By Brian Michael Barbeito
They are the same as they ever were. Something crestfallen waits always in the air there. Inside one of the shops there is a card, saved, and it depicts Mary and her son the Savior. She is adorned in blue. Somehow this card, its secondary part or opening part torn off in order to keep just the depiction of the painting, has lasted decades. Maybe the divine mother herself is guiding, protecting it. If you go out of that small area you are met with industrial presses, welding machines, huge sturdy brick walls that have watched everything for over half a century. I remember when the bread makers, the bakers, were next door, and then a welding shop that made truck chaises, and now an automotive repair shop. I saw all those rewind shops and bearing shops. Pictures of naked women, of bikini clad women, of Saints so-called such as Sai Baba. Sai Baba for some reason was always the biggest on the street if you looked closely, - something to do with something- heck if I know. I had a picture of Osho in my locker; - I am the only one I think on the street of the industrial corridor that admired Osho. What else? Hundreds of cars, barbed wires, sometimes and people kept actual junkyard dogs for protection. There were other dogs around, - and sometimes strays. A ravine where the water glistened with oil and chemicals. A homeless lady that drank that water and we tried always to stop her and give her fresh water. The snow coming in season to for a moment, blanket the area, - make it tolerable. Summer thunderstorms did the same thing. Eighteen wheel trucks coming and going. Steel. Lots and lots of steel. Tools. Smoke stacks. Testing pits. Aluminum. Hoppers. Copper. Varsol. Priming paint. Welding beads. Tanks. Lockers. Greasy windows. The sounds of fans and motors all the time. I met the truckers, - back in the days when they were a bit more special, - when they were more truly the guardians of the roads. And I spoke also to them on the CB. My handle was Small Fry, and they would say, What’s your twenty? And sometimes warn of cops or accidents. A1A, I95, I75, - in America, and the 401 in Canada. Those were the days as they say. Buying fireworks at the side of the road in Georgia. Having lunch in Florida at stops near Alligator Alley. Watching the sun actually set while crossing State Lines, or pulling into the strangely soulful motels with their small stucco pools and neon signs just like in some good independent film. But back to the corridor. Perhaps in the oil and grease, the grind and toll, all the days and weeks that learn to be months, years, decades,- a soul needs a picture of something to remind one of an individual dream or future or past day. Sometimes it’s Miss July from a 1980 magazine, as politically incorrect as that would be these days. Other times it is Sai Baba with his crazy hair and miracles, clad in orange, bestowing blessings. And then there is the Mother of God adorned in blue, representing all things ‘good,’ from nurturing to compassion to divinity itself. Things are the same as they ever were out there along the corridor and its shops and factories and large bay doors that bang up and down on chains. Yes things are the same and you can take that to mean whatever you want.
Brian Michael Barbeito is a Canadian writer, poet and photographer. Recent work appears at Fiction International from San Diego State University, CV2 The Canadian Journal of Poetry and Critical Writing, and at Catch and Release-The Columbia Journal of Arts and Literature. Brian is the author of Chalk Lines (Fowl Pox Press, 2013, cover art by Virgil Kay). He is currently at work on the written and visual nature narrative titled Pastoral Mosaics, Journeys through Landscapes Rural.