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oscar hong | photography


the opus team teacher sponsors ms. jacobs mrs. o’connor mrs. van rijn

editor in chief anjan katta

lead staff max bedford, literary director kais khimji, layout director kachau leung, layout director josiah tsang, artistic director

selections team zach hauser parker nann andreas dutz kenneth huang philip basaric sheldon lynn tyler bains zelig fok

cover design kais khimji

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introduction Vitality is strength; it is vigour; it is the currency of our lives. Yet, it means so much more. Vitality is our collective search for meaning, our journey for purposeful existence, our power for growth. It is the serene wind that carries the embers of life. It is what keeps us going when the world around us turns upside down. It is what keeps us laughing, loving, and living. The Opus: Vitality is this search for meaning, this capacity for growth. Whether it be language or landscape, passage or pixel, sentence or scribble, you will find the infusion of vitality. At times, it is enigmatic. Other times it is as clear as day. But you will always be exploring an emotion, creating a fantasy, cherishing a memory. You will have lost yourself, you will have found yourself, and no matter what, you will have grown. The pages laid out ahead of you, no matter how many times you flip through, hopefully will lead you down a path of exploration, a path of meaningful purpose. Vitality was only made possible by the endless support of so many amazing people. My gratitude goes out to the St George’s Advancement Team, the St George’s Parent Association, and the Art and English Departments of St George’s for their continued dedication. To Josiah, Max, Kais, Kachau, and the rest of the Opus team, thank you for the countless hours of hard work and believing through the long haul. A huge thanks to Ms. Jacobs, Mrs. O’Connor, and Mrs. Van Rijn for their mentorship, advice, and guidance. But my greatest thanks goes out to the contributors of this year’s publication. Thank you for pouring your paint, syllables, and heart and soul into what is undeniably a labour of your passionate creativity. This year’s Opus was truly created by you. Feel exhilaration. Feel passion. Feel vitality, in the pages ahead of you. - Anjan Katta


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philip basaric | photography VITALITY | 7

sheldon lynn | acrylic 8 | OPUS

caducity paul redelmeier

When does age stop being A milestone or a medal To be worn around one’s neck, As if one were an Olympian on a podium. Why do we say that we’re 6 And three quarters But not 63 and a half. Has the repetition of birthdays Dwindled them to insignificance? Just as each ring on a tree Makes the last a little less visible. Or instead, is it the lack of Self-esteeming milestones To be had? Where are the baby teeth to be lost, To be hidden underneath a pillow, To be found having disappeared and been replaced By little Gold-coloured fortunes! I can’t discern such delight From the opening of an RRSP, Or the knowledge that you’ve Just qualified for a Free ride on a ferry, Or a Marked-down Movie Ticket. We don’t self aggrandize a wrinkle, Though it’s no less comely than a toothless Smile. Instead, we simply hide it Revealed vanity more desirable Than age.


the beginning of the world kevin li

In the beginning, there was nothing. And then there was the sun, and then there were some rocks, and these rocks were aware. These rocks tumbled haphazardly around the burning mass that was the sun, trapped by an invisible force. It was almost as if they were playing tag, crashing and bashing into each other; they did not like it and their arguments were so immensely powerful, their bodies burned with red energy and emotion. However, over eons that same anger turned to complacency and then to affection. They settled the disputes and instead sought to work together. They linked with each other and cooled down, forming the earth’s crust. However, deep inside the companionship of the outer ones, the first two rocks continue to argue and fight, emitting huge amounts of energy. The Liquid Ones had waited many centuries for the rocks to form a crust. They had remained in vapor form, enveloping the entire planet in a massive cloud and sharing space with other kinds of gases. Now that that their rock kin on the planet had cooled down, they were able to condense themselves, starting the formation of the oceans. Soon almost all of the Liquid Ones had been condensed. However, some opted to stay in gas form and they became the atmosphere. Life caught the earth off guard. It had ridden a comet coming from the farthest reaches of the galaxy. When it hit the earth, at first the rocks and the Liquid Ones thought nothing of it. However, they soon felt it. An unusual stirring on the tiniest scale. Something was developing. This something was different from anything the earth had ever seen. Life was taking its first steps forward. Even though this

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development was unusual and strange, the earth welcomed it with open arms. With the nourishing of the liquid ones, and the homes built by the rocks, life progressed quickly, thriving in its new environment. Soon the earth was rocked by thundering footsteps as huge animals walked the earth. Life had truly arrived on Planet Earth.

zelig fok | ceramics VITALITY | 11

jordan bi | photography 12 | OPUS

a pointless discussion daniel zee

Bo and Mo were two baboons of the same zoo. They had been friends ever since they were young. They both considered themselves as intellectuals; they prided themselves for their levels of reasoning and looked down on other animals. As a result, they often conducted conversation with each other to seek intellectual entertainment. “Have you ever considered” said Mo one day, to Bo, “those iPhones, like this one that the girl to our left is holding up to take photos of us right now?” “What about them?” “Imagine that the screen is always changing. Say, you programmed an app that constantly changes the display of the screen, never back to one that was shown before.” “Uh-huh.” “If you stare at it long enough, won’t you end up seeing everything?” “Ah, I see what you’re saying. Because all digital images are only made up of pixels, any sort of image, be it a photo or a text, as long as its size fits within the screen or can be scaled down so, must possess a unique combination of pixels.” “Yes, because it is only a unique arrangement of pixels, after a certain amount of time, you can definitely see a painting of Mona Lisa, the first page of War and Peace, a mouse eating a cat, your own face, the value of Pi to 100 decimal places, the acceptance letter to Harvard and a photo of World War Three in the future just by a systematic color changing algorithm with no intention of producing anything rational whatsoever.”


“I see your point there, Mo, but here is the problem: the iPhone has a resolution of 640×960, and the digital colors we see now are created using red, blue and green values, each ranging from zero to 255 to indicate a certain mixture. Just like that, there are over six hundred thousand pixels, each with the possibility of 2563 colors. Do you know how ridiculously many distinct screen images there are?” “Yes Bo, do not underestimate my intelligence. Precisely 256 to the power of 1843200.” “Glad you know. That is,” he reached for his calculator, knowing full well that what he was doing was futile anyway, “It is not even calculable in the calculator! Overflow! The answer is like, 4438868 digits long.” “Bo.” “This is complete buffoonery! Absolute nonsense! Even if a person stares at the screen without blinking, without stopping, and, let’s say, the screen changes image every millisecond… Heck, even if he stares at 100 iPhones simultaneously, it would still take a lifetime, in fact, millions of lifetimes, to see all the images possible.” “Other than that, you cannot deny that theoretically this is conceivable.” “Fine, Mo, whatever you say. You know, this reminds me of the classic argument, the one that argues that if a monkey keeps typing into a typewriter, regardless of its nonsense typing, sooner or later it would type out the whole Hamlet.” “Yet mine is more genius. What is the probability of seeing the image of the Queen rocking out on an electrical guitar in my case?” Bo sighed, and replied, “One. Without fail.”

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“Yes, and what is the probability of your classic example, typing out Hamlet? Save your words; whatever it is, it is less than one. Even if the monkey types for infinity, it is still possible that it only ever presses the Q key on the keyboard. Ha, it won’t even be able to start off! “Who’s there?” can wait forever while my queen strums her royal riffs.” “And what conclusion arises from this?” “Simple. That one should always bet on seeing a monarch in a rock band on an iPhone over a monkey typing Hamlet out on a typewriter.” Bo stormed off. That night he sneaked into the zoo manager’s room, typed out Hamlet and proved Mo wrong, thereby making the discussion pointless.

jack guo | acrylic VITALITY | 15

to the dark fire kevin tian

You are nothing more than the rapid oxidation of a material; The release of light and heat in the process of combustion; But no! Fire, You are the forever leaping, glowing spirit of happiness. You are the eternal angel of annihilation. The mere visible portion of you, The mere mixture of heated gas and solids: Flame, Is the dancer in the darkness, Is the blade lusting for blood, waiting to kill. Fire, oh look: We had desperate need of you, Yet we hold unspeakable fear for you. *** You are the torment of hell. You are the agony that one could not bear. You roar, dance, flood Through the forest of green; You roar, dance, flood Through the forest of grey. Oh, how you snarl at plants, animals, men! With a grin! How you devour them whole, leaving them screaming! While you dance away! Oh Fire! Witness the black that once was a living thing! But my dearest friend, my deadliest foe, Behold, There upon the ashes, trees grow!

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george wen | acrylic VITALITY | 17

gary xu | fresco

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the bombing william guo

The sirens scream, As loud as banshees, the people scatter, bracing for the debris. But it’s just a plane, followed by two others, harmless, or so it seems. But as they were soon to discover, those who survived would have to suffer. A single bomb came down, the debris was expected to shatter the whole town but what happened was worse. Everything within the imediate radius, living or dead, the destruction was simultaneous. Buildings split, bridges tore. Bodies dropped, and everyone prayed that there would be no more. The sun shone, but nothing moved. Heaps of the wounded, lying in refuse. It was a day that everyone would remember. Even so, the emperor would not surrender. For years to come, children would be born, only to wish that they had been warned.Thousands of lives, turned into vapor, And now, they are mere “Statistics” on a piece of paper. Two bombs: The power of a million suns, “Oh god, what have we done?”


it’s weird harry duan

It’s weird how every beginning must have an end, But not homework. It’s weird how English is supposed to teach people how to communicate, But everyone feels misunderstood. It’s weird how math is so essential and so imperative in life, But no one seems to know how logarithms and calculus can be applied in life. It’s weird how social studies is supposed to teach people how to learn from history, But people always make the same mistakes. It’s weird how Science is supposed to make the world better, But it is the inventions that are destroying the Earth. It’s weird how staying active is so important, But after grade ten, Physical Education becomes optional. Oh, and It’s weird how learning another language is supposed to help people appreciate different cultures, But no one appreciates my French kiss.

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kais khimji | ceramics VITALITY | 21

postmodernistic victor cheung

The thing: Symbols, construed on abstractions, enjoining the most comprehensive, formative, and astutely perspicacious of observations, are the literary manifestations of postmodernism at large. The act of belabouring profundities from a singular morpheme is itself symbolic of fundamental postmodernist suppositions—that reality is but a social and cultural construction, with solipsism at its core. Symbols are, by necessity, emblematic of contrivances larger than its explicit nomenclature. Through implicit connotations, a framework of axioms and conjectures can be constructed that reflect the underlying subtext of cultural mores, limitations, and circumspections. The quondam and prevalent enlightenment era understanding of reality, which is clearly the egregious vestige of an era of human pretension, propounds in plentitude impossible quandaries that results in impossible dichotomies, reflected by the mystifications that is Quantum Mechanics and specifically, wave-particle duality. What it actually means: Nothing.

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sheldon lynn | ink


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rwanda blake hayward

I sat, shivering under the covers of my blanket, listening to the voices outside. They were the voices of evil that evil mother had warned us about. They were coming closer. I popped my head out of the window for a split second to see what evil might look like. They were men, streaming down the road like a torrent of raging water, a menacing wave. They kicked up a huge cloud of dust as they made their way up our dirt alleyway. I was surprised to see that they seemed no different than any normal people, except for the looks on their faces. They were laughing, but it wasn’t normal laughter; not the laughter that follows something funny. They were laughing because they were covered in blood. They carried limp figures and what seemed like bloodied pieces of hair. This image will forever be seared into my mind, these men cackling wickedly and carrying the corpses of my kin. It didn’t seem real. My safety, my only sanction, my home was being intruded by men. Men coming to kill. My brother Imbamby sat beside me wailing for a mother that would never come. Once more the anger and sorrow rose inside me. It didn’t seem real, two parents abandoning their own. The frustration and agitation bubbled up inside me once more forming a lump inside my throat, a lump of denial. They had said that we would be safe with my uncle Alitamba but last night he fled, along with the rest of our village. I awoke late last night to find him packing his bag, but he put his hand on my shoulder and told me that he was preparing his bag in case he had to leave sometime tomorrow. I awoke to find his room bare with no sign of our uncle. This was not the time for reflection upon our dire predicament, however, for I could hear the bad men nearing the house. I raced downstairs in an attempt to locate some authority, someone to tell us what to do, where to go. In the pit of my stomach I knew that my efforts were futile, that I would find no help.


We were caught in the middle of two opposing forces, immobilized - no clear path out. We were utterly and truly helpless. I got to the end of the staircase and scanned the dining hall, as I sprinted through the doorway into the reception room where the door was rattling on its hinges. Strange voices were emanating from behind the closed frame: screaming, laughing even. The men were yelling threats to me and my brother, grinning at our terrorized expressions. Some of the men had run around to window where they stood, screaming insults and jibes at us. I stood in a daze, watching them shake our house to its foundations. I was too petrified to even move, terrified to the point of paralyzation. A man stood grasping a brick, poised to throw it through our paned glass window. Another sported a long knife, waving it at us and grinning malevolently. He looked no older than 15, but his grin was one of hatred. The men saw the expressions of terror and helplessness on our faces and laughed. A wave of nausea hit me and along with it came fear, shaking me back to my senses. With difficulty I dragged my brain back into focus and out of the abstract state of shock at seeing the mob outside our door. My terror turned to elation as I realized the circumstances of our persecution. Their only grounds for targeting us was the fact that we were Tutsis and they were Hutus. We had done nothing to them! Really how much different could we be? We looked almost the same, we just tended to have lighter skin... with a great mental shove, I sent my anger to the back of my mind. My first priority was to find safety for me and my brother. I raced upstairs and saw Imbamby standing in shock by the window, looking down at a couple of jeering men. I grabbed him under the arms and swung him onto my back, where he clung without protest. I jumped down the stairs, four at a time, all the while holding my brother tightly to my shoulders. I sprinted through the kitchen once more and took a quick look at the reception room, fearing what I might see. A man had smashed through the glass pane at the side of the door and was groping for the door handle. I didn’t think I could bear the sight anymore. It felt like a violation to

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the greatest extent, an intrusion of my only safe haven, my only recess: my home. Everything that I had known, all that I loved, was being destroyed, snatched up into the void of animosity between races. I once again forced my brain into the present. Imbamby began to wail again and I bounced up and down on the balls of my feet as I ran through my house, now tainted with the scent of intrusion. I pleaded with my brother to stay silent as I reached towards the window at the back of our house. I swung it open and stumbled back in horror, the men had circled around to the back of my house as well. I hadn’t realized how many there actually were. There were dozens of men, holding machetes and knives. My throat dried up as one man’s eyes caught mine. His face lit up as he screamed to his companions to follow in pursuit of the “little white suck up.” They called us that because the Belgians treated us better than the Hutus. They treated us like a better type of scum, a better bug under their foot. They might have treated us better but they certainly didn’t treat us well. I saw the hate in his eyes as our gaze crossed once again and I was instantly frozen in place, staring into those eyes of pure malice. In that split second I realized that I was staring into the eyes of someone who had no intent of even considering me human. His only goal was to overpower and extinguish Imbamby and me. I cringed as I realized the truth about our situation. I experienced a burst of energy, a sudden will to live that surged through me, giving energy to my expired limbs. I slammed the door, turned the latch, and raced back the way I had come. My fatigued brain sprung into action as I contemplated our options. I had to do something to get my brother and me out of the way before it was too late. The men at the door had broken in and had started coming up the stairs, laughing and joking as they went. To them this was a game, to me it was a race where the prize was my life as well as my brother’s, and right now, I was far from the finish line. I knew that my only hope of salvation was to find somewhere to hide, somewhere, where no one would find us.


archxtypxl existanxxx stuart smith

I just want to grow up, and become Kristen Dunst in the 90’s, But now I’m movin’ on and burning out before I’m 19. I have a dream, that I’m terrified to vocalize, It’s just silly, really, all fantasy, all pointless, So I’ll just go to school, get my degree and be homeless. I just want to grow up and become Kristen Dunst in the 90’s, Sweet and cherry cheeked, blonde, and travellin’ to all the different countries, Jammin’ on my Walkman, falling in love, making bad decisions and prayin’ to up above And whether or not I’m happy, no matter if the day is saved, We’ll survive tonight and graduate in the morning anyway. I just want to grow up and become Kristen Dunst in the 90’s, But now I’m on my back, in the drug store counting dirty pennies, Fluorescent lights in my eyes, washing out my brain And I see, for the first time, in a very long time, That this is just sublime. This is just sublime.

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anthony hui | graphite


eighteen and a half seconds samir javer

The stage was set for a surreal finish, one way or another; the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins were locked in a scoreless tie in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, and I was sitting in the lower bowl at center ice at Rogers Arena, witnessing the dramatics unfold in front of my eyes. Could I ask for anything more on this crisp Wednesday evening on the first night of June? A sea of 18,810 fans clad in royal blue and green engulfed my vision as I took a glance at the crowd during a break in play. With just over one minute to go in the third period, I think it was safe to say that each and every one of them was holding his or her breath. I took a moment to reflect on what could transpire in front of my eyes in the next sixty seconds or so; the fantasies all of us dreamed about as young hockey fans could very well come true. As the puck dropped, the precious seconds ticking by felt like an eternity in my head; my heart stopped beating just about every time the Bruins touched the puck. My phone was buzzing like a swarm of bees with nervous text messages from my friends, yet I refused to take my eyes off the ice. All of a sudden, out of the corner of my left eye, I saw a figure in blue, with the number 17 sewn onto his back, dart towards the opposition’s blue-line; who else but the valiant Ryan Kesler. Just as he was pinned into the boards by a big-bodied Bruins player, he flung the puck towards the wide-open, speedy Jannik Hansen who was now suddenly on a two-on-one rush with Raffi Torres with just over 20 seconds to go. All of us jumped up from our plush maroon seats in anticipation; Hansen fed a perfect pass to Torres right under the stick of the colossal six-foot-seven defender, Zdeno Chara. My eyes stayed glued to the puck and my heart began to race like never before; the buildup was unparalleled. The puck clicked perfectly as it made contact with the wooden blade of Torres’ stick. In my head, I thought to myself,

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“Could this be it? The moment I had dreamed of witnessing first-hand all my life?” And as it turns out, dreams do come true. Torres instantly buried the puck into the thick white mesh of the net with 18 and a half seconds to go, sending the entire crowd into an absolute state of elation. I screamed at the top of my lungs like I never had before; it instantly became one of my alltime “what if?” moments. Plastic cups of cold beer, bags of warm, buttery popcorn and crisp white playoff towels went flying everywhere. However, this state of chaos and dismay was what made this moment so beautiful in my eyes. I jumped up and down, waving my playoff towel with the utmost pride, hugging and high-fiving my friends as well as complete strangers around me, because at that moment, when the entire crowd was united as one, we were all “Canucks.”

adam book | ceramics VITALITY | 31

unwritten ruaridh boswell

Buds of life burst in the morning sun, Fresh, like the pages of an unwritten book. Droplets of rain give birth to a rippling stream, Like the meticulous formation of a radiant dream. A pillar of stone stands tall in a golden field, Like a tropical island lost in the boiling sea. Its brilliant form shaped by its unique surroundings, Like the eternal pledge brought by a ring. Autumn leaves dance their way to the ground, Like the velvet wings of butterflies. Rabbits home and owls take flight As the weary sky ignites. The moon slips from her sapphire gown, As shadows swell and bony trees frown. And as silence speaks of joy and regret, The dark angel comes to collect.

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josiah tsang | acrylic VITALITY | 33

kais khimji | ceramics

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apostrophe conrad cheung

At the end of the story, Hera exalts the crab to its catafalque in the night sky. She leaves us to envisage its dimensions from the wet drapery of stars, or, at least, the stars we know. How could she think we’d realize it? Some Greek must’ve asked, how would she think we’d realize it? Or, more precisely, why was envy so cruel to her? Hera surely has something in mind, though the crab soon ossifies in its course, the unveiling sky a pageant. She may feel the stars have in them the stateliness of bones, sashaying along as artifacts, each englobing whole incidents before vanishing back into the curtains. After all, that there’s a story behind Cancer, and behind Hera, too, needs no declaration, nor concealment. But my god! How inhuman she must be to think that only the skeleton matters to us, as if a distillation of that faraway dark [scintillant chartreuse of fireflies, trembling air charged with schmaltz, insignificantly faint moonshine . . . heart which is ineffably excised a thousand times before quietus, rest of the body which is a carpaccio of angst— uncured, no doubt] will bring us some spirit of clarity or hallucination. Hera—almighty—you’re human for a reason.


writing a pantoum kenneth huang

The gears are still turning in my head, Ideas are flashing in and out. Maybe I need a rest in bed, To let my dreams go about. Ideas are flashing in and out. I can’t write; my hands are numb. To let my dreams go about, I need to finish but I feel so dumb. I can’t write; my hands are numb. I’m trying to fight it but it is far too strong. I need to finish but I feel so dumb; How did this go so wrong? I’m trying to fight it but it is far too strong, I should give up and just end the pain. How did this go so wrong? My previous efforts were all in vain. I should give up and just end the pain. Maybe I need a rest in bed. My previous efforts were all in vain. The gears are still turning in my head.

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bryan luu | painting


blake gilley | watercolour

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prescription han tong

Everything in moderation, including moderation. A lost soul’s fleeting cries devoured by its own immolation, Strangled by the tendrils of society And the misconception of thought. Saving grace from one’s own deity, Saving one’s sanity is all that’s taught Sunday to Sunday or Friday to Friday Whatever you choose, there is no my way. Imaginary choices when one is all that’s there, Chokehold of fallacies and the injustice of being fair, Binding of labels that misconstrue our thoughts, The net of propaganda in which we all are caught. The thought process like Hogwart’s ever changing stairs. In reality the choice of freedom is one that isn’t there; Liberation of the unwilling isn’t liberation at all, The concept of idiocracy is marching at a crawl: Forward it continues, sweeping one to another Friends and familial, father, mother, sister, brother.


and the tree spoke in shadow stuart smith

“I sewed the shadows of the eagles To the walls of the mountain I spun the thread for the spiders Who hunt high in the trees I pushed the soil in tight, I crafted the gems I made honey so sweet and fed all the bees I stitched the scales of fish into their flesh I wept, from my eyes, the sea I cradled the crescent high in the sky Who wailed, for the night was empty So I crafted the stars (from the eyes of the loving) And casted them high and wide I stirred the heavens then, like a bowl of warm soup With a rib from my skin, from my side I love this dear earth, it breathes into me A fire as pure as the snow With the sun in my leaves and my roots in the dirt I will continue to grow.�

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zelig fok | mixed media


everlasting life preston lim

Resurrected is the faith And the emotion that so powerfully once Sparkled with rich innocence and vibrance, Whilst capturing the nostalgic joy That for so long gripped my soul. Oh, those were the days when Apollo’s Golden Passion seized me with ardor, Issuing forth an escape from this world’s mundanity. Whoever could’ve imagined that I Could have so perfectly preserved his edifice? For no more am I committed to the drab, sinking Grit that was forced upon me in my drunken stupor; No more am I slave to the modalities That once imprisoned my mind in agony, For art has absorbed me into its eternal pleasure. Expression is my religion, my window To the surreal and to the sacred; An everlasting joy has sprung forth From the vestiges of my being. Rosin erupts from the bows of my soul, Whilst paint shoots forth From the palettes of my heart. The world is my canvas, To be beautified by art.

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leo chang | photography VITALITY | 43

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sheldon lynn | ink


time flies by jack pan

It was a sparkling and quiet night. A strong, sweet scent came to my attention. I looked outside the window but there was nothing. I followed the smell and found a spilt bottle of cologne in my closet. This wasn’t any ordinary cologne –it was the first gift from my ex-girlfriend. *** It was quiet and calm, the moon shone brightly. I went into the dance floor and saw her. She looked at me with big bright eyes and an unforgettable smile. I knew she was my soul mate. We looked at each other and knew we wanted to dance. What was this feeling – could this be love? As the dance was ending, we danced one last time but this time something was different. She grabbed me and clutched me as if she didn’t want me leave. Slowly and calmly, I took her hands off me and told her I wouldn’t leave. Later that evening I ran back home, I felt infatuated and I realized I was in love. It was the day of our one-month anniversary and the excitement was mesmerizing, though the classroom was silent and still. Suddenly, my girlfriend called. I hurried and picked up. “Happy anniversary!” I exclaimed, but there wasn’t a sound. Then, in a muffled and a disappointed voice, she finally said, “Let’s just be friends.” Those words were needles stabbing me in the heart. My very first love was shattered by four simple words. I was speechless so I hung up the phone and slowly got out from my desk. I tried to hide my sorrow but on the inside I felt lonely and incomplete. *** Suddenly, my phone started buzzing and I realized I was daydreaming. I picked up. It was Grace, my best friend. “Hey Jack, want to hang out tomorrow?” I then realized being single isn’t a bad thing after all.

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symon tiansay | photographyy


liquid leisure torsten palmer

Her own blood stained her fingertips; Over and over, Striking A splintered match. She was Adding to the burning lake. Determined gasps, A suffocating strangle of Lashing flame Tearing at her throat like A broken bottle. She struggled, Forcing a faltered breath. The smoke danced Before it dropped beneath her. She lit her last cigarette To ease the pain. The concrete floor Soaking With liquid leisure. She lay coiled With one hand resting on shattered glass.

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With one hand resting on shattered glass, She lay coiled With liquid leisure Soaking The concrete floor. To ease the pain, She lit her last cigarette Before it dropped beneath her. The smoke danced, Forcing a faltered breath. She struggled. A broken bottle Tearing at her throat like Lashing flame. A suffocating strangle of Determined gasps Adding to the burning lake. She was A splintered match Striking Over and over; Her own blood stained her fingertips.


zelig fok | mixed media

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zelig fok | mixed media


apocalypse steven li

I stand in a city in the wilderness Growing ever more alone. Heavy rain, riding the wind, blows away the night. Fragile life speaks softly to me, echoing across the void. I breathe Your presence: the distinctive fragrance Guides me through the centre of this city. Thunder shocks the city, the dead walk among us: Frail elders, squalling infants; a holy light envelops them. The vision begins to fade. I reach up in the dark to turn on the light And await their ascension. Their heads lie under An oak tree in the city, where they Pray to ancient boughs: The origins of the New World. In the silence of the city their white hair burns, Making the city an icon In the hearts of countless multitudes. The inner beast gradually awakens And dawn’s silence is shattered by its roar. A dim lamp lights my darkness. Contorted kaleidoscopic matter Intersects the song of midnight Whose sharp yet gentle sound Envelops the night’s shadows. The gale cannot pause. The fading of the briefly flowering old faith Makes my pulse quiver. Your voice comes back to me; Guides me through the interminable darkness.

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Those who walk beside me in this city Were my enemies, All gone now. Under the firmament Flashes a fiery light; A single spark ignites the land. Stillness gathers in the palaces. The fierce wind plays an ancient ode That accompanies me as I walk The peripheries of the city in the wilderness.

andrew wong | mixed media VITALITY | 53

kevin lin | graphic design

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8-bit games brad wenzel

An 8-bit game Has so few a frame Colourful little pixels run Made the game so much fun Old fashion software We play without a care Lots of coding imagination for sure The Application we would tour Terraria, Minecraft and Pac-Man On an old computer they ran I can play them all What a great call An 8 bit game With graphics so tame Basic architecture for sure The gaming was pure It is lots of fun That could not be outdone The programs were not lame In a world of 8-bit games


teigan moschenross | photography

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gladiator jack lin

Valiantly, the gladiator stands, Brandishing his weapon. The lion roars and stamps Preparing, to fight to death. Brandishing his weapon, The warrior, strong and fierce Preparing, to fight to death Remaining calm, and steady.


marc levin | wood carving

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poetry sean kilman

In all my years with my cunning eyes, I think I will find not something that I more despise, Something that sickens me, Even more than poetry. I work on poems bit by bit, When I just want to say “screw it”! My teacher gives me poems every day, Oh the money I would pay, Just for once to get out Of writing poems without whine or pout. My dear class mates you must see, How much my teach despises me. I’ve written poems to his liking, He says “My, this poem is rather striking”. I would rather be playing basketball, Then pacing up and down the hall. For I have better things to do with my time, Than sit here trying to make this rhyme. I can write personifications and concrete, I may be good, but I’m no John Keats. I’m okay, I got what it takes. One day I hope the need for poems abates. I hate poems in lots of ways, For I’ve been doing them for days. Poetry is truly cursed, And that is why it’s the worst.


i hope that my poetry paul redelmeier

I hope that my poetry is Never put under a light microscope The words, bacteria Pressed between two thick slides Don’t dissect my capitalization please Or cut snippets of conjunctions Erasing the space between metaphors Don’t highlight different sections Or draw lines between stanzas And don’t analyze my punctuation Because well I never really cared for it much anyways You see I’d much rather you dove into the depths of my poetry And Didn’t come up with a conclusion Rather simply for a breath of air So you can sink, right back down Submerging your eyes and ears And if the pond is frozen Then skate wide circles on it And make beautiful imprints onto the ice Leaving only your tracks And not your thoughts on how this relates to my socioeconomic background Do not plaster my poetry on a projector A slide in a powerpoint But hand it out and read it — Out loud that is —

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So as to feel over my poetry Each layer And take from it Not a tortured confession Teased out by a Professor or an English teacher Moonlighting as a secret agent But rather: Simple words taken for their Summed Value.

ryan evin | acrylic VITALITY | 61

zelfrino marcus tan

Tell me, Zelfirino, dearest Zelfirino, What, had Luna’s tides decreed A reversal of fate on that white plastic beach, Would you have done? (Besides moan And weep your long lost memories back to Sapphire studded shells ‘neath the swallow stars so golden and bright?) But night after night I listen to the whispers Of restless waves battering your bleached ribs And remember you, Zelfirino; Your melancholy chimes swaying In wind across the water. Your coastline boasts of shattered rhinestone Zelfirino, dearest Zelfirino; The bedding of a fallen citadel built On dreams of drifting through Doldrums, Deserted and dreary.

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jack guo | painting


graham lee | photography

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the (un)requited fantasy stuart smith

If rain will fall upon this world Wind thick with silver flakelettes, spun & twirled Sugar for the mouths of greed and good Bleached white; ocean-swallowed, sundrenched wood Tender forms of flesh are arched and curled If rain will fall upon this world Haunted by the sweetest, hallowed girl With skin as white as the most honest pearl Cradled in the arms of loving boys Who, in their own perfection, are painted poised To echo all the words, in wild whirls Haunted by the sweetest, hallowed girl And on our lonely planet trapped and turned Hopeful nerves are fried and slowly burned Discovered lessons, too crisp and fine Through broken breaths and anxious pupil’s brine Blackest regret birthed dooming yearns And on our lonely planet trapped and turned A struggle for the flightless, wing clipped bird And rusting through the steel of the armoured Please canonize the hearts who beat mislaid Alleviate the dark from those in shade Reality; the cruel, unfitting word A struggle for the flightless, wing clipped bird


final destination aidan chan

I’ve been searching for so long, and I’m tired of waiting. The desire is still strong, although I’ve been aging. So many years without any success; this was an issue I had to address. I was looking for a piece of history, never uncovered by man. I pondered and pondered, came up with a plan. I took off the next day, leaving my past in a blur. My body was wearing down, and with my quest it would not concur. Onto my journey, I dare not slumber, for I knew quite well that my days were now numbered. Weeks had passed, and I had gathered new knowledge. People and places I must acknowledge. I gathered my intel and pieced it all together, what I then discovered would go down in history forever. I was one step closer from reaching my goal. Happiness filled up inside of me, it enlightened my soul. I looked through these Holy Scriptures, perused its readings. Now the only part left was to follow its heeding. I travelled quickly, as I had little time left. Approaching a cave, I felt like I was going to face death. But when I found what I was looking for, the feeling shook away all my stress. Adrenaline pumping through my body, I put my life to the test. I was light on my feet, I still gave a fight. The desire and want just gave me more might. Finding a clearing, with the sun passing rays through cracks in the walls; there were alcoves above producing glistening streams of waterfall. But this was not what most caught my eye. In the middle of the room was a rock formation, which could have only come from the heavenly skies. Golden water leaked through it, spilling from the top. Something so magnificent could never be stopped. I took a couple steps forward before clutching my chest. My other arm reached forward as I came to a final rest. As golden water pooled around me, what was once legend now became truth. The only ironic part about that was that I had dropped dead at the steps of the Fountain of Youth.

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hans kim | graphic design VITALITY | 67

sheldon lynn | graphic design

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vincent sun | graphic design


the ball park ian brackman

Peanut shells crackle like fireworks beneath my feet. I shuffle down the aisle and slide into my assigned seat for the next nine innings; I am one of 48,000. My view from here is breathtaking. The sun lingers in the west, sluggishly declining behind the fortressed walls of the stadium, deep into the golden sky. Silhouettes of soaring downtown skyscrapers curiously peer down into the stadium, straining to catch a glimpse of the action. Expanses of virescent green, plastic seats are slowly filling up with life, adding colour to previous monotony. They speckle the bleachers, like fallen leaves over a lawn. Electricity surges around me; the game is about to commence. Camera flashes explode in the night air like the awakening of a thousand fireflies. The men storm onto their stage with the eager audience anticipating a prevailing protagonist tonight; they hope this evening will not end in tragedy. The diamond is manicured to perfection, appearing as appetizing as a Thanksgiving meal. Infield dirt resembles the deep-brown dark meat from the bird, smothered in gravy, yet containing a slight orange tinge of pumpkin pie. In the outfield lies a miraculous and vast rich green sea, fitting of Seattle’s nickname: the Emerald City. Bleach-white uniforms freshly out of the wash strongly contrast and leap out from that crisp emerald turf. The Pacific Northwest air is energizing, with refreshing gusts gently blowing in from nearby Puget Sound, along with a few ambitious gulls. Beer vendors voices soar over the murmur of the crowd and soon their burden is lightened. The game goes on.

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josiah tsang | ceramics and wood


andres tapia | acrylic

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the chameleon brett dowling

I am the slovenly old man strumming his guitar on the street corner. I am the freezing boy who roams the streets in search for a coat to keep me warm. I am the lonely women who longs for a day when I will have a safe bed to sleep in. I am the lost girl who scavenges the local garbage bins for any scrap of food I can get. I am the brilliant child who cannot get an education because the adults say so. I am the exhausted women who travels ten miles a day just to get a drink of water. I am the disabled boy who can’t help but feel patronized. I am the widowed elder who lives all alone. I am the single mom who wonders if tomorrow I will still have a home. I am the man who has a habit I just can’t kick. I am the charismatic leader who can’t share my opinion because what I think is different. I am the person who can’t get access to the medical care I need to survive. I am the man who has lost everything and can’t stop crying. I am the quiet kid who sits in the corner. I am here, yet nobody sees me. I am a chameleon, lost in the jungle of society.


catastrophe isaac wilson

Calls for more food are deafening Coffee is weak as a snail Cake is salty and dry Cinnamon pastries are spiced like fire Cooling bacon is soft and rubbery Cooking toast is a bonfire Creamy milk tea splashes on the floor Cleaning off the soft hardwood Crumbling mud from forest trails and Crunching brown sugar under my shoes Cookies shriek for attention Crumpets are overbrowned Crumpled up pie crusts Cups of walnuts long forgotten Cocoa covers the kitchen’s countertops Chocolate fondue is rock hard Cutting the bamboo is impossible Crisis strikes brown rice Calamity with winter pears Cold kiwis are crushed Peace lies far off in the distance

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mitchell tang | acrylic


seb swic | photography

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an ode to snow will edmonds

Pale blanket of the world, Enveloping everything, Creating beauty In the simplest of forms, Smoothing rough edges, Cooling hot tempers, Lighting up the world, Turning a bare bough Into a shimmering Sculpture of white. Falling slowly From heaven To relieve Nature Of Her duties, Quelling life, But giving it back When you decide to sleep again, Shining in the soft light of day, Glowing in the sharp darkness of night, The essence of tranquility. Crunching under foot, Forcing a night by the fire, Canceling school, Inducing creativity, But prompting destruction. You bring happiness To the saddest faces, Coax children out of bed To play in the new world Of silent winsomeness.


sunset zain shivji

As we go on throughout the day, The sun comes down towards the bay Filling the sky with divine shade As the daylight begins to fade. A lovely couple strolls on by But stops to notice the graceful sky; Dazzled by its fair appearance, Mesmerized with adherence. Entrancing colours disappear As the couple lies by the pier. The light of day and night combine As starry skies begins to shine.

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nick ewasiuk | photography VITALITY | 79

the ticking clock ruaridh boswell

Peacefully, The old man closes his weary eyes, While the ticking clock breaks the tender silence. He glances around the familiar room Through eyes of pearly white, black and blue. “What is it like, this other world?” He asks himself, “Who and what will I see?” The old man gently smiles in calm apprehension, Waiting. Death looms over the dying man, Grasping his scythe of truth and fear. From the misty depths of his ghostly cloak, Death takes out an hourglass: The old man’s time is running out. The old man’s time is running out. Death takes out an hourglass From the misty depths of his ghostly cloak. Grasping his scythe of truth and fear, Death looms over the dying man, Waiting. The old man gently smiles in calm apprehension, “Who and what will I see?” He asks himself, “What is it like, this other world?” Through eyes of pearly white, black and blue, He glances around the familiar room. While the ticking clock breaks the tender silence, The old man closes his weary eyes, Peacefully.

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marcus tan | photography VITALITY | 81

anonymous | photography 82 | OPUS

my drink lacks the flavour of yours torsten palmer

Ingeld Heend, a man of sixty-four, sat alone in an uncomfortably quiet coffee-shop. Ingeld’s face was weathered with lines that bore an unkept beard. His eyebrows were constantly held together as though concentrating on something of importance. Hanging loosely about him was a long brown coat and dark pants. The man hated the coffee-shop where he would so often sit. The coffee was something with which to marinate garbage; adding brandy only slightly improved its flavour. With rough hands clenched around his coffee, Ingeld drank with habitual boredom. Finally, the chime of the door announced the welcome of a breathtaking young lady. Deep brown hair wafted behind her shoulders as her green eyes flickered shyly about the room. Stricken by her charm, Ingeld’s eyes followed. She noticed him also, but less impressed with his appearance, she only smiled awkwardly and looked away. The sting of rejection quickly warped Ingeld’s boredom into aggression. He slammed his fist on the table abruptly. He paid no attention to the looks of shock and curiosity from the other costumers. With his coffee in-hand, he walked to the counter to turn to the confused cashier. “Are you trying to kill me?” Ingeld demanded. “This coffee is poison. The damn thing tastes like rats have been breeding in my cup.” “I’m sorry? I–” “–I said the damn thing is poison!” Ingeld threw the coffee at the wall behind the cashier. The cup exploded against the picture frames, drenching the counter and floor. The bitter drink made the air reek of alcohol. The previous stillness of the shop became a solid force.


All sound was silenced. Ingeld stared at the cashier, his eyes daring him to speak. After receiving no reply, Ingeld turned and left. Muttering profanities, he walked down the sidewalk. His hands were shaking violently. Each finger twitched to a different rhythm as he wiped the corners of his quivering lips, but a determined expression never left Ingeld’s weary face. He crossed the street several times hoping to be hit by a car. The decision to kill himself was sudden. He was an unhappy man, but had never thought of suicide before. Throughout his life, Ingeld always considered himself gifted and handsome. Girls fell for him without him even raising his eyes to greet them. However, with the decay of his appearance, his appeal became lost in the lines of his face and the ability of seduction was lost as well. While pondering this, he realized there weren’t any bridges to jump off in this town, no buildings tall enough. His death would have to be finalized by a rope and a chair, or perhaps a gunshot. It was only because he recognized the apartment building, that Ingeld realized where he could find the tool for his death. Inside, the building smelt like moldy beets, making Ingeld scowl. Even the wallpaper had cracks and tears that grew like twisted vines around each door. Ingeld used the staircase in order to reach the third floor. Once at the door of apartment 302, he knocked, shouting, “Richard? I need to come in. It’s Ingeld.” A tall, clean-shaven man wearing a gray turtleneck and black pants answered the door. Richard was about Ingeld’s age but looked much younger. He hurried Ingeld inside. “Ingeld, my good friend, how are you? I haven’t heard from you in weeks. I’ve been reading the obituaries, thinking I would see your picture somewhere.” “I’ve been busy,” he lied, entering the apartment without taking off his shoes. He scanned the room with

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searching eyes. “You wouldn’t happen to have something to drink, would you?” “Of course I do,” Richard laughed, patting him on the back. “What, do you think an alcoholic would have an empty liquor cabinet?” “I asked merely to seem polite. If you would pour me something, I will have whatever you’re having. I’m assuming you will join me?” “Yes, whiskey is okay then? Excellent.” The apartment was sparsely decorated with empty vases and small framed photos. Ingeld sat down at the edge of the coffee table, knowing that what he was looking for was in the cupboard next to him. Before he could open it, Richard joined him with a pair of glasses, a whiskey bottle, and a tin of ice. “You look awful, you know,” Richard observed while handing him his drink. “You don’t think I already know? It’s reflected on the faces of all who even glance at me.” “Like a mirror? My goodness, what an amazing phenomena.” “Don’t patronize me,” Ingeld snarled. “Even today while drinking my coffee, I could see disgust rising in the eyes of a young lady.” “Oh so it’s about women then? Ingeld, you are too old to be seeking the approval of these girls.” Richard tasted his whiskey and smiled. Noticing Ingeld’s glass was already empty, he poured him another. “When did you start drinking today?” “I dropped my only liquor on the sidewalk.” Richard poured a new glass, chuckling. “So that’s when you decided to come here then, eh? Well, that can’t be the only reason why you’re here. What else do you want?” “Nothing. Perhaps another drink, but I don’t want any more whiskey. Go fetch us some rum.” Richard sighed and stood up, “If you wish.” Ingeld’s


attitude was beginning to bother him. With Richard preoccupied in the kitchen, Ingeld opened up the cupboard. It slid open easily, not making a sound. There, a pistol sat on top of a dark green cloth. Ingeld grabbed it and shut the cupboard. He wasted no time examining the weapon. His anxious fingers already jammed it into his coat pocket. “What on earth are you doing?” Richard’s tone was oddly subdued. He was watching from the edge of the room. “It doesn’t matter. Just leave me be.” “You’re stealing my pistol? Dammit Ingeld, you are being ridiculous. Yes, you are old and mortal and thus you are ugly and shall die. Be patient for Christ’s sake. Life has its limitations, yes, but there is no need, nor the pressure to hasten its end. Life is beautiful, my friend. What can I say to make you believe that? Could you not, at least, satisfy yourself with the search of beauty in others?” “I find it difficult to find in others that which I cannot find within myself. I find no beauty in life anymore.” “Drink then Ingeld. Sobriety is beauty’s mask. Death is insanity and life tastes wonderful!” “Something tells me my drink lacks the flavour of yours, Richard. With each sip, you become more and more hideous; the more your face bares the decay of my image.” “If life doesn’t sing to you anymore, then I pray that at least you shall find beauty in death one day.” Richard’s glass was having to be refilled after each statement. “I’m not crazy, Richard. My happiness is short-lived and even my sadness is without the passion of my youth. What is there I can do without the motivation of emotion? I am numb. I cause others pain through my own actions, simply because I hope to feel something myself.” Richard suddenly snapped. He was enraged. “Are you feeling anything right now?” Each word was emphasized by a mist of spit. “Does the thought of your rugged reflection

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casting itself upon mine evoke any empathy in you?” “I feel nothing.” “You are utterly obsessed with yourself! It’s no wonder your weary eyes see nothing but your own demented soul. You must be insane! I-” “I’m not insane, you drunken idiot!” He tore the pistol from his pocket and raised it to Richard’s head. “Get out of my apartment Ingeld. Take the damn gun too.” Ingeld left without a second glance at poor Richard. Outside it was much darker than he expected. The stillness of the air was calming and the only noise came from the occasional passing car. The cold handle of the pistol still rested in Ingeld’s hands. It felt good against his palm. He imagined holding the gun up to his head and pulling the trigger. A rush of excitement seized his whole body. Would he shoot at his forehead or against his temple? He was fascinated with uncovering his own death. Over and over, Ingeld indulged himself with new fantasies. But ‘how’ is not the only consideration in killing oneself, but the idea of ‘where’ is of equal importance. How perfect it seemed to commit suicide in the coffee-shop. The cashier would have to clean up a hell of a lot more than coffee. While smiling at the image, his thoughts were interrupted by the silhouette of a familiar figure. It was the girl from earlier in the day. He had only witnessed her once before, but Ingeld could never forget her stunning shape. How fitting it was that hers was to be the last face Ingeld would ever behold. He stood where he was, waiting for her to walk by. Soon he began to hear what at first he thought was her singing, but the music was out of tune and lacked any sort of melody. After a moment, it was obvious she was crying. Her sobs turned into wails of distress. It was aston-


ishing to hear such sounds coming from such an elegant angel. With each step, the noise became more horrible. Her cries became shameless gargles of tears and intense hyperventilation. It was disgusting. Once she was only a few meters away, Ingeld could see her with more clarity. She stumbled under the light of the streetlamps. Her arms flailed in the air, grabbing her hair and rubbing her eyes. She was an absolute mess. Misery distorted and twisted her face into sweaty wrinkles and moaning lips. Each once-beautiful characteristic was either too pale or too red. She looked ragged and rabiesinfected. Like a black river, mascara ran down her cheeks and into her mouth. Although she looked so unlike before, she struck Ingeld with intense familiarity as she walked past. Her anguish aged her dramatically. It was like time dug those grooves under her eyes and forehead. Like an old lady, her lips were thin and colourless. She was so similar to Ingeld in that way; it was like having to watch his young, vibrant appearance fade once more. Misery stole her beauty just as time tore it from Ingeld. Ingeld dropped to his knees, holding his head in his fists. There was a terrible pain in his chest. His whole body felt fatigued and sick. There was no worse feeling he had ever felt. Trembling, he bit down on the barrel of the gun; his face boiling red, trying to restrict his own cries. “How could she do this to me?” He sobbed aloud, “This is all her fault. She ruined her grace with perverted misery. I was supposed to see beauty one last time. I was supposed to see an angel, but saw the face of a demon! I was supposed to see an angel!” His angel was stripped of her wings and was mutilated with lines. He saw in her the very demon which he saw in himself, and he hated her for it. Self-disdain rose like bile in his throat. He turned to the girl and shot her five times in the back. She dropped instantly to the ground. Her fall was

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soundless. Her hand was resting in a pool of blood as Ingeld turned her over. Who he saw in her face was no longer himself, but the face he so badly wished to see. She was young again. The wrinkles disappeared in the expressionless light. Her desperation no longer evident on her lips or in her eyes. Her divinity was imperfect when she was alive. Such magnificence as hers was more valuable in death. Lying on the cement, she was entirely peaceful; her death so beautiful. Without a single tear, Ingeld left the body where it was. He returned to the coffee-shop where his day had begun. Ingeld was inspired. It seemed that the last bullet left in his pistol was the only cure to his insanity.

thomas yang | ceramics VITALITY | 89

the darkness inside nathan fong

Sitting high upon a cliff, It waits, watches, Grows hungrier. The rain pours steadily on through the dark, Gloomy night. Nearby in the city, a street light flickers. A figure hurries through the concrete frames Paranoid, alone, vulnerable. The creature sees this figure through the desolate cityscape. It sees a chance. It spreads out its huge, dark, wings. It expels a cry so horrible like the sound of one hundred nails on one hundred black boards. It makes air itself shatter. It launches itself off its nest and soars, Winding through the forest Without making a sound. The man in the city does not notice, He is too disheartened, too scared. The creature approaches him. Its talons outstretched and ready to rip through the poor man’s soul. The man sees him now. He tries to run away but that is Useless. He screams out as if someone could hear him, before the creature’s claws slash through his weak body. The creature retreats back to the cliff. The limp body dangles. As it gorges on the flesh, The bones role into piles of countless others. The creature claims another victim. He waits, watching, for the next, in endless Hunger.

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philip basaric | acrylic VITALITY | 91

erik xu | acrylic

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marks and creativity nick ewasiuk

The mechanized fingers that shape the swirling outpour of words Like a dentist going bluntly about his delicate work. The same old rhyme played out over and over again, Worn out and tired like a pair of reluctant socks. *** Over there, yet, lies the silver-lining, spread out and dying Like a forgotten, goat-laden, Persian rug on the damp wooden floor of an attic. A magnificent treasure found by the one who possesses The wandering eye, which dances across the room Like the light of a passing train.

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josiah tsang | spray paint


perfect jimmy kwan

I step outside to see a bright sunny day, But as time passes by, the light fades away. The sun shines in my face; it feels so bright, Then the clouds roll in; life loses its light. I sit around, trying to learn, But I don’t hear a thing- it’s no one’s concern. The people look at me with such disgust, I look away, though not knowing whom to trust. I missed the shot, I lost the game, I don’t really care- it’s all the same. Sometimes I try to win; my chin’s up high, But in the end, I don’t know why. I try to talk to her, but she looks away. I’m so confused- what am I to say? She thinks it’s funny and that I don’t care, But in my mind, this is unfair. But it’ll be okay because I know someday, I’ll be just fine; I’ll find a way. They try to change me, but I say no. Following my way - that’s the way to go.

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reggie wirahardja | ceramics VITALITY | 97

eric xu | acrylic

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flames fred kavosian

We sprinted over the wet slush of dirt and leaves, past the blur of pines and whipping branches. “Run!” he screamed, and I felt the sting of the branches as they lashed my face and arms. And I ran. “RUN FASTER!” he shouted. I ran harder and harder, hearing only our footsteps in the dead of the night. “Keep going! They’ll catch us!” I glanced back and saw their flashlights through the undergrowth. My lungs burned, and my chest was exploding. The dim night was lit only by the moon that pierced through the branches of the tall, looming cedar trees. The pain was unbearable, but we were finally there; I grasped the torn rope ladder as my muscles screamed for me to stop. “Hurry up! Hurry!” As I heaved on the rope it twisted, and the world spun around me, sending me further into nauseating confusion. I worked my way up the rope and Hugh pulled me into the tree house then quickly lifted the door back into place. I sucked in the cool night air, my head was pounding. The only sounds were those of our heavy breathing and the shouts of the police officers below us. “We lost them,” Hugh slurred as he exhaled. “What now?” I asked him. He hesitated for a moment, “I don’t know.” We then waited for what seemed like hours for the police officers to disperse. The next morning I remember waking up to the frigid morning air. I cracked open my eyelids and stared at the layer of dew that covered the floor. My body lay limp on the floor – face pressed against the cold, splintered wooden planks – and I tried to remember how I had got-


ten there. An icy breeze blew past the shattered glass of the windows and all the memories suddenly inundated my mind. Then I felt a hand rest on my arm. “Wake up Steven; we have to get back home before our parents notice we’re gone.” As the two of us were walking down the sidewalk in our ragged clothes and mud-caked sneakers, I asked him why he did it. He looked away from me, trying to ignore my question. I asked again. He stopped walking, and looked me in the eyes with a glare that sent chills down my spine. “I told you not to talk about it,” Hugh said unfeelingly, in an almost threatening tone. “What are you going to tell your parents?”- suddenly a blow to the side of my face sent everything spinning and my vision went black. Caught off guard, I fell to the ground. The taste of blood filled my mouth and an excruciating pain radiated from my jaw. I raised my hands to my face, and looked up in disbelief; he stood before me, his eyes burning with uncontrolled rage and a familiar fire overcame who I used to think was my friend. A salty tear stung as it sunk into the wound on my cheek. He looked down at me and hissed begrudgingly: “I told you not to freakin’ talk about it,” and walked away. *** Hugh and I grew up together; our families were close, both geographically and emotionally. I loved him like a brother. We had spent countless hours riding our bikes in circles around the small cul-de-sac that we called home. When we grew tired of that, we would go up to a nearby woods and find the tree house we had built two summers ago. It was in a prime location, sitting high up in an old cedar. It overlooked a small dirt and woodchip trail that was barely discernible

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from the brush. I loved it there. Hugh and I would sometimes take a couple of paintballs up with us and try to hit people with them. One summer, we hit a scrawny little kid named Allen right on the head—the paint splattered all over his face and clothes. When it hit him, he started to cry and ran away. Later we found out that he got all worked up because his dead grandma had knit him that sweater. Allen got bullied a lot at school because he was smaller than everyone else. He always wore his Harry Potter glasses and a beige cargo hat that he’d gotten for Christmas four years ago. I felt bad for him, but I had my own life to worry about. Two days later we returned to our tree house and found it in ruins: our rope ladder was torn, the door was hanging by a hinge and all of the windows were shattered. We both knew it was Allen who had done it – we’d seen him lash out before – nobody would believe us though. Everybody would say, “Allen is such a good little boy, he would never do something like that.” Hugh wanted revenge, but I told him to back off; Allen was way worse off than us, and our tree house needed a bit of a renovation anyways. When we realized there was no way for us to get anyone to believe us, we decided to stop wasting our time and try to rebuild. The next day, we snuck down to an old farmer’s shed to see if we could snag some necessities like a hammer and some nails. As I was foraging, I found a couple of window panes that were perfect for our tree house, “Hey Hugh! Check out what I just found,” I exclaimed. When I got no reply, I looked up and noticed that Hugh had fixed his eyes on a jug of kerosene. He’d gone silent and his eyes had glazed over. He picked up the old blue container and started walking away. That’s when I realized what he was about to do, “Hugh, what the hell are you doing? Hugh! What are you doing with that stuff? Hey! Stop!” He ignored my pleas and kept walking without so much as a glance of acknowledgement. He was headed straight for Allen’s tree house. I ran


after him and grabbed his arm to try and stop him, but he threw me aside and kept walking intently. I couldn’t do anything but watch as Hugh poured the kerosene all over the base of the tree that held Allen’s tree house. I stood there, silent, powerless to stop what was about to happen. He lit the match. “Hugh, come on man! We’re better than that. The poor kid has nothing, his mom’s dead and his dad may as well be. This is the only thing he’s got left; leave the kid alone,” I begged. Hugh ignored me again; he dropped the match on the volatile liquid and stood back to watch it burn. The fire hissed and crackled as its lambent light illuminated the tree and worked its way up the branches, to the shed that they supported. I felt terrible, we were taking away the last thing Allen had left, his only refuge from his otherwise meaningless life. I felt my eyes well up but I blinked it away; I couldn’t cry, not here, not in front of Hugh. Suddenly, we began to hear screams coming from the inside of the tree house. Everything stopped; an ironic stillness overcame the night as we stood there. My legs felt weak as my knees buckled, sending me to kneel on the soft, cool dirt. What had we done? Hugh just stood there, expressionless, until the screaming stopped. My vision blurred and a rush of emotions flooded my mind. But out of nowhere we began to hear shouts coming at us from the direction of the old farmhouse. It was Mr. Nelson. Hugh sprinted the other way and I stumbled after him, still dazed by what had just happened. And we ran.

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zelig fok | ceramics


plea from the north pole bryan luu

Twas’ the night before Christmas, and yet, truly hell, To make all those toys, before that midnight bell, To work day and night, and, throughout the year, toil, Up in that white land without any soil. An elf’s life is tough, born short and forever; Spend prime days at work, from Jan to December. No rest for the elf, for gifts must be made, To send to a world where the spirit decayed. “All those humans ignored us and hurt the Earth’s health, They’ve killed the big dodos, melted our ice shelf! Next year we won’t have a North Pole to make toys! Less presents will lead to more skeptical boys!” The elfs are as diligent as the North Star, They stay on their course, no matter how far Their spirits may wonder of such kindly feats. Tis’ truly a miracle that Christmas repeats. So stop for a while, take time to remember, The elfs, with great patience, working late December. For they make the Christmas that you and I share, They hope that their gifts keep the cheer in the air.

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seb swic | photography VITALITY | 105

zelig fok | mixed media

106 | OPUS

consumer report kenneth ng

Dear famous person, Sorry to interrupt your rushed and busy life, But I have a serious problem with your product: POPULARITY, The product that has ruined me. You see, I ordered this because no one was paying any attention to me. I felt so invisible and isolated. But now, I wish that I could undo this terrible mistake I made, And return to my own wonderful life. You had a brilliant ad: large, bold words bordered by the brightness of a Mixture of colors below an enticing picture. “Wow!” I thought. “This could solve all my problems!” But I was horribly misled, as all it did was cause more to appear. I am stripped of my privacy, my friendships and the honesty that I was used to hearing. Now everything is a lie, just to get near me. At school, on vacation, on the internet: this never stops. Everyone surrounds me, no matter where I am. Everyone wants to steal this “gift” that I have. Well they can have it, ‘cause I’ve had enough’. Take POPULARITY back and let me be the invisible boy that I once was. One last thing, I would like to trade in this terrible product and order REMORSE instead. And reply as soon as you can, because currently I’ve trapped myself in the bathroom, terrified of facing the massive mob waiting for me.


back in my day ian brackman

Well it’s our day now And we do things A bit differently. No, we don’t trudge Two painstakingly difficult hours Through snow heaps And hell uphill to get to school. I’ll take the five minute car ride In heated, seated comfort, Thank you very much. Digitized delight. Air teeming with invisible Information darting to and fro, Not unlike us though. Old News: Used to appear On doorsteps, With the clink clanking Of glass milk, Now inspected on gadgets and screens. Digital Milk? For the the Online Generation? Connected to devices Like the cord of birth. Cut us off and we die, Or maybe then And only then Do we truly live. Our sun is The radiational buzz Of laptop light, Fueling our photosynthesis. For better or for worse. We are the Selfish, Rude, Anti-Social, Soft, Lazy Generation. We also do good things too sometimes.

108 | OPUS

matthew boroditsky | charcoal VITALITY | 109

zelig fok | graphic design 110 | OPUS



adam book - 29 aidan chan - 64 andres tapia - 70 andrew wong - 51 anthony hui - 27 blake gilley - 36 blake hayward -23 brad wenzel - 53 brett dowling - 71 bryan luu - 35, 102 conrad cheung - 33 daniel zee - 11 erik xu - 90, 96 fred kavosian - 97 gary xu - 16 george wen - 15 graham lee - 62 han tong - 37 hans kim - 65 harry duan - 18 ian brackman - 68, 106 isaac wilson - 72 jack guo - 13, 61 jack lin - 55 jack pan - 44 jimmy kwan - 94 jordan bi - 10, 22 josiah tsang - 31, 69, 93 kais khimji - 19, 32 kenneth huang - 34 kenneth ng - 105

112 | OPUS

kevin li - 8 kevin tian - 14 kevin lin - 52 leo chang - 41 marc levin - 56 marcus tan - 60, 79 matthew boroditsky - 107 mitchell tang - 73 nathan fong - 88 nick ewasiuk - 77, 92 paul redelmeier - 7, 58 philip basaric - 5, 89 preston lim - 40 reggie wirahardja - 95 ryan evin - 59 ruaridh boswell - 30, 78 samir javer - 28 sean kilman - 57 seb swic - 74, 103 sheldon lynn - 6, 21, 42/43, 66 steven li - 50 stuart smith - 26, 38, 63 symon tiansay - 45 teigan moschenross - 54 thomas yang - 87 torsten palmer - 46, 81 victor cheung - 20 vincent sun- 67 will edmonds - 75 zain shivji - 76 zelig fok 9,39, 48, 49, 101, 104, 108/109 VITALITY | 113

opus live Opus Live is everything art that cannot fit on a page. It’s singing, dancing, drama, film‌ the list goes on and on!

Visit Opus Live at:

114 | OPUS


116 | OPUS

The Opus 2012  

Ebook compiled by Anjan Katta and Kais Khimji. This is the 2011-2012 publication of the Opus. The Opus is the annual Literary and Artistic p...

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