the other down
laughing, pulling the other up, laughing

unconcerned with how miles out to sea
one perfect rogue wave swelled, waited

we noticed only the cold currents
that swirled around our ankles
dragged sand from under our feet
sucked it rapidly back to sea.

Eileen Malone

Elizabeth Hack, Radiance Green, Mixed media on panel

Moment at the Beach

Along the Pacific's edge … she walks
As only a dancer might … light
With steps … not footfalls
The wet sand
Going underfoot … loses its reflective sheen …
After … the imprints fill
Footprints of colored sky

Here the wind is sweeter than anything
And time
Holds its breath
For a small wish
A drawing in the sand
Or a moment  gazing into one another's eyes

And she goes about … while I look on
As sad memories segue
Unseen  … yet …
Between steady heartbeats … I am still … for her
Out there she steps and turns
Dances into sun bright - silver white
And … for some kind of a moment
She is wholly lost in brilliance …

She calls

From that far … far place
In the waters  
I walk then … into light … vast, vast
Where hand in hand,
We enter the radiant sea …
And touch … this world!

Dan Brady

Born again 

An April baby, I bloom as spring stirs.
I sense supple limbs beneath moist earth

nature roused from brown dreams, shaking
stiffness from blowsy hair, a shudder of leaves

in blithe confusion as she wakes.
She whips her clouds into creamy mounds,

sprinkles them with rains she wraps herself
gauzy veils that lie in folds on a thirsty earth

Janet Butler

Peachtree St.

the lemon-yellow sunlight
on the great thoroughfare
not even yellow
nor yet pink
but as it were a sea of trees
the odd railroad station
department store
old Terminus

Christopher Mulrooney


Nathalie Fabri, Yellow Noe, Acrylic


City Fox ©pmh; 11.28.12 P

In knee deep November snow
plush pelted still
early season hunger rises
on hind legs. Narrow face noses
bent boughs of backyard crab
apple. Harvested now
bottles of drunken cheeky baubles blink
in dim lit root cellar. A hint
of perfume lingers. Somewhere some
how one last apple

Patrice Haan


1620 LeRoy

Rented Berkeley house of late childhood -
blue Chinese rug, piano and bay window,
bookish; square meals and standards,
visits to lecture hall and Planetarium,
wafted campanile chimes at eight and twelve and six...
the self that lived there, expanded and ossified,
now mines the ravines of memory for their configuration,
hovers wistfully over those younger parents
(how proud they almost were
of our envisioned illuminated lifescripts,
later reduced to black and white with discreet spangles.)
But under sediments, the boys and girl live on.
Autumn on top of spring
would push alternative plots to pages written;
would dredge bland hours for elusive meaning,
when they were but the compost
nurturing dreams which even today
writhe upward toward expression.

Lark Burns de Beltran


Audrey Anastasi, Swing, Mixed media on paper


Once Upon A Time

An old mansion posed high
on San Francisco’s Lombard St.
right where the curves begin.
Our friend, cousin of
the widowed owner,
took to caring for her kin.
Come meet my cousin;
see the place, she said.
Honoring the occasion
we dressed in our best: 
my husband, me, four kids.
We planted a ‘don’t touch’ in their heads.
Hard to remember in that room
shelved with boxes, bursting with
old fashioned Christmas ornaments
 and figurines, enough to portray a town
 and a mirror pond of skaters
beneath the Christmas tree.
Another full of opened gifts
still in their tissued boxes.
When offered, I chose a China butter dish
domed and edged with gold.
A picture of us posing
on a fancy settee is all that’s left.
Time has razed the mansion
for closet apartments
and shattered peaceful ways.

Cherise Wyneken


Time is but a toy in the hands of children,
something to play with and let drop
while reaching for a red and yellow
gismo that belches greetings from dreamland;

let grown-ups pick it up from
the floor or track it down below the stairs
and bring it back to the shelf or tack it
to the refrigerator;

anxious grownup faces are tied
with invisible twine into undelivered
packages while they watch
children’s unwrapped,
naked squeals of pure existence ---

never will children weave hours
into strings and twine,
they know that time is a toy to take
apart --
            the tower they build from its
unruly pieces will have tons of fun
just tumbling down.

Paul Sohar

       (San Francisco)

We order jasmine tea.
A kimono-clad server offers:
"Jasmine fields imbue tea leaves
grown beside them." Inhaling
we sip the steaming fragrance,
gaze upon water-lily pools,

arched bridges, a red pagoda,
mossy lawns, bonsai trees.
We ponder the huge stone Buddha
who holds in      left palm
         a lotus blossom --
the large enhancing the small.

We vow to remain open to all
the jasmine fields of our lives,
   to cross bridges slowly,
   drop pond-pebbles gently,
   to mingle with crowds
   yet steep our own essence.

Claire J. Baker


Pam Borrelli, Stow Lake ReflectionPhotograph


We Were Hours

In hours of day and night
we were gestures of our becoming
we were nature’s hints of distant music
we were hands reaching out beneath quiet thunder 
we were slight rhythms working ordinary tasks 
we engaged fingers and muscles and bones.

We were what pulled us in; 
we were whispered by risking promise
we danced beneath moonlight’s shared midnight
we were lost in cadences of movement 
we touched the gifts of belonging  
we fled our momentary doubts
we escaped long engagements
we had no explanations, we
moved; we simply were. 

Vince Storti



Before the grand mass structures rose, and still
we walked to place our golden footsteps in the moist quiet air
and left them there, piled invisibly beneath boney steel bridges, on avenues
of sand, in the dawn light or heated sky, hearing moaning ships
atop one another step by step, and inside ourselves to rest the music
sniffing scents of salt and coffee, simple fare of sea and chili pepper
those islands over there to which hearts fly in history
mighty industry and snakes of stoney paths link native tribes to all
the loves once known and kept or lost near inland lakes and homes
great movements seeking art or change to spare and save
vast families of all and every kind or name reside in alphabets
on peninsulas and waterways sleeping to the continental edge
of promise and no further west to stride, our invisible sparks ignite
a sacred place only those who know, know and care,
building it in beats of hearts one at a time anew, soldiers, sailors,
the unique sanctity of our Bay, where choices simply made or urged
have led to solemn joyous tranquility, sometimes dreams, and sorrow
more possible here than there, it always seems and is, to us our home
embraced by garden pools and towering redwood vines, writhing life,
our hands touched, our hopes were birthed and fought, but
grow through the soul of those who stay and born become
its not forgettable legacy of faces, voices, echoed in timelessness

Michael S. Bell (San Francisco  1971-1993)

Lena Levin, Sonnet 44: If the dull substance of my flesh were thought…
(after William Shakespeare),
Oil, canvas