A compilation of works from the students of the Fall 2016 session of Community Journalism 101
By Jacqueline Angharad Giles
I gaze out my window as the city bus
struggles through Vancouver’s busy traffic.
It’s “arsenic hour” and many motorists
are impatient and impetuous in their driving.
Travelling along East Hastings
I become acutely aware of those
claiming their territorial street corners.
Some are pacing, while others stand still.
Some are scantily clad, while others cover
their curves with loose-fitting attire,
all desperately hoping to solicit good business tonight.
The competition is in full swing.
A part of me wishes to close the curtain
to the discomforting scene before me.
Yet, my eyes remain open.
I feel both curiosity and concern.
I find myself wondering:
Are they here by choice or out of necessity?
Some wear expressions
of lonely and wounded selves.
a hardened impenetrable aura.
This is where some feel acceptance,
a sense of belonging.
For many, this is the only life they know.
A weighty sadness envelops me
and I am deeply humbled.
Minutes later, our bus disembarks
at the SkyTrain station.
I silently thank God for all I have.
Those who wait on street corners
remind me of where I might have stood.
By Jacqueline Angharad Giles
Author’s note: I was asked by a construction worker in Sechelt to write something on the topic of procrastination. He wished to pass on my ‘inspiration’ to one of his daughters who was in her late teens at the time. The title ‘Procrastination’s Price’ came easily to my mind. However, the content did not. No matter how hard I tried, I struggled to find the words to fill in the blank. Whatever few lines I was able to write did not resonate well with me. I then kept putting off working on that poem, intending to get back to it when I had the time and energy. However, I later realized that my writer’s block served its purpose and I took the path of least resistance. Instead, I felt to leave the body of the poem blank. I felt the poem’s lack of words to be inspired — by perpetually procrastinating, some tasks never get attended to. That is also true for writers.
“Rebirth of Time”
By Jason D. Love, while detoxing off heroin in the Harbour Light Detox Centre July 23, 2016.
Inside your mind is time descending
Depressions un-expressed tension
See what the blind seek, the minds mending
The souls your hearts intentions
Goals of a martyr’s message
To overcome dark aggression
Loves the opposite of fear, clear expression
Vulnerabilities your ego’s enemy, cold oppression
Let go through bold confessions
To let go of old obsessions
Hate reveals no redemption
Though it may seem right, for a moments mention
But short lived with no extensions
Through love we find freedom & God’s presence
What’s life but loves light and kind friendships?
Friendships that last a life time so times endless
“close encounters of the edible”
By Jason D. Love
He looked down at his plate in a rigor mortis of fear. He knew what was expected of him, he knew what he had to do, but every bone in his existence spoke the opposite. He pictured sunny days enthralled in winds of nicety’s. Sugar-based sustenance was where his undying loyalty lay. At this moment however no amount of mental imagery would bring those times to present. He must accomplish the task at hand.
Sweat dripped off his brow as he stared at this earth grown object, and it stared back at him. Seconds felt eternal as the rhythm of his heart pulsed through his body. Eyes peered at him from the tables other inhabitants, gleaming with a demeanour of higher knowledge. The sounds of their voices lectures and lessons playing in his head. Such phrases as “it’s good for” and “if you don’t” pierced his real desires.
Finally he decided to take the plunge, entering an abyss of fighting what he believed to be true. And as he took the broccoli and placed it to his tongue he felt a shattering of his beliefs. The idea that broccoli could have actually of ended his stay on this spinning ball we call earth.
In a array of confusion after surviving his encounter with this enigma of nutrition, he tilted his head up and politely asked his parents – now can I have some ice cream?
By Ekim Malkonovowich
It was over twenty-five years ago, when I just met my friend Addictio Chameleon. I say Friend, however in reality, he is anything but a friend.
The truth is he is a liar, a cheat and a thief. He steals all that is important and of value, including my sanity. When Addictio’s path converged with my path, he danced a wanton jig of destruction. He is never satisfied, always trying for my undivided attention. I give my soul, my feelings, and my hopes to him. I am filled with grief and despair. Addictio is happy when he wraps me in chains so heavy I can scarcely move nor breathe. He will be satisfied when he chokes all life from me and I die a tormented death. Then he will move on and work on charming his next victim and yet another soul.
Addictio is coming to visit me today. He believes we are going to play—I have tricked him today, he believes we are going to play Russian roulette. The chamber is loaded with bullets called dysfunction, anger, chaos, guilt and shame. When a bullet strikes, I reel and a metamorphosis of my character takes place. He makes me do almost anything to satisfy his insatiable hunger. I lie. I steal. I cheat. I know only pain and feelings of consuming hopelessness. I repeat the cycle over and over and over again—it is a never ending loop of tortured existence. I will STOP the cycle. Finally I can say goodbye.
I met Addictio over twenty-five years ago as a teenager in Victoria, BC. I was around the age of fifteen. Shortly after being transplanted from Manitoba, forced to give up my friends, my school, my pets, and all my other interests, I was full of self-pity. A casual acquaintance introduced me to Addictio. Instantly I found what I thought my life was lacking. My despair and my loneliness, my feelings of emptiness and pity, were relieved—or so I thought. Addictio and I were inseparable. Each day we played. The only time we weren’t together was when I slept. When I awoke Addictio was waiting for me. He is cunning, deadly, powerful and patient. He is always waiting to wrap my being in his cloak. My mind is a fog. I cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality. I am totally and utterly emotionally void and so very empty. Addictio ruined my life, he ruined my life, yet I believe he was my saviour, he promised to cure all that ailed me.
A year and a half later, our dysfunctional kinship saw me locked in a maximum security prison. Three years later, I was released. Did he abandon me? No, patiently he waited by the prison gates. He was like a puppy waiting for Daddy to come home. He leapt on my shoulders, full of joy. He knew I was once again his slave. He pried all that was good from me—my life became un-manageable. I suffered lost jobs, homes, and relationships. I became alienated from self and family until I felt hopeless and spiritually dead. “Go ahead and kill yourself,” his soft whisper echoes…
Alas triumph is reached, through divine intervention. Prayer and meditation subside fostering issues, that otherwise would have erupted—causing me to seek the safety of Addictio’s false comfort. I talk about my problems with others who have also fallen prey to Addictio’s narcissistic charm. A knock on the door draws me out of my morning meditation. I put on my coat and leave with him. Addictio walks by my side. A short while later we arrive at a church. I kneel before a cross and begin to pray. “Lord Jesus, my Saviour, release me from the bondage of self.” “Please release me from all that enslaves me, help me to correct my character defects.” “I live to do your will, your will not mine be done,” I cry. “Reveal your will to me as you see fit, I beg of you, oh Lord.” “Command Addictio to leave my presence, so I may be free of his rapture and know only your loving grace.”
As I turn my head, Addictio vaporizes and turns to dust. I tell myself never again I will give into his persuasive fallacies. Never again will you run rampant. Never again will you strip away my self-esteem. Never again will you rule my life. Addictio, you are dead.
I leave church. I hear the creator’s voice. He tells me I must attend meetings; I must help others less fortunate and carry this message to by sharing my story. I seek counsel from God’s family. I will read and study his teachings, in order to continue my growth along spiritual lines. If I maintain these simple doctrines, Addictio’s voice and spirit will remain silent, never to be heard again. I now will enjoy a life full of peace, serenity and hope filled promise, knowing God’s love, protection and everlasting joy.
A ongoing project, Community Journalism 101 is a five-week course organized in partnership with Megaphone with instructors Stefania Seccia and Jackie Wong. The course runs twice yearly.