GIRLFLY in the Gardens

Megans-Dance-GIRLFLY-2021-by-Vitali-Kononov-1400x933, GIRLFLY in the Gardens, Culture Currents
In addition to poetry, GirlFly participants choreographed and performed dances throughout the “free space” of the Bayview neighborhood, transforming traditional concepts of dance venues into something far more creative and imaginative. – Photo: Vitali Kononov

This year’s GIRLFLY in the Gardens – the beautiful Quesada Gardens in the center of Bayview Hunters Point – was built around the three key ideas of “Land, Belonging and Racial Justice.” As young women and non-binary people moving through the world, it can be hard to claim a sense of belonging, particularly in public spaces mired in racial injustice. 

Through site-specific dances, choreographed by GIRLFLY participants Jo Kreiter and Megan Lowe of Flyaway Productions, lessons by master hoop dancer Eddie Madril (Pascua Yaqui) and former SF poet laureate, Kim Shuck (Tsalagi/Cherokee and Polish) and writing activities led by SF State professor of Asian American Studies Wei Ming Dariotis, GIRLFLY participants developed a deep sense of their belonging in San Francisco tied to rich and complex histories and even dreams of their own futures, as you can see in the following poems.

The SF Bay View is delighted to present this series of 16 poems, three poems each month over the next five months. As promised, here are the next three poems and we encourage you to travel with us on this poetic journey. Be inspired! 

Path to where 

by Aranzazu R., 19, Mission

Night falls stars move 

Hidden away behind the sun

Moon spins watching as everyone shines 

What is there to show? 

I am the shy girl sitting next to you 

What might she be thinking? 

I am from the bunny hidden away

What is it that brought her here?

I am from singing my way into life

Escaping the wolf that always takes me down

I am from the songs that pull me

From the hidden corner taking my spotlight 

I am from closing myself from others 

Taking care of everyone, but “everyone” isn’t me

I am from learning dances at 2 a.m.

Growing and spreading out the roots that haven’t yet spread 

I am from questioning life

Opening my eyes into nothing left alone again 

I Am a Person 

by Ashley P., 15, Bayview

I am from the busy city of San Francisco

I am from a place where I feel welcomed with open arms

A place where I feel safe, where I feel connected 

Always feeling the breeze on my face 

I am from immigrant parents from Guatemala 

Who share their stories and culture with me 

Who want me to pass these on to the next generations

I am a girl who is passionate about her education

Running every morning to catch the bus forgetting one thing or two

I am a first-generation child who navigates through two cultures 

I am a butterfly who navigates everywhere and is free

Free of spirit, free of mind, just free

I am a teenager 

Still learning so much from myself and from the world 

Trying not to fall too hard on my face from mistakes I commit as I grow up 

Always talking without seeming to stop

I am a traveler

No, I don’t go anywhere, but I imagine I do 

I have an imagination where I see myself accomplishing all of my goals

Where I become the best version of myself 

I am a person 

Who connects with other people 

Who wants to leave a positive mark by doing acts of kindness

Always looking forward without looking back

I am from heart

by Charleigh, Bayview

I am from Maryland to San Francisco 

I am from a Hagerstown, MD, where the weather is bipolar

One minute it rains, then the sun is gleaming

I am from playing outside until the streetlights cut off

I enjoy hearing the laughter of other kids’ excitement 

I am from the sand burrs in my backyard poking my feet

I am from the playground where I spent most of my hours 

I am from my family

The feeling of being loved and the joy they brought me 

I am from cold snowy nights 

Spent my mornings shoveling snow from people’s driveways 

I am from a home that wants me to respect them 

I am from breaking crab legs 

Letting the sauce drip in between my fingers, while I continue to eat 

I am from so many feelings and ideas I can’t control most of the time 

I am from heart 

Bay View Editor Nube Brown is a New Afrikan, abolitionist and Liberate the Caged Voices columnist. She hosts Prison Focus Radio on KPOO 89.5 San Francisco and every Thursday 11:00 to noon and also broadcasts Bay View TV Breaking News on Instagram @sfbayview every weekday morning from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. Connect with her at