The Industrial Corridors and The Mother of God

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.

OLD WINDOWS AND WAYS 

By Brian Michael Barbeito

The farms and the fields tell stories even as you only pass by them in modern vehicles and well made highways. Of course, there are smaller ways; dirt and asphalt, which are not as well made, that are old. My impressions were that all was well, as it was Saturday afternoon late and trying to be early evening and evening. The dark would make an interesting place, but not great for pictures, or to see much. The best part of the dark was seen was when the CN came across the way with its lights and some yellow stickers and unique graffiti to take goods wherever it was going. And the greatest part of the light was the coyote and then, later on, the ice and lake. 

I was driving along a back road when I noticed to my left the coyote. He was solitary, (he or she but I shall call him a he), and though he blended in with the field, I was close enough, (a few hundred feet), to see him. Many would miss him, and though no expert, I have trained my vision intentionally and unintentionally through walking through the forest for years. Suddenly you realize, or perhaps gradually, that you can identify something in the distance, or a slight movement in the landscape, that you would have probably missed before. And it makes one to think, after coming a little way with this talent or learned skill or whatever it is,- how much else is there, how much else one has missed or might miss…

In any event, the coyote. He was not like a city coyote that are sometimes with mange, - no, he was full coated and roundish in around the body and looked healthy, stealthy, bright, and light brown or beige. What I should have done was slowly turned the truck around and quietly taken a nice picture from the window. He probably wouldn’t have been bothered or seen me, - since he was used to the sound of the traffic. That is what I must remember to do next time. This time, - I carefully pulled over, put on the hazards, and got out and went across. I took a few pics but my technology is not even good, never mind great, - for far away pictures. And I startled him and we looked at one another. I knew I wouldn’t have long to watch this beautiful and interesting animal, so I just waited and enjoyed watching...

There was next a couple long moments where we met eyes and just watched one another. He more scared of me than I of him. Quiet though. Timeless. Then he slowly turned around and pranced a few meters, (I go from imperial to metric it seems), - and then kind of trotted into the woods. I know there are many of them there because I know of someone who lives there. I don’t walk there. It’s not accessible or allowed. I inwardly bid adieu to coyote and went and made my way.

For the next hour it was a drive to the more north parts even if it was not the true and furthest north. There were many times when there was nothing but vast and empty space, below which the land went out in all directions flaxen, golden, and sometimes with a brown loam here or there. I saw some old barns, - from the new to the medium aged to the incredibly decrepit and run down and abandoned. Many had no concrete forms it seemed, but instead large bricks or stones and boulders and then wood was built upon them. The sun came down and shone on what was left of the roofs and sides and surrounding areas. Horses, other animals also, were seen. I wondered what it must be like to go into one, two, three or even more of those places in the bright summer, in the robust weeks where there were little wildflowers and thousands of pebbles and some birds and hay and old locks, doors, windows. Old ways. Old windows and ways!

Later there were old trucks, - somehow aquamarine believe it or not, - and some other trucks on blocks. Small stores with quiet lights that I know cast an interesting and calm yellow glow all the year long. Signage, many pick-ups (which I am never crazy about). Some people flashed their brights to warn of the law up ahead, - and we slow slow s l o w………….and then do the same and the (for the most part), nice people ‘get it,’ and raise gently a hand and say thanks.

Then the lake, - myriad washed stones and pebbles and some boulders. And ice-jam or some kind of something close to it. That preternatural white out there that ice and the sky can be. Actually, looked at closely the sky had hints of blue, - and the clouds were mostly white. Land, rock, little water flowering from a runoff from the dirt streets above,- old trees on the shore line with barren branches,- an opening where there is sand-dirt,- nobody out there,- rocks rocks rocks,. Ice and ice and ice, - its quiet, - the night is coming, - some frames were taken, - the others are waiting, - the world is moving in its own way, - even in the silence I suppose. We have seen it. We know a bit of its way. Its good we went that way and have come this way. We made the right choices along the way and have made the right ones currently. We have seen into it. We have been given a window. We received a bit of grace. It knows what it does,- it goes where it goes,- and speaking of going,- stand up from crouching position and take one last look as its time,- time has come to the timeless,- and it’s time to go.

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.

The Silent Snow and the White World

By Brian Michael Barbeito

It was really something, the way the snow wafted down so silently and nobody was in the entire forest then. Two large birds alighted on a tree became startled and flew the way they do in movies, the way they do when you are right by them and they sound like big sheets or rugs in impossibly fast wind. Then, there were two quite little birds; I don’t know their names, on a tree at the top of the valley when I can out from such. Unlike the large birds they did not fly away and I thought, - Oh hi birdie hi. The forest then was sacrosanct and silent, a guiding force, a refuge and I was free inside of it. What would I do and where would I go? I saw some old red sumac that always seems not old but bright and new and welcoming. I think the sumac knows something, is aware of things, - but non-linear, Gnostic knowings. I inhaled the air, pure and clean. I saw a squirrel, and the distant tree lines, and sand, pebble, bushes, leaves, hilly places and flat ones. The snow though. It came down everywhere like a silent song, like a wonderful waking dream or vision, - millions and billions and more of flakes. Where did it come from? The sky, yes, - but beyond that? Source. The great hollow empty source of all things, giving out snow on a Friday afternoon as I walked alone with the canines and we were again, so blessed, so imperial but humble also,- so story-like. The forest is one of the world’s most interesting open secrets. Has to be. There is no way it is not. Labyrinthine shapes inside the logs where bugs made mazes under the bark. Valleys that perhaps house spirits. Shades. Colors. Contours. A well of delight and mystery. The snow intensified and the sky was white, the ground was white, the world, was, well…you know.

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.

LIGHTNING CHASES ME

LIGHTNING CHASES ME

Poetry by Brian Michael Barbeito

At one time or another wind crashes through the bushes but that is not all. The winter sun hits the world like a fire and down below even the regular paths, along the valley floor, four coyotes chase two deer faster and faster and the leaves throw themselves up not having a clue what has happened and a commotion can be heard.

Long Weekend

By PJ Carmichael

It’s been a long weekend,
long hours on the road
to mystic forestry,

long faces on the way back
looking forward in desperate anticipation

to the next escapade,
the next trip

to uncharted territory,
the next bout of exploration,

future treasures begging to be unearthed.

It’s been a long weekend,
unpredictable skies wavering between
unbridled sunlight and the grey

of cloud cover,
springlike warmth and the threat of snow

alternating continuously throughout the
three-day span, unable to deter us

from our voyage
to the heart of the woodlands.

It’s been a long weekend,
daylight extending its slow reach,
the sun lingering a little bit longer

in the sky each day,
the rise and fall of a fervent star

propelling us through
what we imagine to be the conclusion

of another cold season.

It’s been a long weekend,
glimmers of hope interjecting themselves
into an otherwise frigid and lifeless month,

providing the fuel needed
to burn on through coming darkness
and into Summer’s loving shade.

(It’s going to be a long time
until next weekend.)

PJ Carmichael is a writer, artist, explorer and spiritualist from Wakefield, Massachusetts. He frequently finds himself caught between the forestry of New England and the nightclubs of its cities. His interests include immersion in the natural environment and subsequently extend into the metaphysical.

The Skinny

By Jasmine Farrell

My wings are tucked in,
beak shut tight
and clawed feet are curled
in, 
under the sheets.

Ferocious thoughts from loved ones, 
eat away at the colored feathers
and odd sashay
I’ve been growing to love.
Thoughts of
loved ones and strangers muttering
and
disturbing the tree  
I've grown bearing good fruit.
The roots are shaking at 12am as
Their voices flood my mind:
"Chile, you ain't nothin’ but skin and bones.” 
“Maybe you should eat some more potatoes”
“She’s too damn skinny.”
“You need to smile more.”
“You walk like you a runway model all the time.”
“You look so awkward.”
“She sound like a man.”

I cringe under my sheets.
Grip the covers like
a steering wheel hoping time would
drive me away from these thoughts.
But, I’m speeding past stop signs, yellow yields,
no U-turns.
Just straight open road.
Deep ruminations
Of a phoenix too much or too little
of what society says. 
Flying too high and too low.
Too straight forward, but not
outspoken enough.
Too thin and too much confidence
For my size.

Tears fall down my cheeks.
I fall asleep.

I wake up with the initial thought:
Nobody likes anybody so confident in themselves.
Might as well not give a fuck and strut.
And so…I did. 
You should too.

With the passion and drive to inspire others, Jasmine has utilized her words to uplift and inspire others from the age of 9. She had a way of painting pictures with her unique style of poetry which led her to connect her audience through her performances and written work by encouraging and reminding people that they aren’t alone. Jasmine Farrell is an author from Brooklyn, NY. She is the co-editor of, "Poems from the Heron Clan" Poetry Anthology. She has written for Ayo Magazine, FemPotential and Our Green Nation. She has published two poetry collections, including her latest, Phoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves.  https://www.JasmineFarrell.com IG: JustBreatheJasmine Twitter:JustBreatheJas