SUMMER IN THE CITY
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.
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
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,
travelers to point and stare,
then disappear in
This attraction was better
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
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 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
Not the object but the
practice of mixing it,
which demands devotion to matters of
flow and sentiment
and makes everyone involved
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
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
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
I like to imagine lying on a wide, wooden porch at night.
In the stillness,
I’d indulge some vice
all the while thinking
of absolutely nothing.
I get why people join cults,
and drop out,
and make mistakes
more than twice.
I worry that I’d choose
the blue pill,
and sleep soundly while
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."
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.
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
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
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