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The Burlington Beat began in June of 2017 and aims to be a small concentrated sample of the creativity that exists in every corner of our beautiful city, Burlington, VT. There are those who have made their art their living, others who treat it as a hobby--some who have been honing their skills for years and others just starting out. You'll find all of that here.

 

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SUMMER IN THE CITY

August 2017

Nina Dubois is an artist, feminist, and educator living in Vermont. She works in assemblage, painting, collage, and textile in an effort to investigate history, text, and place. Real and imagined. Personal and political.

Find her at www.nina-dubois.com and on Etsy

 
 
 

watching

 

man made his nest

on a rail by the stop

to sit watch the kids

as he’s taking his drags

does he know I’m not one of them

does he know I’m not one of them

does he know about

getting found on the wrong side of town

about trees with different bark

and the time machine of trophies in an open window

I’ve come a long way from Mark Twain

does he know

that we’re thinking of him

throwing everything we’ve learned on his life

the way he might picture ours

does he know about

love and death and kissing ugly people

does he know the things I don’t

will he learn them in his nest

pull them from

the clean filtered end

of his cigarette

Slow Burn

I’m a two-day doting mother’s sacrifice away

from where the snow grows up from the ground

in backyard echos of great-grandpa’s noble pursuit

but today I saw the trees shed cotton

and it fell through the cushioned northern air

dry and kind enough to light a gentleman’s cigarette

keeping him warm long after this

jealous sun goes down and we can see again

 

And in between the grain blue glow and yellow stones

I will unpaint every character who finds their way

onto the bench next to me or under my awning

every one whose voice has echoed out of empty hats

whose feet have kicked at sidewalk in their sleep

or sunk in dirt never meant to mix with mine

and I will shape myself beside them anyway

so sugared drinks and dollar bills can fill these long summer nights

 

One day or three months go by and I’ll find the shade

in leaving empty-handed looking for the next place

to leave again

and together we will laugh and swallow and listen

to each other’s fingers and toes tell us stories about childhood

and walking home I will feel happy or worse

knowing this is temporary that in no time at all

the snow will grow down to the ground again

About the poet: "I'm a third-year Creative Media student at Champlain College, originally from rural Missouri. I enjoy music, writing, and illustration." Find Sarah on Twitter: @sarahbrunkhorst

About the photographer:  My name is Ella Staats, and I am a senior at Burlington High School. I love taking photos of people, and do my best to bring my camera with me everywhere I go. Along with photography, I enjoy making music, writing, and filmmaking.

A Map of My World

 

My body is a roadmap

of stretchmarks and scars,

of the sacrifices I’ve made,

leading

travelers to point and stare,

then disappear in

disappointment.

This attraction was better

from afar.

Read more here .

About the poet: "I am a Vermont raised artist and writer who works for a large company in Burlington using SEO to improve website traffic."  Follow Crystal on Instagram: @crystal.valarie and find more of Crystal's poetry and fiction here: crystalvalarie.wixsite.com/crystalvalarie

Canada Geese

 

1:48 a.m., restive sleep

as we ride another year’s autumnal wind

through the thousand maple leaves

in my front yard, like fingers through 

so much old paper, and I think 

was there ever a time

these serene blond birds and I 

shared anything in common?

Besides of course the birthing and the dying

and the struggling in between. 

In my mind, I watch them maintain

their symmetrical V-formations

high above my house, pushing compulsively 

south, their shrill staccato honking 

an exotic fellowship

across an ocean of cold night air.

Canadian Geese by Michael Strauss

"Canadian Geese Over Lake Champlain". Watercolor and Ink, 11 x 14”

Read and view more here .

About the artist: Michael Strauss is an Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at UVM, and teaches art in the Honors College, the College of Arts and Sciences, for the OSHER Life Long Learning Program, and at galleries and other institutions around Vermont.  His paintings have been exhibited in galleries and other venues in Vermont.  For a more extensive view of Strauss’s paintings and books visit his website at http://www.mjstrauss.com.

 

About the poet: Tony Magistrale is professor of English at the University of Vermont.  His most recent book of poetry is DIALOGUES AMONG LOST TOURISTS, to be published in the fall by Finishing Line Press.  Michael Strauss painted the cover art for the volume.  

 
 

Robert Waldo Brunelle JR. is a painter, book illustrator, kinetic sculptor, and political cartoonist.  His strip, "Mr. Brunelle Explains It All," appears weekly in Seven Days. Find more of his work at www.mrbrunelle.com.

About the artist: "I have lived in Vermont all my life and I will be attending the University of Vermont this fall. This is just a simple small design about Burlington and the classic creemee."

A Young Woman at Lake Champlain Waterfront

Beautiful poplar tree in summertime,

You wear your black hair tied in a bun,

Your dark Sicilian eyes, sharp as an eagle,

looking out from your watchful face.

You remind me of the tall, taut trees

Of Southern France,

or the country roads cut deep

into the white-chalked hills of Italy.

Every word of your life is captured

onto a child’s ruled paper, crushing the pain

of existence with a fist torn by a rapper’s edge…

Your unrest yearns for the limbs

of a tragic fate unsung,

along the shores of Lake Champlain.

 

In your nightmares, you walk the streets or

board a train, longing to escape

the brown horror of the woodpecker,

with extended wings, black and white,

about to overtake you. You fight your death

with written words; legends of youth,

but mistakes stalk you —

All there by the edge

of the Waterfront in Burlington.

 

How can I forget you!

Your soft voice, like silken thread

entwines me, as I remember

your cigarettes, lip gloss, limo shoes—

the world you carried to get into your ‘jive’.

I think of our walk into the

pitch-black night, looking

at sailboats stilled by the summertime air.

"Shacks by the Lake, Evening," Pastel and Ink, 11 x 14

 
 
 
 

For the Record

I miss

the mixtape.

Not the object but the

practice of mixing it,

which demands devotion to matters of

flow and sentiment

and makes everyone involved

very musically

self-conscious.

In thirteen songs

I want to say that I like you,

and I know you,

and I’m different, I can prove it—

just listen to the way that this next song

insists it.

As you make it to the end,

be sure to take notice,

and I swear that

the last note of this last track

will put the whole thing

in focus.

A Confession

Sometimes I think I could have been happy,

had I been born in the kind of town where

no one ever leaves.

Somewhere with an excess of open space and

a collection of creative ways to

kill time.

 

I like to imagine lying on a wide, wooden porch at night.

In the stillness,

I’d indulge some vice

like smoking,

or drinking,

or lovemaking,

all the while thinking

of absolutely nothing.

 

I get why people join cults,

and drop out,

and make mistakes

more than twice.

 

Deep down,

I worry that I’d choose

the blue pill,

and sleep soundly while

Zion

died.

Read more here .

About the poet/artist: "I’m a writer and illustrator currently living in Winooski, VT. I have a Bachelors degree in Comparative Religion from Franklin & Marshall college and a Masters degree in Literary Reportage from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism School at New York University. I moved to Vermont a year ago this Summer, compelled by the certainty that life’s too short to live somewhere that you don’t love. I’m crazy about Burlington and currently work at New Breed Marketing."

Black Velvet

Last Night I fell asleep with my clothes on.

And my feet in my pillows.

I wrote half a poem on parchment paper,

And tucked it under the mattress.

I woke up in a bottle,

Like a moth who lost his way.

Trying to find the light,

But landing in black velvet.

Rhode Island

 

The air is chokingly thick with
hot humid waste.
Soaking into my lungs.
Weighing them down 'til they
press on my stomach.
A soft wind roams the streets
of Providence.

A soft wind.
Too little too late.

Even the leaves are exhausted.
And for a moment the city is silent.
Basking in its

stagnant uncomfortable stillness.

Heat ricochets between the wooden walls

and brick stone streets

until the night's tension is cut
by a Puerto Rican wail.

The human drama

of a city.

The despondent cries

of domestic dispute,

followed by the lamentations

of a broken heart.

The metropolis awakens,

motors run in the bleak distance,

everything returns to its

rightful state.

 

About the author: "I have been published in Verbicide Magazine, and The Litchfield Literary Review. I grew up in the small town of Proctor, Vermont; attended college in Maine, and have lived all across the United States and South America. I write poetry about the places I visit and the people I meet." Find him on Instagram: @acegringo

About the artist: "I am based in Burlington, VT and my studio/gallery is at the SPACE gallery. I started creating art in April of 2016 and I work mostly in acrylics, spray paint, charcoal, & pencil. 'My art is passionate and imperfect much like life itself.'"

About the author: "I am a published author, published by the small press in Vermont, RA Press.  I have also been published in Onion River Review, St. Michel’s College. I am also published in Russia and Serbia regarding military history. I live in Burlington."

 
 
 

"Church Street, Summer," Acrylic and Ink, 11 x 14"

"Burlington Boathouse," Pastel and Ink, 8 x 10”

"Cats and Dogs," 6.5 x 6.5 inches, made with watercolor, India ink, and vintage advertising paper in 2016    

"Stitch," 6 ½ x 5 ½ inches, made with blackboard, acrylic, thread, and vintage advertising paper in 2016  

"Mini," 5 ½ x 8 inches, created with watercolor, and vintage advertising paper in 2016.

"Untitled" 24" x 36" acrylics on canvas

"Wacked City" 24" x 36" acrylics on canvas

"2 a.m. Warrior" 24" x 30" acrylics on canvas

"Radio Bean Thunderstorm Eve Doodle" 6" x 8" pencil on paper

"Sun Moon Worship" 20" x 16" acrylics on canvas