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

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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


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


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 

Elevator Etiquette


Written by Chas Jackson

When you’re alone in an elevator.

When you’re alone in an elevator with an elderly lady.

When you’re alone in an elevator with an elderly lady who’s afraid.

When you’re alone in an elevator with an elderly lady who’s afraid of your skin color.

When you’re alone in an elevator with an elderly lady who’s afraid of your skin color and you’re smuggling.

When you’re alone in an elevator with an elderly lady who’s afraid of your skin color and you’re smuggling an upset stomach.

When you’re alone in an elevator with an elderly lady who’s afraid of your skin color and you’re smuggling an upset stomach let it loose.

Let it loose and be appalled.

Let it loose and be appalled, be downright outraged.

Let it loose and be appalled, be downright outraged at her unmitigated gall.

Let it loose and be appalled, be downright outraged at her unmitigated gall. Exit that stench filled elevator look over your shoulder at said lady and say “have some class.”

I am citied in today’s article on Jahi McMath. Thanks Tasion Kwamilele 

What a Freak!

(For your dose of Friday Fiction remember to stop by my site weekly)

This morning on Bart I saw the freakiest thing ever. This tall, dark and handsome guy sitting…alone.  Crazy right? No, not the fact that he was a free man, I’m from Rockridge not the Confederate South. The crazy part was not even the fact that he was single, and very good looking.  I’ve recently become single myself, after breaking up with my Imaginary Boyfriend. I’ve plunged back into the deep-in and found myself doggy paddling in the Bay Area dating pool once more. With the invention of the detachable shower head being single’s not so bad. Although I wish my Imaginary EX Boyfriend would quit text messaging me, those fees are eating up my MCI phone bill. What stood out so much to me about this Adonis sitting across from me was that he was riding the train with no book, no iPod, no smart phone & he wasn’t homeless. What a freak!

This was cause for alarm. I actually got visibly scared. It’s times like this I wish my Imaginary EX Boyfriend, John was there to wrap his muscular arms around me and whisper in my ear “I’ve got you.” Why would a guy ride a commuter train with nothing to occupy his time?

He’s probably a serial killer and just likes to ride in silence while he plots his next kill. I mean, yeah I clip my toenails with my teeth, but it’s more of a taste thing than anything else. He probably has a secret torcher chamber at his place.

So what if he isn’t a serial killer? There’s gotta be something wrong with him. Everybody in their right mind knows proper public transpo-etiquette includes a book, iPod or smart phone. BuzzFeed, duh. Those accessories are like public transportation dresscode for adults. The only people this doesn’t apply to are parents accompanying small children or homeless people, depending on the day they’re pretty interchangeable.

I could tell he wasn’t homeless—his shoes were clean. His eyes just kept alternating from the window to the floor. It was so freaky, like ruffying yourself at a Senior Center , not like I’ve done that more than four times. I bet he has a bizarre habit or fetish, yeah that’s it. I got it; he likes to appear completely normal when in fact he was JUST released from a mental institution. I’m sure I’ll see a police sketch of him on the evening news attached to some horrible awful story. If people would just listen to me, nutcases like this attractive gorgeous by all accounts single available unmarried man wouldn’t roam free terrorizing blue collar workers who are just trying to ride the train to work in peace.

Dang it, I missed my stop.

(Siobhan from Rockridge) 

Close Encounter

(Friday fiction written by Chas every week)

Guy walks into a bar, Guy being me, looking to blow off some steam after work, spots an empty stool and parks right there. Guy orders Jameson on the rocks looks up at the game.

Girl walks into bar, no seats remain, Girl stops beside Guy, Guy being me, and orders a Whiskey sour (Jameson). Sparks Guy’s attention. Guy tells bartender to put it on his tab. Grateful, Girl smiles, thanks him, and leans against bar.

“I’m thinking about going home with you” are her first words to me. I fucking kid you not.

“Word?” I’m buggin’. I mean she’s fine, but I’m a good lookin brotha so I try to play it cool.

“Yeah, you’re cute and it’s been a while. I’m young, independent and free. No shame here.”

“How young? I’m not tryin to catch a case.”

She laughs. “I’m in a bar, aren’t I?”

Yeah, but those D-cups are the only ID the bartender asked for.

 “So how did I end up so lucky?”

“If you have to ask, you’re not doing something right.”

I laugh, “So if we smash, you don’t have some crazy Ex with a gun collection and warrants do you?”

“No, but I’m a screamer.”

Say what, say word?

“Let me close out this tab,” I was ready! I’ve had one night stands before but none that moved this fast. I handed the bartender my credit card and remembered I still hadn’t seen her ID.

“But seriously can I see some ID?”

“Oh god.  I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours,” she teased. Was I ready for this type of freak?

We exchange IDs. Her tongue creeps from the corner of her mouth as she studies my license.

“You can afford to live in San Francisco? Nice! Rent’s too rich for my blood. I live in the East Bay. So let’s go back to your place, since you’re nearby.”

EVERYTHING stood still as I remembered

I lived with my mom.

(Julius of Oceanview) 

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