Monthly Archives: April 2015


I am Jacob. Jacob Ellis. I went to the place where the urban meets the rural and walked down sandy pathways to see ponds. The dusk was going to announce itself there. I had been trying to escape the day because the day had been a lurid artifact- too bright, too angled, and in point of fact, too new. I just needed to see the tree lines where the difficult storms had grown vexatious taken the leaves and branches ragged across tornado –like skies fluttering like a bat can seem to flutter. At the bottom of summits I watched the rocks grand and small. There was a great stillness, a preternatural quietude and so I, in turn, to honor such a natural silence, remained quiet. It wasn’t difficult as I was alone. I had the queer idea that some metaphysical presence might make itself known. Not a deva or sprite, no, nothing like that. And not a guardian angel or whispered message from the large Bur Oaks, Pines, or feral shrubs. Then what? To tell the truth, I did not and do not know. I just thought something might happen there. It did and it did not. I didn’t hear or see anything, and cannot tell a lie. But there was something in the silence. Maybe it is something they speak about in the perennial philosophy, if the perennial philosophy speaks anywhere of a silence that seems to shout the divine. It was. It was. It was. It was a grace that rang out from the quiet dusk pond by the crescive and verdant meandering path walls, from the thunder miles and miles away that did lightly erupt into the air across pregnant and warning cumulus, and from the dense thicket making a perimeter around the outside of the back of the water that sat still and stoically as a rooftop for the water spiders. I was grateful. I had not seen God A Person or a burning bush, but I had received through the agency of nature some calmness. That is how I felt after hearing the sum of the sound of the forest and water. Afterwards, it started to rain. I had to use my high beams or ‘Brights’ as some people used to call them. I noticed that the rain disturbs the frogs and they begin to come out to the roads, the one-lane highways I had to traverse. I tried to maneuver around them so as not to hurt even one. Difficult. I managed well enough. I was glad, even a bit heart-swept to arrive home. I am Jacob. Jacob Ellis.

This has been “LISTENING TO THE DIVINE SHOUT BEFORE DRIVING AROUND THE FROGS THAT LEAVE THE LOAM” by Brian Michael Barbeito, a part of our Lost in Time series.

Brian Michael Barbeito is a Canadian writer and poet. The author of Chalk Lines, a collection of short fictions (Fowl Pox Press, 2013: cover art and design by Virgil Kay), he is also an amateur photographer of rural landscapes. See more from Brian on his Twitter.


“Utopia Lost” by M. Earl Smith

Selma. Soweto. Stalingrad. Hallowed ground, places where, in the last seventy years, the forces of humanity managed to conquer the lesser beasts of our nature, bringing us one tiny step closer to the utopia that was promised in Paris, by Marx, so many years ago.

Trayvon. Matthew Shepherd. Michael Brown. Young men slaughtered, either by a police state, or by the same savages that would deny most the basic tenants of happiness, simply because they couldn’t see past their own darkened, fears, and past the fallacies of their own arguments.

Being a Marxist that grew up in the South, I’ve seen the ravages, on both sides, which seem to defy the logic of our existence. After all, how can a species that propagates as well as ours seem so hell-bent on its own destruction? On the flip side, how can the Southeast, marred with the scars of Jim Crow and slavery, play host to some of the most charitable, most hospitable people on the planet?

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