Richibi’s Weblog

Just another weblog

Tag: Vancouver

a reader writes‏

"November" - Eugène Leroy

November (1988)

Eugène Leroy


a reader writes about Coming to
New York – John Updike
my last
weblog entry

October 30, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Nice post. Yours is a[s] poetic as Updike’s. Do you live there now? My wife and I spend June of 2013 in the Village and June of 2015 in Beacon, NY. When in NYC I always feel more alive, and it’s because of the frying bacon cheek-by-jowl with the Flat Iron Bldg, the Whitney, Union Square, Grand Central Station.

when my reply to him became too long,
and a paean to Vancouver, I thought I’d
make my tribute more formal, include it
in my main text, I hope you enjoy it

while I lived in Toronto, Kurt, ’68 – ’82, New York was my playground, Toronto, the Good, was still coming out of its WASP insularity, fun was a dirty word – when I moved to Vancouver, the only thing I missed, I used to always say, was civilization, or, interchangeably, New York

Vancouver has grown, of course, since then, but it still isn’t New York, we have no theatre to speak of, no competing orchestras, a modest art scene, thanks to, especially, significant art exhibitions on occasion, and here and there an errant, inspired, flower – the recital society, however, has been impressive, with a catalogue of international names visiting often

for Vancouver is indeed beautiful, breathtakingly so, right now the autumn colours are bold, bright, infinitely remarkable, enough to make you believe in God/dess

also the mountains make a splendid backdrop

thanks for the likeness to John Updike, a shot in the arm for someone who thinks he might be a poet


psst: Kurt has a blog with noteworthy
information about, esoteric even,
Classical music – check him out

thanks Kurt

“Vancouver” – Philip Resnick

"Crosswalk" - Fred Herzog

Crosswalk (1960)

Fred Herzog


not many poems exalt a city, the first
for me was Sandburg’s Chicago, a
far cry from Shelley, Byron, Keats,
and finally something that I could
sink my teeth into – though pretty,
the earlier, Romantic, poems had
been prissy, effete, skylarks,
Grecian urns, the irrelevant fall of
Babylon to the Assyrians
to me

– a lot of festooned air, I thought,
signifying nearly nothing, despite,
afterwards, its often very clever,
indeed truly inspiring, aphorisms

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty, — that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

for instance

but I was young then, have gotten through
Romanticism’s idiosyncratic pretensions
to its noble universal heart, maybe ‘ve
even picked up a few of its literary
excesses since, what do you think

here’s one, right up there with Chicago“,
about Vancouver this time, my city

and it’s a dandy, I think

come visit




The most liveable city on the planet, they say,
which seems true enough on a mid-August afternoon,
sailboats dotting the bay,
picknickers at crowded beaches
competing for summer heat
and precious square centimetres of sand.
Sunlight casts its spell,
and hearing over and over again
how wonderful you are
has a hypnotic ring to it,
much like lovers gently rocking
to rhythms of the midnight hour
or first sight of running water to the parched.
We who grow old here
have like Cavafy‘s Alexandrians
learned to treat such messages with suspicion.
Those bereft of love
find little compassion betwixt concrete condo towers,
those with few means dwell in the same Inferno’s circles
as the bereft of other cities,
and those in hawk to the god of greed
are no less addicted for living in the suburbs of insatiability.

Philip Resnick

“Let’s Face the Music and Dance”‏

"Hot Jazz" - Frank Kline

Hot Jazz (1940)

Frank Kline


having watched a superb interpretation
of this classic Nat King Cole number on
“So You Think You Can Dance” recently,
a show I havent missed since it started,
I went looking for a performance of the
song I could sink my teeth into, and
Fred and Ginger, however wonderful,
could not give me the immediacy I was
intent on discovering, I needed words,
not action, “Let’s Face the Music and
from the heart

though I’d heard of Diana Krall, I hadn’t
anywhere yet identified her, if ever I’d
even heard her

she took my breath away, knocked my
socks off, I want to go to Rio, where
she sang this song, just click

once I’d heard this piece on free Internet
video, I ran, didn’t just walk, albeit on the
comfort of my own sofa, to iTunes and
bought the whole show for what turned
out to be essentially a song, $4.99
Canadian, wow

turned out I could’ve got it for free as
well right there by running instead to
Google, had I not been so impetuous,

Live in Rio is a revelation, and I don’t
even like jazz, but I liked this show
enough to make me want to fly to Rio,
make my own Bossa Nova, maybe even
meet my own Ipaneman

though Diana Krall, incidentally lives
right here in Vancouver, she says

note, in passing, the connections to
Classical music, you’ll want to count
tenuti, for instance, and rubati,
and rallentandi, while
you’re at it

note also the Classical imperatives,
tonality, tempo, and repetition, which,
you’ll find, haven’t much changed in
the 21st Century, though rhythm is a
lot more fluid, flexible, now, not so

the group is a variation on the string
quartet, now comprising double bass,
guitar, percussion, and piano, with
voice thrown in

an orchestral back up makes us ready
for a concerto, where here we have a
set of independent pieces held
together, however solidly, by mere

and, of course, Diana Krall’s vocal
and interpretive magic

listen, be smitten



“Morning Poem” – Wojciech Siudmak‏

Wojciech Siudmak  - "Morning Poem"

Poème matinal (“Morning Poem“)

Wojciech Siudmak


looking for a poem this morning among an
array of poem paintings, I came across this
morning one
to start my day, evidently also
to share

this could be any street in Vancouver right
now, where the trees overwhelm the streets,
where branches like arms bless even the
very pavement, where magic lurks in every
indentation of the leaves

you look for poems, you find poems, I say,
even in paintings, even in innocent trees


“My City” – Christine Fichtner‏

at the end of her blog Christine Fichtner writes,

A fun Friday challenge by OM to describe any
city in less than 1 000 words.”

this is what she writes

” The endless rain of cars upon the streets lends a droning noise to the excited bustle of crowds that pace the streets in furious waves of cell phones and music players. Conversations you did not need to hear and lyrics you shouldn’t even be able to hear.

Up and down and across the buses loop with black coughs. At even intervals, as trains arrive with squeals as painful as aching joints, and the ground rumbles in a mockery of the earthquake that has been on its way for the last fifty years.

Around, buildings tower with promising winks and glassy eyes. Mirrors of desire. Coffee warms the hands of most who browse the streets.

Trees grow within their cages, trimmed and perfected. Blossoming in spring and illuminated in winter. They line the streets like ornamental filters. People flick their cigarette butts in appreciation.

An overpriced food truck. The same free newspaper you avoided two blocks back. No, you don’t have any spare change. You jaywalk a one way street. A car stops for you.

Every once in a while the sun deigns the city worthy of an appearance. But most days the skies mimic the cold cement, and cry for good measure. Ever followers, clothing of black and grey greet the eye like the dense fog that has been around all week.

Hard paths line the water, just beyond the shore. Bike bells and pounding steps followed by the scent of sweat. The occasional seal greets from afar, soon chased away by a ship’s horn. Gritty sand is cool in the shadow of the logs that line the beaches. Hills of grass and a spattering of trees give a semblance of privacy.

Every few months, fireworks cheer, costumes parade the streets. And sometimes birthday suits on two wheels flash past amongst cheering laughs.

Languages hum to each other. Every corner, a new one. Pointing fingers, flashing cameras, and large buses driving just a bit too slowly through the winding, illogical streets.

Yellow, red, black, signs lit, meters already running, slowing past bus stops and huffing when no one moves, speeding off for better luck elsewhere. Of course when you call, there are none available.

Because when night falls, the buses retreat and the alcohol pours and the police are unyielding with their sirens and dooming slips of paper. Stumbling from the bars and clubs, money scattered throughout the night, the cabs are there to collect the rest.

The scent of cuisines as you walk towards the water. Never the same one twice. Except for sushi.

Clothing sales as you move towards the pounding heart of traffic lights and beeping cars. Malls of stale air and clashing stores. Further away, niche boutiques and trendy wear eat away at your bank statement.

You avoid the east. The used needles that sleep beside someone who is not all there at the moment. The transactions that take mere seconds, switching hands as fast as they greet each other. And after dark, the knives that flash.

The buildings sigh downwards as you move north. Trees overtake the ground. Houses coexist among them, each with pet plants growing, well manicured and obedient. Here you hear the children playing, the dogs barking. Occasionally the complaint of a hungry cat.

Vehicles grunt their way up the steep roads. Colourful shoes flash as joggers and cyclists challenge the slopes. Up and up, until the forests swell, ripe with bird calls, dainty hooves, and snuffling snouts.

And the mountains overlook with the fondness as the city spreads like competing children. At the buildings that covet the watery view and the bright colours of the sun’s extremes.

As light fades, the clouds, in a rare moment of kindness, may choose to reveal the sky’s solemn sentries that dot the darkness in a slow, rotating guard. The city lights glimmer like a dying fire’s embers. It’s warm, and if you could, you would reach out and touch it. ”


“I decided to describe my city, Vancouver.”,
she later explains, though by that time I’d
entirely, of course, got it, it should, I think,
be Vancouver’s official poem, right up there
with Chicago’s Chicago

bravo Christine


dinner out

                                 The Birth of Venus, c.1482-1486
                                              Sandro Botticelli
                                                                                                                                       these earlier “back tracks”, of which the following is one example, are pieces I consider still to be worth your while
                                                                                                                                      please enjoy                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                dinner out:
                                                                                                                                     the night was clear, a slender moon shone in an indigo sky, I thought instead of staying in and watching Rock Hudson, Doris Day, Tony Randall, and a gay-as-a-goose Paul Lynde in “Pillow Talk” in German I´d venture out instead the day after all after Christmas to find a place to eat, preferably something Italian, I had in mind a restaurant I´d visited when I’d been in Dresden last that might be open, it was
                                                                                                                                        a place for one, I asked somewhat meekly, if you have one, and pointed to a table in a corner that seemed unoccupied, I´d worried about reservations on the special occasion that was that night, but the table was free, and rendered somewhat grudgingly, I suspected, where a couple at least would´ve been more, to their mind, worthy
                                                                                                                                        I sat at a table that could’ve been cleaner, whisked it off with a brush of my hand, a candle on the checked red and white tablecloth in the very colours of Christmas in the otherwise dim light made me overlook the slight if unconscionable inconvenience
                                                                                                                                     cutlery arrived and a soft but sturdy napkin, on a silver platter no less, that I felt would duly resolve the remiss, I spread the serviette, folded primly under, on my lap, sipped an excellent Valpolicella while I waited for the main service, a green salad that I would have, I asked, in concert with the fettucine, not on the same plate of course, I had to explain, but that I would enjoy at its side, a delicious pasta with salmon and yellow asparagus in a light cream sauce
                                                                                                                                        I was left to my own private devices, the restaurant was full, the staff busy, I savoured the endives, the steaming and succulent main course, indifferent to the indifferent service, but precise nevertheless about a second glass of wine
                                                                                                                                      out of nowhere, or out of a fantasy perhaps, once many of the early diners had departed and many of the tables had been cleared, a woman, or rather a vision, had arrived, was seated across from me alone at her own private table, I was entranced, I rarely see women eat alone in any even moderately elegant restaurants, they´ve always expressed fear and modesty, I´ve always thought that so impractical
                                                                                                                                      she seemed alone, so conscientious, so present yet so dependent upon the courtesy and good will of her suitors, whoever they might turn out to be, I saw Botticelli´s Venus being born from the waters, aquiver but unaware yet of any possible adversity
                                                                                                                                      the waiter, an older gentleman, who´d been merely polite to me, tended attentively to her graces, she opened to him a defenseless smile trusting his recommendations, she turned her neck, nubile as a swan´s, back to the menu´s pages pondering them closely as though they were priceless art, pointing out with a querying finger an item, hoping tentatively for clarification
                                                                                                                                      he was of course obsequious
                                                                                                                                    later she sipped her wine, tasted her food with elegance, poise, poetry
                                                                                                                                        I watched mesmerized
what should I do, what should I say, I wondered, should I let the moment pass, knowing full well that I could never tell this story if I were simply to walk away
                                                                                                                                        I practiced my German rendition as I savoured my second glass of red wine, the waiter had taken my fee, been politely inquisitive about my whereabouts, Vancouver, I of course replied, on the Canadian Pacific, where they´ll soon hold the Winter Olympics, so far from home it´s a surprise to find that some have no idea
                                                                                                                                        I sipped my last drop, stood up, but the server had returned to her table, I sat back, waited for him to move away
                                                                                                                                          I left my coat at my table, boldly crossed over to her side, excuse me, I started in German, entschuldigen Sie mich bitte, if I could have a moment of your time, German, French, English, I will speak what I must, but I suspected that so bold an apparition would speak English, my muses would have created that, or maybe some arcane but serendipitous nevertheless cultural affinity
                                                                                                                                        I don´t wish to offend you, I said, and I´ll be gone in just a moment, but I´ve seen you, watched you from my distance eating all alone the day after Christmas, I think I´m something of a poet, I´ve seen your grace, your poise, your poetry, you are a poem to me, I needed to tell you that, I thought this would bring you some enjoyment, I hope you will forgive me if I´ve been too brash
                                                                                                                                    thank you, she said, thank you, her eyes gleamed, shimmered, her hair soft, I´m sure, as sunlight, glowed in the golden candlelight, I noticed her russet freckles
                                                                                                                                        I took my leave, turned my back to her as I donned my scarves and winter coat against the winter cold, moved towards the door
                                                                                                                                          I waved a last goodbye, she waved back