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When a dear friend dies…

Wine shared to hail the New Year
turns tepid water.

Springs of poetic wisdom
lost down a sinkhole.

Summer strolls along the beach
end at the ocean’s edge.

Mementos stoke nostalgia
amid falling leaves.

Rain erases footprints carved
along pathways uncharted.

For Angela Consolo Mankiewicz

My dear friend and poet, Angela, died on March 7, 2017, thirteen months after her doctor discovered a cancerous speck on her right lung. The news shocked us both, and her husband of forty-seven years. She had survived breast cancer. She could beat this, too.

After meeting at what was then the Mid-Wilshire Writers’ Group, Angela and I have been friends for the past seven years. She entered my life during a difficult period. The global financial crisis had crippled my newly-started, sole-proprietor business, offering international trade services to small- and medium-sized enterprises interested in doing business with Brazil and the USA. At the personal front, I was fighting a losing battle with my mother. Angela’s poetry about her own tumultuous relationship with her mother (deceased) had resonated with me.

As my US-Brazil trade services business failed, I decided to focus more on my writing, both fiction and non-fiction. Angela read and critiqued my first novel, Under the Tamarind Tree, through its numerous revisions. With her prodding, I undertook the daunting task of working on a second novel, inspired by events that unfolded during my final year as a Catholic nun (1971-1977) living in the remote northwest, rain forest region of Guyana. (More about this in another post.)

Our friendship was a blessing in my life. As she told me last summer, during our final stroll together along Venice Beach, our friendship was “wonderfully unlikely.” She will always remain close to my heart.

Video Clip: “Abschied” (Farewell) by Gustav Mahler from “Das Lied von der Erde” (Song of the Earth)
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