Feral cats (cherita)

winter was approaching

she worried at the distrust
of so many homeless strays

they’d brave the frigid air
on those bitter cold nights
she was hopeful with her plan


tolerant old sage

each day leaving food
on the steps of her balcony

two feral cats
warming up to her
soon entering her warm abode.

(c) Oliana Kim – 2014/11/26

3WW – distrust hopeful tolerant

Wordless Wednesdays


© Clr – Hunger – Métro Bonaventure

Old Maid’s Day today!

La fête Ste-Catherine

Catherinettes – France

A nice way to say Old Maid’s Day, November 25th. Ste Catherine is the patron saint of unmarried women under 25. I still don’t get why? A woman who was tortured by being placed in a torture machine that consisted of wheels armed with sharp spikes so that she would be torn to pieces as the wheels, saved by divine intervention and then beheaded.  French Canadians would call this day St. Catherine’s taffy (la tire Ste-Catherine), originally made by French Canadian girls to honor St. Catherine, the patron saint of unmarried women on her feast day. St. Catherine’s Day is sometimes known in among French-Canadians as “taffy day,” a day when marriage-age girls would make taffy for eligible boys. (Wikipedia)

My grandmaman would make this taffy a week before Halloween to give out to trick or treaters and we called them “Candy kisses” and in French we would simply say, des kiss. They were certainly the dream of dentists for they could remove a whole bunch of fillings during that time of year.

But what constitutes an old maid these days anyway? In the days of my grandmother and perhaps my mother as well, you were pitied if you were a woman in your mid to late 20’s in Quebec if you were not married. When I was in elementary school (I went to English school) I was always a bit surprised to see many of my friends’ parents were older than my parents. I learned through their experiences that many parents waited to finish school, college and university to have a career before starting a family. That did make sense, now didn’t it?

So these women who went to higher education and did not marry yet, were they considered old maids? I remember hearing whispers in my mother’s “home” beauty salon, “Oh she is married to her work. She’ll never find a man.” So to like your work was not a good thing I was to understand in my earlier youth. Well, I could see how I would not want to be married to be a housekeeper …yuk…never did get that pure satisfied feeling because my home was squeaky clean! Oh sure, it felt good but it was not what made me feel more “whole” as a person or as a woman…good grief!  I sure did dream of being June Cleaver and in Father Knows Best, his wife did not seem to have the nicest life, to me anyway.

I could not see myself married to hairdressing either seeing my mother on her feet for 12 to 16 hours, taking orders, hearing the whining, complaining, dumping on her for so little money and the more clients who came from money tipped the least and looked down on her. The best clients were hard working women often from sweat shops…I used to help sometimes to rinse their hair and they would even tip me. I could see myself being a nurse or mid-wife like my grandmother though…there was something appealing about helping people.

In the 70’s the concept of marriage was slowly waning…here anyway. So many people of all classes were quite comfortable with common law arrangements. I was slowly thinking the same thing since my parents divorced; I saw such a hassle with the legalities and so much resentment. But living in a small French Quebecois town with the eyes and ears of family and friends of my parents, marriage was probably the best route…I was like the statistics of the 50’s and 60’s, married at 19 working as a secretary putting college on hold.

But back to old maids. In the 80’s I still remember some work colleagues embarrassed on this day. Why were women so mocked when it was okay for a man to be a “confirmed” bachelor?

And what constitutes an old maid? If I have been divorced, single for xx amount of years, am I considered an old maid now? I remember two years ago I had dipped my toes in dating again and would laughingly say I was a virgin because I had not been in a sexual intimate relationship in 10 years. Well, they say if you quit smoking for 10 years, your lungs are like brand new, so…

Well, whether one takes notice of this expression or not it is la fête de Ste Catherine and all the unmarried women over 25 years old. Old maid? Nah, that’s just a card game.

© Oliana Kim, 2014/11/25

This should make you smile…or not:

Sainte Catherine, soyez bonne

Nous n’avons plus d’espoir

qu’en vous

Vous êtes notre patronne

Ayez pitié de nous

Nous vous implorons à genoux

Aidez-nous à nous marier

Pitié, donnez-nous un époux

Car nous brûlons d’aimer

Daignez écouter la prière

De nos cœurs fortement épris

Oh, vous qui êtes notre mère

Donnez-nous un mari

Saint Catherine be good

We have no hope

but you

You are our protector

Have pity on us

We implore you on our knees

Help us to get married

For pity’s sake, give us a husband

For we’re burning with love

Deign to hear the prayer

Which comes from our overburdened hearts

Oh you who are our mother

Give us a husband


Read more here

an amazing custom (free verse)

I love this custom
through and through
it is like food
for my lone soul
gives me energy
no vitamin can
it may be cultural
in many ways
not everyone
is skilled, adept
some may feel awkward
some simply mimic
for the form
like shaking hands
no warmth is felt,
a germaphobe
will not observe
this common custom
but those who know
let it endure
and linger just
a moment longer
gives me fuel
to run a mile
kick my heels
I’m filled with joy
French, Spanish,
and Italians,
are quite keen
skilled in this custom
French/Irish/ Welsh
are in my blood
perhaps it’s not
simply nature
it might be nurture…
learned and rehearsed…
all I know
is that my mom
sure taught me fine
this norm I find
just so sublime.

© Oliana K. 2014/11/24

Written for Dverse Poets – Defamilarization – Meeting the Bar

This prompt has expired but I thought it would be fun to have a go at it.  Here are the instructions and to read more about this prompt click on the link above Dverse Poets.   I actually do not like poetry that is too vague that I have to keep guessing and looking up every second word in the dictionary…but that’s me.  Reading between the lines, of course. I don’t know if I succeeded in having you, the reader in seeing the experience in my poem differently but I had fun trying. Oliana.

We are asked to  think carefully and describe a familiar object or situation using techniques so we as reader are forced to see them in a new way, And remember it does not matter if it is cryptic or hard to understand. You are the magicians to make us — the readers — react. After all already Aristoteles said: “poetic language must appear strange and wonderful”.

Examples of defamiliarization can be found both before the term was coined and afterwards. Today I will not give any example at all, but urge you to present the familiar in a new way so it feels new, and many of the techniques used in the past have become part of what’s familiar.

Angular (photography)


© Clr ’14

indoor waterfall

© Clr ’14

© C.L.R. 2014

© Clr ’14

Posted by Oliana Kim 2014/11/24

The Photo Challenge – Angular

persistence (free verse)

Street Art

© Clr ’14 Street art

toc toc

mallet strikes

toc toc

merely slight

showing its presence

its toxic essence

toc toc

look I’m here

I’m me

and you’re nothing

toc toc

mallet strikes again

making its

presence known

toc toc

steady and persistent

obsessive and deranged

toc toc

see I’m here

you’re only there

and will never

go anywhere

unless I say so

hope that’s now clear

toc toc

just a reminder

I’m not going anywhere

better be kinder

acquiesce, accept

I am me

you’re only you

respect and adhere

to all my requests

I`ll always be here

get used to my gests

toc toc

toc toc

© OK 2014/11/24

wind at my back (haibun)

© Clr `14

© Clr `14

The weather is ever changing this past week. A few days ago, I could not sleep as the wind was so strong, loud and powerful. The following day, although the day transformed into a sunny day with blue skies, the air was biting cold, the wind was merciless and pushing me off balance a few times walking up a hill.

Yesterday, I had a tense discussion with my supervisor; I feel we are just not a good fit…the inner turmoil I felt after the encounter altered my inner tranquility. I was able to put those feelings at bay to do my work for it demands much compassion and inner peace. I thought I was fine until I awakened in the middle of the night feeling a storm brewing inside like clouds rolling with the wind and stirring havoc in the atmosphere, in this case my chi.

Last night the weather changed dramatically, rain melted all the snow and again all night the winds and rain pouring in spirals making it messy to walk and take cover. I could relate to this transformation of change as if my inner self connected with the spirit of the wind.

rumbling clouds

bully their way asunder

making spirits cry.

© Tournesol ’14

Written by Oliana Kim, 2014/11/24

Written for: Carpe Diem – Transformation & Spirit of the Wind

The Halloween Dance

Sister Dufferin asked her students to stay after class to help decorate the auditorium of St-Patrick’s High School for the All Saint`s Day Memorial.

After Halloween the school had a tradition to have a service commemorating All the Saints on November 1st and after the students had their Halloween dance. It was a mixture of Halloween and a tribute to All Saint’s but students really enjoyed this event for it was the first dance of the school year!

They knew they had to tolerate the mass but afterwards was a lovely meal prepared by the Lady’s Auxiliary for Grades 8 to 11 and then they could transform into a disguise of their choice with a school dance with both boys AND girls that Mother Superior has approved in the past two years.

Tension was mounting to get all the decorations ready on time and Sister Dufferin was also a dance instructor and she was showing the senior class how to jig an Irish jig when Sean slipped and fell on his behind, everyone laughed so much, any irritation that had mounted dissipated at the expense of Sean O’Donnell’s fall.

(c) Oliana Kim ’14-11-23

Submitted for 5 Sentence Fiction – Prompt was “Irritation”


© Clr'14

© Clr’14

Reflecting on life

counting her blessings

cat in meditation

© Oliana K. ’14/11/23

asleep at last

Black And White Photography Kissbit Lit Yodbdmi

Black And White Photography Kissbit Lit Yodbdmi

sleep with unrest


tossing and turning
then heaviness enfolds


sinking  and sinking
deep in a  deep void

sinking to such depths
I’m guest to this darkness


asleep at last


I feel his warm breath
at the back of my neck
smell the sweet scent
of my former Black Knight
he moves oh so close
our bodies engaged
stirring these wants
our yearnings assuaged

Never-ending dreams
Black Knight in my sleep
never fails to appease
nor disturbs my sound sleep

© Oliana K ’14/11/23

la tragédie d’amour (cherita)

je me souviens

il y a longtemps
toi et moi en grand amour

si jeunes et insouciants
impuissante à tes demandes
incapable de me voir seule

notre tragédie d’amour

chacun a ses idéologies
transforment à une guerre de pouvoir

le plus fort gagne
la plus faible résigne de peur
voilà- le début d’une fin

la maladie d’amour
bien voyons dont!
c’est une chanson
par Michel Sardou

© Oliana K. `14/11/23

Silent Sunday

© Clr ' Métro Bonaventure

© Clr ‘ Métro Bonaventure

in love (cherita)

A long time ago

I thought I knew about love
what was real and not

but then I realized
all those years
I had been in love with love.

© Oliana K. “14/11/23

The prompt at Stream of Conciousness this week is “in”. We can use it as many times as we like or as the prefix of a word.  Of course writing for this prompt you are to write non stop, free flow writing and stop when you have to think. After reading this poem, I noticed it fits perfectly with the prompt at MindLoveMisery’sMenagerie 82 “Aware” as well.

Ghost bike (cherita)

In the past 2 months I have been taking a different route to get to work. I get off at a different station, Métro Rosemont,walking down rue St-Denis and passing through the underpass. The first time I was shocked to see a cyclist`s memorial there. A ghost bike was hanging on the rail of the underpass. Mathilde Blais was cycling here April 28, 2014 early in the morning around 6:30 and was hit by a tractor trailer. I remembered hearing about a fatal accident during morning rush hour on the radio but had never made the connection until today writing this post.

I stopped to look at a letter written by Mathilde’s mother and another by her sister; the photo of Mathilde made this look so real and heartwrenching…she was only 33 years old. She was an avid cyclist renting the Bixi bike for the 600th time that day. Bixi bikes are all over the city like many major cities in Canada.

I usually chant my mantra when I walk to the bus terminal and sometimes when I continue my walk to work from the Métro. The following days I stopped chanting for a moment as I passed slowly and would make the sign of the cross feeling very sad for this tragedy. Over the next few weeks, I took more photos and wanted to share this story here.

Just before posting my photos, I decided to google this cyclist`s name and found many stories and photos which I will link at the end here. It`s sad to read her mother`s letter and I kept thinking of my children who are also 30 something. How vulnerable we are! How life is unpredictable and one does not know when your time will come.


at the break of dawn
beware of the traffic

cycling through the viaduct
competing for space
a cyclist lost this race

loss of a cyclist

a sister mourns her sister
a mother mourns her daughter

a city of cyclists and citizens
form a vigil for Mathilde Blais
a ghost bike hung in memory

© Oliana K. ’14/11/23

Montreal Gazette – Death of Mathilde Blais

Alone am I

© Viktoria Ovarenko Pinterest.com

© Viktoria Ovarenko

Alone am I

for you tonight

closing my eyes
inhaling your scent
I shudder at your gentle touch

© Oliana K, ’14/11/23

Aware of time (cherita)

Painting by Mae Giroux, artist, Oakville, On.

Painting by Mae Giroux, artist, Oakville, On.

days go by

here I am sedentary
recluse as customary

writing at all free moments
times my muse absconds
I fret and search, my soul laments

months go by

still I ponder and search herein
look for my true purpose within

family has been my sole devotion
but compassion has also driven
me to give beyond the gene pool.

years go by

time escapes me so fleetingly
still wish to help, make a difference

yet age and health sneers at me
contemplating passively ,
a luxury I can no longer afford.

© Oliana K. ’14/11/23

Written for MindLoveMiserysMenagerie Prompt 82 “Aware”

However it may fit as well for BJ’s Shardorma and Beyond too. Although the cherita form is not supposed to rhyme, those words just seemed to fit coincidentally. But do have a look at this prompt too at MindloveMiserysMenagerie where Georgia and Jen offers us prompts in poetry beyond Shadorma.

smart shopping (cherita)

this season’s for shopping sprees

we used to shop together at malls
like old girlfriends just her and me

she taught me how to find a good sale
always repeating “never pay retail!”
I miss those days just Mom and me.

© Oliana K. ’14/11/23

My mother loved shopping.  She would wear beautiful designer clothes, expensive perfumes and pain her long nails outrageous reds. But she never ever paid retail. She taught me how to stalk the malls, peaking in boutiques, “look for the red sigh” or “the rack way at the back”. She often purchased deals in 3’s, one for her, myself and my sister and then when my daughter was older, she would buy in 4’s.  She was a compulsive shopper.  It made her feel good. It was her way of filling that void with momentary joy.
Written for BJ’s Shardorma and Beyond at Mindlovemisery’sMenagerie

The new moon rapist (Cherita & Shadorma)

At BJ Shadorma and Beyond at Mind Love Misery’s Menagerie, we are asked to write a cherita (telling a tale) or a Shadorma (or both) . We may also use the photo as inspiration. I have used all three and my first go at cherita. Thank you Georgia and Jen for this interesting and fun prompt…well, my tale is not fun but the picture made me do it!

A cherita is a six-line poem that tells a complete story.
A shadorma is a non-rhyming six-line poem with a syllable count of 3/5/3/3/7/5


Maria celebrates her eighteenth birthday


A celebration of adulthood among her friends

sipping Valpolicella at Casa di Montanaro


while there was laughter at la Casa

a strange shadow lurks outside

waits obsessively for his next prey.


at month’s end,

a lunatic mind


new victims

on la luna nuova

a maiden must pay.


thirty years ago a bastard was born


his mother was raped at the New Moon

the depths of the night shed no light


her son grew into a bitter man

his father’s bad blood ran through his veins

addicted to stalk and rape young maidens.

© Oliana K. ’14/11/22 la luna nuova

montgolfière (haibun)


les montgolfières bring out the child in me

Originally posted on Tournesol dans un Jardin:

Photo: Hot Air Balloon Shadow by Snupi2001 @ Deviantart.com

Photo: Hot Air Balloon Shadow by Snupi2001 @ Deviantart.com

Every August there is a festival of hot air balloons in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, called Festival International de Montgolfières. The first hot air balloon was developed by the brothers, Michel Montgolfier and Jacques Eitienne Montgolphier from Annonay, France, in 1782.*

Our family lived near this St- Jean. Hot air balloons depend mostly on calmer winds, 10 miles an hour or less. Therefore just after dawn or late afternoons near dusk generally have less wind speed.  We would sometimes see a shadow cast over the field behind our house during dinner just before sunset.

It is always a thrill to see them up in the air when they take off as a fleet with the varied burst of colours in the sky. Last year I stopped on the highway to look at five balloons floating over Mont St-Grégoire. Such a calming effect when…

View original 95 more words

in sync (haibun)

and the night streams in

from east to west, traveling

in time with the moon

© Tomas Tranströmer

(c) Clr 2014

(c) Clr 2014

The night streams, and the third line, in time with the moon, to me that is like another way of saying when the stars are all in line there will be harmony. Literally it could mean when the sun is in the east the moon is in the west, coming of winter in the west and advent of summer in the east.

But for the deeper meaning, I see this as the stars being aligned with the universe. All things, living as well must be in tune with the self and the universe. If not, there is inner turmoil, it is like swimming against the current and everything seems to be going wrong.  Some say it is getting up from the wrong side of the bed.  Like children who act out when parents are upset, soaking up the energy like a sponge.

In mid-autumn we no longer have daylight savings time, and finally sunrise and nightfall are in sync with nature as it should be. I never get used to daylight saving’s time.

Autumn moon

aligns in concert

with nature

© Tournesol ’14

© Oliana Kim 2014/11/21

Carpe Diem

escape is a treat (haibun)

I believe we find means to escape from reality when we are very young. The child who daydreams or an expression I always use to be “in the moon” (dans la lune). It is being in the “zone”.

I started at a very young age doing this…just drifting off into my world…I was Marilyn Monroe or Dale Evans, I was Lois Lane flying off with Superman over tall buildings. As a teenager, I started listening more and more to music but did not escape so much to listening to it…dancing was my escape. If the music was right, my body seemed to move smoother…so that would be Motown…good R & B.

It was when I got married and no longer went to dances or parties that I started buying albums again. We had a music room and I would spend hours listening to music. Perhaps that’s why my children are so musically inclined, they heard music and swayed with their mother’s movements since they were in my womb.

I remember when I was pregnant for my son, we had a music room in our new home and I played Doobie Brothers a lot in 1978. When he was born, he had colic and I would put on that album and he recognized the music. It would soothe him.

Water of course has always been a part of my life. I am a water sign, born in March and perhaps that is one reason but I grew up by a river and raised my family close to another river. The river relieves me of my pent up emotions as if I could allow my feelings to float away with the current or my rage crash with the rapids. I see water as healing rather than an escape.

During tense times, when I was upset or angry, I could just slip on my headset and I could feel the tension lift and gradually dissipate. There were periods that I may have escaped in journaling or reading as well. When I divorced, I started going out dancing again and for several years that was my escape. I remember the man I was dating for a longer period mentioned, “You are miles away when you’re dancing.” Well, if the music was right, I usually was miles away.

Reading has always been a good escape in certain periods of my life. When my father died ten years ago, life changed a lot. My daughter had a lovely boy that same year; my mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia the year after.  And soon after she was placed in a nursing home.

I had not moved back home yet and it was difficult coping with worry far away. Rather than reading a novel every couple of weeks, I devoted every free moment reading. A break at work, and I was reading, weekends, I would shut myself up in my condo and just read and when I moved back to Montreal it completely consumed me. I couldn’t wait to get home and escape in another world. I would go to our public library and take out at least half dozen books for me and bring my grandson and he would choose several too. He would ask me, “Nana, why do you read so much.” And I would just say, “It’s my private movie in my head that I can turn on anytime I want.” He would fall asleep with a book in his hands…I still see that image in my mind’s eye. (sigh!)

The year before blogging I was reading at least 3 to 4 books a week and then I discovered writing again! I replaced my reading obsession with writing. What I noticed that writing did more than reading was it is not just an escape, it helped me work through difficult emotions especially with the work I do. We don’t always realize what stories stay in our subconscious. I started writing dark poetry and was shocked to see how I felt less weighed down. And so I learned another means of avoiding compassion fatigue.

Chanting or praying is another means of escaping although I have not mastered that yet. I have noticed chanting when driving in heavy traffic on the streets of Montreal calmed me enough to avoid road rage…yes, we are a pretty aggressive bunch of drivers here, but I learned to curb that a bit.

I suppose if I had to take off on an island for weeks or months at a time, I would be content as long as I could write, have a few good classics to read and perhaps there I would master my meditation and chanting.

Escape to me is not running away from but running to …treating myself.

© OK 2014/11/21

© Clr '14

© Clr ’14

river rapids
swallow turmoil
flood me with grace

floods me with grace
melody of a cardinal
just for me.

© Tournesol ’14

Carpe Diem

glad I went to work today (free verse)

fatigue has been my albatross
of late. Fragile to colds and flues
wearily went to work today
wondering if I’d make it through
but lucky me, my manager
assigned me to web counselling
and in early evening Live Chat
sparing my voice due to my cough;

busy busy I kept myself
responding to the very young
and also teens and young adults;
a long busy shift I had indeed
feeling satisfied with my role
being there for kids who reach out
in times of total disarray
where no one might be trusted

topics of sex, too shy to ask
family, friends or the school nurse;
another talked of binge eating
nausea, purging and keeping thin
and what about secret violations
touching when you shouted no
kissing when you said no twice
now the fear, the shame the guilt
afraid he’ll come to ask for more
exploring other options
to tell or not to tell her mom
suggested to tell a grownup
the only way to keep her safe
she promised she,d tell her soon
I helped her with the words to say
no need to say much you see
just say “I don’t want him around”
and if she asks you why, just shrug.
don’t worry sweetie she will know
we women, we just know these things
and she’s your mom, she’ll know you’ll see
moms know more than you know for sure.

so happy I went to work today
feel good about the youths who wrote
asked for advice and safety plans
so happy I went to work today
I surely love my job, boy! I’ll say!

© OK ’14/11/21

poachers (haiku)

Originally posted on Tournesol dans un Jardin:

fiery outburst
notoriuous for
a mother bear

poachers slyly
lure her cub with honey
in their van

in their van
through rough roads to sell the cub
nearby toxic zoo

© Tournesol ’14

3WW – Fiery, Notorius, Toxic

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escape (haiku)

Originally posted on Tournesol dans un Jardin:

There are several ways to escape from the rat race, busy days and worries.  Depending on what time I have available will determine what I do.  Speed walking, cycling or sitting by the lake, the river or allowing the river rapids to drown my thoughts and worries away, they all can do wonders, the latter is my favourite.

One does not always have the time or opportunity to get out, however, nor does the climate permit this.  But, I can always depend on music. And that is what I am doing tonight at my work break…no problems on my mind…just me and ivory keys.

relaxed heartbeat

ripple of ivory

my sanctuary

© Tournesol ’14

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brush strokes (haiga)

Originally posted on Tournesol dans un Jardin:

light of setting star
brush strokes blend
on blue canvas

passionate artist
showers radiance
on blue canvas

sur toile bleu
artiste passionné peint
pluie rayonnante

artist turns in,
sky blends into twilight
brush sleeps thru the night

© Tournesol ’14

Carpe Diem

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cold bedding (haibun)

Originally posted on Tournesol dans un Jardin:

Ten days passed since I had been to work, and since I had marched on that footpath…my shortcut to work.  Today I walked through the bush on this cold sunny day, slipping on the icy patches mourning the dormant shrubs…all I could see now, were patches of brown leaves and branches hugging the snow surface.  I did not take a photo of this new image. No, looking around at the huge change, I needed to mourn the life trampled on by heavy wet snow. Tomorrow will be another day…then, and only then, perhaps shall I photograph  this newly treacherous footpath.

sluggish bushes
disheveled on white
cold sheets

© Tournesol ’14

Haiku Horizons “cold”

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Dear Emma,

© Clr `14

© Clr `14

It’s Wednesday…first day back at work in 10 days!  And still the cough is intruding when I least need it on phone calls.  Let’s pray for calmer chats, better nights where I can actually sleep and then, and only then, shall I be half human.

Now that the temperatures are colder, there is snow on the ground and it looks like it is going to stick around for a while, perhaps the cold will kill the bacteria in the air.  We would need a deep freeze…much colder than -7C…but I am hoping it is a start.

I have missed being among the living though and it was nice walking on the snow hearing that spongy crunch sound…and slippery in many places…almost the a little S & F (slip and fall) coming out of the Métro today but with a few choice swear words, I righted my body in time and walked much slower to work.

Ah, but I come prepared!  I bought those cleats to put on my boots. (I suppose it would have been smartER to have placed said cleats in my backpack in case I needed them.) Take note: put cleats in backpack upon arrival.  I should probably also get those spikes you can add to canes…that would actually be smart and IF per chance anyone tries to attack me late in the night, I shall fall on my backside and stick my cane &???% .  I`m just kidding…well, sort of.

Ah yes, the good thing about the snow we have had, is the bushes I walked through on my short cut path have been lain to rest…it is much easier walking on the path but for the ice patches. Yes, Yes, soon I will no longer be able to cut across there, unless….I try those cleats tomorrow to see if they are any good.

© OK 2014/11/19

Fading Gigolo…really?

I watched a Fading Gigolo today and was surprised when reading it was rated a Rotten Tomato. Well, I loved it but then again I do love most Woody Allen movies. John Turturro was adorable and to think he was also the writer and director of this film. Oh, sure, Sharon Stone was entertaining as she should be …gosh she is still gorgeous! But the part the gave it any substance was Vanessa Paradis and Turturro. It brings you back to basics…no, not just pure love…it is more than that. It paying attention to one`s needs…giving pleasure to self…and I am not just talking about sex (although that part did seem quite steamy!!).

When Avigail (Paradis) goes to Virgil (Turturro) for a massage…her reaction is genuine and not far from reality. Widowed for two years, this was the first time anyone had ever touched her…to see her weep at that touch was so moving.

I remember my very first (EVER) massage two years after my divorce…I wept! And no, it was not sexual, it was the need for human contact…to be touched. How I missed to be minouched (French for a light stroke barely touching the skin)!

Anyway, every scene with Vanessa and Turturro were real, touching and genuine.

© Oliana Kim ’14/11/18

Here is a clip of this movie with one of the songs from the sound track sung by Vanessa herself.

I will just leave this video of the entire movie soundtrack…it IS magic, well to me anyway.


new dawn (haiga)

(c) Clr '14

(c) Clr ’14

new dawn

gusts sank beneath horizon

sunshine beams


dawn ascends

gusty winds expired,

forgiven cool breeze

© Tournesol ’14

la monnaie, spare change (haiku – tanka)

Originally posted on Tournesol dans un Jardin:

Our prompt today at Carpe Diem is Road Side Beggar (a haiku by Nana Fredua-Agyeman)
looking at the sun
for a silver coin -
roadside beggar

© Nana Fredua-Agyeman

our host has written keeping in the tone of Nana…

in front of the church
a beggar sleeps in his paper-box -
empty bottle of wine

© Chèvrefeuille

Here is my attempt thinking of our homeless people braving the cold on the streets of Montréal.

rush hour morn
wrapped in indifference
can’t see the beggar

stands in the cold,
chants: la monnaie-spare change,
merci, thank you
beggar holds the Métro door
extending his worn cap

(c) Tournesol ’14

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waiting for dawn (free verse)

© Clr '14

© Clr ’14

intermittent flash
signs of ill-health
power lines crash
eminent for sure
if these gusts continue
chorus of howls
like military troops
haunting yowls
beyond depths of

blow blow
blow wind blow
keep me awake
all night long
visions of buildings
crashing, floating,
hiding for cover
broken wail sounds

blow, blow
blow wind blow
you’ve not won
in destroying my home
power’s still on
I’m safe, I am warm
then why do I fidget
why can I not rest
in the dead of this night

blow blow
blow wind blow
the chorus has grown
no longer wind sound
but high giant waves
like tsunami like moan

blow blow
blow wind blow
fear not
I stand guard
awake thru the night
fear not
I stand guard
‘till the sun
shows its face gold
I shall wait for this dawn
neither tired or cold
I shall wait a bit longer
eyes open, alert
breathing slow , belaboured
suppressing a yawn.

(c) OK ’14/11/18

dream of blossoms (haibun)


Never lose hope and never stop dreaming….especially never let the child inside to grow up

Originally posted on Tournesol dans un Jardin:


~~ Norman Vincent Peale

I read this quote while visiting a new blog at Moon over Spumoni.   It spoke to me. Quotes do that to us, don’t they. You may have heard countless quotes, proverbs, prayers or poetry most of your life and then, for the second or thousandth time you read it and it actually draws you in.

Imagination is the true magic carpet…indeed!  Like the caring doctor at Cedar House Rules, read bedtime stories to the children at the orphanage,  bedtime snack feeding dreams on their magic carpet.

Can you imagine not being able to drift off to dream land when you were a child?  What if you were going through a difficult time in your life?  You are perhaps grieving the loss of dear pet and you are too young to grasp the concept of “forever”.  But you can imagine…

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winter symphony (haibun)


Ah, they are back!! the symphony commences…

Originally posted on Tournesol dans un Jardin:

© Clr ’14

It is 22:35 and the building is quiet. Most folks are getting ready for bed for an early rise, children are sleeping and the only sound I hear is the muffled roar of snow plows. It is almost a humming sound to me. Last year I remember referring these melodies as my winter lullaby. These huge impressive machines usually run in the middle of the night when only nighthawks like me are up, night-shift workers, or mothers  nursing their baby.

To me it is a symphony of sorts for nighthawks. The scraping of the huge metal plow booms onto the snow covered pavement drumming and shaking the earth; the motor roars and hums pleasantly putting me in a mellow mood…feeling safe and comforted in the wee hours of the night.

massive metal

imposing,  yet gently

lulls my nature

© Tournesol ‘14

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Dear Emma, (haibun)

Another sleepless night but thankfully when the sun rose, I finally found peace sleeping through the day…all day. A must needed rest but discouragement and fear flood my body. When am I going to get over this? “It’s just a bad cold,” I keep telling myself. “I have inhalers and decongestants, plenty of fluids and chicken broth coming out of every orifice.”

I woke up at one point to call work to cancel a phone interview. It was going to be taped and I felt if they are going to save this for researchers to dissect…better to have a nicer voice. I then was awakened by another call.

“We are reviewing your request to be put on a list to find a family physician.” I was immediately encouraged…

“Yes, well, we noticed on your health card the name of a physician is already registered with the government.”

But I have not seen him in over two years and have no means to get there. (trying not to lodge a complaint).

Yes, well, I called to tell you we have refused your request. The government has strict policies about this. If you are dissatisfied with your physician, there are means to lodge a complaint and in the meantime you will have to find a physician who is willing to take you on as a patient.”

I am getting angry by now. I have worked in the health care environment for ten years and would have taken a different tone for sure. The patient is alright right EVEN if you think she isn’t. I mention that upon my return from another province I retained the services of a physician I had over 20 years ago (which I had stopped seeing as well but the other physician only works with senior patients now…I’m am soon getting there but not quite.)

I am regretting my move here with all these changes…knowing I had no problem in Ontario.

“Oh well, then, perhaps that is because our services are free here in Quebec.”

I repeat that Ontario is in Canada…she still didn’t get it.

“Oh, really, so you don’t have to pay to see a doctor in Ontario?”

I am fuming by now wondering how this person even got her job…or passed Grade 2!

Um, well, all Canadian provinces have universality…free medical services…Quebec is not unique of this.

“Oh, really, I had no idea…” her voice trails off and I am thinking perhaps she has realized she should have completed Grade 3!

Why, yes, indeed. It is in every province ONLY we just pay MORE taxes in Quebec.

She chuckles. I realize my health depends on this twit (I am sure she is a lovely person…forgive me for being a tad upset).

You catch me at a difficult time. I am sick in bed, am on a waiting list for 2 years for my bad knee and do not want to lodge a complaint about my former physician. I just needed someone to give me scribes for my thyroid medication. Now I feel trapped with a physician who does not follow up on his patients…why have one when you pass tests and assume you are fine if there are no phone calls. My ex husband had the same physician and they did not refuse his request to be put on a list.

Oh, well, this is according to the instructions of my boss. Your ex husband lives in a different region.”

Ah yes, “pass the buck”; reminds me of the saying about government employees, I am biting my chapped lips, “The right hand does not know what the left hand does.”

Frankly, I am discouraged. I am sick in bed right now and your phone call gave me a bit of hope until you tell me I am refused by the Quebec government health department to see a different doctor.

“Perhaps you could go to a clinic at *** and put your name on a list…you can still ask around to see if a doctor will take you.”

Does she not get it?! I have asked and they all tell me to put my name on a bloody list that our government will decide who gets a physician and when. (I am seeing flashes of that 60+ woman at a local hospital who died of a heart attack in the waiting room…so many hours later, the nurse discovered her body rigid and blue.)

I find this discouraging since I cannot get to this other doctor even if I want to because I do not have a vehicle…it has to be in this area or Montreal which is a WIDE area but with public transit.

“Well, perhaps you could call the government to ask to get your name off their list” (I am wondering if she means a black list…sheeesh!) “I am not supposed to give you this number but I shall…”

And so after 3 hours sleep in the past 48 hours, I get up, jot down the number and try to get back to sleep…waking up periodically to feel my anger…not anxiety…just plain pissed off. Eventually I got into a deep sleep, vacillated into REM sleep and have lovely dreams to wake up having slept a total (interrupted but still) of 12 hours.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with a specialist. A person I should have seen over two years ago when my former physician got the same results but did not see fit to inform me…also other issues in my blood work I happened to see on my copy I asked for because I wanted to see a nutritionist.

So far, not having a physician has proved to be better for my health actually. A doctor at emergency gave me meds I needed, blood tests to ensure the meds were still the correct dosage, they called me when it needed to be changed…another emergency clinic called me to give me a copy of my X-rays of my knee and advised me to purchase a CD of everything to speed things up at any hospital for later consultation.

All these things my former doctor would not have taken the time to do … .so I am probably better off for now and will discuss how to proceed in future with the specialist tomorrow morning once she explains my results.

For a while I was thinking I was going batty and that I am just exaggerating my perception of this doctor. So I fire up my laptop and check out for fun if there are any reviews on this former doctor…Oh, my there are and many faux pas he did with me, he has repeated with other patients. I felt better seeing that I had not made it up in my mind…that this “holier than thou” physician’s attitude is somewhat consistent and that gave me comfort. Misery does like company.

It snowed a second day in a row today…perhaps it is a sign…a new season is coming, new beginnings, and putting old shit to rest. (Somehow those last four words conjure up flashes of cleaning the back yard of dog poo in March when the snow was starting to melt…yuck!)

Ending on a positive note, I am…tomorrow is another day; maybe I’ll be lucky and see someone at a walk-in to kill this cold as well.

© OK 2014/11/17

© Clr '14

© Clr ’14

snow flakes fall

gently carpets my front lawn

new beginnings

© Tournesol ‘14

music appreciation thru children (haibun)

The prompt this week is to write a ligo haibun on guitar or mountain.

Montreal City Lights – Singer is a counsellor/colleague works with me      Facebook Page -

I love music even though I cannot carry a tune no matter how hard I try. As young as four I would give my family a show at GrandMaman’s, borrow mon oncle Bernie’s guitar, singing “You ain’t nothin’ but a houndog!” And so my career as a guitarist did not pass to fruition, but the world needs listeners and fans as well to balance things out, right?

At twelve, my father shouts to my sister and me to come down to the family room to watch this new group on the Ed Sullivan Show…and that started my first real crush (Bobby Darren didn’t count, he was way too old!)   The Beetles with their clean cut hair (to today’s standards, appeared then as scruffy hooligans. Ha! ) Of course John was my favourite, I loved hearing him sing, I bought his book of poetry…I wanted to be a poet…at least I don’t have to carry a tune! I did purchase a harmonica to mimic my idol but did not do well there either…gave it to my son much later.

The next famous rock band we all screamed at were the Rolling Stones and I had a crush on Brian Jones…yes, that is how old I am! It is the only rock concert I ever went to at 13 years old, in Montreal, well Neil Young in my 40’s but that is so not the same!  My best friend’s dad piled us into his station wagon 8 teenagers…we didn’t much use seatbelts then and a seat for one person was only a suggestion, right?

I was not the giddy, silly, girlie girl type but in a huge  setting of this magnitude, you can’t help it…I screamed like everyone else did and lost my voice for a few days, to my family’s content. I am a big talker!

screeching like monkeys,
pride by the wayside, hyped
getting our satisfaction

© Tournesol ’14

 A few months later a lead singer in a local band wanted to date me. Now he was 16 and I was 13. I had never kissed…unless you count Gordon Darby at five when we tried to imitate those mushy actors on the Guiding Light to see what the commotion was all about. But he persisted, his band, les Misanthropes,  was really great and they practiced right next door to my best friend…now how convenient is that? I think I said “yes” because everyone kept telling me how lucky I was dating a lead singer in a band.   I think I just liked the fact he liked this tall, lanky, flat chested like Twiggy girl with mousy blonde hair…wow! Needless to say, I broke it off two months later to his chagrin. I had no clue what love was…my hormones had not even kicked in yet! But he was genuine…for he still looked at me in that gaga gaze 30 years later at the hockey arena when our children were playing on different teams.

I met my children’s father at 15, engaged at 16…concerts were out of the question…we did not even listen to the same music. He enjoyed lots of French and Québécois music which I was not quite into…Michel Sardou and Gilbert Becaud came a bit later.

Then, eventually with lots of years of practice, we had our two children. My daughter had a beautiful voice…so nice, I would ask her to sing me stories; she was soprano one in her children’s chorus.


© Photographe: Caroline Michaud, Laurentides, Québgec

listening to her sing
like nectar to butterflies
thrills the senses

© Tournesol’14

Antonio Vivaldi – The Four Seasons – I Musici

My son between twelve and fifteen was getting into soft drugs…but still, I was a bit concerned. He said he wanted to learn to play the guitar, so off I went to see this amazing guitar teacher in our neighbourhood. Now she was a former hippie, had seen a lot and was an amazing guitar and piano player.

To hear her play Spanish tunes on her classical guitar was mesmerizing. So she was aware of my concern and she said she would encourage him to invest in music as a passion which certainly worked. She was like a social worker for my son actually.  He had to play classical guitar for at least a few years before EVER trying electric. He was a good student and within a year, he had purchased his les Paul guitar and was playing Zepplin, Hendrix soon after; all icons I never listened much to in those days because I was into Motown. Now I could really appreciate it.

But the magic of all of this…when I saw the prompt for guitar was my fond memories when my son, Olivier would practice very late at night, before going to bed stringing, Beethoven’s Fur Elise ,on his classical guitar and that was my lullaby every night for almost a year! Gosh! I loved hearing that!

bethoveen at night
he strings my lullaby
sends me to dreamland.

© Tournesol ’14

Fur Elise- classical guitar with Michael Lucarelli

I learned so much from my children. Being exposed to more classical music, my daughter as well was singing in concerts with The Montreal Symphony Orchestra, with I-Musici , my favourite for I have a penchant for violins too…or perhaps it’s the love for strings.  Violins sound like a human voice and sings with such heartfelt emotion.

So for someone who missed out on concerts, I made up for it seeing my daughter’s chorus perform and my son’s constantly exposing me to classic rock, alternative, grunge, and other genres I grew to love.  He was a bit shy to perform but did play one Bob Dylan song at a high school presentation. He has such a huge assortment of music and of varied tastes too. I am pleased I was given an opportunity to be exposed to all sorts of music through my children and they know what I like so they often download amazing mixes for my smartphone.

© Oliana Kim ’14/11/17

Dreams unleased (haibun)

In this prompt we are asked to romance the haiku.  Our host found a few haiku written by Tomas Transförmer while he worked in Hälby Youth Prison in 1959.  He published nine haiku in that time frame.  Here are two our host found.

Night—a twelve-wheeler
goes by making the dreams of
the inmates shiver

The boy drinks his milk
and sleeps cozy in his cell,
a mother of stone

© Tomas Tranströmer

Our host has written a few lovely haiku to complement this same mood:

ten p.m. – lights go ou
the inmates dream their dreams
a heart on the beach

© Chèvrefeuille

taking a shower
furtive glances exchanged
between cell mates

© Chèvrefeuille


dreams unleased (haibun)

Living in a prison is surely not a romantic place. What did inmates think of when they were alone with their thoughts, their imagination? Some may have fantasized about their family, siblings, parents…old boyfriends, girlfriends.  Working with teens for over 20 years, I have a hunch they thought of the same things we did as teens. Pop music, movie stars and celebrities even if one did not have a boyfriend or girlfriend. With Presley, Little Richie, Brenda Lee ,Bobby Darin and Neil Sedaka, to name just a few hitting the charts in the mid to late fifties, surely they may have been influenced as well. . These world famous icons may have been their sole escape. What an escape to just take off in a movie type fantasy. Perhaps they came from troubled homes, so what allowed them to survive? I think the worse thing of prison life is to never have privacy. Showering in groups, going the washroom supervised, eating in masses; the humiliating and depraved manner they are treated all too often as “non persons”. I like to think once they are in their cell, lights closed…there is some respite and they resume with the self.

clangs echo
lights out, freedom at last
dreams unleashed

dreaming, “Oh, Carol”
adolescent desires
raging hormones stir

soft moans escape
pleasant contemplations
silenced at last.

© Tournesol ’14

Carpe Diem Special, Tomas Tranströmer’s 3rd “a mother of stone”

Neil Sedaka – Oh! Carol (original version)

Listen to more? Click here for the list of the top 50 songs of mid to late 50’s(1955-1959)

Youtube link is here

Silent Sunday

© Clr Nov 16'14 First snowfall

© Clr Nov 16’14 First snowfall

Dear Emma

cropped-zipper-stuck-211.pngIt will soon be a week that I have been housebound due to a bloody cold. Today is the first day I sound like a woman who has been working late shifts in a smoky bar for 30 plus years but at least I have a voice notwithstanding the coughing that would get in the way if I talk for more than five minutes. Good think I saved some vacation time. I called work today to say that I still can’t get on the phones due to my voice and coughing…darn….so I am taking two more days, Sunday and Monday off. Tuesday I switched shift to work with Friday instead cos I have a doctor’s appointment and would rather be home the whole day in case I don’t have good news. If I do have good news, well, then I’ll just have to have a glass of chardonnay, with banquette and Camembert of course.   So I do not work until Wednesday…yay! It sure would be nice to fee good by Monday at least. I can’t visit my mom with a cold nor is it fair for all the other residents.

Lately I have been changing themes a lot on my blog. It’s like I’m antsy…like when I was younger and would change hair colour every other month. When I was really upset I would change furniture around, on my own if I had to, but I always managed. Something is bugging me inside and I change what’s easier to change…on the outside. The signs are all there, I know that but still not sure where to start? Ah, le cordonnier mal chaussé. That is an expression translated word for word is the shoeless shoemaker. It’s not always easy asking for help when you’re used to be the helper. I’ll figure it out eventually…writing usually helps, so I may check out more prompts that are not always poetry to tickle my muse a little…she has been my guardian angel for 2 years…oh, of course you are my number one, angel, though, Emma…oooops.

I have been writing a lot of Japanese form in the five months and perhaps that has deprived me a little from doing my regular cathartic spilling my guts in poetry or narratives on this blog.

Writing about heart wrenching stories, edited of course, from work helps me to get it out of my mind sometimes…but lately I don’t even want to write about it…I want to forget it. Or writing is not enough…last week I had to debrief instead…there are so many calls now, this time of year that I feel like my head is spinning. I think that has been on my mind a lot the past month, bracing myself for the worst…suicide rates go up…some may be youths and young adults who have called us and I often feel powerless.

It is a time of year that I detest personally as well.   I am pretty sure SAD (seasonal affective disorder) may have something to do with it plus it has always been a tough time of year for me since I was a teen. Now THAT is a long time ago too.

Not having a car for the past 2 months is getting to me but I want to hang strong to clear off some debts until next spring or summer. But man oh man, not driving sucks! I can’t complain about access as I’m close to public transit, surrounded by shops and a huge mall and grocery store but not close to friends or family.

Working the late shifts is bugging me again. Like my son said the other day, I work when everyone is at home relaxing…even Sunday which is, to me, a family day. A day I can have family over for brunch and go see my grandson play hockey…things I took for granted years ago. A few men on dating sites I was on last year would make the same comment, “You are never available, so when are you going to find the time to date?” So true and most my age have retired or are semi-retired…glad I’m not wasting energy there. Frankly, I am feeling that I don’t have the time to invest in a relationship unless he’s …nah, forget it. I was imagining the times I was married and later in relationships, so often I felt more alone then living alone…stuck, just not connected. So I’ll keep that in mind when and if I do get “back on the saddle” that being in a relationship is fine…we don’t have to be together all the time nor live together. I am like an old bachelor now, not sure I want that unless of course, he cooks and is real sexy…just kidding.

I read a lot of posts on the weekend and tonight several from a new blogger I discovered at my first EVER blogger friend (we were virgin bloggers at the same time)Scottishmomus, who is am amazing poet and writer. Boy oh boy, if I could have 10% of her vocabulary, I would be happy.    Anyway, this was a guest blogger on her blog and his sense of humour is hilarious so I went on to his site and started reading several of his posts and was truly moved by the content and impressed by his style of writing…very real…raw and no bs which is what I like about it. Check out Trey’s blog here

Thanks for listening, Emma, as usual…nite or rather, good morning, it IS 5am. Oliana

(c) OK ’14-11-16

Element (Stream of conciousness writing)

I had no clue what to write about when I saw the prompt for SoCS except one phrase that kept popping in my head, “element of surprise”.   The prompt is  “element”.  We are asked to choose  one of the four: air/water/earth/fire or use the word “element” however we wish to define it, click here at Socs, Stream of Conciousness to learn more instructions.


Finally tonight, I sat down to watch a movie on Netflix with Sandra Bullock. Not the greatest idea to watch a thriller, late in the evening living alone but oh well, I did. The name of the movie is Premonition. Sandra discovers at the beginning of the movie her husband has been killed in a car crash. But, of course there has to be a but (like last week’s prompt but different). She wakes up the next day to her husband just fine. It is as she has had a very bad dream but it is worse than Ground Hog Day. And as it should be because it’s a “thriller”.

It gets weird, scary, creepy and less than halfway through I wanted to switch it off and watch some bloopers on Youtube instead .  I had wateched  Two and Half Men and The Big Bang Theory earleir.

I put the movie on pause, got myself a cup of tea and started playing around with theme appearances on one of my other blogs where I promote workshops I offer. It is sort of like doodling…passing the time and not getting TOO involved in the movie. I continued watching it. The mild distraction of my “doodling” with theme appearances was just enough to cut the edge off my nervousness.

In fact, it allowed me to appreciate the movie, the story, the meaning behind the movie, the various aspect one can interpret the writer’s meaning.   Once you get the impossible fear out of the way without being too calm, it is easier to focus.  What can I say?  I’m chicken!

Almostup to the end, I thought I was well caught up, and would be able to see an ending I might expect…but the writer was good alright…I wasstill shocked …I still faced that element of surprise which I will not share in case readers have not seen the movie.

No matter how much I try to figure things out some writers have figured out the roller coaster of thoughts readers and movie viewers go through and no matter what…there is always an “element” of surprise in a good thriller.

© Oliana Kim, ’14/11/16

bus ride (Friday Fictioneers)

The bus arrived at 5am. The fifteen year old climbed down the two steps with her backpack and felt so little. “Sure is not like back home in Bedford.” She had travelled for the past 5 days across the country. The only place they were held up was at customs where she held her breath, hoping police had not alerted customs she may have crossed the border.

She found a park and fell asleep on a bench until a young boy snickered, “Look mom, they have homeless people here just like in Montreal. At least they have warmer weather.”

(c) Oliana Kim, ’14-11-15

99 words Written for Friday Fictioneers where we are to write less than 100 words and the photo above is the prompt.

an angel stands in wait (haiku)

Being housebound since Sunday, I wondered how I could do this prompt and then I remembered a haiku I emailed to a friend and colleague a few weeks ago. For three weeks she was worried for her father who decided to visit his family in Iran and took seriously ill while there. He was in hospital and she would phone him every night at midnight to see how he was doing. She felt so far and powerless because he kept talking of dying. His health had not been that great in the past few years, having had surgery and battled a serious illness. She knew it was not safe for her to travel alone to Iran as a young single woman and it truly wrung her heart. They had such a beautiful relationship. Three weeks after his hospitalization, her uncle phoned her to tell her that her father had passed. We spoke one night and some of her thoughts and fears I wrote in a poem…a series of haiku in honour of her father. I emailed her the poem the next day. She said that she wept through the reading but felt touched by the words.

Due to circumstances beyond my control…this is the haiku I “dropped” in her email box and posted on my haiku blog, Tournesol dans un Jardin,  here.  If I manage to get out and “drop” a haiku before next Wednesday, I shall still try.

© Oliana Kim, 2014/11/13

an angel stands in wait (haiku)

her sobs echo
across the Atlantic
a long journey

Caspian Sea and
Arabian Gulf imbibe
salty tears

the skies rumble
iridescent light,
safe passage

pain free at last
an angel stands by, waiting
in white light

heavens whisper
the last chapter,
Rumi stirs

© Tournesol ‘14

Written for Heeding Haiku with HA at MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie

Bathed in absence (free verse)

so tired am I
so listless I am
reading feels like such a chore
muse escapes me evermore

languid body
still feels sore
not anything
like  aching soul
feeling lost
in this deep void
echoes at me
absence of life
absence of me

what is the purpose?
where is the meaning?
so tired am I
so listless I am
feebleness inhibits me
rifling through old wooden chests
dusty memoirs I’d laid to rest
so tired am I
so listless I am

might it be this doleful season
hinders thoughts and all my reason?
in this month of all dead saints
holiness and pure, are they?
must we all be martyrs then,
solace found merely this way?
is heaven gained only this way?

one faith might say
suffering is your cross to bear
might one feel blessed
only when existence is aware
anguished pain be recognized
by one sole G-d and finally
heaven is their sole reward?

Buddha simply and modestly
whispers wisdom respectfully
having lived experiences,
tells us to embrace  suffering
in time will bring you to the light
of lessons learned and clarity.

watch me now
as I embrace
this prickly cactus
of despair
shedding blood
droplets staining
heart and soul
with every meaning
lessons learned
once all is read
and interpreted
when all is said
insights are shed
within the glow
of mystery’s light.

so tired am I
so listless I am
I must suspend,
extend this journey…
though meaningful
it’s time to rest
this emptiness
a moment longer
short breath in time

so tired am I
so listless I am
bathing  in this worthlessness
soak in total emptiness
lurking soul of total darkness
screaming in such nothingness
echoes lost in weary bliss
time will heal the obvious
death will cure and put to rest
uncertainties … ambiguous
time will heal the obvious.

© Oliana Kim 2014/11/13

Netflix and me

Day 4 and still no voice…well,  I sound like I spent the week in a smoke filled bar or I’m a rock star and had a concert last night…yeah, I sort of have a voice but definitely not to take phone calls at work.   I called work yesterday and told them I wouldn’t be in the rest of the week. Even if my voice comes back, with the coughing and sinus headaches keeping me up all night, I would not be able to get through a shift. Fortunately I still have vacation days so will use some of that.

Reading and writing is very slow so Netflix occupies my mind. I have to say that no matter which movie I choose, I seem to always select tear jerkers but such good movies too. In the past 2 weeks here is a list of what I have seen:

Violette –French – Impoverished writer Violette Leduc finds a friend and mentor in best-selling author Simone de Beauvoir, who champions her work and encourages her art.

Remembrance –   (Die verlorene Zeit) A married woman faces an emotional crisis when she learns that the former lover who rescued her from a concentration camp 30 years earlier is alive.

The Lunch Box – ( Dabba) A young housewife and a lonely widower begin an unlikely correspondence when Mumbai’s eerily reliable lunchbox delivery service makes a mistake.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – A sheik with a love for the sport hopes to introduce fly-fishing to the Middle East and turns to an uptight British fisheries expert for help.

The Book Thief – Young Liesel steals books to teach herself to read, giving her refuge from the horrors of Nazi Germany and her cold foster parents

Labour Day – with Kate Winslet – On a fateful Labor Day weekend, giving a lift to a bloodied man turns into a life-changing event for a divorced single mother and her 13-year-old son.

The Face of Love – with Annette Bening – Years after the death of her husband, Garrett, Nikki begins a romance with Tom, a great guy who looks almost exactly like

 The Invisible Woman – The remarkable true story of author Charles Dickens’ long-time clandestine mistress, with whom he happily spent the final years of his life.

Last month I also enjoyed:

On my way (Elle s’en va) Prompted by a post-midlife crisis, Bettie goes out for cigarettes and decides to keep on driving, on a quest toward reinvention with Catherine Deneuve

Beautiful lies (French) with Audrey Tautou – When she receives an anonymous love letter, salon owner Emilie pretend it was intended for her forlorn mother in the hopes of cheering her up

The Wedding Guest – Asked to treat a young psychiatric patient who’s been living in utter isolation, a doctor from a wealthy family forms an unusual bond with her

Larry Crown – Laid off from his longtime job at a soulless retail giant, an average middle-aged guy heads back to college, where he finds romance with a professor.

There are many movies I start watching because they had great write ups like Blue Jasmin but you have to be in the right mood, so I will revisit those later.

There are so many movies, it’s hard to choose from and I often want just a nice light comedy or true stories. Psychological thrillers and suspense I enjoy reading more than watching.

So my week is writing a bit, reading a bit and Netflix a lot.  Life could be worse.

© OK 2014/11/13

goddess of revenge (Light Years Away -5)

Stella dragged her feet home after Sister Mahoney’s punishment. On Fridays, her mother worried a bit less if she arrived later for she thought she was playing with her friends in the park. How could she tell her mother that she did not have friends? That would mean she would have to confide in them and she saw too often at school how cruel some of the girls were among each other distorting and spitting on precious secrets. No, she kept to herself, I’ll not have them blacken my only respite away from my home life; school was a place to get away from the darkness of home. Her friends were books and stories.

It was warm for this time of year and the fallen leaves had dried. She walked slowly through the leaves in the park…stopped now and then to listen to the echo of their crunching sounds underfoot.

She put her trench coat on the grass and lay on her tummy and inhaled nature`s beauty. A crow was cawing and bullying a few wrens. She stared at the crow for a long time…

then there was blackness

lulled by the cawing

until her eyes opened,

a black mount of sorts

a volcano with black smoke

replacing lava, flared up

in gusts, roars and more gusts

she was frozen in space

her legs felt like mortar

her body felt limp

except for head and neck

turning left and right

watching out for

the dark substance

fearing it would reach her…

bury her with soot

she sighed with relief…

waiting for her end

finally life of torture

would end…obscurity

her new-found security

and saviour to lend

her freedom at last!


just then a dark maiden

raving beauty she was,

hair blacker than coal

shimmered hints of navy blue,

skin ivory and flawless

eyes, black pools that shimmered

turning blue when she spoke

a witch, demon of sorts?

how could she be evil

with such beauty? thought Stella.

as if on cue,

this fine maiden

responded in chant

“I am not evil, but only

seeking revenge

and retribution

for acts of evil that are handed

chiefly onto children.

Fear not, my child

I inhale the vile poison

that`s poured onto you

in hope to relieve

you of some of your pain.

My name is Nemesis,

I know of your plight

I shall teach you how

to defend and to fight

not to worry my dear

you`ll be safe with me here

I`ll not leave you a day

you’ll soon sleep in the night

trust in me, dearest Stella

I promise. I’ll not let you

EVER out of my sight.”

Stella filled her lungs with the potent energy this goddess was sending her; she closed her eyes and fell into a deep deep sleep…no darkness this time but she felt her body floating with the clouds, free of pain, warm of heart.

“Caw Caw”…she heard a crow blaring near her ear, waking her up from a most fascinating dream…or was it a dream?

© Oliana Kim, 2014/11/11

Sequel to Light Years Away (5), Goddess of Revenge

Written for Photo Prompt challenge at MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie

Light years away (4) The Whipping

Light years away (4) The whipping

Poor Stella arrived in her dreamy state once again this morning after the bell had rung. Sister Mary Mona was away on a retreat and would not be there to scheme something once again to save her from getting her punishment. She had no choice but to swallow her medicine this time.

At three o’clock she was called down to the basement so the other girls did not see and it was done at the end of the day, so no one would notice that Stella was unable to sit down. Sister Mahoney whipped her twenty times with the leather strap. Stella wept silently at the crucial agony she was enduring feeling the fire from her buttocks; she knew she would not sit the entire weekend. How could she go home like this? Her step-father would want to crawl into her bed again tonight and she had no where to escape for two days and three excruciating nights in that house. This was not a home for her since he infested the home that was, into a prison of perversion and anguish.

Her heart wailed at the unfairness of her life. She was still too young to escape without the police catching her. They would want to know why she ran away and she was too ashamed at the sinful behaviours of her step-father who made her his victim and accomplice.

Never, never, could she tell anyone least of all her dear mother, of the sick, malignant yearnings that enticed her step-father to torment her. She had no choice it was crucial she return.

© Oliana Kim 2014/11/11

 Prompt at Three Word Wednesday – crucial – malignant – yearning

never give up (haibun)

Wise Old Owl Rhyme

Wise Old Owl Rhyme

I remember graduating from Concordia University and the assembly was at Place des Arts. I wouldn`t miss this for the world. After all, it took me nine long years as a mature student to achieve this degree. After the undergrad degrees, they announced the Masters Degrees and then the PhDs. One man, who was 94 years old, walked across the stage with cane to received his PhD degree. His whole persona exhaled integrity and tenacity. He received a standing ovation. That encouraged me so much to never ever give up learning throughout my life. You can always teach an old dog new tricks; it is what differs from being among the living or the dead.

always learn new tricks,
studying words of the wise
snowy owl hoots

(c) Tournesol ’14

Carpe Diem Tackle it Tuesday Tenacity

Do you remember?

d’you remember your firsts?
that first day at kindergarten
walking alone like a big girl!
I recall my first kiss at five
wondered what the fuss was all about!

I recall being the tallest
in my class, way up to high school
and even then the cutest guys
were always up to my darn chin!

do you remember your first crush?
I do…’twas Kevin in grade 4
he’d write me sweet love notes in class
I often worried  we’d get caught
teacher might read a note out loud,
how embarrassing that would be!

memories entertain me…
keep me company.


(100 words)

(c) Oliana Kim ’14/11/11

100 Word Challenge – Prompt “remember”


catch-up time reading (free verse)

catching up on reading

at wordpress or blogspot

uniting with some friends

I’ve missed a lot of you,

and wish I had more time…

great feeling visiting

just like when I come home

from a social outing

or dinner with a friend,

yes, indeed, I’ve had a

pleasant journey tonight

reading some of your posts.

© OK 2014/11/11

full (haibun)


© Clr ’14

Driving along the highway many times, I am mesmerized by the full moon. I can’t wait to stop so I can try and get a shot and know that no matter how much I try, I cannot capture that view, that moment staring at it’s fullness through bare branches on my front lawn.


nature’s mystery
I feel such magnetism
  this full moon

© Tournesol ’14

During the 1998 Quebec ice storm, there were many people who had to move. Some remained in the affected area which was where my family and friends lived. My mother moved in with my cousin who had a fireplace; another friend had her adult children and grandchildren and a few neighbours stayed for 6 weeks in their home because they had a generator.  Generator suppliers hit an all time record that year!


during the ice storm
in front of a wood stove,
full house

Of course when I see the word Full I think of a heart filled with love…Although I worked when my first child was born, I was fortunate enough to see his first steps on the weekend…

baby’s first steps,
mother beams
filled with pride

© Tournesol ’14

I spent many evenings watching Law & Order with my daughter late in the evening, when she was pregnant…such special moments and when she was in labour, we both went to hospital together, I was her labour coach and given the honour of cutting the umbilical cord!  I was the exact same age my grandmother was when she delivered me from my mother (beaming)


through me she came,
blossomed with grace,
giving birth
a new generation
a grandson.

(American sentence)

A mother is filled with love and yet, a grandmother bursts at the seams.

© Tournesol ’14

Haiku Horizons “Full”

mother and daughter (haibun)

To follow the mood of this prompt at Carpe Diem, our host has discussed the symbiosis of the birch tree and the mistletoe.   Of course when one thinks of mistletoe, we are reminded of kissing during the Christmas holidays.

dew fresh mistletoe
her sweet scent warms my heart
my first kiss
© Chèvrefeuille

Here is my attempt of joining 2 separate things that form a synergy of sorts.

perfect mate,
peanut butter and jelly
© Tournesol ‘14

However, when I first saw the word “symbiotic” I thought automatically of emotional symbiosis. Having been so close to my own mother, hurting when she hurt, she, suffering if she knew I was in pain I am inclined to share a short story.

We could not hide anything from each other…we just knew. I remember when she was going through a depressed stage {most of her life consisted of ups and longer downs}, I arrived for a visit. She was in bed in mid afternoon when I arrived. My step-father told me he could not coax her out of her funk. He was convinced there was no way I could change my mother’s mind. He was a bit possessive of my mom. She was such a social butterfly and loved by so many people; and our close knit relationship made him a tiny bit uncomfortable at times.

I was in my early 40’s then but never too old to crawl in bed with her. She was always a light sleeper. She lay on her back staring at the ceiling. I lay on my back and did the same…sighing now and then a bit louder than needed. We started chatting about nothing and everything…whispering as if we were planning something clandestine. Within about fifteen minutes, we were giggling and getting out bed. Mom was already dressed, and just had to splash some eau de parfum, Escape and lipstick; and out the door we left giggling, shouting, “We’ll be back later…we’re off on a ‘nowhere’.”

mère biche avertit
son faon d’une cachette,
d’un braconnier


mother doe
warns her fawn,
poacher’s cache


mother goose
heading the flock waits,
honk of her gosling
© Tournesol ‘14

Photo taken a year ago at my mother’s nursing home:

© Clr March 2013

© Clr March 2013

© Oliana Kim, 2014/11/10

N.B. You may have noticed that some of my responses to Haiku prompts are sometimes more detailed in Traces of the Soul. If the content is a bit more personal, I will post it here and only post the haiku at Tournesol dans un Jardin.

Plagiarism Needs a Better Definition


Too often this is taken to lightly…a very informative read!

Originally posted on :


There’s this parable that economists always tell.

Your car breaks down and you take it to the mechanic. He opens the hood and looks at your engine for a few seconds. Then he takes out a little hammer and taps it on the top. Suddenly it works again.

‘That’ll be $100,’ he says.
‘But all you did was make a little tap!’ you protest.
‘The tap, that’s $1,’ he says. ‘Knowing where to tap, that’s $99.’

Like everyone else who writes for a living, I’ve been reading the Fareed Zakaria plagiarism allegations with a knot in my stomach.

Here’s what we know so far:

In 2012, Zakaria blatantly yoinked a Jill Lepore (love her!) paragraph in an article he wrote about gun control. He got busted and he apologized.

Dude has written for legit every publication, so his current employer and his alma maters investigated his old work for copy-pastage. They…

View original 978 more words


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