I AM CHAS

WHO IS CHAS?

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

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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

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