He’s still a child
in need,
and while he danced
upon her skin,

time stood
in silent runes.

Still
not healed,
the wounds
he left behind.

She travels
through a forest of backs
turned against her.

SFU Library at Harbour Centre

One of my clients used to rent office space in a building directly across from SFU Harbour Centre. Simon Fraser University has several campuses and buildings downtown. But ever since I caught a glimpse of a library through the large, front windows, I’ve wanted to check it out. So one day in May, I strode purposely toward a study space by the window and sat down on one of the stools. Using my pink psychedelic patterned Acme pen, writing by hand in a bound notebook, in amongst the laptops and computer stations made me feel a little like a Flickr Throwback Thursday picture. But I liked working in the Belzberg Library. It is on two levels. The second level houses non-circulating reference materials. Since my first visit in May when I took this photo, I’ve been back several times to work on one of personal writing projects.

The years have snowed me under
paranoia and tears;
left ice crystals embedded
in my heart;
misted over my eyes from seeing any possibilities.

I breathe again,
surrounded by a nest of days
that nurture me
until it is safe to fly.

I have no understanding
of how I came to be this way–
afraid of my own shadow
afraid you will murder me
a second time
with your inability
to see me as I am.

The pieces of the whole picture
are scattered across a table
fourteen years wide.

But the key
to the puzzle
lies in a blue room
bathed in early morning light

from which no one
gets out alive.

Greeting cards handmade

On my continuing quest to pare down and get rid of non-essentials, during the past couple of months I weeded my decades-old collection of greeting cards, gift tags and letters from two (very bulging) accordion files, two magazine holders and one (overstuffed) file folder to one slim file folder. But when I arrived at the collection of handcrafted greeting cards my friend LK has sent to me over the 35 plus years we have been friends, my fierce inner organizer was halted in her tracks. Each card has a handwritten message that not only honours the occasion but is still relevant after all this time.

Handcrafted Card with envelope
This little gem came with its own envelope, made of overlapping circles. The top half of each circle is folded to make a square; then tucked in like the flaps of a cardboard box to close it.

Two handmade greeting cards
The handmade card on the left, featuring the fossilized leaf technique originating from the Philippines, celebrated my 50th birthday. The paper of the main part of the card is also handcrafted. LK gave me the one on the right to mark my dad’s passing in 2011.

Four handcrafted cards

Upper left: Christmas card 2008
Upper right: Birthday card showcasing tea bag folding with Xocai chocolate wrappers
Lower left: A reusable card by removing the insert and replacing it with the enclosed blank one (yeah, right, that’s going to happen!)
Lower right: A hospitality thank you card after one of LK’s visits to Vancouver.

My plan for the LK set of cards was to keep only the “important” ones. But even the occasional mass production blank cards she mailed for birthdays and Christmases, were inked with special sentiments and encouraging phrases. The handmade greeting cards are works of art I couldn’t bring myself to banish to the recycling bin. They are now resting comfortably in an envelope in the top drawer of my night table, where they are easily accessible whenever I need a friendship reminder mixed in with a pinch of inspiration.

Team Japan Fireworks 2014

I have been watching the annual fireworks display from my balcony ever since I moved from Winnipeg to Vancouver. It started out as Symphony of Fire, sponsored by Benson & Hedges, but when the Canadian tobacco advertising laws changed in 2000,  another sponsor was found and the competition was renamed Celebration of Light.  One of the densely populated neighbourhoods to begin with, on three nights of last week (July 26, July 30, Aug. 2), over a million plus people crowded into downtown Vancouver to see the US, France and Japan compete. I have never actually seen the fireworks display from one of the official viewing areas along the beach. But I do intend to do that in the future: they say there is nothing like experiencing the pyrotechnics and the music at the same time. This pic is from Celebration of Light 2014 when Team Japan competed on Aug. 2nd.

Loss leaves a space;
a hesitation in a heart beat;
a pause between words;
a lost thought in transit to some other place.

Loss leaves me wanting to call you;
just to hear your voice;
just to tell you that I’ve lost you
and there is a space in my life
your thoughts can fill.

Loss leaves behind
regret, my old friend,
comfortable as a warm winter coat.
I can explain, I tell your retreating back;
I can be anything you want me to be;
I can be lost for love, for strength,
for words;
lost for now and then.

My pick for this week’s  cheap movie Tuesday was A Most Wanted Man. I was going to skip it: first, for the most obvious reason; and second, to date, it’s the only John Le Carre film adaptation for which I have not read the book before seeing the movie.

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death hit me hard. I guess I missed all the talk about his battle with addiction. But Philip, no matter what role he played, revealed demons of one kind or another, that I could relate to. He not only breathed life into his characters and wore their skins, he created people who somehow became part of the fabric of my life.

I’m glad I didn’t skip it, because I had the pleasure of meeting Michael. Standing in line ahead of me, he smiled but didn’t say anything, even though he kept looking at me. Finally, I felt compelled to say something; I asked if he was going to see “A Most Wanted Man.” For the next 15 minutes, we chatted away like we were old friends until he bought his ticket, and I lost sight of him.

After the movie was over, we caught up with each other again, this time in the foyer and discussed the movie’s themes –  post 9/11, terrorism, prejudice, overreacting, being American (he lived in the US for many years). When it came time to part company, Michael said that he hoped to run into me again. I added that I enjoyed talking with him. And I meant it; having someone to talk to before and after the film seemed to take the sting out of saying goodbye to Philip.

As testimony to his ability as an actor, I actually forgot that it was Philip Seymour Hoffman in his last starring role  – with a German accent; a splash of whiskey in an afternoon cup of coffee; an insomniac’s impromptu piano solo in the early hours of the morning; and the ghosts of past failures reflected in his eyes, Gunther Bachmann appears, tells his story and then abruptly vanishes from sight, leaving me wanting to know more.

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