GirlFly Poetry

Donna-Esmerelda-Lina-Lucia-and-Simones-Dance-GIRLFLY-2021-by-Vitali-Kononov-1400x933, GirlFly Poetry, Culture Currents
Quesada Gardens is an inspiring place, and the GirlFly students were inspired to create much of their own choreography. – Photo: Vitali Kononov

by Bay View Editor Nube Brown

GirlFly participants spent an hour and a half of each day of the program this past summer on a writing, environment, watershed and land acknowledgement lesson by Dr. Wei Ming Dariotis, Quesada Gardens resident and SF State professor of Asian American Studies, and community gardening lessons by Quesada Gardens resident, Hussain Abdulhaqq, who also made home-cooked meals for the participants.

Supporting the theme of “Land, Belonging and Racial Justice” were two master classes: American Indian Hoop Dancing by Eddie Madril (Pascua Yaqui) and former poet laureate of San Francisco, Kim Shuck (Tsalagi (Cherokee)-Euro-American).

In addition to a final community dance performance in the Bayview, the participants partnered with the SF Bay View newspaper and created GirlFly Poetry to be published in the paper.

It is our pleasure to share their poetry with the community here:

Flurries of Memories

by Zhixuan (Alina) L., 14, Parkside

I am from memories,

from being in the presence of family,

friends, and enemies.

I am from the path I take,

From generations of culture, 

passed down to who I am.

From experiences handed down to me,

From experiences handed down by me.

I am from memories.

From the time I learned how to ride a bike,

to the time I took my first step into kindergarten.

From the time I cried and sobbed,

To the time I sat and talked.

Each memory is a time, a place, a person, a thing.

Each memory teaches a lesson that helps me grow.

Each memory is a practice session,

To prepare me for the performance of life, 

what a marvelous show.

I am from memories,

From making mistakes and correcting them,

from changing and changing and then finally,

embracing myself.

I am from memories,

Each memory a thread woven into cloth

Each memory a singular snowflake that falls onto my tongue

Each memory a note to the grand symphony of the world

Each memory a paint stroke to the canvas of my heart.

Sacred Memories of San Francisco

by Amber V., 16, Crocker Amazon

i am from a cold foggy embrace 

i am from the strong smell of hot dogs wrapped in bacon grilling on the corner of mission street 

i am from the 43-bus stop where i spend a lot of time because i missed the bus i thought i could run and catch 

i am from the never-ending hills of the castro where my papa drives up and down as we listen to bohemian rhapsody by queen 

i am from the boba guys on 19th and valencia where the large strawberry matcha never fails to keep me up until the sun begins to shine at 6 in the morning 

i am from brown sand and even browner water found only on ocean beach 

i am from the purple park where my dad would push me on the swings until i almost flung over the top 

i am from Safeway where my mom always says “don’t ask for anything” but buys me something anyways 

i am from running in the rain almost falling into my friends and laughing so hard i start to cry

i am from the Pride Parade where all the colors make me feel free, welcomed and loved

i am from helping my mama up the stairs after a long day of work 

i am from the city where i have made the most sacred memories

My Whole Life

by Angel, 14, Alemany

I am from Alemany in SF and the Safeway where my grandmother buys me everything

My mother and my father called me Angel when I was born

Angel means angels like little angels in the sky

I have been living with my grandma since I was six months old

The Quesada Gardens is a nice place to chill and be happy at

I really love sitting next to the lovely flowers

And smelling them right next to me

I see beautiful yellow flowers outside

I touch the yellow flowers when I go by them

My most favorite color is pink

I like being in the sun

I see Jo, Megan, and Serena next to the plants saying,

“Hello, Angel. Good morning”

I talk to the others

The Quesada Gardens is a nice place to chill and be happy

I see beautiful yellow flowers outside

I touch the yellow flowers 

like little angels

To learn more about GIRLFLY, contact Jo Kreiter at Jo is a nationally recognized choreographer and site artist with a background in political science. Contact Bay View Editor Nube Brown at