Friday, January 28, 2011

Project Outline

The First Oral History Project To Interview Members of Vanguard: Cited as the first gay liberation organization by historians, our project interviewed some of the original members of Vanguard and the pastors who made their work possible. This stage of the project will help us to put together a multimedia presentation about the history of Vanguard, that we've been able to present at Sonoma State University and as a part of the Queer Arts Festival. We will also be documenting the entirety of the project described below with audio recordings and oral histories. This part of the project is made possible by the support of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and the Horizon Foundation.

Happenings: During this stage of our project, we will have happenings in partnership with 7 organizations that work with populations similar to those who participated in the original Vanguard. These happenings will introduce the history of Vanguard to the community, encourage them to name the issues that currently exist within that community and inspire individuals to create a dialogue with the historical Vanguard by responding in writing to articles and images from the original Vanguard Magazine. Some of the organizations we will work with during this stage of the project include: Road Dawgs; Larkin Street; Trans Thrive; Welcome; The Night Ministry and the Faithful Fools. This portion of the project is made possible by the support of the Human Right's Campaign's Religion and Faith Program and the San Francisco Foundation.

Empowering Individuals Living in Poverty to Become Politically Active: In this stage of our project we will be giving stipends to individuals living in poverty in San Francisco's Tenderloin. After listening to the conversations about the current experience of living in the Tenderloin, this team will design a creative political action/event/performance that will bring attention to the issues of Tenderloin residents and help individuals in poverty to become more politically engaged. This portion of the project is made possible by the support of the Human Right's Campaign's Religion and Faith Program and the San Francisco Foundation.

Creating a Zine: From the written reflections created at the happenings, individuals living in poverty will receive commissions for writings that are selected for publication in a zine and for work creating and editing the zine. This portion of the project is made possible by the support of The St. Francis Endowment of St. Francis Lutheran Church.

Writing a Book: We will be compiling a book of essays, photos and writings about the history of the original vanguard and describing our work in this project. Proceeds from the book will benefit the Oral History Program at the GLBT Historical Society. This portion of the project is made possible by the support of The St. Francis Endowment of St. Francis Lutheran Church.

Exhibits: We will be creating a physical exhibit at the GLBT Historical Society, an online multimedia exhibit, a high quality exhibit available for download for congregations and organizations to create and a traveling exhibit that will feature talks by Joey Plaster and Megan Rohrer that will travel the country to share information about the Vanguard project with congregation, organizations and institutions. This portion of the project is made possible by the support of the Carpenter Foundation.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Figure me out!: Devyn Pleasants

unpublished poem by a youth from Larkin Street Youth Services
*typos and capitalization are [sic]


Figure me out!
It's not that hard
To remove the bandages
covering those scars

Now ask about!
Even if it's not clear
Where they came from
And why they're still here

Get into my head!
You know you want to
so don't play around
Or I will taunt you

Don't hesitate!
Can't you see?
I want you to understand
What I really need

Don't fight the urge!
I won't mind
The questions you ask
Or the answers you'll find

Break the skin!
Keep probing till you get
What you're looking for
Or til I forget

Give a push!
Don't stop in your tracks
You're on a roll
So don't look back

Open my mouth!
If it won't budge
To find out how
In the past I've loved

Follow me!
And I'll show you a way
To my darkest room
Down decaying hallways

Push me harder!
If I try to resist
When you ask me questions
That just get me pissed

Don't leave me alone!
'Cause you'll never hear
How I came so close
To living in fear

Rape my seanses!
I will oblige
Now it's up to you
To figure out why

Gypsy Magic: Clay Johnson

unpublished writing by a youth from Larkin Street Youth Services
*typos and capitalization are [sic]

From the depths of an alley out bursts and old and gray gypsy man weary with the tempered sunshine dripping from his wilted eyes. An officer sees and meets him at the alleys opening before he has a chance to run. "Stop gypsy!" he cries. The gypsy knowing he could run sees something like intrigue in the angle of the officer's eyes and decides to obey.

"Gypsy we have the same enemy and I seek your magic." "Nonsense" says the gypsy, "there is no such thing as magic". While speaking and with a wave of his hand he is simultaneously allowed a moment to hide in his pocket a jewel that he had bartered (tricked) out of the possession of a local townsmen.

"I've seen you move with the forces of the unknown. I believe not in witches but I know what I've seen of you gypsy. As well, that old farmer on the hill who I know would have you breathing dirt under stone if he could, has lately born an offense upon my family".

Sensing now an opportunity springing through their rift the gypsy ruminates on this statement for a moment. then out of the corner of his eye he sees the townsman searching for revenge in his periphery and so responds, "walk with me long arm of order and I shall show you the ways to deal with our commonalities." Together they walk towards the outskirts of town.

Upon reaching the farthest limits of the small dusty town the gypsy motioned for the officer to sit. "For a small price I will teach you to stop time itself just long enough to conjurewhatever tools you may need in any situation." "Yes gypsy pleaaaaase I will do anything. The farmer refuses to sell my wife and I vegetables because he believe me not to be fit for her hand in marriage. I fear our starvation! Here is some gold and silver I had saved for just such and occasion". The gypsy's eyes glowed and lowered for nearly an indiscernible instant before he response, "you prepare for strange situations officer". The officer tries to bargain some more by saying, with this can you not pay off your debt to the farmer?" The gypsy had no intention of paying off anyone but he quickly agreed, accepted the payment, and motioned for the officer to close his eyes.

Escape within his reach, the gypsy felt surprisingly torn. He would usually be halfway to the next nowhere with a new bag of tricks and money by now but something about the officers demeanor strangely affected him. Usually people falling for his tricks was to him, a sign of naivety but for the first time he saw something different, trust, and it stirred him.

In this moment time itself did stop and a sort of magic did bubble up from the situational instance. for a moment he could have sworn that he could literally perceive a great intangivle force emanating from the officers still body. He had always known of this spring of fluidity but had for some reason never thought to use it this way.

He picked up the most unique looking rock he could find in his periphery and handed it to the officer and enclosed the officers hand around it.

"Now without opening your eyes" said the gypsy, "place this magic stone in your coat pocket and never look at it until you need it. Then in that moment gaze upon it and know that it is you and that your strength and magic spring from within it."

Nearly crying the officer thanked him and did as he was told. As he was leaving he also added, "now that I think about it my wife and I hardly need this rolling dried tumble weed of a town. We shall now go west as we have always dreamed of doing and just as you would do. Oh thank you gypsy. Thank you."

As the officer left the gypsy began to reflect. He knew of no other life than that of rambling momentum as a seed to his alchemy but of the deep-seated and knowing trust the officer possessed he had little. Thoughts filled his ebbing mind and spilled out of his periphery like tears the earth itself did cry to wash away the dirt. he decided it was time he lived out the rest of his days in one place and this town to him seemed perfect.

His eyes wandered autonomously to rock of a similar deep red hue as the one he had given the officer. He picked it up as if just to feel its energy but in that moment, as soon as the rock felt settled in his palm, he closed his eyes as tightly as they could allow. He felt then his entire sense of self dissolve away. Somehow out of his body and into that of the rock. With a smile his body fell limp to the ground as he passed away.

His last thought coupled with a chuckle was whispered from his lips as he relaxed into eternity, "magic is..." The end

That..........Tranny boy!?: Gotti

unpublished writing by a youth from Larkin Street Youth Services
*typos and capitalization are [sic]


I would say after three years of becoming acquainted with the "gay world" I found myself becoming one of those "over-relationships-gays" because of the past three unsuccessful relationships I'd had. I wish I could give more of an explanation other than all three of them cheated on me and cared nothing of my interests except my interest and weakness for I put intimate romance on the bottom of the totem pole.

After a year I managed to shun men completely because it was obvious to me there were no men around who could provoke and stir feelings of magnetism. So one day after having a very stressful thirty minutes of "job searching".........I spent the rest of that day smoking weed and writing in my sketchbooks at Glen Park and just like a "pot-head" who gets too high...I passed out... into a coma. When I finally opened my eyes there was this red-headed boy with a red beard sitting on the bench next to me reading through my sketch-books!?! I jumped up irate and purely pissed demanding to know why he was reading my "shit". "your very hard to miss passed out on a beach with hot pink vans on during the middle of the day" he said, and at that point I couldn't even respond just look at him in complete surreal awe, but as I was transfixed I relaized just how handsome he was.....his eyes were so angelic with their green glow and his lips were pink as BUBBLE GUM. "anyway" he continued...."since you decide to be a sitting duck from some of San Francisco's not-so gentleman like characters. I took it upon myself to be your body guard and watch out for your payment requirement just a look into your soul...which by the way is so beautifully tortured" he was talking about my sketchbooks and as soon as he said heart did something it had not done in an entire was pounding immensely. Hist personality was scary to me because it reeked of empathy. And his cool way of expressing himself so elegant I thought I was on some new "trip" off weed. "It takes someone with a special kind of heart to write about the things you do" I couldn't believe what I was heard and I was falling so hard in love right there on that Glen park bench. He got up and said "my name is Ashton" Isaac" I say a little dryly." well Isaac I'll be on my way...try not to pass out on benches in parks, you're not in Kansas anymore they will think your some tweaked out little Twinkie who can't stay sober for longer than three minutes". I couldn't stop thinking to myself..."what the fuck kind of movie scene shit is this" as he was walking away I couldn't let my new found preince go without at least getting his number... this guy who had me swooning like a little bitch "DUDE!!!...ASHTON.....CAN I GET YOUR NUMBER!?" as he walked away he said "my cell number is on the napkin inside your book" he winked and kept walking. I pulled out a Starbucks napkin and on the piece of napkin it read

TO: The streange "Emo" boy I watched sleep on the Bench at Glen Park......Because he looked so damn cute with his face shoved in a sketchbook"

FROM: The Red-Head "tyranny" boy

I looked up and my mouth dropped....that sexy ass, green eyed Spartan was...............a tyranny boy!? All of that what I was feeling that day was sparked by.."That tranny Boy!!!!???"

I mean I was thinking how significant is a dick anyway? It gets in the way when you try to sleep on your stomach, it has a mind of its own when you can't control your hormones any longer, and too much emphasis is placed on its size and girth.....all I knew was Ashton the red-head tranny boy opened my eyes to an entirely different realm of feeling....I was excited and it was because of Ashton I accepted all tranny boys as real boys and why i love them so much. Because of ................................."That Tranny Boy"



My New Years Resolution: Camea Davis

unpublished poem by a youth from Larkin Street Youth Services
*typos and capitalization are [sic]


Its finally here 2011, last year was rough some family members now IN heaven, but next year is my year plenty of dreams & goals to reach, but I made a promise to myself to live life & be stressfree. I no longer want to struggle got a spot but not the "green," In like a month Im 24, Im no longer 23, Its funny we never know the different things that life is gonna bring but yet to life Im still committed and real soon I'll reach my dreams.

Some People Say I Have a Gift: Devyn Pleasants

unpublished poem by a youth from Larkin Street Youth Services
*typos and capitalization are [sic]

Some people say I have a gift
that makes them sit down in front of me
To listen intently to my poetry
In order to know the whole of me
the chance to look at me critically
Or to find a rhyming soliloquy
Will not come like this
But, however, they persist

In time they find
My soul to exist
As thoughts and ideas
I put on a list

Then hide away in a secret place
Away from even God's grace
I take it out when no one's around
And use it to write my feelings down

Sometimes it's gone, at times too scared
To let me keep exposing the mind's affairs

But if I stop writing it yells at me
It gets angry with me and tells me to leave
And then I'm left with an undone piece
No chance to finally release

Never asking why it screamed at me
Do I write of its insecurities?
That's probably why it's mean to me
For revealing every impurity

But alas with efforts
I've finished my poem
And what has it shown
Has it shown that unkown

Deep, dark hidden space
Hid from even God's grace
Hid forever, hidden from time
Hid where the stars try not to shine

Hidden even as the planets shift
In my heart
Is this poetic gift

You're Princess: Samone Marshalek

unpublished poem by a youth from Larkin Street Youth Services
*typos and capitalization are [sic]

Define me as your princess.
divined in a novel of non-fiction.
I struggle with our battle fields
but your grasp on my glass slipper prevents me from escaping you.
You wont have to take a bite of the poison apple for me to kiss your lips.
My carriage is big enough for your mind to fondle with mine.
Your body is my cloak and my arms are your tower.
but when there's a distance, my heart converges in tangled knots.
Lost in thought of your touch.
For I await for you in a castle as your sleeping beauty.
To kiss me with loves first kiss.
To break the fall from a deep sleep.
But would you climb the million stair cases to reach to me?
Or would you slip rose pedals into my dream?
then it's your eyes that get to me.
Your my candle in the dark that makes me shine from the bottom of my heart.
I urge to take you on adventurous rides
to make the rhythm of your heart beat throb on many fast rollercoaster's.
Skimming my fingers over your chocolate layers.
Wondering with my evasive lips and my slippery hands.
Mirror mirror on the wall who loves you more than all.
I'll make sure I don't take a bite out of the poison apple
But take a bit out of all your love with a kiss to your frozen lips.
You found your Cinderella. You found the shoe that fits.
Still, I'm enchanting to explore and to fine all your weaknesses.
Now define me as your humming bird
Singing beautiful disaster softly, into your delicate ears.
As I'm snuggled and wrapped around you
Playing the melody that you endure me to sing.
When the clock hits at the stroke of 12, the spell is broken.
I'm bound to ask who my heart belongs to.
Is it you?

A Melody: Samone Marshalek

unpublished poem by a youth from Larkin Street Youth Services
*typos and capitalization are [sic]

You kept returning to me
like a melody.
When clueless strained my eyes
your love would eclipse mine.
Thin rashes on my skin slowly broke my purity
but then your anchor saved me
from a long line in the sea.
You're my element of abundance
unthreading the bad.
I accuse you from stealing my heart
from all thoughts tainted rushes.
Like that melody
there's elegance with you singing
of a finer place.
You know how to make me angry
for your hands.
Its almost as if you casted a spell
grasping my mind through your world.
It's your power of the rapid sea
floating over my ambitions
that I can't control.
I detected the salt in the ocean
like I detected how open you are for me.
I thought I was polluted
with false eternities
but you found the nuthing and made it into somthing.
When I start to gravitate with the fears tucked under the blanket
you always pull me from under the water.
Your waves are so hard to resist
that every castle I build
calaspes into a sandy pile of laughs.
what a melody you play.

My Bromo Called Me: Vinnie


My BRoMo CaLLed Me
She Put on HER Canclled TwitteR
Account A Lie of CouRse!
-My Mind Is A Rubkis Cube that HAs
BEEN Passed aRound, kicked, DRopped AND Had
The stickers pulled, peeld, mismatched
And EveEN HAD A FEW Just DissapearR!
HowEVER ThRu The ConFusioN, FRustRAtion,
IRtation, Even BetteR oF my ENDAMETic SELf!
I Go Back To Basics, I Rip oFF the stickers
And Get the Solution To Make
aLL The Sides ThE SamE CoLoR! BLANK!
WhEN you ARE Ready To Have what I
ahve BROMo ComE Join ME!
CLEAN Sinc Day ONE Plus ALive Equals OnEself.
How Can You Ask ME wheRE IMAT? wheN I have
BeeN HOME This whole Time, How EasilLy you
FoRGet, You LiE!
I wiLL READ This shout Out Loud
FOR You, Much LovE!
Only Content... only Forgivness
Only CLean and conTent HearT Just FoR you!
IM Just Me, Im Just Vinnie
And Now I Let My Hands Be my
Painting of writing Poems
In My Spoken WoRd
Against you My BRoMo!

Im Starting to Give up, Give In: Vinnie

unpublished poem by a youth from Larkin Street Youth Services
*typos and capitalization are [sic]

Im STARting To Give up, Give In
Im starting To Give up ON
A Reality that CaME about Oct 17.
The DAy I Met My RacheL!
She Seemed To ComE AT Me
FRom BEhind and my cLosed eyes oF mind!

And UnCoveR Them To Something Real
and Overwhelming, To Good To Be TRue
she Once Said.
Those Words Seem To Be The Reality at this Point!

Looks Like I HAve No other
choice But To GiVE up, LEt Go!
Give up An Emotion Not
Wanted By HER..
But StiLL HERE And SAy
I LoVe you RacHeL
But Why Do I LoVE You?

Been Seven Long Days: Vinnie

unpublished poem by a youth from Larkin Street Youth Services
*typos and capitalization are [sic]


Seven Long Days Since I Saw That Face
Look Back at me with that
ExpressioN oF AnGeR
No SmiLE Anywhere To Be Found..
No Love To Be Seen Anywhere IN Sight..
Seven Days Since I FeLt The Warmth
of you RacheL!
Only To Be Swept away In a MatteR of Moments!
Swept Away by your UncallEd FoR
YET Confusing ReactioN!
Seven Days Since Those WoRds escaped
FROM your LiPS!
Those UnTruthFuL WoRDS
I Now what I BeLievE
SEven Days IN The DARK
With No ANsweRs To BE HEARD
SEven Long DAys!

I am a sad poet: Devyn Pleasants

unpublished poem by a youth from Larkin Street Youth Services
*typos and capitalization are [sic]

"I am a sad poet

My words are bleeding
Who cares, you poets
Are forever teething

I am sad in here
You only need one eye to see
Tears are found here
And the edge is steep

I have cried and hoped
Death would be release
But that is far from
The rest I need

And each time it ends
In a lover's bout
Adds scars visible
To you, no doubt

But are invisible to me
Are shielded and concealed
Like wounded soldiers minds
Are falsely healed

San Francisco: Zack Smith

unpublished poem by a youth from Larkin Street Youth Services
*typos and capitalization are [sic]

Doses everywhere
People without a care
There's nothing to do
Except to melt away without a clue

A flashing light
Lies not to far from my campsite
Listening to Beirut
Is my favorite thing to do

Yesterday a fog settled
I just got my notebook and meddled
Darkness always comes when I write
It's so hard to stay in the light

Looking in San Francisco
Tripping on LSD
Nowhere to go
Candles are all I can see

Smoking another cigarette
The satisfaction still hasn't reached me yet
Thirteen days away
Oh how I miss this holiday

Old friends with coke habits: Zack Smith

unpublished poem by a youth from Larkin Street Youth Services
*typos and capitalization are [sic]

Old friends with coke habits

This person is fucked
This person just told me what happened
This person walked into my backyard
This person just finished crying after four hours before he left
This person ran into his house bleeding
This person got out of a car
This person got into the car while it was moving
This person got up as soon as he could
This person got pummeled
This person tried to explain why he didn't have the money
This person spent 2 weeks bumping his life away
This idiot got it fronted to him

Food is Delicious: Vaughnjareya Falkner

unpublished poem by a youth from Larkin Street Youth Services
*typos and capitalization are [sic]

Food is delicious
Food makes me fat
Food is good
or evil.
Some have too much
Others have too little
I've even met those who have the perfect amount.
It's there
In the cabinets
slimmering on stove
raw in plastic packaging
moldering under the couch.
Food. Hey, you guys want some food?!
How do you like yours?
And you?
Out of the can.
How about you?
I like it free, my man.
Holocaust victims were deprived of it.
Mardi Gras revelers in France indulged in it.
Spilled it on the ground,
while children cried to be fed
seeing cakes and sweet meats trampled
beneath the rich people's feet.
I hate using cash to get it,
Food Stamps are preferred.
People love it during Christmas
and shun it after New Year.
"Lose those holiday pounds!" Magazines skriek post-Thanksgiving.
"Feed the children!"
"There's starving people in Africa!"
Not ALL, parts, dummy. Africa is a continent.
Binging, purging,. Tasting, dining. Salvia glands prepare you.
Hot or cold, my dear? Ice cram man in the summer, soup man in the winter.
Pick your poison, baby.

Seeing I 2 I: Warren Ross

unpublished poem by a youth from Larkin Street Youth Services
*typos and capitalization are [sic]

Seeing I 2 I
to know, think about, and tolerate is one thing
to contemplate, understand, and accept is
Another entirely.

Let me put this out there right from the start.
I am me.
No one Else, got it?
And now I just wanna say I am really
starting to get annoyed with this whole
label, label stereotype thing every
one And their Mammas seem
to be rolling with these days.
Do you think what if the whole world went
blind, people would really know who's standing
beside them. Maybe we'd finally look past
appearance, and actually get to know
the people behind the cover
or maybe

I'm just

I don't know
I just don't understand
why the world is so fucking judgmental,
Can I just be me?
Can we just be humans together?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dear Body: Vinnie

unpublished poem by a youth from Larkin Street Youth Services
*typos and capitalization are [sic]


You See There Is A Problem HeRE!Italic
Im In PAiN!
Not Just Any Pain, The Kind of Pain That
makes you Feel as though There are Little GrimLings
chewing away at my muscles & Joints Causing them
To Constrict a Thousands Knives
Pressing Hard, pressing Deep!
But you See, Its Not youR Fault!
Its MinE!! For Iam The One who
Consumed all those what I call
Lines on FLat MiRRoR TabeL!

I was the OnE who ConSumed
Those Now Living On what I Call a Side Effect
On a Once 89LB METH HEAD!!

But Its Not YouR FAULt Body!
I Now CaRRy The Pain!
But you See Body! I teLL You this
I Need you To CARRy Now This Healthy
Fagboi, cLean Since DAY One ON This New JouRNEY
I NEEd you To CARRY Me
ALL The Way
FoR I am STRong, I SuRRender!

Freedom: Samone Marshalek

unpublished submission from the youth at Larkin Street Youth Services

Sometimes it's hard to listen to the rain
When its [sic] clarity isn't clear enough.
The rashes off my skin tell a person im [sic] not well enough
for a day without innocence.
Inch by inch I'm loosing my own
with every tear leaking from the corner of my eye lids.
No one seems to claim the stranger inside me
so i [sic] walk along my torn pieces.
voices keep winding through my soul
speaking love appearance but i [sic] cluster under my clothes
that makes me invisible to glance at.
I'm opposed to the volume of the crowd
that makes me want to shout out my rough edge
but no one seems to know that.
Bleeding but no fear of fighting
the tall waves from above my head
sometimes makes the freedom comes [sic] out again.

Questioning: Shanya Nicole

unpublished submission from the youth at Larkin Street Youth Services

Where do I want to be? I don't know I don't feel
like I have a choice it's up to me. Some days I feel
the need for a woman, some days the need for a
man. But I am comfortable where I am. I don't
need a label, I love, love, love, depending on the
day, the time, is it the right place?

Both are beautiful to me. Both are choices.
Both are my eye of Desire.
I can have one or the other
or Both
or None
But I know what I like the most
confused of my attraction
And men are always available
women shy away
Megan are hurtful
women soft, loving
But it's hard to want
What doesn't want me
and I'm not too sure