Saturday, September 29, 2007


Come walk with me in Old Montreal...

This is the oldest part of the city of Montreal, Ville-Marie, founded in 1642 by the French settlers to New France. Ten years later, relentless attacks by Iroquois had reduced its population to less than 50 inhabitants and people of Quebec City (founded in 1608) still thought of Montreal as "a crazy undertaking." But new recruits arrived in 1653, thus guaranteeing the permanence and evolution of Ville-Marie and of New France. Eventually, Montreal became a fortified city - the location of these former city walls mark today's boundaries of Old Montreal.

The Bonsecours Market and Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, one of the oldest churches in Montreal...

The entrance to an old inn, Auberge Bonsecours...

A view of the St.Lawrence river, from the Old Port, and the Jacques Cartier bridge...

The old and the modern city as seen from the banks of the St.Lawrence river in the Old Port...

Art on an old street...

"The Gossipers"...

Old and new in Downtown Montreal...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Autumn Blues

Bitter Lillet
and the trumpet
of Miles Davis,
sketching flamencos
in the cool of the night.

The staircase
to the height
of my ivory tower
has dissolved
wisps of darkness.

Stealthy October
prepares its arrival,
chilling my heart
in soft
flutter of owls
crackle of leaves,
of strangers.

I slowly merge
in your stern photograph,
the portrait of a ghost
under the ghostly Moon.

Copyright © Vesper L. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 24, 2007


On the waterfront, a crowd without end flows in clusters of khaki uniforms and light summer dress of mothers, and wives, and girlfriends. Vociferous, smiling.

At last, I spot Daniel. I ache to run to him and have to struggle to keep my soles to the ground. His traits are stone-like, I can tell that even from the distance. His look is haggard. When a comrade pats his shoulder, I see him make a startled gesture, as if awaken from a distant world of his own.

Oh, baby…, I think, my heart cringing. Come quicker…

He’s seen me now – for a second I’m embarrassed at the thought of my jeans and my mousy, insignificant appearance among all that flowery attire – and increases his pace.

The last few steps he has before he reaches me, I scrutinise him; his eyes meet mine, but he doesn’t hold my look. No bandages – he’s not hurt. He hasn’t lost weight, in fact he’s put on muscles – his tight t-shirt delineates them with minutiae. His hair is shorter, lighter; his eyes seem patches of sky, just as distant, vague clouds running over them.

He drops his bag at our feet and, without warning, grabs me in a rough embrace. Its suddenness almost scares me, but I return it, taking hold of him, my arms around his back. His mouth descends on mine with urgency, and sweetness, and despair. We melt into each other - there’s nothing I want more.

When we come apart for breath, even the meagre distance between us seems unbearable.

“Oh, baby…”

I feel his chest, his arms, his face to make sure again he’s whole, he’s not hurt. Only his soul I cannot see.

“All I could think of was coming back to you,” he mumbles. Then, without warning, he says, “I killed a man.”

For a few seconds I forget to breathe. I am numb except for my heart struggling wildly against my ribcage. He watches me – is he seeking my approval? - is he afraid? We’re not to hide behind the platitudes claiming the inevitability of death in war or the healing power of time. All we have is here, is us.

The only thing I find to say is “I love you,” and I’m surprised that, when I do it, my voice doesn’t falter.

I will always love you. No matter what.

He watches me, searching my face, half incredulous at my unconditional acceptance.

That’s when the rain starts. That cloud that kept creeping closer has got backing and now sheds its load of water on us. A few warning drops at first turn into huge splashes raising the smell of dust from the pavement. Then, the downpour – white sheets joining the sky and the earth, like giant whips of unseen and revengeful gods. We don’t budge, don’t relinquish the hold on each other, we don’t even close our eyes.

We can hardly breathe under this rain that has drenched us in an instant.
People running for cover bump into us and vague excuses brush our ears. Daniel steadies us, taking the hits. Nothing matters, only that he holds me and that I hold him.

The rain lashes at us. I can feel it braiding its chilly fingers with my hair, tugging at it. My clothes, soaked, are bearing down on me, an almost insufferable armour.

Water streams on Daniel’s face. His hair has turned the colour of wheat and clings to his head. I think he’s terribly handsome, despite the severity of his mouth, despite the shadow of anguish in his eyes. I count the droplets on his pale eyelashes – and he’s not even blinking; I wonder if all are raindrops, and on the spur of the moment I want to taste them, to trace them down to the hollow of his cheek, to check for the hot salt of tears. I would in a moment if only he bowed his head.

We’re drowning in a universal waterfall.

Daniel shuts his eyes, pulls my head to him in the tight lock of his arm and forearm. I am content I can feel his warmth, his faint pulse at the corner of my mouth, where my lips are touching his skin, at the base of his neck. Sense the smell of warm moisture coming out of his wet t-shirt. Waterlogged, we’re barely breathing. The beat of his heart is enough to soothe me, and I can only hope that my embrace can appease him as much.

The downpour has settled into a steady rain, warmer now that we’re used to it, almost caressing.

I notice he’s trembling.

“Can you bear to love the two of us?” he says finally, with great hesitation.

I squeeze my eyes shut, clench my jaws, increase my hold on him.

No, Daniel, I think, the question is not that. The question is if you can endure to see that dead man’s eyes when you look into mine.

“Yes, my darling,” I whisper, wondering about the answer to the second question.

For a long while, we’re still a stone in a trickling river of human beings, all different, all the same. We’re alone.

I don’t know when the rain has stopped. Ages have come and gone. The waterfront is empty, an expanse of concrete, shining with myriads of puddles.

“Let’s go home,” he says, and I can detect the tiniest of smiles at the corner of his eyes, which is not only my imagination.

Holding hands, we start towards the car.

Copyright © Vesper L. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Autumn Morning

Nature creates the most wonderful of paintings.
These photos were taken during a stroll in the wetlands of a small island, Île Bizard (historically named Île Bonaventure, but given its actual name in 1723, after Jacques Bizard, whose fief it became in 1678) next to the Island of Montreal, in the Hochelaga Archipelago, at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers.
A beautiful summery Saturday morning, quite hot, with only the changing colours of leaves and a certain sweet mildness in the air to hint at the impending autumn...

Friday, September 21, 2007

5 Strengths as a Writer

Dear Colleen at Loose Leaf Notes has so graciously tagged me for this meme. At first I was scared, I admit. Wait, I thought, am I a writer? Yes, of course you are, I said to myself, this is what you think of you, but what scares you is to be called that in the outside world without the credentials of at least a published story, as if, by doing that, others were somehow going to call your bluff. Having recognized this fear, though, I started thinking about extracting something positive from my insecurities. I thank Colleen for the challenge.

So here it goes:

1. I can hear well my voice, my writing voice, and I think – without false modesty – that it’s not such a bad one. This voice comes to me, it sings to me, and it flows. I might have to dress it up or clean it up a bit, but I still think it flows quite well.

2. I am very determined, very stubborn. I will not give up. If kicked down, I will not stay down for long. A rejection slip will give me a sinking feeling for a day or two, and then I’m up and fighting again (that is, writing again!). I have an utter faith in my abilities (I am an Aries, remember!).

3. I am willing to learn all the time – from books, from people. I welcome constructive criticism, and can put my ego aside, relatively easily, for the sake of learning how to improve my craft.

4. I am a good listener and have an intuition that allows me to see, quite accurately, behind the façade of people, reach their soul, understand their real motives, and use the knowledge in creating my characters.

5. There is nothing I like more than writing. I couldn’t imagine life without writing. It is like air to me; I look in amazement at people who have no interest in it and wonder how they can possibly live like that.

I’m tagging for this:

Canterbury Soul at Doors Left Open
David, at Witnessing Am I
Jason, at Clarity of Night
Seamus (the Lion Tamer!), at Shameless Words
Taffiny, at To Taste a Peach

Monday, September 17, 2007

My Miserable Muse

Is there a device somewhere - a wiry contraption (preferably invisible) that you could attach to your scalp to extract all those wild beautiful scary heroic sad lovely images travelling at the speed of thought through your brain, transform them into words and put them on paper? Nothing like that?
I guess not… (sigh)
Or maybe a typewriter like the one in Stephen King’s “The Tommyknockers”? No?
A magical laptop? Please?! Yes?! No?… Maybe?…
Unh-unh, nope, no sirree, no such thing…
Then, what can we do, those of us who are hit by inspiration at the most inappropriate moments – like when we are at work, or when we have to guide our children with their homework, or when we do the cooking, or the dishes, or the raking of leaves – anytime but that half hour at the end of the day when all the rest has somehow calmed down and we have a moment to ourselves. Those of us who cannot spend their day in coffee shops writing, or just noticing things?
Steal, then. A minute here, a few words there, an idea scribbled on a sticky note during a soul-killing meeting or while enduring the excruciating yackety-yak of a co-worker (this happens daily, and for the whole day, and no, I can’t really protest because technically the guy is my boss).
I even thought of a recorder for when I’m in the car, but then I don’t like much to talk – I like to write.
So, this is it. Slowly, furtively, too slowly, my hands, my fingers waltz on the keyboard. Rarely at the right time, always in a hurry. I can see, hear, feel, smell, taste in my head. I live the story. The only problem is to capture its shape of words before it disappears into the smoke of oblivion.
My lovely broody muse (I must not upset her, battered as she is!) still grabs my hand and guides me – like these days, when I’m rewriting a story for which the endearing Minx has offered invaluable advice. But with my daily forced betrayals aren’t we heading, oh, so straight, so inexorably towards that… what is that dull shapeless thing not so far ahead? I’m afraid it’s the nasty grey wall of writer’s block.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


What is this commotion?
I ponder.

This thesaurus of mistakes,
of laughter,
of tears,
of hopes...
It is that sparrow on the fence,
ruffling her feathers,
at the promise of winter
in the air.
It is I,
watching her from inside
on this rainy day,
with my hot coffee
and my
dark mood.
It is the minute snail
gliding swiftly
on the glass wall
of his tiny world.

We are all the same.

It is life.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Still Summer...

My Mother's exquisite tired hands,
my Father's gentle smile,
my daughters' tinkles of laughter
concerting with crickets,
in the tall grasses,
in the sweet sunset.

All is well, oh, so well...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Haute Cuisine

I could live on love only,
I thought, falling into your eyes.
The skies were in there.
Suave birds soared on balmy rivers of air,
their eyes of shiny beads
watching me with indulgent curiosity.
I glided with them happily,
ignorant, carefree,
nothing else needed, ever, forever,
my whole self sated to bliss.

How surprised I was when
my fine nose caught
the flavour of storm,
the sharp odour of ions.
All too hastily,
my eyes slid on sombre shadows of clouds,
glimpsed the eddy of darkness
at the cerulean quietude.
Still I floated,
with birds not so charming now,
not so friendly,
their rough feathers
lashing at my soul.

How was I to know
I’d been invited
to a Barmecide feast?

I tumbled out of your blue,
ungainly landing
on my kitchen’s floor,
oh, so hungry.

Let’s see what’s in the fridge.

Copyright © Vesper L. All rights reserved.