I AM CHAS

WHO IS CHAS?

Chas is an award-winning poet, author, and storyteller from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Posts I like

More liked posts

I can’t make this stuff up

Last night in class

UCLA Instructor: So you’re moving over by USC? I just don’t feel safe over there.

(Meaning you’re not safe in residential communities of working class citizens who happen to be People of Color?)

Me: Well I’m Black, so…

UCLA Instructor: (blank stare, 2 minutes of uncomfortable silence. Uncomfortable for her.)

UCLA Instructor: So does that make you bulletproof?

Me: It makes me Immune. (turns to classmates to discuss something else, so that she’s painfully aware that this conversation is as done as her antiperspirant). 

Dear UCLA classmates

My UCLA classmates: So are the three roommates in your script…People of Color?

Me:   o_o

Me: Yes

UCLA classmates: (deep sigh of relief, as if they just got the correct response on Jeopardy)

Oh you thought I let them off the hook that easy? You must not know I was born in Biloxi Mississippi?

Me: Moving forward, like every class session, for the next two quarters. You should Always ASSume that ALL of my characters are People of Color (unless otherwise explicitly stated). Similar to how I am to always assume yours are white. Good night. 

I entered into UCLA’s Professional Program for Writing for Television prepared but not prepared (if that makes sense. Kinda like a teenager who’d only seen a condom placed on a banana before). When UCLA presented itself I had all of the required supplemental application materials but I also had no real idea of what I was getting into. 
I prayed, I applied, I got in! And THEN I asked You to become invested in my journey and you did.  My community showed up and showed out, in a major way. Funding me, uplifting me and championing me on to UCLA. Seriously you all helped me raise over $3,000 in 6 days.
It was a lot, having to relocate to Los Angeles in less than a month and adjust to being back in college after graduating undergrad 10 years ago (I know, I know, I look REALLY good for my age, or at least that’s what my mom keeps telling me). A major thank you to the Sandbloom family amongst others.
Tomorrow marks the last day of my first quarter here at UCLA (Monday night lecture ended last week). I’ve been blessed with supportive and honest classmates in my workshop of eight students. They are truly funny writers, with great wit and intelligent humor about them. My instructor Lisa Alden is the truth! She was the lone female writer on several seasons of HBO’s Entourage and loves the F-word. Lisa was so tough on us, not even allowing us to begin writing pages of our script for several weeks. She wanted us to perfect our outlines and then get them down to a 1-pager.  Lisa delivered her insight every single Tuesday night running our workshop like an actual writer’s room, while also checking the NBA playoff updates on her phone. 
This quarter I wrote my first spec script for The Mindy Project and finished it two weeks before the required deadline. This summer I enter my 2nd quarter and will be working on my original pilot script that I’m sure will make The Bay Area, my friends, family and friends in my head proud. Thank you all so much for your continual support, prayers and well wishes.
Thank you,

Chas

I entered into UCLA’s Professional Program for Writing for Television prepared but not prepared (if that makes sense. Kinda like a teenager who’d only seen a condom placed on a banana before). When UCLA presented itself I had all of the required supplemental application materials but I also had no real idea of what I was getting into. 

I prayed, I applied, I got in! And THEN I asked You to become invested in my journey and you did.  My community showed up and showed out, in a major way. Funding me, uplifting me and championing me on to UCLA. Seriously you all helped me raise over $3,000 in 6 days.

It was a lot, having to relocate to Los Angeles in less than a month and adjust to being back in college after graduating undergrad 10 years ago (I know, I know, I look REALLY good for my age, or at least that’s what my mom keeps telling me). A major thank you to the Sandbloom family amongst others.

Tomorrow marks the last day of my first quarter here at UCLA (Monday night lecture ended last week). I’ve been blessed with supportive and honest classmates in my workshop of eight students. They are truly funny writers, with great wit and intelligent humor about them. My instructor Lisa Alden is the truth! She was the lone female writer on several seasons of HBO’s Entourage and loves the F-word. Lisa was so tough on us, not even allowing us to begin writing pages of our script for several weeks. She wanted us to perfect our outlines and then get them down to a 1-pager.  Lisa delivered her insight every single Tuesday night running our workshop like an actual writer’s room, while also checking the NBA playoff updates on her phone. 

This quarter I wrote my first spec script for The Mindy Project and finished it two weeks before the required deadline. This summer I enter my 2nd quarter and will be working on my original pilot script that I’m sure will make The Bay Area, my friends, family and friends in my head proud. Thank you all so much for your continual support, prayers and well wishes.

Thank you,

Chas

11/30

As a Black Man

I must announce my presence before entering every room

my peacock strut

proves frightening to Pilgrims

who’ve yet to discover my inhabited territory

I mustn’t chop nor screw the English language

else I be deemed terrorist

code switch quicker than J.Lo do husbands

 

As a Black Man

though I may be a Bachelor,

will never see one on ABC

See he,

be pimp if too many white women fighting for his affection

Give ‘em VH1 and a clock necklace

can’t be reckless after school

lest I be savage,         threat

Orange or red alert

no more than 2 of me in a convenience store at a time

How convenient it is to

compartmentalize us into an entire demographic

I can never

be late

provide an excuse

be given a pass

be accepted into the Ivy League with locs

without being made Unicorn

 

As a Black Man, I Am a Unicorn

a chalk outline in internet comment sections

can’t be White T and jeans classic

classified gangbang,              which set you claim?

Whether high top, curly, braids, or fade

My hair is always an art exhibit

Whose DO NOT TOUCH sign is ignored

I quantum

leap over adversity

 

As a Black Man

I sweat blood

even my tears are up for political discussion

wonder if they’re import or Hawaiian

I clear sidewalks without trying

have yet to tap into all my strength

keep an extra pair of teeth

in the glove-box

case these be knocked out

while reaching for insurance and registration

on dark nights

and sometimes darker days even peacocks get cold

but Black Man

don’t dare think about

wearing a hoodie—

even in the Winter

10/30

When I drop her off at therapy

the radio is all commercials

daring me to make the first move

I talk about other grad students

my nephew’s latest growth spurt

and avoid making mention of the weather

I never bring up the weather

gray skies cast doubt

on whether or not

she will, will enough strength

to open her passenger door

sometimes,

walking through open doors

are the hardest steps we ever have to make.

On the drive over

she always

spots disregarded furniture on the curb.

While she is at therapy

there is no life vest for me

in this sea of uncertainty

no rescue party summoned in search of

my feelings

 

I am a Ferris wheel of questions

all waiting their turn.

At best,

I know not why she wakes up in tears

and laughs in her sleep.

Only honor

when she says

she doesn’t want to talk about a thing

make it helium balloon

out of my grasp

and watch it ascend toward a blazing fireball

in the sky

when three words

are held for ransom

in the cave of her mouth

she questions why I’m still here

fires hate speech in my direction at will

waits to see if I will crack

like Crème Brule surface

under a freshly polished spoon

I am Redwood tree faithful

and all kinds of mustard seed

I want her to know that

no matter how many times

she saw street lights from porch steps

without seeing her father

she is not disposable

not a balled up sweater

in the back of the closet

there’s a night light in my chest

that cradles her Holy

At most,

I am grit, and teeth, and bone and melanin

I am all of who I said I was

the night we met

and sometimes a little more.

When I pick her up from therapy

I am always on time

Poem 8/30

My Destiny

refuses to wait outside in the car

       shimmed the window 

I left slightly cracked

calluses 

from leaping hands first to unknown

beat down 

Comfortable’s door

kicked in Satisfied 

(the neighbors called the cops)

Sirens wail in the distance

grabbed me by my blue-collar 

but I didn’t depart kicking and screaming 

we left hand in hand 

Loading next page

Hang on tight while we grab the next page